Calcutta HC quashes ‘no confidence’ motion against Nandigram Panchayat President

Snehal Upadhyay

The High Court of Calcutta quashed the ‘no confidence’ motion which was brought by the majority of the members of Panchayat against Prabitra Kar, the President of Boyal-I, Gram Panchayat in the District of Purba Medinipur.

In accordance with the motion of ‘no confidence’ the Block Development Officer pertaining to powers granted to him under Rule 5B of the West Bengal Panchayat (Constitution) Rules, 1975 issued a notice on May 21, 2021.

The notice was issued to hold a meeting on June 7, 2021, at the Panchayat office. This notice was under challenge in the instant petition.

A single-judge bench of Justice Arindam Mukherjee while setting aside the notice observed that the concerned authorities have failed to abide by their statutory obligations as mentioned under Section 12 of the West Bengal Panchayat Act, 1973.

The Court said, “The Prescribed Authority in the instant case has failed to do an act as provided under Section 12(2) and 12(3) of the said Act. Looking at the matter from both the angles i.e., if it is an administrative action then it is arbitrary and irrational, if it is quasi-judicial then the action of respondent no.3 is tainted with illegality for not having done an act in the manner specified in the statute.”

During the elections in West Bengal, the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had accused members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of capturing voting booths in Nandigram, following this she staged a demonstration outside the voting booth in Boyal, Nandigram to protest against such activities.

The petitioner contended that concerning Section 12(2) of the Act, a copy of the ‘no confidence’ motion should be mandatorily be made delivered to the petitioner by a person or by posting to the Panchayat office, though this did not comply with any members of the Panchayat.

Due to this, a notice was issued by the concerned authorities for making everyone aware of the meeting being set aside.

The petitioner also contended that the concerned authority had been biased and acted arbitrarily to intentionally exclude out the petitioner.

The Court highlighting the statute’s judicial obligations on the prescribed authority kept aside the May 28th notice and stated that any decision taken in the meeting held on 7th June concerning that notice will also be considered to be void.

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