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Setback to Jagan, SC upholds Election Commission Decision on Local Polls Deferment

18-03-202018-03-2020 17:53:16 IST
Updated On 18-03-2020 18:15:44 ISTUpdated On 18-03-20202020-03-18T12:23:16.250Z18-03-2020 2020-03-18T12:23:13.532Z - 2020-03-18T12:45:44.262Z - 18-03-2020

Setback to Jagan, SC upholds Election Commission Decision on Local Polls Deferment
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In a setback to the Jagan Mohan Reddy government, the Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the State Election Commission to defer local body polls in Andhra Pradesh. 

"We do not see any reason why this Court should interfere with the decision of the respondent - Election Commission to postpone the elections particularly since the postponement is due to a possible outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID 19) epidemic in the country. We, therefore, decline to interfere with the said decision of the Election Commission," the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde said in the order.

Andhra Pradesh government had filed the writ petition challenging the action of the Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission in issuing a Notification dated 15.03.2020 postponing the elections for the local bodies by six weeks or any other date on the ground of spread of Coronavirus (COVID 19).

However, the court agreed with ANS Nadkarni, Additional Solicitor General appearing for the State that a large number of developmental activities have been suspended due to the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct in force. The imposition of the Model Code of Conduct would not be justified if the Elections are postponed. "We see much substance in the above submissions of the learned Additional Solicitor General. We, therefore, direct that the Election Commission shall impose the Model Code of Conduct four weeks before the notified date of polling," the order said.

The order also specified that the Model Code of Conduct for the elections shall be reimposed four weeks before the date of polling. The court also directed that the present development activities which have already been undertaken shall not be interrupted until the Model Code of Conduct is reimposed.

However, if the State Government wishes to undertake any fresh developmental activities, they shall do so only with the prior permission of the Election Commission.

The court directed that since the Election Commission has already taken the decision to postpone the elections, ''there shall be a post decisional consultation with the State of Andhra Pradesh before the next date is notified by the Election Commission". The Model Code of Conduct for the elections shall be reimposed four weeks before the date of polling. 

Earlier, the decision of the SEC was derided by the Jagan government with the Chief Minister himself calling State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar names. He attributed caste motives to the SEC, stating that he was helping Chandrababu Naidu in whose regime he was appointed. 

 


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