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Mamani Sardar & Others v/s Block Development Officer, Kultali, South 24 Parganas & Others

    Writ Petition No. 18466 of 2018

    Decided On, 15 March 2019

    At, High Court of Judicature at Calcutta

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE SUBRATA TALUKDAR

    For the Appearing Parties: Milan Chandra Bhattacharjee, Shyamal Kumar Bhattacharjee, Kalimuddin Mondal, Bipin Mondal, Debobrata Saha Roy, Lakshmi Nath Bhattacharjee, Advocates.



Judgment Text

1. Under challenge in this Writ Petition is the inaction on the part of the statutory Prescribed Authority/the BDO/ the Respondent No.2 to take the proceedings of the First Meeting to constitute the Deulbari Debipur Gram Panchayat (GP in issue or, only the said GP) following the 2018 State level Panchayat Elections to its logical conclusion.

2. Mr. Milan Bhattacharjee, Learned Senior Counsel appearing for the petitioners, submits that the eight petitioners are all elected members of the GP in issue under Kultali Block, District South 24 Parganas. The said GP holds a total of 17 constituencies. Therefore, at the conclusion of the 2018 State level Panchayat Elections, in addition to the writ petitioners, the nine Private Respondents were also elected as members of the said GP.

3. Mr. Bhattacharjee submits that the Prescribed Authority (PA) under the law scheduled the First Meeting for election of Pradhan and Upa-Pradhan of the said GP on the 27th of August, 2018. Notice of the meeting was duly received by the elected members, that is the petitioners and the private respondents, on the 16th of August, 2018.

4. It is further submitted that the meeting of 27th of August, 2018 was presided over by a delegate of the PA, the Presiding Officer (for short the PO) and not by the PA himself. All 17 elected GP members belonging to different political groups were represented at the meeting. It is also submitted that the candidature of the petitioner No.1 was proposed and seconded by her group for the office of the Pradhan as also the candidature of one Swati Sardar by the private respondents for the same post. It is submitted that the process for exercising franchise by distribution of ballot papers among the elected members was proceeded with by the PO, an officer of the Kultali Panchayat Samiti.

5. Mr. Bhattacharjee next points out that of the 17 ballots actually cast, the ballot paper of a single member arguably belonging to the group of the private respondents was found to be defectively cast and hence cancelled. It is specifically pleaded by the petitioners at Paragraph 10 of the writ petition as follows:-

"That it is stated here that on the said date at the time of the said first meeting on the said date in presence of the all 17 elected members of the said Gram Panchayat set up their respective candidates for the office of the Pradhan of the said Gram Panchayat, the petitioners, the petitioner no.1 was proposed Mamani Sardar for the office of the Pradhan and Satish Sardar's name, who was proposed and seconded by the petitioners and private respondents, supporters as referred.

That it be stated here specifically that on the said date, 27.8.2018 after conducting the said election of 2(two) candidates for the office of the Pradhan from the petitioners said and other Satish Sardar candidates for the private respondents/second group all the 17 members belonging of the two groups, the petitioners and the private respondents duly caste their votes by ballots and the said ballot papers was distributed by the Presiding Officer, the respondent no.3 distributed among the aforesaid 17 elected members of the said Gram Panchayat to both the groups and on completion of the said Votes for the office of the Pradhan of the said Gram Panchayat and thereafter on examination of all the 17 ballot papers, particularly to be specifically speaking, the ballot paper of an elected member belonging the group of T.M.C. Debala Biswas opposite camp parties found to be defective by the Presiding Officer, the respondent no.3 so the respondent no.3 Presiding Officer, after considering everything cancelled with specific note by the respondent no.3, Presiding Officer.

Naturally on the said date of election for the office of Pradhan and Upa-Pradhan, the said contendors for the office of the Pradhan of the said Gram Panchayat polled eight votes each and as such there was tie. In the above circumstances on the said date the Presiding Officer, the respondent no. 3(three) was to resrort to tie breaking method of casting their lots by way of tossing a coin or otherwise."

6. It is also stated at Paragraph 10 (supra) that ignoring the position which emerged after the ballots were cast, the private respondents created a melee at the venue of the meeting and thereafter left the election hall. It would be therefore necessary at this juncture to reproduce the remaining pleadings connected to the day' events on the 27th August, 2018 as ventilated through Paragraph 10 (supra).

