Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

   

District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Gurugram: While deciding the instant matter wherein the complainant applied for medical assistance due to being viciously bitten by the dog belonging to the opposite party thereby causing deep wounds, the Commission issued stringent interim order for the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram directing them the following:

  • The Corporation was directed to ensure proper compliance of Govt. of India’s extraordinary notification dt. 25-04-2016 and completely ban the pet dogs of 11 foreign breeds like- American Pit- Bull Terrier; Dogo Argentino; Rottweiler; Napolean Mastiff; American Bulldog etc., with immediate effect from 15-11-2022. The Corporation was further directed to cancel all licences issued in favour of the dog owners of these 11 breeds.

  • It was directed that the Corporation must make the registration of pet dogs compulsory with effect from 15-11-2022. The licenses must be issued within one month from the registration. The license fee shall not be less than Rs. 12,000 p.a. and renewal fee shall not be less than 10,000 p.a.

  • Corporation must ensure than all the registered pet dogs shall wear a collar attached with a metal token.

  • The Corporation was directed to ensure “one family- one dog”. It was directed that when the pet dogs are taken to public spaces, it must be ensured that their mouths are covered with a net cap. The owner of a registered pet dog must also carry with them a “dog shit bag and dog shit plucker” so that public places can be kept hygienic.

  • The Commission strictly directed the Municipal Corporation to issue a public notification informing the public of these directions with a warning that any non-compliance shall be dealt with the violator’s pet dog being taken into custody along with a monetary penalty of Rs 20,000 extending up to Rs 2 Lakhs and imprisonment in case of default.

Facts of the Case: The complainant, a resident of Civil Lines, Gurugram, alleged that the opposite party had unleashed her wild dog in the locality of civil lines. Consequently, she was harshly bitten by the said dog and sustained deep injuries on different parts of her body including head. The complainant thus claimed a monetary assistance to the tune of Rs. 10,00,000 in order to fulfil her medical, dietary expenses and miscellaneous expenses.

Contentions: The opposite party-1 whose dog caused the mayhem, contended that the complaint was not maintainable as the complainant was not her ‘consumer’. The Commission was surprised when the Gurugram Municipal Corporation took the same plea.

The Corporation also disputed the locus of the complainant and the Commission’s jurisdiction over the matter.

Analysis: The Commission noted that the dog in question belonged to the ‘Dogo Argentino’ breed. However, it was later found out that the dog did not belong to the opposite party but to someone else. The Commission also observed that the complainant indeed sustained grave injuries and was recommended a protracted treatment for the same.

The Commission found merit in the contentions raised by the opposite party-1 that the complainant is not her consumer. However, the Commission refused to accord credence to the challenge taken by the Corporation over the Commission’s jurisdiction and the complainant’s locus standi in view of Section 34 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

The Commission found merit with the contention raised by the complainant that all persons residing within the municipal limits of the Gurugram Municipal Corporation, are, expressly and impliedly the consumers of the Corporation, as they are taxpayers.

The Commission taking note of the Notification dt. 25-04-2020 issued by the Govt. of India, observed that 11 afore-stated foreign dog breeds including ‘Dogo Argentino’, are already banned in India. It was strictly observed that despite the existing Notification, the Gurugram Municipal Corporation did not rise to the occasion vis-à-vis compliance. Sections 309 to 311 of Haryana Municipal Act, 1994 were also noted by the Commission.

The Commission further observed that photographic evidence of sustained injuries presented by the complainant, sent shivers down their spines.

Decision and Further Directions: With the afore-stated observations, the Commission directed the Corporation to take into custody the dog belonging to opposite party-1.

The Commission directed the Corporation to pay compensation of Rs. 2 Lakhs to the victim. Since the opposite party-1 had violated the law of the land by keeping a banned breed, therefore the Corporation is at liberty to recover the compensation amount from her.

Taking note of the complainant’s vehement contentions of the country turning into “Dogistan instead of Hindustan” due to an increased number of vicious attacks by pet dogs and stray dogs, the Commission issued further directions regarding stray dogs in the municipal area—

  • All stray dogs within the limit of Gurugram Municipal Corporation, must be taken into custody and must be kept in dog ponds. The Corporation along with the assistance from NGOs, must ensure that such dogs are giver proper food, care and necessary vaccines.

