The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday dismissed the Chandrababu Naidu government’s plea seeking a stay on the Election Commission’s order to transfer three Indian Police Service officers ahead of elections, PTI reported. A High Court bench headed by Chief Justice C Praveen Kumar said it was not a case fit for relief, and it cannot interfere with the poll body’s decision, the Hindustan Times reported.
The officers concerned include Director General of Police (intelligence) AB Venkateswara Rao, Srikakulam Superintendent of Police Venkata Ratnam and Kadapa Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma, who were transferred to the police headquarters on Tuesday night. The transfer ensures that the officials will not have election duties, PTI reported.
The court ordered the state to comply with the poll panel’s order. A division bench of Praveen Kumar and Justice Satyanarayana Murthy refuted the Naidu administration’s claim that the poll panel had no jurisdiction over Rao.
While the state’s lawyer had claimed that the panel had not given the officials and opportunity to appeal the order, the commission’s counsel said the transfers were not a punishment, Hindustan Times reported.
The YSR Congress has accused Rao of “working like a TDP worker”.
Naidu had alleged that the panel’s action sends the “wrong signal” and that Rao looked after the chief minister’s security. The state government had cancelled the police officer’s transfer, The Times of India reported. “The YSR Congress Party is terrorising officials in the state,” Naidu had alleged.
The commission had asked the state to send a shortlist of three officers for it to select Rao’s replacement.
Naidu had claimed the poll body was yet to take action on more than 500 complaints filed by the Telugu Desam Party against the “removal of voters’ names from the electoral list”. The chief minister had said he will launch an agitation to seek fair elections and “save democracy”.
The 2019 General Elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, and the results will be declared on May 23. Andhra Pradesh will vote on April 11.