"It is stated here that on the said date when the Presiding Officer, the respondent no. 3 was bracing for breaking the above tie, the members belonging to the Group of T.M.C. and C.P.I.(M) when on rampage and run amaock, and they begun to shower invectives upon the presiding Officer as well as some members of the petitioners in vituperative terms, and thereafter without waiting for final tie breaking steps, the members of the T.M.C. and C.P.I. (M) Party fled the venue of the said election as above.

That it be stated here that in the above circumstances after repeated call by the respondent no. 3 as the private respondent failed to come before the respondent no. 3 and in such situation the respondent no.3 presiding officer virtually announced the candidate, the petitioner no.1. Projected by the petitioners, the petitioner no.1 stood elected, Phadhan of the aforesaid Gram Panchayat, although the respondent no.3 as stated above fervently requested the second group, the private respondents to participate in the said Venue-on the said date.

That it is stated that thereafter the petitioners on the said date urged the respondent no. 3 Presiding Officer to arrange for election of Upa-Pradhan of the said Gram Panchayat at the time of said meeting and when such prayer made by your petitioners before the presiding officer was continuing, all on a sudden the elected member belongings to the Group of T.M.C. and C.P.I.M. entered the meeting room and demanded before the respondent no.3 to hand over the said cancelled ballot paper and the respondent no.3 in reply refused to hand over the said cancelled ballot papers DebalaBiswas which was kept in the custody of the respondent no.3 very carefully and on the occasions the second group i.e. the elected member belonging to the group of T.M.C. and C.P.I. (M) went on rampage and beg to shower invectives upon the Presiding Officer as well as upon some elected members of the B.J.P. party in rancorous terms and by force took the said cancelled ballot papers lying in the custody of the respondent no.3, the Presiding Officer and ultimately the police escort present on the said date outside the said Panchayet Meeting Room of DeulbariDebipur Gram Panchayat Office recovered the said cancelled ballot papers from the hands of the second group/private respondents and ultimately the second group left the said office on the said date.

It be also stated here that the petitioners during that occasions duly urged for issuing documents as regards election of Pradhan of the said Gram Panchayat before the respondent no. 3, who i.e. the Presiding Officer, the respondent no. 3 declined to take any steps in that regards as the members of the opposite camp group the elected members of the said Gram Panchayat, i.e. the private respondents had left the said place and venue after after committing such acts as above and verbally informed to your petitioners that he has duly completed the elections Pradhan and complied all formalities and also declared that the petitioner no.1 has been elected as Pradhan of the Gram Panchayat and he has filled up all prescribed form and submit the report with respondent no.2 but in view of demand of issuing certificate of election documents by the petitioners but he refused to take steps since same would be issued by the respondent no. 2.

That it is stated that election of Prodhan had been duly completed in presence of all 17 members but all exercised of election of UpaPradhan could not be completed since the second parties/group fled away from the venue by committing the above illegal acts although the respondent no.3 completed all exercises as per law."

7. Mr. Bhattacharjee submits that thereafter in spite of repeated representations before the PA/ the BDO/ the respondent No. 2 to the writ petition to conclude the electoral process as initiated at the First Meeting, no steps were taken to do so. The petitioners were therefore compelled to file a representation on the 29th of August, 2018 before the BDO/ PA/ the Respondent No. 2. However, inspite of the representation dated 29th of August, 2018, the PA/ BDO remained inactive on the issue compelling the petitioners to file a fresh representation dated 6th of September, 2018 seeking completion of all formalities in accordance with the law connected to the electoral exercise of 27th August, 2018.

8. Mr. Bhattacharjee points out that based on the above facts the writ petitioners are seeking immediate reliefs commanding the State Respondents and, particularly the Respondent No. 2, to refrain from holding any further meeting for electing the office bearers of the said GP in issue without taking the electoral exercise of 27th August, 2018 (supra) to its logical conclusion.

9. However, subsequent events which Mr. Bhattacharjee argues to be blatantly contrary to the provisions of law, have compelled the writ petitioners to file a Supplementary Affidavit bringing them on record.

10. It is, inter alia, pleaded in the Supplementary Affidavit that the PA/ BDO issued fresh notices on the 18th of September, 2018 received by some of the elected members fixing a fresh date for election of office bearers to the said GP to be held on the 28th of September 2018 at 12 noon. The fresh notices for the purported second meeting fixed on the 28th of September, 2018 were objected to by the petitioners and such objection has been made part of the Supplementary Affidavit filed in the pending writ petition before this Court.

