Jammu and Kashmir High Court: Sindhu Sharma J., while dismissing the present petition, held,

“In a democratic process, the members of the Panchayat, who were elected members, have been provided with the provisions of issuing a no-confidence motion against the Chairman on the ground of neglect on duty and gross misconduct and otherwise, if the action of the petitioner falls in either of two grounds, they have a right to consider the same.”

The petitioner has challenged the notice dated 10-07-2020 issued by the Secretary of Block Development Council, Larnoo for convening a special meeting for Impeachment and No-Confidence Motion. The petitioner was elected as a Sarpanch from the Constituency of Panchayat Halqa Kharpora, Block Larnoo, District Anantnag and subsequently, was elected as the Chairman of the Block Development Council on 24-10-2019.

With respect to the impugned communication, Court observed,

“It is submitted that the Chairman of the Block Development Council shall be deemed to have vacated his office if a motion of no confidence is moved against him by any of the members on any of the following grounds i.e., gross misconduct; neglect of duty & disqualification prescribed under Section 6. This has been clearly conveyed in the motion/notice about the intention of the members of BDC, Larnoo. As such, the Secretary had rightly issued the impugned communication for conducting the special session.”

With respect to adherence of procedural regularities, it was said,

“The procedure for removal of Chairman is provided under Rule 107 of the Panchayati Raj Rules, 1996. It provides that the procedure for removal of the Chairman shall be same as that of Sarpanches. However, District Panchayat Officer shall preside over the meeting to be convened for such removal and Block Development Officer shall function as Secretary under the provisions of this Rule… out of 15 Sarpanches holding the posts, 12 had signed the motion/notice of non-confidence.” Court further cited Rule 81 which prescribes that the intention to move a motion for removal under section 7 shall be necessary, which thereby, should be signed by at least 1/3rd of the total members of the Panchayat and delivered in person by at least two Sarpanches, signing the notice to the Secretary of the Panchayat. The Secretary shall thereafter take steps to convene a special meeting not earlier than ten days and not later than twenty days from the date of receipt of the motion. Conclusively the Court said, “… the Block Development Officer in his position as a Secretary had rightly issued impugned communication calling for a special meeting of impeachment and No Confidence Motion, the same was to be presided by the District Panchayat Officer, therefore, the same was neither required to be placed before the petitioner as his capacity as Chairman nor he was to preside over the same.”[Mumtaz Ali v. UT of J&K, 2020 SCC OnLine J&K 728, decided on 02-12-2020]

Sakshi Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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