House Arrest Of Peddireddy: HC Strikes Down Nimmagadda’s Orders

In a setback to State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar who had passed orders to house-arrest Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy till the end of Panchayat elections in the state, the High Court of Andhra Pradesh has struck down those orders of the SEC.

Minister Peddireddy had moved the HC on Sunday and filed a house motion petition which came up for hearing before Justice DVSS Somayajulu on Sunday.

While SEC Nimmagadda had directed DGP Gautam Sawang to restrict minister Peddireddy to his residence and restrict him from speaking to the media, the HC struck down the orders of the SEC. The High Court, however, refused to interfere in the SEC orders stopping Peddireddy from speaking to the media till February 21.

Earlier, minister Peddireddy conducted a media conference on Friday evening. He made severe comments on Nimmagadda yet again. “If anyone makes a wrong decision and pay heed to SEC Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar, we’ll blacklist those officials till we are in power,” said Peddireddy.   

Responding to minister Peddireddy’s comments, SEC said that minister’s open threat to Election officials and bureaucrats isn’t in the spirit of free and democratic practice of election. He said the action against Peddireddy is to conduct fair and free Panchayat polls in the state.

“The utterances of the minister for panchayat raj and rural development threatening all the collectors who are also the district election authorities and the returning officers with dire consequences if they follow the Election Commissioner’s instructions which emanate from Article 243K, which mandates to hold free and fair elections is a serious breach of rule of law and tenets of the Constitution of India,” SEC Nimmagadda had said in his previous order.

“Having carefully looked at the various alternatives and avenues of remedial action, the commission by invoking its plenary powers under Article 243K of the Constitution directes the director general of police, Andhra Pradesh to confine minister for panchayat raj and rural development to his residential premises,” the order had said.

With HC striking down Nimmagadda’s orders, it needs to be seen what would be the next step of him.