11. It is the specific stand of the petitioners that the fresh notices dated 18th September, 2018 do not enjoy any validity in law in the absence of strict compliance of the step by step provisions governing the holding of the First Meeting as laid down in Rule 3 of the West Bengal Panchayat (Constitution) Rules, 1975 (for short the 1975 Rules). Mr. Bhattacharjee argues that although the respondent No.2/ the PA was requested to stay his hands in the matter of election of office bearers, the respondent No. 2/ PA arbitrarily proceeded to hold the purported meeting on the 28th of September, 2018. As a result at the purported second meeting on the 28th of September, 2018, the private respondents managed to elect from out of their own, both the Pradhan and the Upa-Pradhan.

12. Referring to the legal provisions on the subject, Learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners submits that Rule 3 of the 1975 Rules does not contemplate a situation of recall of the electoral process and holding the election afresh in a situation when ballot papers have been cast by the elected members. The sole legal provision holding the field is Rule 3 of the 1975 Rules permitting the PA to adjourn the meeting only when there is a failure to achieve the quorum.

13. Mr. Bhattacharjee argues that it is not the stand taken by the Respondents and particularly the Respondent No. 2/ the PA/ the BDO that no quorum was achieved on the 27th of August, 2018.

14. Accordingly, Learned Senior Counsel points out that the purported second meeting dated the 28th of September, 2018, does not at all satisfy the requirements of the 1975 Rules and particularly Rule 3 thereof.

15. Arguing on the basis of the facts made part of the records by the appearing parties, it is submitted that the First Meeting dated 27th of August, 2018 had to be concluded by the PO having regard to the ground situation going beyond his control.

16. Second, since the meeting could not be concluded under the 1975 Rules in terms of the report of the PO, the matter was referred to the District Panchayat and Rural Development Officer (DPRDO)/the respondent No.7. Thereafter pursuant to a direction on the 11th of September, 2018 of the Additional District Magistrate (Panchayat and Rural Development) dated the 11th of September, 2018, the PA/ BDO/ the Respondent No. 2 fixed the second purported date for the election of office bearers.

17. The further stand in connection with the second purported meeting is taken by the petitioners is that the methodology of service through Latkan Jari as well as through service through the local police was resorted to, the latter mode of service being utterly foreign to any legal procedure.

18. Third, referring to the report of the PO/ the Respondent No.3 addressed to the PA/ the Respondent No.2, Mr. Bhattacharjee points out that nowhere a case has been made out for abandonment of the First Meeting as subsequently presented by the BDO/the Respondent No.2. It is reiterated that the First Meeting could be adjourned only and, only if, the quorum was not achieved. No power is bestowed on the ADM (Panchayat & Rural Development) to direct the PA/ BDO/ the Respondent No. 2 to hold a fresh meeting beyond what is provided under Rule 3 of the 1975 Rules.

19. Therefore, Mr. Bhattacharjee submits that the election of office bearers to the said GP on the basis of the second purported meeting dated the 28th of September, 2018 be set aside. The further submission is made that the meeting of 27th August, 2018 be carried to its logical conclusion.

20. Appearing on behalf of the State respondents, Mr. Kalimuddin Mandal, Learned Counsel, places reliance on the Affidavit in Opposition of the Respondent No.2/BDO/ the PA to the meeting dated 27th August, 2018. Paragraph 4 of the Affidavit in Opposition reads as follows:-

"I say that as all the 17 Ballot papers in connection with the election of Pradhan at the Deulbari Debipur Gram Panchayat (Dated 27.08.2018) are in my custody as prescribed authority and the relevant Ballot Box which was used on that day is also in my custody under the capacity of prescribed authority. On one ballot paper, Presiding Officer has marked as "cancelled."

21. It is stated at Paragraph 5 of said Affidavit in Opposition that the Respondent No.3/ the PO could not complete the meeting on the 27th of August, 2018. Since the meeting could not be concluded on the 27th of August, 2018, the PO' report was forwarded to the DPRDO for necessary instructions.

22. At Paragraph 6 of the said affidavit of the PA/ BDO it is, inter alia, pleaded that while, on the one hand, the election of the Pradhan could not be completed, the process for electing the Upa-Pradhan stood untouched. Therefore, since the meeting dated 27th August, 2018, failed to yield any productive result, following the instructions of the ADM (P & RD) dated the 11th of September, 2018, the adjourned Meeting was scheduled for the 28th of September, 2018.

