3 Feb 2022 4:38 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the suspension of BJP's Somya Gurjar from the post of Mayor of the Jaipur Municipal Corporation- Greater, till the conclusion of the judicial enquiry set up to look into the allegations of assault of the JMC Commissioner, over which the Rajasthan government had suspended her and 3 other councillors in June, 2021. The bench of Justices S. K. Kaul and M....
The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the suspension of BJP's Somya Gurjar from the post of Mayor of the Jaipur Municipal Corporation- Greater, till the conclusion of the judicial enquiry set up to look into the allegations of assault of the JMC Commissioner, over which the Rajasthan government had suspended her and 3 other councillors in June, 2021.
The bench of Justices S. K. Kaul and M. M. Sundresh observed, "We had vide our order dated 16.07.2021 (where notice was issued) itself noticed that the allegation against the petitioner as a Mayor was of using improper language. It has been contended by learned counsel for the petitioner that the position of the petitioner was stated to be different from other Corporators present where the allegation was of scuffle and scramble and pushing of the officer by those Corporators. We are also informed that while recording of the evidence is complete in the case of the petitioner, in respect of others, evidence of eight more witnesses has to be recorded…"
The bench expressed its disapproval that now an application has been filed by the respondent-state on 28.12.2021 seeking to club the two inquiries, on which order is recorded on 31.12.2021 that the final hearing will take place together. The bench remarked, "We do not appreciate the endeavour of the state at this stage to have sought clubbing of the two matters and though learned counsel for the state now submits that they will withdraw the application, the fact is that the Commission has kept the application pending but directed final hearing together and we would not like to interfere with those proceedings"
However, the bench deemed it appropriate to grant relief to Gurjar. "The incident is of 04.06.2021. In view of the nature of the incident and the action taken, we did not consider appropriate to grant interim relief but had endeavoured to monitor the progress…We are now almost eight months hence…We are thus of the view that in the given facts of the case and considering the role of the petitioner, it is appropriate that the suspension order qua the petitioner be kept in abeyance till conclusion of the inquiry and will abide by the decision of the inquiry", directed the bench.
The bench was hearing Gurjar's SLP against the June 28, 2021 judgment of the Rajasthan High Court holding that "the decision (of suspension) has been taken after due deliberation and application of mind and after considering the preliminary enquiry report, the same cannot be said to have been passed arbitrarily"
"The suspension order cannot be said to be passed in malice to oust the BJP Corporator as BJP Corporator, has been replaced by the BJP Corporator on the post of Mayor. On facts also, we do not find any ground for setting aside the suspension order. In view of the foregoing conclusion, we do not find any force in the instant writ petition and the same is dismissed. While upholding the validity of Sections 39(1)(d)(ii) and 39(1)(d)(iii) of the Act of 2009, we do not find any ground to set aside the order of suspension passed by the appropriate authority. However, taking note of the facts and circumstances of the case that the petitioner was elected as a Mayor, we deem it proper to direct the State Government to expedite the judicial enquiry initiated against her and the same be completed as far as possible within a period of six months from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order", the High Court had said.
As recorded in the judgment of the High Court, the facts of the case are that Municipal Corporation Jaipur was dissolved and instead, two Municipal Corporations were established in its place i.e. Municipal Corporation Jaipur Heritage and Municipal Corporation Jaipur Greater. The petitioner was elected as a Member of the Municipal Corporation Jaipur Greater from Ward No.87 and thereafter, as a Mayor of the said Municipal Corporation. In the year 2017, BVG India Limited was granted the work by the earlier Corporation with regard to door to door collection, segregation and transportation of municipal waste. In view of the dissolution of the earlier Corporation, the Director Local Bodies vide order dated 18.01.2021 informed both the Corporations to enter into supplementary agreements with the said Company.
In the first general meeting of the Board, it was decided that the Commissioner must take appropriate legal action against the said Company within 30 days and a new arrangement in this regard should be made. In compliance thereof, process for issuance of new tenders was initiated, and in the meanwhile, the said Company filed a writ petition and an interim order dated 06.05.2021 was passed in favour of the said Company. Due to non-payment of the amount, the Company stopped garbage collection resulting into problem of sanitation.
The petitioner called the respondent-Commissioner for discussing the issue and some untoward incident took place in the meeting room of the Mayor. The Commissioner filed a complaint and also lodged an FIR of the incident pleading therein that action should be taken against the Corporators. The Government appointed an Officer of the rank of State level service to conduct the Preliminary Enquiry and after conclusion of the said enquiry, the Officer submitted his report on 06.06.2021. On the same day, Government took a decision to hold judicial inquiry against the petitioner under Section 39(3) of the Act of 2009 and suspended the petitioner from the post of Mayor as well as Member of Ward No.87, aggrieved by which, the writ petition had been preferred by the petitioner before the High Court.
Case Title: Somya Gurjar v. The State Of Rajasthan & Ors.
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