R.A. Mehta, J.
1. The petitioner, Sarpanch of Naria Gram Panchayat, wants an interim injunction during the pendency of the suit against the proceedings for his disqualification and consequent vacancy under Section 25 read with Section 23 of the Gujarat Panchayats Act. The trial Court granted and confirmed such injunction. However, the lower appellate Court has vacated the same, and in this revision application, the petitioner has submitted that the lower appellate Court has erred in vacating the interim injunction during the pendency of the suit.
2. The petitioner-plaintiff has been proceeded against disqualification on the ground that he had failed to pay Panchayat dues inspite of special notice and for a period of three months thereafter and thereby he had incurred the disqualification. Section 23(1)(i) provides that:
No person shall be a member of the Panchayat or continue as such who fails to pay any arrears of any kind due by him to the District Panchayat or any Panchayat subordinate thereto or any sum recoverable from him in accordance with Chapter VI of this Act within 3 months after notice in accordance with the rules made in this behalf have been served upon him.
Section 25 provides that:
If any member of Panchayat is subject to any of the disqualifications mentioned in Section 23, then he shall be disabled from continuing to be a member and his office shall become vacant.
Section 25(2) provides that:
In every case, the question whether a vacancy has arisen, shall be decided by the competent authority. The competent authority may give its decision either on an application made to it by any person, or on its own motion. Until the competent authority decides that the vacancy has arisen, the member shall not be disabled under Sub-section (1) from continuing to be a member. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the competent authority may, within a period of 15 days from the date of such decision, appeal to the State Government and the orders passed by the State Government in such appeal shall be final.
3. The facts summarised by the lower appellate Court show that the petitioner-plaintiff had taken a loan of Rs. 2,942/- for air spread for his field and also executed Karajkhat for the loan amount and also executed promissory note to the District Panchayat. Naria village Karyakari Sahakari Mandali also gave undertaking for the same and stood as guarantor. The said sum was to be repaid as per the terms and conditions on or before 20-2-79. The amount had remained outstanding and so notice dt. 14-4-82 was served to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff asked for time for payment and admitted his liability to pay the amount to the District Panchayat. The plaintiff failed to pay even thereafter inspite of the special notice being served to him and disqualified himself as Sarpanch.
4. The Learned Counsel for the petitioner has raised two contentions:
(1) that there was no liability to pay to the District Panchayat and the amount was payable to the society. This contention has been negatived in view of the promissory note executed by him in favour of the District Panchayat and also his acceptance of the liability in favour of District Panchayat and also by subsequent actual payment by him to the District Panchayat.
(2) The other contention raised by him is with regard to the question whether Sarpanch is a member of the Panchayat or not. According to the Learned Counsel , action under Section 23 read with Section 25 can be taken only against member and not against the Sarpanch who is directly elected by the people. Section 12 of the Gujarat Panchayats Act provides that:A Gram Panchayat shall, subject to the provisions of Sub-section (5) consist of such number of members (including the Sarpanch) not less than 7 and not more than 15 as the competent authority may, subject to the general order made by the State Govt. in regard to the allocation of number of seats to different gram having regard to the varying extent of population therein determine, and such members shall be elected from amongst the qualified voters of the gram.' It is thus clear that Sarpanch is also a member and hence Sections 23 & 25, are applicable to the Sarpanch also.
In view of the above, there is no substance in this revision application and the same is dismissed. Rule discharged. Interim relief vacated.