  • Gurugram Corporation must frame proper rules for awarding compensation in cases of dog bites.

  • The Corporation was directed to take appropriate steps in sync with the Commission’s directions regarding pet and stray dogs within 3 months.

[Munni v. Neetu Chhikara, CC No. 741 of 2022, decided on 15-11-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Sandeep Saini for the Complainant;

Rahul Yadav for OP-1;

Vivek Verma for OP-2.


*Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has prepared this brief.

Bombay High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

   

Bombay High Court: In a petition filed regarding resurfacing of potholes with the onslaught of monsoon and there being no improvement at the ground level, a Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ., and M S Karnik J., directed Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to take urgent steps in fixing the potholes existing as on date as well as the State Government and MCGM to audit the performance of the erring road contractors responsible for the bad road conditions. The Court further directed the State Government to consider the suggestion of the Commissioner to hand over all the roads within the jurisdiction of MCGM for up-keep and maintenance.

The compliance affidavits were placed on record, indicating the efforts made by the State Government/MCGM to comply with the order and it was further submitted that MCGM has prepared a detailed action plan called “Pothole Free Mumbai” to tackle the menace of potholes during the monsoon and long-term measures to get rid of the bad road conditions. The plan consists of following aspects:

(i) Major cause for potholes during monsoon and the reason why the road conditions are damaged at other times;

(ii) The technology and the materials being used to fix potholes during monsoon;

(iii) Short term and long-term measures towards ensuring pothole free Mumbai roads during monsoon;

(iv) Overall improvement of the conditions of the roads in Mumbai.

The Commissioner, MCGM, further submitted that twenty (20) roads have been identified which are in very poor condition and require urgent repairs and within three (3) months, complete repairs will be affected.

The Court noted that as per Commissioner’s presentation, not all the roads within the jurisdictional limits of MCGM are under its control and there are several other statutory authorities, including the Public Works Department (PWD), which are tasked with the up-keep and maintenance of these roads.

The Court further noted that Commissioner has suggested that all the roads within the jurisdiction of MCGM are handed over to it, the task of coordination, monitoring, up-keep and maintenance of these roads would become more effective and convenient.

The Court opined that a holistic view has to be adopted by the concerned authorities in ensuring that potholes and bad road conditions do not become a cause for damage to life and limb and consequent despair for the human kind in future.

The Court further recorded the submissions made by the Commissioner which are as follows:

(i) All the potholes will be fixed immediately;

(ii) Around 125 Kms of asphalt roads will be resurfaced with asphalt bitumen within three (3) months;

(iii) The total length of the roads within MCGM’s jurisdiction is 2050 kms. The cement concretization of the roads is complete to the extent of 990 kms. Tenders have been awarded and the ongoing works for cement concretization of the roads is to the extent of 265 kms. Tenders floated and likely to be awarded in November 2022 are for the length of 397 kms. The balance length, to be improved in Phase-II, is 398 kms.

The Court directed the State Government to consider the suggestion of the Commissioner to hand over all the roads within the jurisdiction of MCGM for up-keep and maintenance to MCGM and expected MCGM to complete the cement concreting of the roads under its jurisdiction within a period of thirty (30) months from the date of order.

[Ruju R Thakker v. State of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 3707, decided on 30-09-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Jamshed Mistry, Amicus Curiae along with Mr. Dipesh Siroya.

Ms. Ruju R. Thakker, Contempt Petitioner-in-person.

Mr. Abhay L. Patki, Addl. Government Pleader for respondent no. 1.

Mr. A.A. Garge for respondent no. 3 – Navi Mumbai Corporation and for respondent nos. 5 and 280 in PIL/71/2013.

Mr. Ajai Fernandes a/w. Mrs. N.D. Motiwalla i/by. Motiwalla & Co. for Respondent no. 7.

Mr. P.P. Kakade, Government Pleader a/w. Mrs. R.A. Salunkhe AGP for State of Maharashtra.

Mr. I.M. Khairdi for respondent no.25 in PIL/71/2013.

