HC order on rural body
The high court on Monday directed South Dinajpur district magistrate to find out within four weeks whether the state government’s decision to appoint a mentor and a co-mentor at the zilla parishad to monitor the rural body’s development projects was legally valid.
“If the DM finds that the government’s decision is not valid, the DM would have to remove both the mentor and co-mentor from their posts with immediate effect,” the Calcutta High Court order stated.
Justice Arindam Sinha also directed the district magistrate to clarify what law or laws prompted his government to appoint the mentor and the co-mentor.
A special secretary of the panchayat department had appointed the mentor and the co-mentor after more than one-third of parishad members, including sabhadhipati Lipika Roy, had joined the BJP last year.
New appointments became necessary as panchayat rules do not permit the government to remove an elected sabhadhipati before he/she completes at least two years in the office.
The court issued the order on Monday following a petition filed by former sabhadhipati Roy and a few other parishad members in September.
Roy had returned to Trinamul Congress in December. However, neither Roy or none on her behalf have informed the high court about the new development.
“ Apart from Roy, there are other petitioners in the case. So, the court passed its order on Monday,” advocate Amalesh Roy, the lawyer appearing for the petitioners said.
In the 18-member Trinamul Congress led South Dinajpur Zilla Parishad a constitutional crisis had developed after its sabhadhipati and few members joined BJP .
According to existing rules, the government was not in a position to remove the sabhadhipati before completion of two years of her term. But it was impossible for the government to allow a parishad where majority of the members belong to the ruling party but the sabhadhipati is from the BJP.
The government, therefore, decided to appoint Snehasish (Sona) Pal as mentor and Maumita Mondal as co-mentor of the parishad against payment of monthly remunerations of Rs 10,000 and Rs 5,000, respectively.
The government also declared that they would monitor the development work undertaken by the state in the district.
To protest the government’s decision, Roy and other members, who had joined the BJP, had moved court.