Guj HC | Reasons given by lower authorities sound enough to set aside removal of Sarpanch under S. 57(1) of Gujarat Panchayat Act; Court dismisses petition

Gujarat High Court: A.G. Uraizee, J., dismissed a petition which was filed aggrieved by the dismissal of Revision Application by the Secretary, Forest and Environment Department which had upheld the order of the Deputy Collector.

Respondent 7 was the Sarpanch of Jetpur Gram Panchayat, according to the petitioner, by misusing the position of Sarpanch, around more than 150 trees standing on Gauchar land of village Jetpur, were cut in violation of law and sold for the monetary benefits. The petitioner had therefore filed an application before the District Development Officer for removal of respondent 7 from the post of Sarpanch. As a result, respondent was removed from the post of Sarpanch under Section 57(1) of the Gujarat Panchayat Act. The respondent challenged her removal by filing Appeal before the Deputy Collector who had partly allowed the Appeal and set aside the order of removal and remanded the case to the Mamlatdar, Bayad, for fresh consideration. Consequently, District Development Officer reinstated the respondent 7 on the post of Sarpanch. Aggrieved by which the petitioner had filed Revision Application before the Secretary, Forest and Environment Department which was dismissed. The present petition was filed aggrieved by the dismissal.

The Court observed that petition made it abundantly clear that the procedure under Section 57 of the Panchayat Act were initiated against the petitioner on the basis of the complaint/application filed by the petitioner with Mamlatdar, Bayad on account of felling of 153 trees and that the Mamlatdar, Bayad, after receipt of complaint about felling of the trees did not conduct the proper inquiry and Panchnama of place of incident was not prepared in presence of Range Forest Officer. They also found that the Mamlatdar had imposed punishment of fine on the basis of a presumption that 150 trees felled and there was no solid proof that the respondent, who had herself felled the trees. The Court while dismissing the petition mentioned that the matter is remanded for fresh consideration in light of the observation made in the order and all concerns will get an opportunity of hearing. Thus, the lower Authorities have given sound reasons for setting aside the removal of respondent 7 from the post of Sarpanch and remanded the matter for fresh consideration.[Patel Ramanbhai Hargovanbhai v. State of Gujarat, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 45, decided on 21-01-2020]


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