• Governor of Andhra Pradesh has directed the state government to take steps for the reinstatement of Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar as State Election Commissioner (SEC) as per the May 29, 2020 High Court judgment.
A.P. Panchayat Raj (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2020:
• The High Court on May 29 struck down the A.P. Panchayat Raj (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, through which the government curtailed the tenure of the SEC from five to three years and the consequent appointment of Madras High Court retired judge V. Kanagaraj as new SEC.
• The court had ordered that Mr. Ramesh Kumar be restored as the SEC.
• The high court verdict which was challenged in the Supreme Court by the State government, which asserted that his act of self-restoration as SEC was beyond the conceivable mandate of law. The matter is pending in the Supreme Court.
Article 243K of Indian Constitution:
• Article 243K deals with the Elections to the Panchayats.
• It states that The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Panchayats shall be vested in a State Election Commission.
• It shall consist of a State Election Commissioner to be appointed by the Governor.
• Subject to the provisions of any law made by the State Legislature, the conditions of service and tenure of office of the State Election Commissioner shall be such as the Governor may by rule determine. However,
• The State Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his office except in like manner and on the like ground as a Judge of a High Court.
• The conditions of service of the State Election Commissioner shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: State Election Commissioner
Mains level: Role of State Election Commissioner