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The Hindu – Andhra Pradesh

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea by the Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy government against the Andhra State Election Commission’s decision to conduct local body elections amid COVID-19 vaccination drive, saying “elections have been held in this country in far more difficult times”.

The court said the State government’s reluctance to conduct the elections and the wording of its appeal suggested an “ego battle” between the government and State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar.

“Ego problem between two authorities is leading to lawlessness. We cannot allow lawlessness. How can resolutions be passed against the N Ramesh Kumar”” Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, heading the Bench, asked.

The court said it was “highly deplorable” to see State employees’ federations issuing resolutions against the Election Commissioner.

“The purpose of the State Election Commission [SEC] is to take over elections… Every time this process is started, some reason is being given to postpone the elections… The SEC is alive to the fact of the vaccination drive, the court should not take over such functions from the Election Commission. This is against the constitutional scheme. There is only a very limited scope of judicial review here,” Justice Kaul, flanked by Justice Hrishikesh Roy on the Bench, told Andhra’s lawyers, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and Mahfooz A. Nazki.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar and K. Parameshwar appeared for the SEC.

Kerala polls

An intervenor argued how local body elections recently conducted in Kerala had led to a spike in infection.

“Nobody can say the spike happened because of this or that… Very difficult to blame or judge anyone. States have conducted elections during COVID-19. Even Kerala did and there is a spike now, but we can’t say polls were the reason… We will not meddle in the affairs of the SEC,” Justice Kaul replied.

The Bench called interventions “wholly uncalled for”.

Mr. Rohatgi referred to how Goa recently…

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