The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Andhra Pradesh’s Macherla MLA Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy, accused of damaging an EVM at a polling station on May 13, cannot enter the vote counting station on June 4.

The court questioned why interim bail was granted to Reddy, criticising the decision as highly mistaken. (File)

Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) MLA Reddy promised Justices Aravind Kumar and Sandeep Mehta that he would stay away from the counting station.

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The YSRCP MLA was reportedly seen on a video damaging an EVM at a polling center in the Macharla constituency of Palnadu district. The Supreme Court, after watching the video, criticised the temporary protection given to Reddy, calling it a mockery of the justice system.

The court questioned why interim bail was granted to Reddy, criticising the decision as highly mistaken.

The Supreme Court was reviewing a plea challenging the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s decision to grant interim relief to Reddy in the case.

It instructed the High Court to decide on the pending petition listed for June 6 solely based on its own merits, without being influenced by previous remarks.

A video emerged on May 21 showing the MLA entering polling station No. 202 at Palwaigate village with his followers, smashing the EVM on the floor, and damaging the VVPAT machine. The video quickly went viral on social media.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) took serious notice of the incident and asked state chief electoral officer M K Meena for an explanation. It also requested a report from the DGP about the actions taken against the MLA. The EC instructed the DGP to take criminal action against the MLA and others involved in similar incidents of damaging EVMs elsewhere.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court granted anticipatory bail to Reddy in the case.

On May 13, EVMs were damaged at seven polling stations in the Macherla constituency.

There was also election-related violence in several districts of the southern state, including Palnadu, Tirupati, and Anantapur.

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