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  • 24 January, 2021

  • 7 Min Read

State Election Commission vs Andhra Pradesh Govt

State Election Commission vs Andhra Pradesh Govt

  • SEC issues notification for the first phase Gram Panchayat polls in A.P. amidst raging legal battle
  • A.P. State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar released the phase one Gram Panchayat elections notification in Vijayawada on January 23, 2021. | Photo Credit: Raju V.
  • The conflict between the A.P. government and the State Election Commission (SEC) over holding Gram Panchayat (GP) elections reached a flashpoint on January 23 with commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar issuing a notification for the first phase of the four-phase elections even as the government’s petition in the Supreme Court against the High Court order permitting elections to be held as per schedule is due for hearing on January 25.
  • Mr. Kumar said the High Court believed the SEC fixed the election schedule after duly taking the safety of voters and government employees into consideration, and insisted that the elections be held in tandem with the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
  • He said the Panchayat Raj Department (PRD) had failed in discharging its duties. Further, Mr. Kumar said the SEC was adopting the 2019 electoral rolls in the absence of the final ones for 2021, which should have been made available by the PRD. Youth who attained more than 18 years of age would be forfeiting their right to vote due to the adoption of 2019 rolls.
  • Appropriate action would be taken against the derelict officials of PRD Mr. Kumar said, adding that due attention would be paid to ‘unanimous elections’ and an Inspector General-rank police officer posted to check electoral malpractices and offences.

State Election Commissions (SECs)

  • The State Election Commission has been entrusted with the function of conducting free, fair and impartial elections to the local bodies in the state.
  • Article 243K(1): It states that the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Panchayats (Municipalities under Article 243ZA) shall be vested in a State Election Commission consisting of a State Election Commissioner to be appointed by the Governor.
  • Article 243K(2): It states that the tenure and appointment will be directed as per the law made by the state legislature. However, State Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his/her office except in the like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of a High Court.

Source: TH

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