HC stays Tribunal order against Varca panch

PANAJI — Mr Justice A P Lawande of the Bombay High Court has by way of an ad-interim order stayed the order passed by the additional president of the Administrative Tribunal against Mr Anthony John Menino Rodrigues, panch member of the village panchayat of Varca.
The Tribunal by its order dated May 16 had set aside the election of Mr Rodrigues to Ward III of village panchayat of Varca on the election petition filed by Mr Gregory Bruno Fernandes.
Mr Gregory had filed the petition before the Tribunal on the ground that his nomination was improperly rejected by the returning officer at the time of scrutiny.
At the time of scrutiny of nomination papers, Mr Rodrigues had brought to the notice of the returning officer that Mr Gregory owed arrears to the panchayat for the year 1999-2000 towards collection of sopo/market fees.
The returning officer, relying on the certificate issued by the Administrator that Mr Gregory owed dues to the panchayat and the letter issued by the secretary that a meeting would be held to deliberate on the recovery of dues, had rejected nomination of Mr Gregory.
The Tribunal held that the returning officer had improperly rejected the nomination papers of Mr Gregory as a demand draft was drawn in the name village panchayat of Varca towards payment of the dues.
The Tribunal had further observed that there was no reason to take resolution by the panchayat and that the Block Development Officer had merely given an opinion to take resolution in order to shift the burden cast on him.
Mr Rodrigues had challenged the order of the Tribunal before the High Court on the ground that the order is in contravention of Section 10(d) of the Goa Panchayat Raj Act, 1994.
According to the petitioner since the sum was due to the panchayat in the year 1999, Mr Gregory was already owing arrears for more than 3 months before the date of scrutiny and hence liable for disqualification.
It is also stated that the panchayat alone could decide about the arrears and the respondent could not be absolved from liability by unilaterally issuing a demand draft unless the same is accepted and a “No Dues Certificate” is issued by the panchayat.
Thursday, May 29, 2008


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