Telangana High Court: Power to Remove Encroachment Vests With Panchayat Secretary

Author - Neha Agarwal (Banasthali Vidyapith, Rajasthan)

Telangana High Court has observed that the Panchayat Secretary has got powers to remove encroachments on public places in Gram Panchayats and also got the duty to implement resolutions of gram panchayats.

In the instant case, a petition filed by V Raghava Reddy, farmer of Nanajipur village in Ranga Reddy district, challenging the notice issued to him by the local sarpanch with a direction to remove the house compound wall that was illegally constructed by him.

Counsel on behalf of petitioner contended that as per provisions of the Telangana State Panchayat Raj Act, 2018, the sarpanch was not competent to issue notice to the petitioner for removal of compound wall constructed by the latter. As per the rules made in Government Order (GO) 108 dated September 26, 2018, panchayat secretary alone is entrusted with various responsibilities and also to take necessary steps with respect to the alleged violations. Counsel also submitted that, the sarpanch being a political person is not entrusted with the executive powers with respect to the affairs of gram panchayat.

The standing counsel on behalf of gram panchayat and sarpanch submitted that the gram panchayat has been entrusted with the power to grant permission and also to take steps for removal of any encroachments and unauthorised constructions, hence it cannot be said that the sarpanch was not entitled to issue the impugned notice to the petitioner. Counsel further submitted that, the sarpanch has issued the notice for implementation of the unanimous resolution of the gram panchayat members.

Single Bench headed by Justice Challa Kodanda Ram after hearing the case and perusing the material on record, found that as per  Section 43 of the Panchayat Raj Act, 2018 there are various duties and responsibilities of panchayat secretary  and has powers to take steps for removal of encroachments on public places in gram panchayats. The Court noted that, “It is not normal function of the sarpanch to implement the resolutions of the gram panchayat”.

Hence the petition is allowed.

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