One Seeks Relief For Being Disqualified: In Bombay High Court

The petitioner, Sarpanch of Grampanchayat Chaundi, Tal.Udgir, Dist. Latur was disqualified from her service by respondent No.3 Collector, and her appeal to the Additional Divisional Commissioner, Aurangabad, was denied on 29.06.2021. BHARATI H. DANGRE J pronounced this Judgment on 27.01.2022 in ANUSAYA BABU PAWAR V. THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA AND OTHERS.

Being aggrieved by the Collector’s disqualification action, which the Appellate Authority confirmed, the petitioner has approached this Court by filing the present writ petition. She seeks relief from the impugned orders being quashed and set aside, as well as her reinstatement to the position of Sarpanch.

Respondent No.6 filed a complaint with the Collector of Latur alleging that the petitioner, in her capacity as Sarpanch, benefited her husband, Babu Pawar, and his brother Ramchandra Pawar R/o Chaundi by allocating work to them and disbursing a check from the Gram Panchayat’s account in their favor in collusion with the Gram Sevak of Chaundi. The bank statement of Latur District Central Co-operative Branch Udgir and the cash book extract of Gram Panchayat Chaundi were added to the complaint to prove the abovementioned accusation. The petitioner refuted the claim leveled against her after the protest, notably stating that the complaint was preferred as a counter-attack to her allegations against the Chief Executive Officer.

She added that her spouse has no ties to the Gram Panchayat, yet a fraudulent check issued in his name was deposited in his account at the District Central Co-operative Bank, Nulgir Branch. However, her spouse was unaware of this truth, which she learned for the first time when the case was filed. The amounts in the chart are disbursed from the account of Gram Panchayat Chaundi. The amount of Rs.4,000/- mentioned in Sr.No.1 is spent favoring the petitioner’s husband, Shri Babu Rupchand Pawar. In contrast, the amounts mentioned in Sr.Nos. 2 to 5 are issued in favor of her brother-in-law Bhau Pawar, and this fact is not in disagreement.

The Learned Judge, after learning all the facts and order, decides that they have a fundamental problem, the first of which is a reference to an entry dated 21.09.2020 of Rs.4,000/-, debited to the account of Gram Panchayat via check No.#005175# in the Collector’s order. However, the essential thing that is conspicuously missing and has not been mentioned by the Collector or the Appellate Authority is whether the said Gram Panchayat work was allotted in favor of the petitioner’s husband. If so, where are the said work order and certificate of completion of work, which entitles him to an amount of Rs.4,000/- through a cheque issued under the petitioner’s signature. Since the Additional Commissioner has transitioned his focus to the Block Development Officer’s review, which merely reiterates that the signature on the disputed cheque, which has been encashed in the petitioner’s husband’s account, is hers. The matter should be redirected back to the authority concerned for evaluating whether the amount of Rs.4,000/- encashed in the petitioner’s husband’s account is based on the petitioner’s interest shown in allotting it.

The impugned order rendered by the Collector and Appellate Authority cannot be upheld in the absence of the material mentioned above being investigated.

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Reviewed by Rangasree 

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