The Bombay High Court has held that it is mandatory that the requisition for a special meeting to move a motion of no-confidence against the Chairman or Deputy Chairman is either hand delivered or posted through a registered post to the Collector. It is the Collector under sub-section (3) of Section 72 of the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961, therein who has to call a meeting within seven days from the date of requisition, Court said.
Division bench of Justice RK Deshpande and Justice PV Ganediwala of the Nagpur bench were hearing a writ petition filed by 36-year-old Pranaya Gaddamwar and 40-year-old Arvind Deshmukh, Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti Nagbhid, Taluka Nagbhid, District Chandrapur.
Petitioner's counsel Advocate Amit Band submitted that as per the provision of sub-section (2) of Section 72 of the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961, such requisition has to be delivered to the Collector or it is to be sent to him by the registered post acknowledgment due. It is the Collector under sub-section (3) therein who has to call a meeting within seven days from the date of requisition.
However, in the present case, the requisition was not delivered personally to the Collector nor was it sent to him by the registered post. It was urged that the requisition was delivered in the present case, to the Deputy Collector/Deputy District Election Officer, Chandrapur on July 2, 2020 and the meeting was called on that basis by the Collector by issuing notice dated July 3, 2020.
Therefore, On July 14, no-confidence motion was passed by the Panchayat Samiti against the petitioners.
Section 72(2) of the Panchayat Samitis Act deals with the Motion of no-confidence against Chairman or Deputy Chairman of Panchayat Samiti, it reads-
(2) The requisition for such a special meeting shall be signed by not less than one-third of the total number of members who are for the time being entitled to sit and vote at any meeting of the Panchayat Samiti and shall be delivered to the Collector. The requisition shall be signed by the requisitionists and shall be made in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed by the State Government.
After examining the provision, the bench observed-
"Sub-section (2) of Section 72 read with Rule 3, reproduced above, makes it clear that the requisition is required to be delivered personally to the Collector or it is required to be sent by the registered post acknowledgment due.
The issue is sensitive and hence these aspects are very significant. The object is to rule out the possibility of having any dispute either over the delivery of requisition by the Councillors of the Panchayat Samiti or a receipt of it by a person who is not the Collector. The requirement, in our view, is mandatory, as both the provisions use the word 'shall'. According to us, the 'Collector', as contemplated by the aforesaid provisions is a persona designata and in the absence of any power of delegation, the Collector has to personally receive the requisition by hand delivery or through registered post acknowledgment due."
The Collector, Chandrapur filed an affidavit before the Court that as he was on a visit to Brahmapuri for Covid-19 review meeting. Therefore, in the absence of the Collector, Chandrapur the Deputy Collector/Deputy District Election Officer, Chandrapur received the requisition of motion of no confidence and endorsed "please put as per rules".
However, the bench noted-
"It is an undisputed position that the motion of no-confidence was delivered to the Deputy Collector/Deputy District Election Officer, Chandrapur who has made an endorsement "please put as per rules", the requisition is not delivered to the Collector, it was also not sent by registered post acknowledgment due. The calling of the meeting to pass 'no-confidence' motion is, therefore, in total contravention of the aforesaid mandatory provisions. The same, therefore, cannot be sustained."
Thus, the writ petition was allowed and the motion of 'no-confidence' passed against the petitioners in a special meeting of Panchayhat Samiti was quashed and set aside. The petitioners were directed to be restored in the office.
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