KISHAN PATEL Vs. STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH
HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH
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Mohammad Rafiq, C.J. -
(1.) These two writ petitions have been filed by eight writ petitioners challenging the validity of notification dated 6th March, 2020 (AnnexureP/3) whereby the respondents/State in exercise of powers conferred upon it by Section 41 and other enabling provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Sinchai Prabandhan Me Krishkon Ki Bhagidari Adhiniyam, 1999 (No.23 of 1999) (for short "the Principal Act of 1999") and consequent upon changes made in Section 4 of the Principal Act of 1999 by the Madhya Pradesh Sinchai Prabandhan Me Krishkon Ki Bhagidari (Second Amendment) Adhiniyam, 2019 (No.5 of 2020) (for short "the Second Amendment Act of 2019") thereby reducing the tenure of the Association from six years to five years, dissolved all the existing Water Users' Associations with immediate effect. The petitioners have also challenged the notification dated 09th June, 2020 (Annexure-P/4) passed by the Principal Secretary, Narmada Valley Development Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal (respondent No.1), whereby the State Government in exercise of powers conferred upon it by Section 34 and other enabling provisions of the Principal Act of 1999 appointed Sub-Divisional Officers concerned to discharge duties assigned to Water Users' Association till election/constitution of new Water Users' Association.
(2.) The factual matrix of the case, as set out in the writ petitions, in brief, is that the petitioners are elected members/office bearers of the Water Users' Association having been elected as such for a period of six years. The election to the Water Users' Association is regulated under the provisions of the Principal Act of 1999. The Government by Gazette Notification dated 23rd January, 2020 amended Section 4 of the Principal Act of 1999 and provided in sub-section (6) thereof that the President and the Members of the Managing Committee shall, if not recalled earlier, be in office for a period of five years from the date of appointment of competent authority under Section 21(1). By aforesaid notification, sub-section (8) was also inserted in Section 4, which provides that the State Government may, by notification, dissolve the Managing Committee of Water Users' Association before the period of five years, recording the reasons therefor and the new elections shall be conducted in such manner as may be prescribed.
(3.) Mr. Aseem Trivedi and Mr. Kundan Lal Prajapati, learned counsels for the petitioners have argued that the State Government has inserted the aforesaid amendment with mala fide intention and with oblique motive as well as legal malice. The elections of the Water Users' Association were held in the year 2017 for a period of six years. In these elections, most of the elected persons were from the ruling party- BJP. However, in the Legislative Election that were held in the year 2018, the Congress became the ruling party and the impugned amendments have been brought with mala fide intention. It is argued that the Committees have been dissolved in an illegal and arbitrary manner. Even though sub-section (8) inserted in Section 4 by the Second Amendment Act of 2019 provides that the State Government while dissolving the Managing Committee of Water Users' Associations before the period of five years shall record reasons therefor but the impugned notifications do not record any reason whatsoever. It is therefore prayed that the impugned notification be set aside and the petitioners be allowed to complete the tenure of six years for which they were originally elected.;
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