HC questions rationale behind SEC’s plea on official residence


‘Is it not a waste of public money to have one in Hyderabad and another in Vijayawada?’

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday questioned the rationale behind State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar’s plea that his residence in Hyderabad be declared as the official residence of the A.P. State Election Commissioner.

A Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Justices M. Satyanarayana Murthy and B. Devanand, also asked whether it was not a waste of public money to have the official residence in Hyderabad and another one in Vijayawada.

‘No proof of denial of support’

Reserving its order on the State Election Commission’s writ petition accusing the government of not cooperating in the conduct of local body elections and holding back funds of ₹40 lakh sanctioned in January 2020, the court was of the view that the petitioner was unable to show any proof of denial of support, except of non-payment of certain amounts to the SEC.

Presenting his arguments during a hearing on the writ petition, Government Pleader C. Sumon claimed that a sum of ₹39.70 lakh was released on October 20 and about ₹110 crore since July 2019.

He further said that the SEC’s contention that the government’s non-cooperation obstructed the process of elections had not been substantiated.

He insisted that the affidavit filed by Mr. Ramesh Kumar neither contained any averment nor showed any instance of non-cooperation.

The Government Pleader further pointed out that the State government was constitutionally obligated to extend all support and cooperation to the SEC, and that the question of support arises when the elections were announced.

The petitioner also alleged that some posts were not filled by the government, but the court asked where was the proof of it.

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