Andhra Pradesh HC gives green signal for MPTC, ZPTC elections


A division bench of the High Court led by Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and comprising Justice C. Praveen Kumar cleared the way for MPTC and ZPTC elections scheduled for April 8, by overturning Justice U. Durga Prasad Rao’s decision to impose a stay on the State Election Commission (SEC)’s notification dated April 1.

However, the court ordered that the results be kept on hold until further orders.

Appearing for the government, Advocate-General S. Sriram said the State has been facing difficulties due to the continued MCC since January as it could neither present the annual budget nor undertake COVID vaccination in a full-fledged manner.

He informed the court that the entire machinery is in place for the elections and that the State has not introduced any new policy regarding rural areas in the last three months.

None of the officers who have been transferred by the SEC was shifted back either. So, effectively the MCC is still in place and no political party has been given an advantage.

Representing the SEC, senior counsel C.V. Mohan Reddy said the single judge ought not to have entertained the Writ Petition (WP) filed by TDP’s Varla Ramaiah especially when his locus standi was not decided.

When the WP was opposed on the ground that it is in the nature of a PIL, it should have been heard by a division bench as per the writ proceeding rules, he contended.

Senior advocate Vedula Venkataramana argued on behalf of the petitioner that the SEC has violated the Supreme Court order in the present election schedule, but to no avail.

It may be noted that the State Election Commissioner Nilam Sawhney issued the notification on April 1 for resuming the process of MPTC and ZPTC elections from the stage where it was stopped on March 15, 2020 due to COVID, in exercise of its powers under Article 243-K of the Constitution and Sections 151(1) and 179 (1) of AP Panchayat Raj Act, 1994.

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