Population Not The Only Basis For Classification Of Municipalities: SC [Read Order]

Population Not The Only Basis For Classification Of Municipalities: SC [Read Order]

Article 243Q (2) obligates the Governor to have due regard to the various factors mentioned therein before specifying the AREAS i.e. population of the area, the density of the population, the revenue generated in the area for local administration, percentage of employment in non-agricultural activities, the economic importance or such other factors as he may deem fit, the bench observed.

Holding that the notifications issued by the State of Rajasthan, that classified municipalities only on the basis of population without taking into account various other parameters, cannot be treated as notifications contemplated under Article 243(Q)(2), the Supreme Court observed that the Governor, while constituting municipal bodies contemplated is not free to notify ‘areas’ in his absolute discretion but is required to fix the parameters necessary to determine whether a particular area is a transitional area or a smaller urban area or a larger urban area.

A bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar observed that Article 243Q (2) obligates the Governor to have due regard to the various factors mentioned therein before specifying the areas i.e., population of the area, the density of the population, the revenue generated in the area for local administration, percentage of employment in non-agricultural activities, the economic importance or such other factors as he may deem fit.

The bench, also comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, was hearing an appeal against Rajasthan High Court orders dismissing challenge against a notification issued for establishing a nagarpalika for Napasar village.

It appears from the tenor and scheme of the notifications that these notifications purport to classify municipalities only on the basis of population. The various other parameters to which regard is required to be had under Article 243Q (2) were not taken into consideration for the purpose of classification made under the above mentioned two notifications,” observed the bench holding that notifications issued by the State cannot be treated as notifications contemplated under Article 243(Q)(2).

The court observed that, in the absence of any notification which meets the requirements of Article 243Q(2), the entire exercise undertaken by the State of Rajasthan in upgrading the Napasar village gram panchayat to be a nagarpalika is unconstitutional as it is inconsistent with the requirements of the Constitution under Article 243Q of the Constitution of India.

The court observed that judgments of the high court are rendered without examining the true scope and scheme of Part IXA of the Constitution and more particularly Article 243Q(2) are per incuriam.

“The fact that a litigant before the court does not point out the relevant principles and provisions of law does not prevent the court from examining the issues involved in the lis, more particularly, when the process which is the subject matter of litigation before the court is inconsistent with the mandate of the Constitution. It is a settled principle of law that courts are bound to take note of the Constitution and the laws,” the bench said.

Read the Order Here