Mr. R.V. Dighe i/by. Mr. A.S. Rao for respondent no. 4 in CONPP/6/2019 and for respondent no. 17 in PIL/71/2013 – (KDMC).

Mr. A.Y. Sakhare, Senior Advocate along with Ms. K.H. Mastakar and Ms. Rupali Adhate for respondent no. 2 in CONPP/6/2019 and for Respondent no. 3 in PIL/71/2013 – (MCGM).

Mr. Mandar V. Limaye for respondent no.10 in CONPP/6/2019 and for respondent no. 4 in PIL/71/2013 (Thane Municipal Corporation).

Mr. Rohit Sakhdeo a/w. Mr. Pushkar Nagpurkar for respondent no. 20 (Nashik Municipal Corporation) in PIL/71/2013.

Mr. Prashant Chavan i/b Reshmarani Nathani for respondent no. 9 in CONPP/6/2019 and for respondent no. 13 in PIL/71/2013.

Mr. Gaurav Yadav i/by. BJ Law Offices for Respondent no. 29 in CONPP/6/2019.

Mr. Malhar Pawar i/by. Mr. Nandu Pawar for Respondent no. 319 in PIL/71/2013.

Roshan M. Chavan i/by. Mr. Vaibhav V. Ugle for Respondent no. 260 in PIL/71/2013.

Mr. Swapnil Telang i/by. Mr. Umesh Mankapure for Respondent nos. 181 and 324 in PIL/71/2013.

Mr. Pranjal M. Khatavkar a/w. Mr. Shriram S. Kulkarni for Respondent nos. 54 to 59, 357, 358 in PIL/71/2013.

Mr. Ajit Hon for Respondent Nos. 52 & 356 in PIL/71/2013.

Mr. Sadashiv Salunkhe, Secretary (Roads), PWD and Ms. Pradnya Walke, Deputy Secretary (Roads) present.

Dr. Dhanalaxmi Iyer petitioner-in-person in PIL/22690/2021 (Not on Board; Taken on Board).


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

Karnataka High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: Suraj Govindaraj, J. dismissed the petition as being devoid of merits.

The facts of the case are such that petitioner 1 is a registered association of the advertising agencies, in the business of advertisement on the advertisement hoardings licensed by respondent 2 Hubballi Dharwad Mahanagara Palike and are also registered as dealers under S. 22 of the Karnataka Value Added Taxes Act. The petitioners 2 to 6 are the members of the petitioner 1. A demand notice was issued upon the petitioners to make payment of advertisement tax as regards advertisement hoardings used by them. The instant petition was filed under A 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India seeking issuance of writ to set aside the demand notice and writ of prohibition to the respondents not to meddle with the advertisement displays and hoardings of the petitioners.

Counsel for petitioners submitted that on the enactment of Goods and Services Tax Act the authority of the respondents to either levy or collect advertisement tax is ousted. The respondents have collected the advertisement tax in terms of Section 134 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976. The power under Section 134 of the KMC Act flows from Entry 54, List II of Schedule VII of the Constitution of India. The entry 54 having been deleted the said power is divested. Thus, there could be no demand for advertisement tax post the enactment of GST Act and deletion of Entry 54.

Counsel for respondents Mr GI Gachchinmath submitted that the power of respondent 2 to collect the advertisement tax continues under Section 134 of KMC Act. In the decision relied upon by the counsel for the petitioner, said power had been deleted, whereas no such deletion has occurred in the KMC Act.

The Court observed that in the entire transaction of GST, the petitioners are only a collecting agency who collects the GST payable on the service rendered and deposits the same with the authorities, the incidence of tax, i.e., GST being on the services rendered or goods supplied, the obligation of payment being on the person availing the service and or receiving the goods. The incidence of GST is on the service rendered by the petitioner to its clients and has nothing to do with respondent 2-HDMC. The transaction with HDMC is the permission and or license granted by the HDMC to put up hoarding and or use a hoarding either on the land belonging to the HDMC and or on land belonging to a private party.

