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Suresh Kumar Bhaiya Vs. State of Punjab and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petition No. 6593 of 2004
Judge
Reported in(2004)138PLR44
ActsPunjab Municipal Act, 1911 - Sections 231
AppellantSuresh Kumar Bhaiya
RespondentState of Punjab and ors.
Appellant Advocate Sanjeev Menrai, Adv.
Respondent Advocate C.M. Munjal, Addl. A.G.,; B.S. Walia,; Ashwani Talwar
Excerpt:
.....for filing an appeal would commence from the date when the parties concerned acquire knowledge of passing of the said order. - the photographs produced on record as well as alleged video tape show that the members had voted in support of no confidence motion on 31st march, 2004 out of their free will. dharampal, as well as the petitioner......that 14 councillors of the municipal council, rampura phool are present in court.mr. k.a.p. sinha, deputy commissioner, 'bathinda is also present in court. he assures that he is looking to the matter seriously and shall place on record the course of action proposed to be adopted on the next date of hearing.counsel for the caveator submits that reply is adopted on behalf of 12 municipal councillors, whose power of attorneys he has filed in court today.adjourned to 6.5.2004.'as for as the question of validity of no confidence motion is concerned, there is no reason for us to interfere. the photographs produced on record as well as alleged video tape show that the members had voted in support of no confidence motion on 31st march, 2004 out of their free will. so much so minutes were.....
Judgment:

Swatanter Kumar, J.

1. Suresh Kumar Bahiya, President, Municipal Council, Rampura Phul, District Bhatinda, has approached this Court under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India, praying for issuance of a writ in the nature of Certiorari quashing the resolution dated 31.3.2004, Annexure P3 to the writ petition and the order dated 15.4.2004, Annexure P9 to the writ petition, being in complete contradiction of the prescribed procedure and Section 22 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911.

2. The principal grievance of the petitioner is that resolution of No Confidence Motion passed against the petitioner dated 31.3.2004 was under duress, coercive and result of undue influence exercised by private respondent-Parmod Kumar-Caveator. The petitioner was supported by the affidavits of the four Municipal Councillors, namely, Dharampal, Swaran Singh, Hardip Kaur and Gurdev Kaur, besides by the affidavit of the petitioner himself. According to them, they had not signed the resolution and their signatures were obtained by exercise of mis-representation and by using force and coercive method.

3. We had issued notice of the petition, which was accepted by the Caveator as wellas by the State Government. When the matter came up for hearing on 23rd April, 2004it was brought to our notice that a video film had been prepared and even photographswere taken during the passing of the No Confidence Motion. Further that a meeting forthe election of the new President was fixed on 24th April, 2004. Thus, we directed thatthe matter could continue but the result would be kept in a sealed cover and would notbe declared. Vide order dated 27th April, 2004, we had issued notice to the members ofthe Council, as it was argued that majority of them were with the petitioner. However,subsequently, majority remained in support of respondent-Caveator-Parmod Kumar.Without expressing our views on the practice adopted for recording of the video andphotographs by respondents we had felt that conduct of the four deponents, namelyDharampal, Swaran Singh, Hardip Kaur and Gurdev Kaur was not worthy of any appreciation and they had not correctly stated the facts before the Court. Resultantly, we hadissued notice to all of them to appear in the Court. Mr. Dharmpal filed affidavit. On 3rdMay, 2004, the following order was passed by us:-

'In reply to the show cause notice issued to Mr. Dharampal, in terms of the order of this Court dated 27.4.2004, an affidavit has been filed in Court. The same is taken on record.

Mr. Swaran Singh, who is present in Court, prays for time to file an affidavit. He may do so before the next date of hearing.

The two-other deponents, namely Smt. Gurdev Kaur and Smt. Kardeep Kaur are not present in Court. Let the Executive Officer of the Municipal Council, Rampura Phool inform these deponents to be present in Court and submit their reply to the show cause notice.

We may notice that 14 Councillors of the Municipal Council, Rampura Phool are present in Court.

Mr. K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, 'Bathinda is also present in Court. He assures that he is looking to the matter seriously and shall place on record the course of action proposed to be adopted on the next date of hearing.

Counsel for the caveator submits that reply is adopted on behalf of 12 Municipal Councillors, whose power of attorneys he has filed in Court today.

Adjourned to 6.5.2004.'

As for as the question of validity of No Confidence Motion is concerned, there is no reason for us to interfere. The photographs produced on record as well as alleged video tape show that the members had voted in support of No Confidence Motion on 31st March, 2004 out of their free will. So much so minutes were recorded and also signed by each of these members. The majority of the members even appeared before the Court and supported the caveator-respondent. The meeting held on 24th April, 2004 was supervised by the Additional Deputy Commissioner under the orders of the Court and caveator has been voted as President of the Council. In face of this, we see no reason to interfere in the resolution of No Confidence Motion and the competent authority proceed in accordance with law and pass appropriate order.

4. Now the basic question that arises for consideration is whether the elected members of the Council, who are responsible for running of the administration at the grassroots level should conduct themselves in the manner they have done in the present case. We are of the definite view that such practice must be put to an end and requires to be deprecated. The basic ingredient of any democracy is fairness in such procedure and decision making process. We had firstly considered that the Court should take action against all the afore referred four persons, who swear the affidavits and the petitioner. However, the Deputy Commissioner in furtherance to our above order has filed report before this Court on 6.5.2004, wherein he has stated that specific procedure is provided under the provisions of the Act for dealing with such situation. We consider it more appropriate that the deponents viz. Dharampal, Swaran Singh, Hardip Kaur and Gurdev Kaur, the petitioner and such other defaulting members of the Council be dealt with by the Deputy Commissioner in accordance with law and after granting them appropriate opportunity. Having required the Deputy Commissioner to exercise his powers in accordance with law in relation to the above referred matter, we see no reason to pass any further direction or order in this writ petition.

5. At this stage, learned counsel for some of the Councillors contended that in view of the order of this court dated 23rd April, 2004 No Confidence Motion result should have been re-considered. We had never issued such direction. It was kept open to the members, if they wanted to raise such issue. As per the report of the Deputy Commissioner, no such issue was raised and the election of the President was conducted where 11 were votes casted in favour of the Caveator, six votes in favour of the petitioner and one person was absent. In terms of the law governing the election of the Panchayat, it was election by simple majority.

6. Further it has been brought to the notice of the Court that there are various F.I.Rs. lodged against various members and particularly against Mr. Dharampal, as well as the petitioner. Let Deputy Commissioner look into this aspect of the matter and desirous of the petitioner to continue in this regard. Record, which was summoned by the Court, was produced in Court in a sealed cover. Record was perused and after perusal it has been returned to the concerned person.

7. While disposing of this writ petition we do express our pious hope that the Deputy Commissioner will not only proceed in accordance with law but also requires higher authority to issue circular to all the Municipal Councils in the State of Punjab providing guide-lines and awareness in relation to the conduct of the democratic system at the gross root level.

Writ Petition stands disposed of.


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