Many errors of law were found in the judgment passed by Justice Murthy, says Advocate-General
A Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court comprising Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice J. Uma Devi reserved its judgment on an appeal filed by the State government against the cancellation of the MPTC and ZPTC elections.
Appearing for the State Election Commission (SEC) during a hearing on Thursday, senior counsel S. Niranjan Reddy said Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy should not have cancelled the election process at the instance of a political party (Jana Sena) which has not raised any contentions on the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and because all office-holders of the SEC prior to the present commissioner Nilam Sawhney understood the requirement of the Supreme Court order in the matter and complied with it at the time of announcement of the election schedule in January 2021. He asserted that the SEC had exercised its powers as per the guidelines of the MCC and strictly followed the statute regarding the elapse of time for the conduct of elections, which was a composite process having different phases covering urban local bodies, MPTCs and ZPTCs.
Mr. Niranjan Reddy objected to the passing of strictures on such a high constitutional office (SEC) and that personal observations on the conduct and suitability of the commissioner were unwarranted.
He insisted that there should be no further hold-up of the elections as the results had already been declared and the ballot papers kept in safe custody at a huge cost and it was in the interest of all political parties to have the process concluded.
Model Code of Conduct
Advocate-General S. Sriram informed the Bench that there was no pleading in the writ petition filed by the Jana Sena that new welfare programmes were launched between January and April 2021 and in fact, the State was in adherence to the MCC from March 2020 to April 2021 when no new schemes could have been be initiated without the prior approval of the SEC.
The single judge should, therefore, have taken the factual pleadings into account before ordering the cancellation of elections, the A-G said, claiming that many errors of fact and law were found in the impugned judgement.
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