Supreme Court Upholds Validity Of No-Confidence Motion Against Maharashtra Gram Panchayat Sarpanch
The Supreme Court upheld the validity of no-confidence motion against a Sarpanch (Village head) of Jambulani Gram Panchayat in Maharashtra.
The court observed that when an individual has ceased to be a member of a Gram Panchayat due to automatic disqualification, the No Confidence Motion cannot be rejected on the ground that the voting requirement of 3/4th of the members entitled to sit and vote was unfulfilled.
In that context, the Bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice KV Viswanathan observed that, "Appellant No.1 has ceased to be a member because of the automatic disqualification. In view of this, the proceedings of the Tahsildar...rejecting the No Confidence Motion on the ground that the voting requirement of three-fourth of the members “entitled to sit and vote”, was not fulfilled, cannot be sustained and has rightly been set aside by the High Court."
Senior Counsel Gaurav Agrawal appeared for the appellants, while Senior Counsel Vinay Navare and Counsel Aniruddha Joshi appeared for the respondents.
In this case, the dispute revolved around the validity of a No Confidence Motion against Appellant No. 2, Sushila Sitaram Kalel, the Sarpanch of Jambulani Gram Panchayat. The crucial factor determining the motion's outcome was the validity of Appellant No. 1, Sudhir Vilas Kalel's, membership in the Panchayat. For the motion to succeed, it required the support of at least three-fourths of the total eligible members.
The key question was whether Appellant No. 1 was entitled to "sit" as a member on 19.06.2023. The High Court ruled against the appellants, leading them to appeal the decision before the Supreme Court.
The Apex Court observed that, "Appellant No.1 stood automatically disqualified as a Member since he failed to produce the Validity Certificate within 12 months from the date of his election. The protective umbrella of Section 3 of the Temporary Extension Act, 2023 will not be available to Appellant No.1 since he is hit by Section 3(2)(b), for the reason that there was no valid application pending on the date of the commencement of the said Act."
It was further observed that the High Court was right in setting aside the rejection of the No Confidence Motion and in holding that the No Confidence Motion against the Sarpanch was duly carried.
In light of the same, the appeal was dismissed.
Appellants: Senior Counsel Gaurav Agrawal
Respondents: Senior Counsel Vinay Navare, Counsel Aniruddha Joshi
Cause Title: Sudhir Vilas Kalel & Ors. vs Bapu Rajaram Kalel & Ors.