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Court concerned over spurt in writ petitions filed by panchayat chiefs

Mohamed Imranullah S.

High Court asks Municipal Secretary to convene meeting of local body heads

MADURAI: The Madras High Court has expressed concern over the increasing number of writ petitions being filed by panchayat presidents seeking its intervention even for solving petty problems faced by them while administering local bodies.

Disposing of one such writ petition filed before the Madurai Bench, Justice G. Rajasuria on Monday asked the Government Advocate to convey the court’s anxiety to the Municipal Administration Secretary and the District Collectors concerned.

The Judge suggested that the Secretary call for a meeting of panchayat presidents and instruct them to solve local problems with the assistance of officials such as Block Development Officers and Tahsildars before moving the High Court.

“The people have to come to panchayat presidents seeking redress of their grievances. In that way, they are a court unto themselves. How can one court move another court, that, too, complaining of very basic problems,” he asked the petitioner’s counsel.

Turning to Government Advocate Mr. Justice Rajasuria said: “I am at a loss to understand where we are heading. I have seen at least 10 writ petitions of this nature. See to it that these kinds of cases don’t come to the court.”

In the present petition, S. Arivukkodi, president of Peruvalappur panchayat in Lalgudi taluk of Tiruchi district, had alleged that a few villagers had damaged the fence put up by the local body around a government land spread over 0.36 hectare. A criminal complaint was lodged against the perpetrators but the Siruganur police did not initiate any action, she said, seeking a direction to government officials to initiate appropriate action to protect the public property.

Taking cognisance of the issue, the Judge directed the Tiruchi Collector to interfere in the matter and resolve the problem by issuing necessary directions to his subordinates. He made it clear that the exercise should be completed in two months.

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