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Andhra Pradesh Government faces tough time in HC, SC

Andhra Pradesh High Court
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Andhra Pradesh High Court 

Highlights

  • Assembly Secretary penalised for contempt of court
  • HC asked govt earlier to remove party colours painted on government offices
  • The government has been dealing with cases in the courts regarding the lands it wants to distribute among the beneficiaries of the housing scheme
  • It has also been at loggerheads with the SEC regarding conduct of local bodies elections this year

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Vijayawada: The judgment of High Court penalising the secretary of the Legislative Assembly Balakrishnama Charyulu for contempt was yet another rude shock to the YSRCP government.

Justice B Devanand, hearing the contempt petition filed by the Assembly employees stating that the Assembly Secretary did not implement the court orders to pay increments and salaries to them, stated that he was convinced that it was wilful default on the part of the Secretary.

However, this is not the first time the YSRCP government received flak from the high court which pronounced adverse judgments on the GOs and actions.

It may be recalled that the government's decision to paint the government buildings with party colours received a setback in the High Court which ordered the removal of colours.

Without removing the colours, the State government issued GO modifying its earlier order for painting government offices, particularly village panchayat offices, adding an additional colour brown.

In May 2020, the HC cancelled the GO and once again ordered the government to remove party colours from the government buildings. In June 2020, the Supreme Court dismissed the AP government's petition challenging the HC's decision to remove the party colour from the government buildings.

The controversy of painting the government buildings with the party colours once again came into picture with a petition filed in the High Court in December 2020. The petitioner contended that the State government had spent Rs. 4,000 crore for painting the government buildings with the party colours and for removing the same. The petitioner demanded that the government should deposit Rs. 4,000 crore into the treasury by YSR Congress. The HC directed the government to file an affidavit.

On November 20, 2019, the State government issued GO No 85 making English medium mandatory in all government schools up to class 6. After a case was filed, during April 2020, the High Court struck down the GO terming it unconstitutional. The State government approached the SC which refused to stay the HC's verdict.

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy's proposal to have three capitals stirred a controversy. Around 90 petitions were filed in the High Court opposing the idea. The matter is currently pending with the court putting brakes on the government's decision to shift the executive capital to Visakhapatnam. During the hearings, the HC issued a gag order which got stayed by the SC later.

The State government's decision to distribute houses to the poor under its Navaratnalu scheme 'Pedalandariki Illu' got delayed five times. Several petitions were filed in the HC about the land chosen for the distribution. The AP government made several changes to the capital master plan for allocating the housing sites to the poor on capital lands. Several complaints were filed in the HC complaining about the land chosen by the government for distribution in Amaravati. The HC issued stay order which was upheld by the Supreme Court later.

In another petition, the HC issued interim orders staying the distribution of 32 acres of land belonging to the Rajamahendravaram Vysya Seva Sadhana Sangham at Velugubanda in Rajanagaram mandal of East Godavari, as house sites for the poor.

There is a cold war going on between the state government and the State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar since February, 2020 with the later party filing multiple petitions against the government.

The SEC issued notification for conducting the local body elections on March 7, 9, 2020. While the process was going on, the SEC decided to postpone the elections with the outbreak of the pandemic. The State government challenged the decision in the SC, wherein the court disposed of the petition refusing to interfere with the decision of the Election Commission.

Thereafter the state government made changes to the AP Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 altering the qualifications and terms of office of SEC. The government even went a step ahead and issued a G.O on April 10, 2020 stating that the SEC ceases to hold the office and appointed a new SEC. Nimmagadda approached the AP High Court and got relief wherein the court ordered the state government to reinstate Ramesh as SEC during June 2020. The government approached the SC which refused to stay in the HC's direction.

Post reinstatement the SEC complained that the government is not cooperating with him to conduct elections. He said that despite reminding the state government several times to release the funds sanctioned on January 17, 2020, the latter failed to respond. Aggrieved by the government's lack of response, SEC filed a writ petition in the HC on November 3. The HC issued an interim order directing the government to cooperate with the commission for conducting the elections.

The SEC filed a contempt petition in December against the state government for wilfully violating the directions of the High Court.

The SEC issued a notification to conduct the local body election in February 2021. The High Court, which initially reserved order on the plea to stay the local body polls later, passed a judgment on December 24, stating that the SEC's decision is final in conducting the elections. The court directed the government to send three officers to the SEC to apprise him of the COVID situation in the state.

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