AndhraPradesh High Court asks Ramesh Kumar to meet Governor

Taking serious note of non-implementation of its order reinstating Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar as State Election Commissioner (SEC), the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday asked him to meet the Governor.

The court gave the direction on a contempt of court petition filed by Ramesh Kumar who was reinstated as SEC by the High Court on May 29.

Observing that the Governor has the power to appoint the SEC as per its order, the court asked Ramesh Kumar to meet him and submit a memorandum.

Ramesh Kumar's counsel Ashwini Kumar brought to the court's notice that he has sought an appointment with the Governor.

The petitioner conveyed to the court that the government moved the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order but it refused to grant a stay. To this, the bench of Chief Justice J. K. Maheshwari and M. Satyanarayana Murth yobserved that since the Supreme Court has not given the stay, the High Court order remained in force.

The bench asked the government to file its counter and adjourned the hearing to July 24.

Ramesh Kumar had moved the High Court last month, alleging that the state government is resorting to contempt of court by not allowing him to resume office as the SEC.

He brought to the notice of the court that former high court judge Justice V. Kanagaraj, who was appointed in his place in April, was still being treated as the SEC by the government.

Kumar has named the Chief Secretary, Panchayat Raj Secretary and SEC Secretary as the respondents. He claimed that they committed the contempt and are liable to punishment under The Contempt of Courts Act.

The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government had issued an ordinance on April 10 to sack Ramesh Kumar as the SEC following a row over the postponement of local body elections.

Within hours after sacking him, the government appointed Kanagaraj as the new SEC.

On the petitions of Ramesh Kumar and several others including BJP leader Kamineni Srinivas, the High Court on May 29 struck down the ordinance, declaring it unconstitutional. It also set aside the orders appointing Kanagaraj as the new SEC.

Ramesh Kumar had issued a circular to all District Collectors, CEOs of zilla praja parishads, District Panchayat Officers, and Municipal Commissioners the same day, stating that pursuant to the High Court orders, he stood restored to the office of SEC.

However, the next day he withdrew the circular after Advocate General S. Subramanya Sriram stated that Ramesh Kumar's action of issuing a circular is illegal as the High Court had not asked him to take charge.

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