The Court further observed that there are two distinct transactions. The incidence of tax on both transactions are different. The first transaction is the permission by respondent No.2-HDMC to put up a hoarding or advertisement to use their hoarding for the purpose of advertisement, as regards which respondent No.1-HDMC charges the fee or advertisement tax. The second transaction is on the petitioners making use of the hoarding to display advertisements of its clients towards which the petitioners charge their client which is a supply of services or goods as regards which the GST is liable to be paid. Both the transactions being independent and distinct the incidence of both the GST and advertisement fee being on two distinct transactions inasmuch as the GST not being charged by the respondent 1- HDMC and advertisement free not being charged by the GST authorities.

The Court thus held “there is no conflict between the power to levy GST under GST Act and power of Municipal Corporation to levy advertisement fee or advertisement tax under Section 134 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act.” [Hubballi Dharwad Advertisers Association v. State of Karnataka, Writ Petition No. 104172 of 2021, decided on 21-04-2022]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Harmoniously interpreting Section 2 (9), Sections 39A and 56 of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act, 1949 (MMC Act), the bench of L. Nageswar Rao and BR Gavai*, JJ has held that the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation will have the power to suspend or initiate departmental proceedings against an Additional Municipal Commissioner (AMC), who is an officer, superior in rank to the Assistant Commissioner. However, in case of suspension of such an officer, the only requirement would be to report to the Corporation, with reasons thereof, and if such a suspension is not confirmed by the Corporation within a period of six months from the date of such suspension, the same shall come to an end.

Stating that any other interpretation would lead to absurdity and anomaly, and therefore will have to be avoided, the bench observed that

“… the intention of the legislature would not have been to lead to such an absurd and anomalous situation. A legislative intent cannot be to leave an employee scot-free though he has indulged into serious misconduct.”

Relevant Provisions

  • In the definition of the “Commissioner” under Section 2(9), though an acting Commissioner appointed under Section 39 of the MMC Act has been included, an AMC appointed under Section 39A of the MMC Act has not been included.
  • Under Section 39A of the MMC Act, though the AMC will exercise all or any of the powers and perform all or any of the duties and functions of the Commissioner, the same shall be subject to the control of the Commissioner. No doubt, that the AMC would be subject to the same liabilities, restrictions and terms and conditions of service, to which the Commissioner of the Corporation is subjected. However, the legislative intent is clear that the powers to be exercised by AMCs would be subject to the control of the Commissioner.
  • Under Section 56(1), a competent authority is entitled to impose any of the penalties specified in Section 56 (2) on a municipal officer or servant if such authority is satisfied that such officer or servant is guilty of breach of departmental rules or discipline or of carelessness, neglect of duty or other misconduct or is incompetent.
    1. Clause (a) of the proviso to Section 56 (1), however, provides that no municipal officer or servant holding the post equivalent to or higher in rank than the post of the Assistant Commissioner, shall be dismissed by the Commissioner without the previous approval of the Corporation.
    2. Clause (b) of the proviso to Section 56(1) enables the Commissioner to suspend any officer or servant, whether appointed by the Corporation or any other competent authority, except Transport Manager being a Government Officer on deputation, pending an order of the Corporation. It further provides that when the officer suspended is a Transport Manager or an officer appointed under Section 45 of the MMC Act, such suspension with reasons thereof, shall, forthwith be reported by the Commissioner to the Corporation. It further provides that such a suspension shall come to an end if not confirmed by the Corporation within a period of six months from the date of such suspension.
  • Whereas, the Commissioner is empowered to suspend any officer or servant, whether appointed by the Corporation or any other competent authority, in case of a Transport Manager being a Government Officer on deputation or any officer appointed under Section 45 of the 21 MMC Act, the Commissioner is required to report such a suspension with reasons thereof, to the Corporation. It further provides that such suspension shall come to an end if not confirmed by the Corporation within a period of six months from the date of such suspension.

Analysis

On a conjoint reading of the aforesaid provisions of the MMC Act, the Court observed that though a competent authority may impose any of the penalties on a municipal officer or servant, no municipal officer or servant holding the post equivalent to or higher in rank than the post of an Assistant Commissioner, shall be dismissed by the Commissioner without the previous approval of the Corporation.

