NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has issued notice on a petition challenging the order of the Madras High Court wherein it had declared that Beeman of the DMK as the president of the Kothagiri Panchayat.
Aggrieved over this, AIADMK candidate Ramesh mo-ved the SC. A Bench, comprising Justice R M Lodha and Justice H L Gokhale, stayed the order of the HC after senior advocate L Nageswara Rao and Mahalakshmi Pavani made their submissions on behalf of the petitioner. Nageswara Rao contended that the object and purport of the Rule 73 (4) was to ensure that a majority of the elected ward members effectively participate in the process to elect the chairman to the council. Such a salutary rule and mandatory provision had been completely given a go-bye by the HC, he added.
The reasoning of the HC that more than one member would be sufficient to constitute a valid quorum is contrary to the Rule 73 (4) of the TN Panchayat Election Rules and illegal, untenable and absurd, he argued. The selection of the respondent has no legal sanctity while it breaches the provisions of the Panchayat Act, he added.
Arguing, Pavani alleged that the Returning Officer, by convening a meeting of the council on October 24, last year, had failed to comply with the rules. However, in the second meeting that the RO had convened with the permission of the Collector, out of the 14 ward members, nine were present and that all of them had cast their votes in favour of the petitioner and therefore, he was duly elected chairman. Since a majority of the members, i.e., nine out of the 14 were present during the meeting to elect the chairman, there was a valid quorum and thus, the petitioner was elected chairman. The RO, the delegate and authorised under the law to conduct election, had all the powers to rectify his mistake and conduct fresh polling in accordance with law, she pointed out.