RENU SETHI Vs. STATE OF ODISHA
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
STATE OF ODISHA
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D.Dash, J. -
(1.) The petitioner by filing this writ application seeks to assail the decision of the Sub-Collector, Jajpur (opposite party no.3) in convening the special meeting for vote of 'No Confidence Motion' against the petitioner who is the elected Sarpanch of Routarapur Grama Panchayat followed by issuance of notice dated 10.10.2019 under Annexure-1.
(2.) The facts necessary for the purpose are as under:-
The petitioner is the elected Sarpanch of Routarapur Grama Panchayat under Rasulpur Block in the district of Jajpur. The result of the election of Rautarapur Grama Panchayat was declared and published by notification under section 15 of the Odisha Grama Panchayat Act, 1964 (for short, 'the OGP Act') on 27.02.2017, the petitioner has been functioning as Sarpanch since then. The Sub- Collector, Jajpur having received a requisition as also the proposed resolution from ten members of the Grama Panchayat including the Naib Sarpanch has taken the decision to convene the special meeting for discussion of the 'No Confidence Motion' against the petitioner and issued notice under Annexure-1 to the petitioner as also all other members of the Grama Panchayat enclosing the copy of the requisition as well as the proposed resolution made by those requisitionists who proposed to place that for discussion in the special meeting so convened for being so passed.
This notice has been impugned here in the writ application.
(3.) Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that sdaid decision of the Sub-Collector to convene the special meeting for discussion and vote on the 'No Confidence Motion' and consequential issuance of notice is not in conformity with the provision of law as contained under sub-section 2 of section 24 and sub-section 4 of section 24 read section 7,10, 14, 15 and 17 of the Act as also rule-2, 1(k) of the Grama Panchayat Rules read with rules 52, 56, 76, 80, 81 and 83 of the Odisha Grama Panchayat Election Rules. It is also said to be not in consonance with rules 1, 5 and 8 of the Rules of Business as annexed to the Odisha Grama Panchayat Rules.
It was his specific submission that so as to record vote of no confidence against the Sarpanch, a meeting of the Grama Panchayat has to be specially convened and 2/3rd of the total number of the members of hip of the Grama Panchayat have to vote expressing their want of confidence with the Sarpanch.
Placing the definition of Grama Panchayat as contained in section 2(j) of the OGP Act, he contended that 'Grama Panchayat' means the Executive Committee of Grama Sasana established under section 7 of the OGP Act. Inviting the attention of the Court to subsection (1) of section 10 of the OGP Act, he submitted that the Grama Panchayat shall be composed of a member to be elected by the persons referred to in sub-section (1) of section 4 of the OGP Act from amongst themselves, i.e, the voters of the Gramas who shall be the Sarpanch and a member to be elected from each of the Wards by the persons on the electoral roll for the Ward from amongst themselves. He further contended that as provided in sub-section (2) of section-10, there shall be a Naib Sarpanch in respect of every Grama Panchayat to be elected under
from amongst the members. He, therefore, submitted that the term of the office of Sarpanch of a Grama Panchayat, as provided in section 14 of the Act, here in the case, has to commence on and from 29.03.2017 when the first meeting of the Grama Panchayat was held and not from 10.03.2017 when the meeting for election of Naib-Sarpanch had taken place as the first meeting as per the Rules of Business annexed to the Odisha Grama Panchayat Rules, would be taken as to have been held on 29.03.2017. So, the lock-in period for the purpose of bringing the no confidence motion ought to have been computed from that date, i.e, 29.03.2017. In view of that, he contended that here the date of dispatch of the requisition, i.e, on 11.09.2019, is falling within the lock-in period of two years and six months as provided in sub-section (4) of section 24 of the OGP Act for which it is not maintainable and, therefore, the decision to convene the special meeting for the purpose of record of no confidence is wholly unsustainable in the eye of law.
The learned counsel for the State and learned counsel for the opposite party nos.7 to 16 submitted that the provision of section 24 of the Act has to be read independent of Rules of Business annexed to the Odisha Grama Panchayat Rules and it prescribes the lock-in period for the purpose of sending the requisition to be two years and six months from the date from which the Sarpanch or Naib Sarpanch enters the office. They submitted that the Sarpanch is deemed to have entered the office on the date of first meeting of the Grama Panchayat and that here in the case, as per law when the meeting was held on 10.03.2017, wherein the Naib-Sarpanch was elected.;
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