For nearly four months, an intense row has played out between State Election Commissioner Ramesh Kumar and the YSRCP government.

Collage of Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar on the left and Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy on the right File Photos
news Controversy Friday, July 31, 2020 - 08:18

The Andhra Pradesh government has finally reinstated N Ramesh Kumar as the State Election Commissioner (SEC) in compliance with a ruling from the High Court, by issuing an order late Thursday night. The order was issued on behalf of the state Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Department. 

The notification restoring Kumar's post signed by Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan, however, stipulated that the reinstatement would be subject to the outcome of the state government's plea in the Supreme Court against the high court ruling.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court had on May 29 struck down an ordinance of the state government curtailing the SEC's tenure from five to three years, which effectively removed Ramesh Kumar from the post. It had also set aside another government another order appointing retired Judge V Kanagaraj as the SEC, and had directed the government to restore Ramesh Kumar's position as the SEC.

The state government had subsequently challenged the high court ruling before the apex court, which had refused to stay the high court order. The matter is still pending with the Supreme Court.

Ramesh Kumar, meanwhile, had filed a contempt petition in the High Court against the state government for not reinstating him in accordance with its May 29 order.

The HC had directed Kumar to make a representation to the Governor for reinstating him as the SEC.

The retired bureaucrat, accordingly, met Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan on July 20 and requested that he be reinstated as SEC.

On July 21, the Governor directed the state government to comply with the HC order.

Though the state government sought a stay on the HC directive on the contempt petition, the Supreme Court did not grant any relief.

Left with no other option, the government finally issued an order on Thursday reinstating Ramesh Kumar as SEC.

Read: Row over Andhra poll chief: In Guv’s letter, Jagan govt could find an escape route

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