Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh on Thursday quashed the order passed by the Chairman, Block Development Council Meelyal (in Kupwara), asking an elected Sarpanch to show her majority in the Panchayat as per the rules and provisions of the Panchayati Raj Act.
Justice Sanjeev Kumar while setting aside the order left it open to the parties concerned to move a no-confidence motion, if required, against the petitioner (Sarpanch) according to Rule 81 of the Panchayati Raj Act, 1989.
The elected Sarpanch, Farida Begum of Panchayat Halqa Dard Harie, had challenged the order passed by the Chairman, Block Development Council, primarily on the grounds that it was not in consonance with Section 7 of the Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, read with Rule 81 of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Rules, 1996.
It was contended by the petitioner that acting contrary to the Rule 81, the Chairman Block Development Council, was himself convening the meeting and asking the petitioner to show her majority, which was not permissible.
Justice Kumar recorded that under Rule 81, the Chairman Block Development Council is only authorised to preside over a no-confidence motion, to read out the motion, to carry on the debate and conduct the voting in such a meeting. He is also empowered to declare the result of the motion.
“He, however, is not entitled to convene a meeting, which function has been assigned by Rule 81 of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Rules, 1996, to the Secretary of the Panchayat, provided he receives a written notice of intention to move a no-confidence motion signed by not less than 1/3rd of the total members of Panchayat and presented to him in person by at least 2 of them,” the judge said.
It was further noted that the meeting to be convened by the Secretary for conducting a no-confidence motion should not be earlier than 10 days and not later than 20 days after receipt of notice of motion.
The court pointed out that the apprehension of the petitioner that the respondents may proceed to conduct a no-confidence motion against her without following Rule 81 was without any basis and accordingly the instant petition is allowed.
“Impugned order dated 8 September, 2021, passed by the Chairman Block Development Council Meelyal is quashed, leaving it open to the parties concerned to move a no-confidence motion, if required, against the petitioner, in due compliance with Rule 81 as discussed above,” the court directed.