The Court explained that the legislature has created two classes of the municipal officers and servants.  One class is of the municipal officers and servants, other than the ones holding the post equivalent to or higher in rank than the post of an Assistant Commissioner. In this category, a competent authority may   impose the penalties as provided under the provisions of the MMC Act. The other class of municipal officers is of the persons holding the post equivalent to or higher in rank than the post of Assistant Commissioner. The officers in such a class can be dismissed only by the Commissioner and that too with the previous approval of the Corporation.

Observing that the term “post equivalent to or higher in rank than the post of Assistant Commissioner”   cannot be construed in a narrow compass, the Court held that clause (a) of subsection (1) of Section 56 of the MMC Act would also include the post of AMC.

The Court disagreed with the finding of the Bombay High Court that in view of Section 39A of the MMC Act, the Commissioner or the Corporation will not have power to suspend or initiate departmental inquiry against the AMC, and held that the same is in ignorance of the provisions of Section 56 and sub¬section (9) of Section 2 of the MMC Act.

“The court should not always cling to literal interpretation and should endeavor to avoid an unjust or absurd result. The court should not permit a mockery of legislation. It has been held that to make sense out of an unhappily worded provision, where the purpose is apparent to the judicial eye, ‘some’ violence to language is also permissible.”

[Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation v. Sanjay Gajanan Gharat, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 385, decided on 31.03.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice BR Gavai


Counsels

For KDM Corporation: Senior Advocate P.S. Patwalia

For State: Advocate Rahul Chitnis

For Respondent: Advocate Anupam Lal Das

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a case where the Bombay High Court had directed Kolhapur Municipal Corporation to acquire an unusable land under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 and compensate the landowners, the bench of MR Shah* and BV Nagarathna, JJ has held that when land is found to be unsuitable and unusable for the purposes for which it has been reserved, Corporation cannot be compelled to pay a huge compensation for such a useless and unsuitable land.

The dispute is with respect to the land ad-measuring 3 Hectors and 65 Ares in Kolhapur. The development plan for the City of Kolhapur was sanctioned on 18.12.1999. Different portions of the land in question were reserved in the sanctioned development plan for various public purposes namely, parking, garden, extension of sewage treatment plant etc. By Resolution dated 18.02.2012, the General Body of the Municipal Corporation resolved to acquire the said property and accordingly on 17.04.2012, a proposal was submitted by the Municipal Corporation to the State Government for compulsory acquisition of the subject property.

However, the subject land is flood affected through which a rivulet named ‘Jayanti Nala’ passes, making it unsuitable for the public purposes for which it was reserved. Further, it was argued that unless and until the substantial development is carried out, the land in question was not usable at all. The reserved area is coming within High Flood Line and every year for a period of fifteen days to one month, the said area gets flooded during rainy season.

As the land in question was not acquired and/or used for the public purposes for which the same was reserved under the sanctioned development plan, the original landowners served a notice under Section 127 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966.

It is also to be noted that the reservation had lapsed as a mere Resolution being passed by the General Body of the Corporation to acquire the land and sending a letter to the Collector to acquire the land, without any further steps being taken under the Land Acquisition Act, namely no declaration under section 6 thereof being issued within a period of one year from the receipt of the said purchase notice, would result in the reservation as deemed to have lapsed.

The Supreme Court observed that once the reservation of land under the Development Plan is deemed to have lapsed by operation of law and it is released from reservation, no writ of Mandamus could have been issued by the High Court directing the Corporation to still acquire the land and to issue a declaration under Section 19 of the Act of 2013 (as in the meantime, the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 has been repealed and Act of 2013 has been enacted).

“Once by operation of law, the reservation is deemed to have lapsed, it is lapsed for all purposes and for all times to come.”

The Court also held that the High Court was not justified in directing the Municipal Corporation to acquire the land in question and to issue a declaration under Section 19 of the 2013 Act and to pay compensation under the Act of 2013 as right from the very beginning it was stated in the counter before the High Court that the land in question was not suitable and/or usable for the purposes for which it has been reserved.

