FAQ's

Dispute Resolution Under Madhya Pradesh Panchyati Raj Adhiniyam, 1993

Q.1. What are the different levels of constitution of panchayat?

Ans. It has been provided under s.8 of the Adhiniyam that there shall be following levels of panchayat:

  • Gram panchayat for a village;
  • Janpad panchayat for a block;
  • Zila panchayat for a district.

It has further been provided that the term of the panchayat shall be for a period of five years from the date appointed for its first meeting.

Q.2. Which are the authorities under the enactment?

Ans. As per s.2 of Adhiniyam read with notification dated 05-03-1994, existing authorities under the M.P. Land Revenue Code have been entrusted with the additional responsibility for discharge of functions under this Adhiniyam as well. Further, with constitution of the panchayat at various levels, powers have been vested upon them as well. Broadly speaking, following in the division of powers:

NAME OF THE AUTHORITY

POWERS

Director, Panchayat & Social Welfare

Dissolution of the Gram, Janpad or Zila panchayat for abuse of powers

Divisional Commissioner

Appointment of other officers of the Zila panchayat;
Suspension or removal of President, VP or member of Zila panchayat;
Suspension of execution of orders of Zila panchayat;

Collector

Constitution of Gram Panchayat;
Appointment of Secretary of Gram panchayat, CEO of Janpad and District panchayat;
Appointment of other officers of Gram & Janpad panchayat;
No confidence motion against President & VP of Janpad & District Panchayat;
Suspension or removal of President & VP of Janpad panchayat;
Suspension of execution of orders of Janpad panchayat;

Sub-Divisional Officer

Notification of Elections;
No confidence motion against Sarpanch;
Election of President & VP of Janpad panchayat;
Suspension or removal of Sarpanch, Up-Sarpanch & members of the Gram panchayat;
Suspension of execution of orders of Gram panchayat;

Tahsildar

Election of Sarpanch & Up-sarpanch;
Composition of Janpad panchayat;

District Dy. Director, Panchayat

Publication of names of President & VP of Janpad & District panchayat;

Chief Executive Officer

Convening of first meeting of District & Janpad panchayat;

Secretary, Panchayat

Convening of first meeting;

Q.3. Generally, elections are deeply contested matters. How are the election disputes adjudicated?

Ans. It is only the final order in election petition which attains finality, and therefore amenable only in supervisory writ jurisdiction. As regards the interlocutory order, in absence of any bar they would be amenable to appeal/revision as the case may be to SDO/Collector/Commissioner.

  • Ballot-paper: The requirement to put cross-mark against the name of the candidate is merely directory in nature and not mandatory. Therefore, if a tick mark has been placed that would not invalidate the vote unless demonstrated that it was put in as a result of an agreement between the voter & candidate.

  • Cross examination: It is an integral part of the statement of witness, and any statement is to be read as a whole. It would be important to see both examination-in-chief as well as cross examination.

  • Limitation: Provisions of Indian Limitation Act, 1963 are not applicable under this provision as a specific bar has been created against entertaining of election petition after prescribed time.

  • Order: Any order which is passed by the Returning Officer for re-counting of votes necessary shall be passed in writing, which renders examination of such Officer redundant.

  • Prima facie case: Recounting of votes shall be ordered only when a prima facie case is made out, and the same shall be evident from pleadings of material facts. Further, recounting of votes would not be ordered merely on the premise that the margin of victory was less, and number of invalid votes was high. In absence of specific averments regarding irregularities and evidence regarding the same, it would be improper for ordering recounting of votes.

  • Writ petition: Election rules under this provision are complete code by itself, and therefore any decision by the specified authority is liable to challenge in the writ proceedings.

Q.4. What are the procedural requirements for filing of the election petition?

Ans.

  • Compliance with provisions: An election petition presented under these rules shall strictly be in conformity with the provisions contained herein; failing which it would be liable to be dismissed under Rule 8.Accordingly, when the election petition was presented by the counsel of the petitioner, then in absence of signature of the petitioner, such petition is liable to be dismissed.

  • Nomination paper: When nomination paper was wrongly accepted, it has to be demonstrated that such acceptance of nomination paper has materially resulted in result of the election. When nomination paper of the returning candidate was wrongly accepted, because of absence of any objection, then Election Tribunal was justified in holding that elections were void. Further, as findings recorded by the Tribunal were not demonstrated to be vitiated or perverse, no interference would be made in writ petition.

  • Recounting of votes: Order of recounting of votes has to be necessarily passed in writing by the Returning Officer, in absence of which it would not be considered as order of recounting at all. Accordingly, it is not necessary to examine the Returning Officer in proceedings for election petition whether order of recounting was passed or not.

  • Security deposit: Requirement of security deposit is imperative, but it is not necessary that the receipt thereof shall also be presented along with the election petition. Petitioner shall be at liberty to produce the receipt at subsequent stages.

Q.5. Once a sarpanch or panch has been elected, what is the process of challenge?

Ans. As an established practice, challenge to the elected members of the representative body has to be through the mechanism of no-confidence motions.

A) Procedure at the no-confidence motions:

Further held that Sarpanch against whom resolution of no-confidence has been moved does not have right both to speak as well as take part in proceedings; as both rights stand dis-injuncted by 'or'.

When polling has taken place on the no-confidence motion, then it is beyond the jurisdiction of the Presiding Officer to re-call the resolution and permit for re-poll. Validity of the resolution could be determined only by the Collector. However, when the presiding officer reached the place of meeting 2 hours late then the time scheduled by him, than in absence of any proof of information of delay proceedings held in absence of Sarpanch declared as vitiated.

Adjournment: It is not necessary that the meeting shall be held on the date specified in the notification. Prescribed authority is empowered to adjourn the proceedings in appropriate cases.

Dates: It has been provided under Rule 3 that date of meeting shall be fixed after 7 days but within 15 days of notification in violation of which any meeting would be illegal; and any resolution would also be illegal. However, it would be equally within the power of the prescribed authority to adjourn such a meeting to any other date for valid reasons.


B) Challenge to the resolution of no-confidence:

When challenge is made to no-confidence motion, person so aggrieved may approach the writ court directly wherein he is required to demonstrate that

  • Order is without jurisdiction;

  • Violation of principles of natural justice;

  • Challenge to vires;

  • Fundamental right stands infringed

Speaking about the right to challenge the resolution, firstly, challenge to no-confidence motion against the Sarpanch & Up-Sarpanch can be made only by the aggrieved party and not a mere Panch of the said Panchayat. Secondly, no dispute can be referred to Collector if such no-confidence motion fails.

Recounting: This can be ordered only after furnishing cogent proof with necessary pleadings, rarely, and on specific allegations. In the instant case, recounting ordered due to insufficient light during counting held to be proper.


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