Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh High Court has suspended GO-Ms-2 dealing with the delegation of functionary activities of Gram Panchayat secretaries to village revenue officers and posted the next hearing after four weeks.
A single judge bench headed by Justice Battu Devanand held the hearing on Monday on a petition filed by Thokalavanipalem gram sarpanch Krishnamohan.
The court observed that the state government encroached into the administration and functions of gram panchayats vested under article 243-G of the Constitution of India and the provisions of AP Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 and the Rules made thereunder.
The court said, “The contention of the petitioner that the state government with an intention to create parallel power centres in villages by establishing village secretariats appears to be true. It is also the considered opinion of the court that by taking away the powers of sarpanch and panchayat secretary, they will not have any control on the functional assistants of the village secretariat and it will have a severe impact in implementing different types of programmes and schemes at the gram panchayat level. This will defeat the objective of the 73rd amendment of the Constitution of India.”
“If such action is permitted, it would render the gram panchyat not as an institution of self-government but as a puppet in the hands of the respondents, as held by this high court in Gollapalli Gangadhara Rao and others vs. state of Andhra Pradesh and others.”
“The court is prima facie of the opinion that the impugned GO Ms 2 is issued in violation of articles 40, 243-G of the Constitution of India, section 4(2) of AP Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 and against to the aims and objects mentioned in GO Ms No. 110 and GO Ms No.149 of panchayat Raj and rural development.”
Advocate general Sriram submitted that though the VROs were made the cheque-disbursing officers of the functional assistants, whose leave applications were also processed through the VROs, the GO in question was the policy basis of the government. “It should be allowed to learn and evolve based on its experiences without the courts interference at the stage.”
He said the state government had no intention to create parallel power centres and the village secretariats with the functional assistants were merely meant for the last level delivery of various welfare schemes.