Karnataka HC says Yes to “No-confidence Motion” passed by Assistant Commissioner

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The Writ Petition was filed before the Karnataka High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, praying to issue a declaration that Rule 3(1), Rule 3(2) and Rule 3(4) of Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayath Raj (Motion of No Confidence against Adhyaksha and Upadhyaksha of Grama Panchayath Rules),1994 is ultra vires and unconstitutional of Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act, 1993, was rejected.

“Motion of no-confidence against Adhyaksha or Upadhyaksha of Grama Panchayat: Every Adhyaksha or Upadhyaksha of Grama Panchayat shall forthwith be deemed to have vacated his office if a resolution expressing want of confidence in him is passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total number of members of the Grama Panchayat at a meeting specially convened for the purpose in accordance with the procedure”

Brief facts of the case

On 19.08.2019 the complaint was lodged with the second respondent/ Assistant Commissioner by the members of third respondent/ Gollahalli Grama Panchayath, Nelamangala Taluk, seeking to move a motion of no-confidence in terms of Section 49(1) of the Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act, 1993. The petitioner /B.R. Siddaramu, who is the Upadhyaksha of Gollahalli Grama Panchayat, aggrieved by the notice of the Assistant Commissioner to consider the motion of no-confidence, has filed the writ petition.

Arguments

The petitioner submits that according to the Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act, 1993 the Assistant Commissioner is not the Authority to convene or preside over the meeting for moving a motion of no-confidence under Section 49 of the Act. Consequently, the Rules conferring power on the Assistant Commissioner in that regard are ultra vires the Act. The Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act, 1993  Act provides for a specific procedure for the purpose of convening a meeting that is under Section 62, the Adhyaksha being the executive head is conferred with the power to convene a meeting, while under Section 52 the meeting for transaction of business is to be convened by the Adhyaksha. Hence, it is contended that the Rules framed under the Act which provide for convening of a meeting to consider the motion of no- confidence by the Assistant Commissioner not being envisaged in the parent Act and renders the Rules framed in that regard ultra vires the Act and are liable to be struck down.

The learned Additional Advocate General on behalf of respondent submits that Section 49 of the Act read with the Rules are a complete Code in themselves, It is further contended that Section 52 of the Act provides for a procedure relating to transaction of business and such meeting is only at the written request of not less than one-third of the total number of members and on a date within 15 days from receipt of such request. It is pointed out that a perusal of Section 49 would indicate that the intention of the legislature with respect to the convening of a meeting under Section 49 of the Act follows a different procedure. Drawing attention to Section 49(1) of the Act, it is submitted that notice of resolution to move a motion of no-confidence is by one-half of the total number of members and with ten days’ notice. Accordingly, it is pointed out that the procedure prescribed under Section 49 and Section 52 are on the face of it different and if it were to be interpreted that a meeting convened under Section 49(1) of the Act was to follow the procedure under Section 52 of the Act, it would result in an inherent contradiction in the Act, which cannot be conceived of. It is further contended that Rules provide only for subsidiary and ancillary details within the essential guidelines laid down by the legislature and in the present case, the Rules lay down the procedure for consideration of a motion of no-confidence as envisaged under Section 49(1) of the Act and hence, there is no excessive delegation of essential legislative power on the delegate.

Decision of the Court

From the arguments that have been advanced by the petitioner, it becomes clear that the petitioner contends that the Assistant Commissioner was never envisaged as the Authority which is vested with the power to convene a meeting. However, on a careful perusal of Section 49(1) of the Act and Rule 3 of the Rules, it becomes clear that while Section 49(1) of the Act refers to the substantive right of the members to move the motion of no-confidence, the Rules merely are ancillary to the enforcement of such right and provide for a procedure to convene the meeting in order to give effect to the assertion of right of members to move a motion of no-confidence. In fact, the Assistant Commissioner is only an administrative functionary and has not been conferred with any quasi-judicial power while convening a meeting of no-confidence. As the parent Act specifies that the motion of no-confidence could be convened in accordance with the procedure as may be prescribed and the Rules that are framed are specifically stated to be framed in exercise of power conferred by Section 49 read with Section 311 of the Act, accordingly, the Rules have been framed pursuant to the conferment of power under the parent statute and hence, cannot be held to be in excess of the power conferred. Thus petition is rejected.

[googlepdf url=”http://libertatem.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Karnataka-high-court-says-yes-to-“Motion-of-no-confidence”-passed-by-Assistant-Commissioner.pdf” download=”Download Judgement PDF” width=”100%” height=”900″]


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