The Madras High Court has set aside a Government Order of last October dissolving the Chinnamanur Municipal Council in Theni district.
In his order on a writ petition, Justice S.Nagamuthu directed the Regional Director of Municipalities (RDM), Madurai, to convene the council meeting on September 14 after due notice. The only agenda that should be taken up is regarding the notice issued by the government in September 2008 to the council calling upon it to explain as to why it should be not dissolved.
J.Thavamani and 21 others, all elected members, filed the petition seeking to call for the records of the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department pertaining to the G.O dissolving the municipal council and quash the same. They also sought a consequent direction to the authorities to initiate appropriate action for the continued functioning of the elected body and against Tamilselvi Koothaperumal, the Chairman.
Besides the Chairman, there were 27 elected members. Of them, 24 gave a letter in August 2008 to the RDM to convene the council meeting to pass a resolution on a ‘no confidence motion’ against the Chairman. The official issued notice for the meeting on September 24. While so, the government issued the show cause notice dated September 22 on five grounds, based on RDM’s letter. When the Chairman convened the meeting on September 25, 22 members sought a copy of the RDM’s letter. But it was not furnished. Only three councillors participated, besides the Chairman. No resolution could be passed in respect of the show cause notice for want of quorum. However, the Chairman sent a letter to the government agreeing for dissolution of the council.
Meanwhile, the meeting which was scheduled for September 24 was adjourned by the RDM to October 20. The government issued the order on October 17.
After perusing the original records, Mr.Justice Nagamuthu sought a clarification regarding the dates on which the show cause notice was drafted and signed by an officer and the RDM’s report based on which the notice was issued, the government side submitted that it had no explanation to offer.
Following submissions by the petitioners and the government side, the Judge said he was disposing of the petition without expressing any opinion on the grounds raised in it. At the meeting on September 14, the RDM should record the views of the members, both for and against, and convey the minutes and the resolution to the government. Later, the government could pass fresh orders.