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Whenever some adverse action is to be taken, particularly of the kind of non-sitting a publicly elected person, principles of natural justice have to be followed and the charges have to be strictly established: Bombay High Court

If the contents of the report of Tehsildar were to be relied upon by the learned Collector before taking the decision, the principles of natural justice ought to have been followed by giving its copy to the petitioner and enabling him to meet the contents thereof. This is not an empty formality but would have enabled him to demonstrate that the contents were not factually correct. Such an observation was made by the Hon’ble Bombay High Court before Hon’ble Justice MANGESH S. PATIL in the matter of Manik s/o Laxmanrao Zate vs The District Collector, Hingoli & ors [WRIT PETITION NO.400 OF 2021 ] on 30.11.2021

The facts of the case were that the petitioner had to incur disqualification on the alledged ground he had committed lapses in holding the mandatory meetings and gram sabhas. It was the contention of the petitioner that the district collector had not provided him an opportunity of hearing. Thus the instant writ petition is preferred by the petitioner.

The Hon’ble High Court observed that there is no contention to the fact that the notice was served on the petitioners which simply called upon him to appear before Collector and to furnish his written and oral submissions. It did not contain the particulars for which he was called upon to tender his explanation.

Additionally, the Hon’ble High Court referred to the case of Padminbai Narsing Panchal Vs. The Additional Collector & Ors.; Writ Petition No.2971 of 2017 in which under similar circumstances the matter was remanded back to the o the concerned Collector for taking a decision afresh by extending an opportunity of being heard to the concerned petitioners by communicating specific charges to them.

Finally, the Hon’ble High Court partly allowed the instant writ petition and set aside the impugned order with a direction to respondent No.1 Collector for taking a decision afresh by conducting a fresh hearing in the light of the observations made hereinabove.

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Judgment Reviewed by: Rohan Kumar Thakur

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