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Won't appoint private person as Panchayat admin: govt to HC

"The state government shall abide by the statement made by the Advocate General and also the affidavit filed by it and will not appoint any private person as administrator of any Gram Panchayat till the petitions are heard next. "The government can go ahead with appointment of administrators of those Gram Panchayats whose term has ended or ends this week," the court said.

PTI | Mumbai | Updated: 14-08-2020 16:28 IST | Created: 14-08-2020 16:28 IST
Won't appoint private person as Panchayat admin: govt to HC

The Bombay High Court on Friday accepted a statement by the Maharashtra government that only a government servant would be appointed as administrator of a Gram Panchayat and not a private individual. A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and M S Karnik was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging government resolutions (GRs) issued on July 13 and 14.

The GRs said that a private person residing in the village with his or her name featuring in the voters' list can be appointed as administrator of the local GramPanchayat (village self-government body) whose term has ended. The state government sought to appoint administrators as elections can not be held due to the coronavirus pandemic even though the terms of several Panchayats are coming to an end or have already ended.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, appearing for the government, on Friday assured the court that till these petitions are being heard, only government servants will be appointed as administrators. The government submitted an affidavit, which said that government officers of the rank of Extension Officer from Agriculture, Health, Education and Panchayat departments shall be considered for the post.

The court accepted the assurance. "The state government shall abide by the statement made by the Advocate General and also the affidavit filed by it and will not appoint any private person as administrator of any Gram Panchayat till the petitions are heard next.

"The government can go ahead with appointment of administrators of those Gram Panchayats whose term has ended or ends this week," the court said. Next hearing will be on August 24.

The court also asked the government to consider appointing Gram Sevaks as administrators. "Gram Sevaks normally work in close tandem with the Sarpanch and hence are aware of all the work and procedure.

They (Gram Sevaks) would be a better option than appointing a private person as administrator," Justice Shinde said. The terms of 1,566 Gram Panchayats from 19 districts ended between April and June while the terms of 12,668 Gram Panchayats would end between July and December, 2020, the government affidavit said.


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