The Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner on Friday filed a contempt petition in the state high court alleging the YSRC government was not implementing the orders on conduct of elections to gram panchayats. SEC Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar also sought fresh directions from the court to the state government that it cooperate fully in conducting the panchayat elections in February, 2021.
The court posted the matter for further hearing to December 22. The latest development marked a new turn in the ongoing tussle between the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy regime and the SEC, who was reinstated in May this year after the high court struck down an ordinance of the state government curtailing the tenure of the poll body from five to three years.
A legal battle is already on in the high court over the conduct of elections to gram panchayats with the SEC in favour and the state government against. The state government filed an affidavit stating that the polls could not be held in February because administration of COVID-19 vaccine would be going on and the government staff would be engaged with it.
The SEC filed a counter, referring to the recent elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, local bodies in Kerala and Rajasthan and the Supreme Courts refusal to stay the poll process. He contended that the election process had already begun, on the directions of the high court, and there was no scope for any judicial intervention at this stage.
As the state government remained firm on its stand against conducting the elections, the SEC filed a contempt petition. Ramesh Kumar submitted that despite its orders earlier, the state government was not cooperating with the poll body.
The response by state Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney to the SECs letter was also not appropriate, he said.