HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court has held that the panchayat secretary has got powers to remove encroachments on public places in gram panchayats and also got the duty to implement resolutions of gram panchayats. “It is not normal function of the sarpanch to implement the resolutions of the gram panchayat”, the Court noted. Justice Challa Kodanda Ram was recently allowing the petition filed by V Raghava Reddy, farmer of Nanajipur village in Ranga Reddy district, challenging the notice issued to him by the local sarpanch with a direction to remove the house compound wall that was illegally constructed by him.
The petitioner’s counsel contended that as per provisions of the Telangana State Panchayat Raj Act, 2018, the sarpanch was not competent to issue notice to the petitioner for removal of compound wall constructed by the latter and such power was entrusted with the panchayat secretary. As per the rules made in Government Order (GO) 108 dated September 26, 2018, panchayat secretary alone is entrusted with various responsibilities and also to take necessary steps with respect to the alleged violations. In fact, the sarpanch being a political person is not entrusted with the executive powers with respect to the affairs of gram panchayat, he added.
On the other hand, the standing counsel for gram panchayat and sarpanch submitted that the gram panchayat has been entrusted with the power to grant permission and also to take steps for removal of any encroachments and unauthorised constructions, hence it cannot be said that the sarpanch was not entitled to issue the impugned notice to the petitioner. In fact, the sarpanch has issued the notice for implementation of the unanimous resolution of the gram panchayat members, he noted.
After hearing the case and perusing the material on record, Justice Kodanda Ram found that various duties and responsibilities of panchayat secretary have been set out under Section 43 of the Panchayat Raj Act and has powers to take steps for removal of encroachments on public places in gram panchayats. The method and manner to enforce the gram panchayat resolution vests with the secretary, the judge observed.