The Supreme Court upheld the Bombay High Court’s order granting the selection of a member elected as the group leader of the Congress party because of majority support in a ‘Panchayat Samiti’ in Maharashtra. The Court observed that ‘in a democratic system, the will of the majority prevails’.
Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice B. R. Gavai held that the leader of a group in a municipality is elected by a majority and cannot be imposed and in the absence of any process of removal, the selection to get rid of the individual after he has lost the majority support. procedure can be followed.
Referring to the judgments, the top court said, “Thus it can be seen that this court has clearly held that the leader of a municipal party is elected by ‘Aghadi’ or Morcha and not by any outsider.” ….’
Justice Gavai, who wrote the judgment for the bench, said that imposition of a group leader other than the democratic process undermines the very roots of democracy and is certainly a violation of rules.
It states, ‘As soon as such a person loses the confidence of the majority, he becomes unwanted. In a democratic system, the will of the majority should prevail.
The judgment was filed against a Bombay High Court judgment dated March 30, 2021 by S. Came on an appeal by Sangeeta. The High Court had dismissed Sangeeta’s appeal against an order passed by the Ahmednagar District Collector on January 6, 2020.
The District Collector had given approval to elect Vandana Dnyaneshwar Murkute as the party leader of the Congress Party in the Shrirampur Panchayat Samiti party. Three others, including Sangeeta and Murkute, were elected as members of the ‘Panchayat Samiti’, Shrirampur in the 2017 elections.
At a meeting of the elected members of the party, Sangeeta was chosen as the group leader of the Indian National Congress Panchayat Samiti Party (INCPS) and was later removed following complaints that she had removed the other three members of the INCPS. Neither took it into confidence nor convened any meeting for more than two years.
Later, Sangeeta was elected the President of the Panchayat Samiti with the help of elected members of other parties. The High Court had dismissed his application against his removal from the post of group leader.
“The appellant was chosen as the group leader when he had the support of all the members of the INCPS party,” the top court said. However, when she decided to take a different path, she lost the majority support of the INCPS party and thus, could not impose her leadership on the majority.
The top court, in its judgment, said that laws and rules have been framed to prevent horse-trading and to maintain law and order in the political system, but at the same time the provisions cannot be interpreted in such a way that a person living in a minority impose itself on other members, who are in absolute majority.