Uttarakhand High Court: State Government Doesn’t Have Power to Delegate to the District Magistrate, Certain Principles of Delegation Ought to Be Followed

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The High Court of Uttarakhand decided on the provisions of the Panchayati Raj Act, 2005. It took into consideration the delegation of powers under the Act.

Brief Facts of the Case

The petitions filed before the Court raised inquiries on the use of public funds. These petitions also questioned the nature of powers conferred under the Panchayati Raj Act, 2005.

Contentions of the Parties 

The Court noted that there were various writ petitions on this subject. There were three main questions in consideration before the Court. First, whether the first provision to section 138(4) of the Act would apply in cases of suspension as well. Second, whether the power to place a village Pradhan under suspension is quasi-judicial. Lastly, whether the State Government can delegate power to the District Magistrate. The counsel appearing for the state cited section 146 of the Act. This section conferred wide powers of delegation applicable to quasi-judicial powers also. The opposing counsel argued that the said section did not provide for it. Hence, the State Government cannot delegate the power of suspension to a Magistrate. 

Petitioners’ Prayers

The petitioner seeks the appointment of an investigating agency. The plea also asks for clarity on the question of suspension of a Village Pradhan. 

Court’s Decision

The Court held that the authority in passing the order of suspension acts as a tribunal. Tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies who decide the rights of parties and determine disputes. The state transfers its inherent judicial power to these authorities. 

The Court also defined the word “delegation”. It means the parting of powers by the person who grants the delegation. The Court also recalled a principle which means a delegate has no power to delegate. It said that this principle is not applied in all situations and is sometimes used as a convenient label. But, this principle is generally applied in case of tribunals and similar bodies. The Court noted that it causes administrative issues. Thus, the State Government does not have the power to delegate to the District Magistrate.


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