HC reserves order on AP govt’s plea against EC

  • | Friday | 29th March, 2019

Srinivas alleged that the EC decision seems to be biased, as it took a different stance in a similar case in the state of Jharkhand, where despite a complaint by the opposition against the state’s additional director general (intelligence), the EC did not take any action. VIJAYAWADA: The high court has reserved its order on the AP government’s plea, in which it challenged the Election Commission’s move to transfer three senior police officers of the state.In a surprise move, DG (intelligence) A B Venkateswara Rao, Kadapa SP Rahul Dev Sharma and Srikakulam SP A Venkata Ratnam were transferred by the EC on Tuesday following a complaint by opposition YSRC, which accused them of working in favour of the ruling TDP.Arguing on behalf of the state government, advocate general Dammalapati Srinivas said the EC does not have the jurisdiction to transfer the DG (intelligence) as he is in no way related to the poll process. The EC should not apply the rules differently, he argued.Defending the EC’s move, its counsel Prakash Reddy said the decision to transfer the officers was a normal course of action to ensure free and fair elections.The state government in its communication had stated that all police officers, including the DG (intelligence), would be part of the poll process, Reddy said, adding that the government changed its stance after the transfer order, and issued a fresh GO exempting the DG (intelligence) from poll process.“Exemption of special branch officers is only applicable for transfers, which has to be done before the elections for those who are working for more than three years in any district,” Reddy said, further stating that the EC is not obligated to state any reason to transfer any official and that the transfers “shouldn’t be considered as punishment”.After hearing both sides, the bench headed by chief justice C Praveen Kumar reserved its order.

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