Calling it a violation of the basic structure of the constitution, the court said that it was dangerous as well as dictatorial.Coming down heavily on the amendment deleting the provision of no-confidence motion in the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, judges G.S. Singhvi and Chandramauli Kumar Prasad said: ‘It has killed the spirit of democracy at the grass-root level.’
Pointing to the provision by which the state government can remove the sarpanch but not the majority of members of the panchayat, Justice Prasad said: ‘What an irony that the centre of power is not the panchayat but somewhere else.’
Justice Singhvi said that ‘If we believe in the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, village panchayat is the basic unit of grass-root level democracy’ and it must exist on the trust of the people.
The Punjab government had moved the apex court challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court verdict of May 12.
Taking exception to the plea by the Punjab’s Additional Advocate General R.S. Khosla that the uninterrupted continuity of the sarpanch was necessary for the development of the village, Justice Singhvi said that the ‘move (the amendment) was not initiated by the panchayats but by their elder brothers’ in state legislature.
Slamming the plea of continuity, Justice Singhvi said that if some day a party gets a two-third majority in parliament, then it can amend the constitution to give itself a term of 10 or 20 years or even more.
Justice Prasad said that ‘right to recall by moving a no-confidence motion was integral to the right to elect’.The court described the deletion of the provision of no-confidence motion as dangerous. ‘It is a dangerous situation.’
The court allowed Khoskla to withdraw the petition.