A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice C. Praveen Kumar cleared the way for MPTC and ZPTC elections scheduled for April 8, by overturning Justice U. Durga Prasad Rao’s order to impose a stay on the State Election Commission’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 had been facing difficulties owing to the continued model code of conduct 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 was in place for the elections and that the State had not introduced any new policy regarding rural areas in the last three months. None of the officers who had been transferred by the SEC was shifted back either. So, effectively the model code was still in place and no political party had 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 filed by Telugu Desam Party’s Varla Ramaiah, especially when his locus standi was not decided.
When the plea 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 contented.
Senior advocate Vedula Venkataramana argued on behalf of the petitioner that the SEC had violated the Supreme Court order in the present election schedule, but to no avail.
It may be noted that 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-19.