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Section 47 of the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act, 1994 come into play only when elections had not been held for the post of President – Madras High Court

That very order, nominating the petitioner as President, itself is not lawful and non est in the eyes of law. Therefore, the petitioner cannot claim any right owing to the holding of a post to which he had no right to hold. This was decided by a single bench heading Honourable Mr. Justice C.V. Karthikeyan in the case of Pandiarajan v. The District Collector & Anr. W.P.(MD)No.15135 of 2021

In the case of Pandiarajan v. The District Collector & Anr. Writ Petition was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for issuance of Writ of Certiorari, seeking interference of the proceedings by the respondent (District Collector/Inspector of Panchayat, Sivagangai District). The entire dispute arose when the two candidates for President of Sankarapuram Panchayat, Ms. Devi and Ms. Priyadharshini, questioned each other’s eligibility to be President of the Panchayat and were engaged in judicial processes that eventually reached the Honourable Supreme Court’s portals, where an interim injunction was issued prohibiting A. Priyadharshini from taking office. This created a vacuum and the petitioner, who was elected as Vice President by the Ward Members provided with an opportunity to act as the President of the Panchayat.

The learned Counsel for the petitioner cited Section 47 of the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act, which said that if the office of President is vacant, the Vice President will execute the powers of the President. As a result, the petitioner claimed that not only had he been wrongfully robbed of the advantage of being the first authority to sign checks, but that he had also seized the ability to summon meetings, which is also a privilege associated with the position of President. Sections 83 and 84 of the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act were also cited by the learned Counsel.

The learned Counsel for the petitioner relied on a judgment of Honourable Supreme Court in the case of Samuel vs Tukaram Laxman Sable and ors,1995 Supp (4) SCC 215 and pointed out the following observation “…. It is also admitted that as on today, no fresh or other proceedings have been initiated for removal/disqualification of the appellant for any alleged irregularities. In the circumstances, denying him the office of President would amount to punishing him for no fault of his. It cannot be that he is not guilty and yet he is removed from the offices held by him……”

The Honourable Mr. Justice C.V. Karthikeyan dismissed the case and other miscellaneous petitions that Section 47 of the Act does not come into play in the instant case. And that provision would come into play only when elections had not been held for the post of President and the post had therefore fallen vacant or an elected President suffered from some inability and therefore the post had fallen vacant necessitating fresh elections. That is not the situation in the instance case. The second respondent has every right to call for meetings and as observed, let the meetings proceed in accordance with the resolution passed by the majority of the members who participate in the meetings.

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Judgement reviewed by Himanshu Ranjan

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