“… as such at the time when the planning was made and the land in question was put under reservation for public purposes, a duty was cast upon the Planning Officer to consider whether the land, which will have to be acquired and for which the compensation is to be paid is really suitable and/or usable for the public purposes for which it is reserved. Otherwise, every landowner will see to it that though his land is not suitable and/or not very valuable, is put under reservation and the same is acquired by the Corporation and/or the Planning Authority and thereafter he is paid the compensation.”

It was, hence, held that no Corporation and/or the Planning Authority and/or the Appropriate Authority can be compelled to acquire the land which according to the Corporation/Planning Authority is not suitable and/or usable for the purposes for which it is reserved. Any other interpretation would lead to colourable and fraudulent exercise of power and cause financial burden on the public exchequer.

Under the Act of 2013, the Corporation was required to pay a huge sum of Rs. 77,65,12,000/- by way of compensation under the Act of 2013. According to the Corporation, when the entire annual budget for acquisition was Rs. 21 crores, it was beyond their financial position and/or budgetary provision to pay such a huge compensation, that too, for the land which is not suitable and/or useable for the purposes for which it has been reserved.

In such circumstances, the Court observed that while under MRTP Act, the financial constraint cannot be the sole consideration to acquire the land for the purposes for which it has been reserved namely public purposes, however, at the same time, when such a huge amount of compensation is to be paid and there would be a heavy financial burden, which as such is beyond the financial capacity of the Corporation, such a financial constraint can be said to be one of the relevant considerations, though not the sole consideration before embarking upon reservation of a particular extent of land for development.

The Court also held that a landowner is entitled to TDR in lieu of compensation with respect to the land reserved provided the land to be acquired is suitable and/or usable by the Corporation. However, once it is found that the land is not usable and/or suitable for the purposes for which it has been reserved, the Corporation cannot still be compelled and directed to acquire the land and grant TDR in lieu of amount of compensation.

[Kolhapur Municipal Corporation v. Vasant Mahadev Patil, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 179, decided on 14.02.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice MR Shah


Counsels

For Corporation: Senior Advocate Aparajita Singh

For Original Landowners: Senior Advocate C.U. Singh

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ and G.S. Kulkarni, J., noted that the trigger for the present petition involved a very interesting question of law that seemed to be a political rift. 

What was the question of law?

Whether a “nominated councillor” of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai having special knowledge or experience in municipal administration, can be inducted in the Corporation’s Standing Committee?

Bench noted that as per the provisions of Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, there appeared no express bar for a “nominated councillor” of the Corporation to be inducted in its Standing Committee.

Section 3(c) of the Act suggests certain limitations imposed upon a “nominated councillor” that he/she shall have no right:

  • to vote at any meeting of the Corporation and Committee of the Corporation; and
  • to get elected as Mayor of the Corporation or as a Chairperson of any of the Committees of the Corporation.

A Court may iron out the creases in a statutory provision but not change the fabric of which the same is woven.

 It was further elaborated and expressed that literal reading of provisions points towards the legislative intent of not imposing any restriction, which does not appear to the Court to be absurd or preposterous, and thereby no strained interpretation of the Act to fit in with the interpretation on the law placed by the Corporation is required to be made.

High Court did not agree with the contention that with regard to the statutory scheme revealed from the provisions of Section 43(1) and Section 5(1)(b) of the Act read with Rule 3 of the said Rules 2007, only the elected councillors and not the subsequently “nominated councillors” can only be inducted in the Standing Committee.

If indeed a “nominated councillor” was to be left out of the fray for induction in the Standing Committee, such ineligibility ought to have been clearly stated or positively spelt out, which is not the case here.

Upshot of the above discussion

Bench held that the act of removal of the petitioner from the Standing Committee of the Corporation merely on the ground that he was a “nominated councillor” and not an “elected councillor” does not have statutory support and cannot be countenanced in law.

Therefore, the impugned order was set aside and the present petition was allowed. [Balchandra Shirsat v. Mayor, MCGM; 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 526, decided on 05-04-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Mr Amogh Singh i/b. Mr Jeet Gandhi for the petitioner.

Mr. Aspi Chinoy-Senior Advocate with Mr. Joel Carlos, Ms. Oorja Dhond, Ms. S.M. Modle i/b.

