Is this a joke? Supreme Court angry over protection given to MLA who broke EVM

Ananya Shroff
5 Min Read

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday reprimanded YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) MLA Pineli Ramakrishna Reddy and barred him from visiting the counting centre. The MLA was caught on camera banging an EVM at a polling booth. After watching the video of the incident, a bench headed by Justice Arvind Kumar said that the allegation of banging the EVM on the ground was like “making a mockery of the system”. The court said that if the High Court order granting interim protection is not stayed, it would also be like making a mockery of the entire justice system. The bench also comprised Justice Sandeep Kumar. In its order, the apex court also considered the affidavit filed by the Macherla MLA's advocate Vikas Singh on behalf of the YSRCP leader stating that he will not go to or near the counting centre on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court asked the Andhra Pradesh High Court to consider the anticipatory bail plea in the case on merits, without being influenced by its earlier decision to grant interim protection. The High Court in its interim order on May 23 had stayed the arrest of the MLA accused of EVM tampering during polling till June 5. A polling agent of the TDP had approached the Supreme Court against the High Court order. The petition alleged that the VRO, under the influence of Ramakrishna Reddy, in his report accused unknown persons of damaging the EVMs at the polling booth.

Who is Ramakrishna Reddy?

Ramakrishna Reddy is contesting from Macherla for the fifth time as a YSRCP candidate. The police have registered a case against him under relevant sections of the IPC, the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act, 1984 after his video of breaking the EVM went viral. The incident took place at a polling station in Macherla on polling day on May 13. The Election Commission had ordered his arrest after his video of breaking the EVM went viral. Later, three new cases of conspiracy to incite violence on polling day were registered against the MLA.

What did the court say?

“When you see the video, you will find that this is a completely wrong order. This is an open mockery of the justice system,” the bench told senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Reddy. The bench directed Reddy not to enter or go near the counting centre in Macherla assembly constituency on June 4. Lok Sabha and assembly elections were held simultaneously in Andhra Pradesh. The court told the Andhra Pradesh High Court that the court should decide without hesitation on the petition related to the cases against Reddy listed for hearing on June 6. Reddy was granted interim relief on May 28. Reddy, the YSRCP candidate from Macherla assembly constituency, along with his supporters allegedly barged into the polling booth on polling day on May 13 and vandalised VVPAT and EVM machines.

Supreme Court's tough stand

The apex court was hearing two petitions filed by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) polling agent Seshagiri Rao Namboodri seeking cancellation of interim protection from arrest granted to the MLA. Namboodri claimed that despite having video evidence, the police did not register a case against the MLA but against some unknown persons. Singh said he was not challenging these incidents but the presence of the MLA at the booth when these incidents allegedly took place. The bench said that after watching the video of the incident, the allegations appear to be prima facie correct and should be accepted. The court said, “It was stated in the complaint that eight people entered inside the booth and took away VVPAT and EVMs and destroyed them. Now if we do not stay the anticipatory bail order, it would be a mockery of the justice system.”

`; articlesDiv.innerHTML += articleHTML; }); } // Initialize and render feeds fetchAndRenderFeeds();

Leave a comment