HC posts SEC plea on ‘police interference’ to September 7

A single-Judge Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court comprising Justice D. Ramesh posted to September 7 the hearing on a petition filed by State Election Commissioner (SEC) N. Ramesh Kumar against the alleged interference of State Home Department, Director-General of Police, Additional DGP (CID) and CID SHO (cybercrime)-Mangalagiri in the functioning of the constitutional body.

A separate petition filed by the Commission’s Assistant Secretary K. Samba Murthy seeking a stay on his arrest by the CID for allegedly destroying the evidence related to a letter written by Mr. Kumar to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs about the threat to his life will be heard along with the matter raised by the SEC.

In his petition, Mr. Kumar, who won a protracted legal battle with the State government over the A.P. Panchayat Raj (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, which resulted in his ouster from the post of SEC, informed the court that the above respondents were obstructing the functioning of the commission by filing frivolous criminal cases thereby stifling its independence. He sought the declaration of their actions as illegal and in contravention of the spirit of Article 243-K of the Constitution.

Mr. Kumar also prayed for declaration of the FIR filed by CID on Mr. Samba Murthy as violative of Articles 14, 21 and 243-K and contrary to provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. Further, the SEC appealed to the court to direct the Secretary of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to order a probe, preferably by CBI, into the inquiry being conducted in his (SEC) office.

Mr. Kumar said the respondents registered criminal complaints in the wake of the High Court judgment against the impugned ordinance to make the commission to subjugate itself to the ruling executives.

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