An order of a district Collector, who is also the Inspector of Panchayats, removing a panchayat president on charges of irregularities, has been upheld by the Madras High Court.
In his order on a petition by the dismissed panchayat president challenging the Collector’s order, Justice M. Venugopal said the district head had rightly exercised his power under the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act. It did not call for any interference. As a matter of fact, the Collector had ascribed cogent, coherent and convincing reasons while passing the impugned order.
The petitioner, G.M. Ganesan, said he was elected president of Usoopur village panchayat in Cuddalore district in the local body elections in 2011. He administered the village effectively. He said the Cuddalore Collector alleged that there was huge revenue loss in view of his “maladministration” and asked him to give an explanation. The charges related to expenditure for maintenance of facilities including overhead tank, pump set and pipelines and misappropriation of panchayat funds. He submitted an explanation.
The petitioner said that on February 14 this year, he was removed from his post. This was illegal. Counsel argued that the Collector had levelled charges against Mr.Ganesan without considering welfare activities done by him in exigencies such as heavy rainfall and cyclone.
Dismissing the petition, Mr. Justice Venugopal said the Collector had in the show cause notice mentioned that the petitioner had for his personal gain committed irregularities by violating rules and caused a loss of Rs.33.24 lakh. The petitioner had not followed a G.O. of the Rural Development Department of May 1998 in regard to purchase of ancillary items for fixing electricity motor coils. He had not adhered to rules while incurring expenditure relating to road and pipeline maintenance work.
The Judge said the Collector had applied his mind and passed the impugned order. It did not suffer from any impropriety or illegality or material irregularity in the eyes of law.