Finally, after months of tug of war between the Jagan-led government and Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar, the bureaucrat on Monday took charge as Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner. Ramesh Kumar reportedly took charge on 11.15 AM three days after Gopalakrishna Dwivedi, Chief Secretary, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Department, directed to issue a gazette to this effect.
Taking to media after he took charge, Ramesh Kumar stated that he assumed office on Friday itself at Hyderabad. Asserting that election Commission is an autonomous institution, Ramesh Kumar stated that he would work irrespective of the government at the office. Taking everyone to shock, Ramesh Kumar said he was expecting support and cooperation from the Government to carry on his duties.
It all started with Ramesh Kumar postponing the panchayat elections in the view of corona pandemic which triggered the CMO which didn’t get a prior intimation. Followed by which the State government has issued an ordinance making changes to the selection of the Commissioner of Elections.
More than 13 petitions were filed challenging the government’s decision to remove Ramesh Kumar while Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan approved the ordinance, amending the AP Panchayat Raj Act, 1994.
Hearing a batch of petitions, HC termed the ordinance unconstitutional and ordered the reinstatement of Ramesh Kumar as SEC.
While the state government moved the Supreme Court challenging HC’s decision, the apex court refused to stay the HC orders and observed that the Andhra Pradesh government cannot play with constitutional functionary. The High Court discussed with the governor asked to re-appoint him as SEC implementing High Court judgment.