CHENNAI: THE Madras High Court has declined to interfere with the financial powers (including cheque signing) of chiefs and deputy chiefs of panchayats.
Whether the power has been rightly or wrongfully exercised will depend on the factual matrix of each case and it is not possible to lay down that such a power should not be exercised, the First Bench observed on December 7.
The bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice M Sundar made the observation while closing a PIL from the TN Federation of Women Presidents of Panchayat Governments. Its advisor N Chithra of Saidapet and Amul Premavathi, president of Meyyur Panchayat in Kanchipuram district, sought to restrain authorities from interfering with financial powers, including cheque signing authority, under provisions of the TN Panchayats Act, 1994.
In its counter, government submitted that the inspectors of panchayats are not obliged to use emergency powers as a routine, but can intervene when elected persons indulge in perpetuating financial irregularities.
Upholding the powers to interfere, the bench said that it could not lay down rigid stipulations and observed that establishment of a panchayat to support dissolution of administration at ground level would require elected persons be aware of their duties and that is an endeavour which must continue.