Decided on May 29,2018

Pub Mangaldai Anchalik Panchayat Appellant
STATE OF ASSAM Respondents


A.K.GOSWAMI,J. - (1.) Mr. A. K. Sarma, Mr. B. Baruah, Mr. A. R. Bhuyan, Mr. S. Khound, Mr. H. Rahman, Mr. A. K. Hussain, and Mr. D. Hussain, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners have advanced arguments on behalf of the petitioners and other learned counsel present for the petitioners have endorsed the submissions as a whole. From the side of the Government, Mr. D. Mazumdar, learned Additional Advocate General, Assam, assisted by Mr. R. K. D. Choudhury, learned Senior Government Advocate, and Ms. M. Bhattacharjee, learned State counsel, has addressed the court. I have also heard Mr. N. Borah, learned Standing counsel, Assam State Election Commission.
(2.) The petitioners in this batch of 229 writ petitions are Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and, in some cases, elected Presidents/Members of PRIs. This batch of writ petitions, essentially, raises a core question in relation to holding of election to the PRIs and as to who should discharge the duties and functions of the PRIs in respect of which the five year term of the elected Members of the PRIs had come to an end. In some of the writ petitions, specific prayers are made for issuing a writ of mandamus directing the respondents to hold election to the PRIs without any delay. In other cases, without such a specific prayer, primarily, direction is sought for from the court to allow the existing elected bodies of the PRIs to continue till such time the reconstitution of the PRIs is effected through the process of election. In some of the writ petitions, grievance is also expressed and prayer is made for appropriate direction for making payment of honorarium to the Presidents/Members of the PRIs. In some of the writ petitions, there is also a challenge to a Notification dated 03.03.2018, issued by the Commissioner and Secretary to the Government of Assam, Panchayat and Rural Development Department, allowing the Deputy Commissioners or his authorized officers to officiate as the custodian of the property of Gaon Panchayats/Anchalik Panchayats/Zilla Parishads after completion of the term and till completion of the election process, as well as to the consequential orders passed by the Deputy Commissioners/Chief Executive Officers of the Zilla Parishads.
(3.) At the very outset, the prayer with regard to payment of honorarium being not intrinsically connected with the fundamental questions raised in these writ petitions, a consensus is arrived at that said prayer will not be pressed in these writ petitions. The learned counsel for the petitioners submit that liberty may be granted to such petitioners to approach this court again to seek relief in respect of payment of pending honourarium. Learned counsel for the parties are also in agreement that the writ petitions can be disposed of at the admission stage.;

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