HALQUA PANCHAYAT NAGROTA, TEHSIL NAGROTA, DISTRICT JAMMU Vs. UNION TERRITORY OF J&K
LAWS(J&K)-2020-9-6
HIGH COURT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
Decided on September 01,2020

Halqua Panchayat Nagrota, Tehsil Nagrota, District Jammu Appellant
VERSUS
Union Territory Of JAndK Respondents

JUDGEMENT

Vinod Chatterji Koul - (1.)The present petition has been filed by the petitioners, who claim themselves to be Naib Sarpanch of Panchayat Bamyal and a prominent citizen of Panchayat Jagti of block Nagrota of District Jammu respectively, challenging Government Order No.267-RD&PR of 2019 dated 04.10.2019 by virtue of which the government has directed for resorting to e-tendering process with respect of the developmental works, vis a vis its operation in the halqa panchayats.
(2.)It is stated in the petition that in the year 2018 the Panchayat elections were held after a long gap in erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir, and during the same process the halqa pachayats in block Nagrota were also constituted. In the absence of a popular government in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, an endeavour has been consistently made to strengthen the democratic set up by empowering the panchayats, which have been conferred with the power to plan and execute the developmental works. As per the plan of the halqa panchayats, various developmental works were sanctioned in different halqa panchayats of block Nagrota including the halqa panchayat Nagrota for variable sums under various developmental schemes of the government. It is further stated that on account of failure of the respondents to initiate the tendering process with respect to the various works planned, approved and sanctioned in various halqa panchayats of block Nagrota, under the influence of impugned order, the funds which were available for undertaking the developmental works are likely to lapse for remaining unutilized funds at the end of financial year 2019- 2020. Due to poor internet services in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the rural areas, it is not appropriate to resort to the e-tendering process for carrying out the work which has been duly approved and for which money has already been earmarked and is likely to lapse for remaining unutilized.
(3.)Impugned Government Order No.267-RD&PR of 2019 dated 04.10.2019 has been challenged on the following grounds:-
(a) That the impugned order is in violation of Rule 49 of the Panchayati Raj Rules, which categorically envisages that all the works may be executed by the Halqa Panchayat itself by employing daily labour without employment of any contractor, except the work involving technical aspect and financial investment beyond 3 lac;

(b) That by issuing the impugned order the respondents have curtailed and contradicted the powers of halqa panchayats under rule 59 of J&K Panchayat Raj Rules, which deals with the mode in which the contracts are auctioned;

(c) That the impugned order is contrary to the schedule I of Panchayati Raj Act, which empowers the halqa panchayats to plan and execute the construction work in their respective panchayats;

(d) That by virtue of executive directions in terms of impugned order, the respondents have attempted to outwit the mandate of Panchayati Raj Act and rules framed thereunder, hence the same is required to be declared inoperative;

(e) That the impugned order has been arbitrarily issued and the effect of suspension of internet services in the entire Union territory post August 5, 2019 has not been taken note of by respondent No.1, resultantly the fate of the developmental works planned by the panchayats and approved by the government and for which the funds stood earmarked, is hanging in uncertainty; and

(f) That the petitioners are interested in the execution of work for which funds are lying with respondent No.4, but the work orders could not be issued in view of the issuance of impugned order, and if the approved developmental work is not undertaken in the panchayats it would prejudice them and violate the right impliedly enshrined in article 21 of the constitution.

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