Ms. Aruna Savla for respondent nos. 1 and 3.

Mr Ravi Kadam-Senior Advocate with Mr Rajiv Chavan-Senior Advocate and Ms Vandana Mahadik i/b. Ms. Aruna Savla for respondent no.2.

Mr A.Y. Sakhare- Senior Advocate with Mr Joel Carlos i/b. Ms. Aruna Savla for respondent no.4.

Mr Hemant Haryan -AGP for State.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Division Bench of Govind Mathur, CJ and Chandra Dhari Singh, J. gave a series of directions in an order in respect of the PIL concerning ‘uncontrolled movement of stray cattles and dogs’.

The primary issue involved concerns the residents of Meerut and Varanasi facing problems due to the uncontrolled movement of stray cattles and dogs in the municipal limits. It has been stated that due to the scout-free movement of stray cattles and dogs a lot of accidents are happening. The situation is said to be turning worse day by day due to the unauthorized dairies established in different colonies by private persons.

Further, it has been asserted that neither the U.P. Government nor the local bodies have taken any action in the above-regard. Reliance  was placed on the decision of the Supreme Court in Milkmen Colony Vikas Samiti v. State of Rajasthan, 2007 (2) SCC 413, in which it was stated that “stray cattles and dogs are required to be removed from the town areas and even dairies are required to be shifted to some other suitable places.”

High Court on going through the records, laid down a series of directions:

  • Municipal Corporations of Varanasi and Meerut shall initiate a campaign for catching the stray cattles and make the entire city cattle free by 5-02-2019, which further shall be transported and rehabilitated outside the city.
  • If the cattle caught by municipal corporation is being claimed for its ownership, then the same shall be returned along with a fine and undertaking that the cattle shall be kept outside the municipal limits of the said towns.
  • All such illegal dairies operating in the said towns shall be identified and necessary penal proceedings shall take place against the same.
  • Steps shall also be taken for the removal of stray dogs and their relocation.
  • Complete plan for shifting the dairies outside the municipal area shall be made by the District Magistrates, which would be finalized by the State Government.
  • All the cattles being permitted to be in the town areas shall have a tag indicating the name and address of the person to whom the animal belongs along with the details of such animal registered by the corporation.

The petition has been listed for 08-03-2019 and the Municipal Corporations of the above-said towns are required to file a compliance report before the listing date or on the said date. [Mohd. Haji Aslam v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 75, Order dated 04-01-2019]

High Courts

Delhi High Court: Allowing the petition of nominated members of North Delhi Municipal Corporation who were denied the right to vote in the meetings and offer their candidature for the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the Corporation, the Court ruled that the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 (Act) permits members nominated under Section 3(3)(b)(i)of the Act to be members of the Standing Committee, if they are so elected in their respective Wards Committee. After discussing Article 243R and 243S of the Constitution, the Court opined that there is no restriction on the nominated members to be members of the Standing Committee. It was further said that the persons nominated to the Municipalities will have all the rights in relation to the Municipalities save and except what is/are expressly taken away. Since the Constitution empowers the legislature of each State to make laws in conformity with the constitutional scheme, it would be open to the legislature of a State to curtail the rights of these nominated members in relation to the working of the Municipalities and Section 45 of the Act is clear that any member of the Wards Committee can be represented on the Standing Committee.

Construing the word “member” in section 2(7) of the Act liberally and reading the Act in entirety along with the constitutional scheme, the Court held that section 44 read with section 45 and 51 of the Act makes it clear that the Chairperson of the Standing committee can only be a councillor (i.e. elected member) but any member, whether elected or nominated, could be elected as Deputy Chairperson of the standing committee.

However, the Court agreed with single judge that the proviso to Section 3(3)(b)(i) of the Act read with scheme of scheme revealed by Article 243R and Article 243S of the Constitution expresses that members nominated to the Corporations in the Union Territory of Delhi do not have the right to vote in the meetings of the Corporations.  North Delhi Municipal Corporation v. Onika Mehrotra, 2015 SCC OnLine Del 10347decided on 14th July, 2015