Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh High Court has pulled up the State Election Commission for failing to keep track of the progress of a contempt of court petition it filed with the HC against the state government – SEC not enquiring as to whether it had come up for hearing, or why if it has not, for the past several days.
A single judge bench headed by Justice Battu Devanand held a hearing on the contempt of court petition filed by SEC on Monday.
The judge observed that the SEC filed the petition on December 18 and details of the petition were widely covered in the media the next day. Yet, why did the SEC fail in approaching the court to check as to why the petition was not taken up for hearing? Was the filing of the petition aimed only at gaining publicity, the court asked the SEC, and added that it inferred the SEC was mounting pressure on the respondents.
The judge asked SEC’s counsel to inform the SEC that it should not give others information pertaining to the petitions it filed in the court.
The SEC had filed a petition in the court alleging that there was no cooperation from the state government with regard to allocation of funds. The court directed the state government to submit a status report. The SEC however filed a contempt of court petition on Dec. 18.
The court asked the registrar general to find out who are the court officials responsible for not posting the petition for hearing for several days. It issued directions to serve notices on former chief secretary Nilam Sawhney, present chief secretary Adityanath Das and panchayat raj principal secretary Gopala Krishna Dwivedi. The case is posted for next hearing on Feb. 15.
In a separate development, SEC Ramesh Kumar refused to react on the Telugu Desam supporters’ attack on YSR Congress activists at Nimmada of Srikakulam district during his visit. When the media asked him as to what action was initiated against the culprits, he kept mum.
YSR Congress co-ordinator Duvvada Srinivas complained to the election commissioner on the TD attack on party activists.
Meanwhile, the AP Intellectuals and Citizens Forum (APIC) has urged the governor to intervene in the matter so as to protect and uphold the spirit of the Constitution.
Former RTI commissioner, P Vijaya Babu, said the SEC looking at the HC verdicts as “conduct certificates” to him and using court verdicts as a weapon to use against others was objectionable. He said the SEC dealt with the government advisor and ministers as an autocrat, and the government did not take a serious note of this.
He felt that the SEC was troubling the government and ignoring the rights of a legislator. “One constitutional body (SEC) cannot suppress the rights of another constitutional body (government).” The SEC went on the Ontimitta tour with public money though it was a personal visit. He urged the AP assembly speaker Tammineni Sitaram and governor Biswabhushan Harichandan to issue a privilege notice to Ramesh Kumar to protect the rights of legislators.
Meanwhile, Speaker Sitaram initiated measures on the complaint notices filed by ministers Botsa Satyanarayana and Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy against Ramesh Kumar. He forwarded the notices to the privilege committee, directing it to take necessary action.
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