Mohamed Imranullah S.
Nobody except two-thirds of panchayat members can petition Collector to exercise his discretion
The grievance of the appellant does not even relate to any public duty: Mr. Justice Rajasuria
MADURAI: Courts cannot direct Collectors to invoke their suo motu powers to seek explanation from panchayat presidents for alleged disobedience of the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act, the Madras High Court has ruled.
Dismissing a writ appeal filed in the Madurai Bench, a Division Bench of Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla and Justice G. Rajasuria held that no person, except two-thirds of the panchayat members, could petition the Collector to exercise his discretion.
The appellant, N. K. S. M. Shahul Hameed of Aranthangi panchayat union in Pudukottai district, claimed that on July 31, 2006, the then office-bearers of the panchayat passed a resolution to name a particular place after his father.
But the incumbents forged the resolution owing to personal vendetta, he alleged. He sought a direction to the Collector to initiate action against the panchayat president.
Speaking for the Bench, Mr. Justice Rajasuria said: “The grievance of the appellant does not even relate to any public duty, which the panchayat has failed to perform.
The act relates to the elected body’s function within the ambit of its power. Issue of a writ directing the authority concerned to invoke his suo motu power would be tantamount to undue interference with the independent function of the authority.”
The Panchayats Act specifies that the Collector can exercise his discretion on his own or after receiving a written representation by two-thirds of the panchayat members.
“Over and above that, if we add anything to the two alternatives by ordering that any third party could petition the authority concerned to invoke his suo motu power, it would not be in commensurate with the legislative mandate as contemplated under Section 205 of the Act,” the judges observed. They even refused to direct the Collector to consider a representation from the appellant.
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