VIJAYAWADA: Mukesh Kumar Meena, secretary to the Governor, submitted to the Andhra Pradesh High Court that the Governor has used his discretionary powers properly in the appointment of retired IAS officer Nilam Sawhney as the State Election Commissioner (SEC) of Andhra Pradesh. Appearing before the court on Tuesday as per the directions of High Court judge Justice B Devanand to file the counter in the petition filed challenging the appointment of Sawhney, the senior officer explained that the Governor, using the discretionary powers given to him under the Article 243 of the Constitution of India, appointed Nilam Sawhney as the SEC.
He explained that a lot of exercise was done for the appointment of the SEC. A list of eleven IAS officers, who retired in the last three years, was made and their APER were analysed and it was found that Nilam Sawhney had a grade of 10 for the last five years and has better ranking than other retired IAS officers in the list. Further, there were no cases or proceedings pending against her. Meena said the Governor had also taken the Supreme Court verdict into consideration before her appointment.
She was also asked to resign as the advisor to the government prior to her appointment and only after she resigned from the advisor post, her appointment was confirmed. He argued that there is no meaning in the argument of the petitioner that a government advisor cannot be appointed as SEC. The scope of the legal intervention to scrutinise the executive powers of the Governor is marginal, he said. Petitioner’s advocate B Sasibushan Rao sought time for filing a reply. The hearing was adjourned to July 8.