HC directs Govt to frame norms for holding meets of local bodies | Allahabad News

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Prayagraj: The Allahabad high court has directed the state government to consider framing of guidelines within three weeks, while keeping in view the Covid-19 pandemic, regarding holding of statutory meetings of local bodies, including those for considering ‘no-confidence motions’.
The court directed that a copy of this decision be sent to the chief secretary of the state for its necessary compliance.
Dismissing a writ petition filed by Tripti Rani of Bijnor, a division bench comprising Justice Shashi Kant Gupta and Justice Piyush Agrawal observed, “During the Covid-19 pandemic, everybody has to act with utmost caution so that the spread of infection may be curtailed as much as possible.”
The petitioner, Tripti Rani, is the Pramukh of the Kotwali Kshetra Panchayat, Bijnor. A no-confidence motion was moved against her in accordance with the procedure laid down in Uttar Pradesh Kshetra Panchayat and Zila Panchayat Act, 1961.
Hence, the district magistrate, Bijnor issued a notice dated August 21, 2020, convening a meeting for consideration of the motion of no-confidence on September 15, 2020.
The petitioner challenged the notice dated August 21 on the ground that since there are about 185 members in the Kotwali Kshetra Panchayat, district Bijnor, they exceeded the number of persons permitted under the guidelines for phased re-opening (unlock-4) issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India on August 29, 2020.
It was further submitted that in view of the aforesaid guidelines, the proposed meeting for consideration of no- confidence motion cannot be convened on September 15, 2020 since it would be in violation of the provisions of the Disaster Management Act.
Rejecting the pleas of the petitioner, the court observed, “In a democratic set up where right to govern depends on the will of the people, the person who has lost the majority cannot be permitted to hold office. If a representative no longer enjoys the confidence of the people, elected representatives have a right to remove him and he cannot be permitted to remain in power even for a second and has to be immediately replaced by a newly elected representative.”
Therefore, considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the court directed the District Magistrate, Bijnor to ensure all the protocols applicable for social and physical distancing are adhered to while holding the meeting for consideration of the motion of no confidence.
Further, the court directed that the seating arrangements be made in such a manner so that it may adhere to the prescribed norms.
Further, the DM may also explore the possibility of seating the members of the Kotwali Kshetra Panchayat in two or three separate rooms, a big hall or in open space. The Authority concerned may also explore the possibility of holding a virtual session, with the help of modern technological tools, the court added.
In addition to it, the court directed that the District Magistrate or his representative, who would be present on the spot, will be the best person to understand the ground reality for holding the proposed no-confidence motion in the best possible manner.
“We hope and trust that he would ensure that all the protocols, as prescribed under the guidelines and norms issued by the state and Central governments and the observations made in this judgment would be followed,” the court added.



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