28 Nov 2023 2:55 PM GMT
The Bombay High Court recently held that a No Confidence Motion against Sarpanch and Upa Sarpanch would be valid even without being formally proposed and seconded as long as it was passed by the required majority and fulfilling all requirements under section 35 of the Maharashtra Village Panchayats Act.Justice Madhav Jamdar upheld the No Confidence Motion passed against the Sarpanch...
The Bombay High Court recently held that a No Confidence Motion against Sarpanch and Upa Sarpanch would be valid even without being formally proposed and seconded as long as it was passed by the required majority and fulfilling all requirements under section 35 of the Maharashtra Village Panchayats Act.
Justice Madhav Jamdar upheld the No Confidence Motion passed against the Sarpanch and Upa-Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat Ukkadgaon in Solapur District observing that it was passed meeting all statutory requirements.
“the requirement of Rule 17 in the matter of proposing and seconding the motion cannot impinge upon the validity of the motion of no confidence which has otherwise been passed by fulfilling the requirement of Section 35(3) of the said Act as the said infraction does not affect the merits of the case”, the court held.
Rule 17 of the Bombay Village Panchayats (Meetings) Rules, 1959 provides that a member who has given notice of a motion shall either state that he does not wish to move the motion, or formally move the motion, after the motion is duly seconded.
The court dismissed two writ petitions filed by the Sarpanch and Upa-Sarpanch against an order dated October 13, 2023, wherein the Collector, Solapur, dismissed their Dispute Applications challenging the validity of the Motion of No Confidence.
Gram Panchayat Ukkadgaon had nine members, and the Motion of No Confidence was initiated against the Sarpanch and Upa-Sarpanch. On May 24, 2023, seven members submitted individual notices of 'Motion of No Confidence' against the Sarpanch and Upa-Sarpanch.
The Tahsildar issued separate notices convening a special meeting on May 30, 2023, during which both motions were decided. The minutes of the meeting revealed that both Motions were separately considered and voted on, with all 7 members present voting in favor.
Advocate DS Mhaispurkar for the petitioners contended that the Motion of No Confidence was invalid as no formal resolution was moved during the Special Meeting called for discussing the Motion. He contended that moving the motion was a mandatory procedural requirement. He also contended that separate meetings were not held for considering the 'Motion of No Confidence' against the Sarpanch and Upa-Sarpanch, causing prejudice to the Petitioners.
Advocate Umesh Kurund argued that the Motion of No Confidence was validly passed with an overwhelming majority (7 out of 9 members). He argued that proposing and seconding the motion is not mandatory.
AGP AP Vanarase for the state supported the impugned order of the Collector, Solapur.
Section 35 of the Maharashtra Village Panchayats Act, 1959, outlines the procedure for a Motion of No Confidence. It provides that a notice to the Tahsildar regarding the motion must be given by at least 2/3rd of the members after which the Tehsildar has to convene a meeting within seven days. The Sarpanch and Upa-Sarpanch have a right to participate in the meeting, including voting. The motion must be passed by a majority of at least 3/4th of the total members entitled to sit and vote at the Gram panchayat meeting.
Section 44(3) of the Act states that no act or proceeding of a Panchayat shall be deemed invalid due to defects not affecting the merits of the case.
The court noted that the Tahsildar presented the Motion of No Confidence before a special meeting in which all members participated. Further, the 'Motion of No Confidence' was passed by a majority meeting the statutory requirements of a 2/3rd notice and a 3/4th majority for passing the resolution. This fulfils the requirements of Section 35, said the court.
The court relied on the Full Bench decision in Tatyasaheb Ramchandra Kale v. Navnath Tukaram Kakade & Ors. In this decision, the court invoked Section 44(3) of the Act and held that the absence of a formal proposal and seconding, while a procedural irregularity, would not invalidate a motion that adhered to the substantive requirements of Section 35(3).
The court observed that separate notices were issued for each motion, and the minutes of the meeting explicitly showed that after considering and deciding the Motion of No Confidence against the Sarpanch, the Motion of No Confidence against Upa-Sarpanch was considered. Even if there were any procedural deficiencies, the court observed that as per Section 44(3), these irregularities, if any, did not detract from the majority supporting the motions, said the court.
The court dismissed the Petition, stating that the Motion of No Confidence was validly passed, meeting all statutory requirements highlighting that under Section 44(3) of the Act, defects not affecting the merits are curable.
Case no. – Writ Petition No. 13310 of 2023
Case Title – Savita Shrimant Ghule v. Sangita Bibhishan Sanap & Ors.
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