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SC rejects Andhra Pradesh’s appeal against decision to postpone local body polls

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The Supreme Court refused to intervene in the decision taken up by Andhra Pradesh State Commission to defer the civic polls in the state in view of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

A bench comprising of the Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant declined to interfere in the matter.

“We do not see any reason why this court should interfere with the decision of the respondent – Election Comission – to postpone the elections, particularly since the postponement is due to the possible outbreak of coronavirus in the country. We therefore decline to interfere with the said decision of the Election Commission,” ruled the bench.

However, the apex court observed the grievances out up by Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing on behalf of the state government. Nadkarni contended that a large number of development activites have been suspended due to the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct for the elections. He also argued that the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct would not be justified if the elections are postponed.

Giving assent to his argument, the Supreme Court directed the Election Commision to impose the Model Code of Conduct four weeks before the notified date of polling.

The Supreme Court also said that the present development activities already undertaken will not be interrupted till the Model Code of Conduct is reimposed, and if the State Government wishes to undertake any fresh developmental activities, they shall do so only with prior permission of the Election Commission.

Advocate Shekhar Naphde, representing the Commission, contended that the Andhra Pradesh is not entitled to move the Court by way of fifling a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India.

On this note, the bench said that it was not willing to go into this question due to the developing circumstances, leaving the question open for determination in an appropiate case.

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