23. Mr. Mondal also submits that in terms of Paragraph 4 of the said Affidavit, the PA/ BDO following Rule 6A of the 1975 Rules read with Section 7 of the West Bengal Panchayat (Amendment) Act, '1997 (the 1997 Amendment Act), was under a statutory obligation to obtain a declaration under Form 3A of the 1975 Rules to the effect that a Pradhan or Upa-Pradhan, being a candidate for the election of office bearers, declare that he/she shall be a whole time functionary without holding any office of profit.

24. It would be necessary for this discussion to reproduce the stand on affidavit taken by the PA/ the BDO:-

"I say that as per office records, it is evident that some of the oath taking form (Form No.3) are partly torn in connection with the meeting dated 27.08.2018. I further say that as per office records declaration in form- 3A was not obtained by the Presiding Officer from the contesting candidates in the meeting of 27.08.2018."

25. Mr. Mondal submits that since no undertaking was obtained under Form 3A the entire electoral procedure dated 27th of August, 2018 stood vitiated. It is only after a declaration under Form 3A is obtained by the PO, the list of candidates shall be finalised. Referring to the record of the proceeding at the First Meeting, Learned State Counsel submits that there is no mention of the fact that the undertaking specifically in terms of Rule 3A was obtained from the contesting candidates, including the Petitioner No.1.

26. Mr. Mondal points out that having regard to the pre-condition of the undertaking placed by Rule 6A vide Form 3A (supra), the question of the petitioners or, any of them, claiming to have been successfully elected as the Pradhan of the said GP is an exercise in speculation. Therefore, considering the incompleteness of the First Meeting, the adjourned meeting was held on 28th September, 2018 to constitute the said GP.

27. Appearing on behalf of the private respondents, Mr. Saha Roy, Learned Counsel stresses that there is no evidence in the report of the Respondent No. 3/ the PO as addressed to the Respondent No.2/ the PA/ the BDO that the single vote of a member voting on the 27th of August, 2018 stood cancelled. Admittedly, the present private respondent held the majority of 9 out of 17 votes in the GP in issue and democratic norms presume application of the majority principle.

28. Mr. Saha Roy submits that for the second purported meeting dated 28th of September, 2018 to conduct the election to offices of Pradhan and Upa-Pradhan, notices were issued to the elected members and since some of the members comprising the group of the petitioners refused to accept notice service through Latkanjari, service and through the police was resorted to by the PA. Mr. Saha Roy submits that having regard to the entire conspectus of facts reported by the BDO/PA/ the Respondent No. 2 to the Additional District Magistrate/ P & RD on the 9th of September 2018, there is no illegality or infirmity in the ADM (P & RD) instructing the BDO/PA/ the Respondent No.2 to proceed with the second meeting on the 28th of September, 2018.

29. It is also the case made out by Learned Counsel for the private respondents that in terms of the guidelines/ instructions issued by the Special Secretary, Department of Panchayats and Rural Development, Government of West Bengal to all District Magistrates and District Panchayat Election Officers (except the Districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong) for constituting the 3 tier Panchayat bodies, Notice in Form 1 shall be served upon each elected member of the Gram Panchayat body at least 7 days prior to the date fixed for the meeting. Learned Counsel for the private respondents submits that since some of the petitioners avoided service under Form 1 for the second meeting, the plea taken by Mr. Bhattacharjee, Learned Senior Counsel for the petitioners, that the petitioners could not attend the second meeting on the 28th of September, 2018 is without basis.

30. Replying to the points raised Mr. Saha Roy that there is no whisper in the Report of the PO/the Respondent No.3 addressed to the PA/the BDO, that the First meeting date 27th of August, 2018 did not refer to cancellation of any ballot paper, reference is made to Paragraph 3 of the Affidavit of the State Respondents (supra) which reads as follows:-

"I say that as per the report submitted by the Presiding Officer respondent no.3 the election of Prodhan and Upa-Prodhan of Deulbari Debipur gram panchayat stood incomplete on 27/08/2018. Therefore the Presiding Officer could not decide the names of Prodhan and Upa-Prodhan. The Presiding Officer has also stated that all the members got involved in heated altercation leading to scuffles when he was proceeding for lot to select the Prodhan for the said gram panchayat and a few of them had tried to snatch away relevant papers including ballot papers from him. The situation had gone beyond the control of the PrO where he could not continue the proceedings as per norms. Therefore, the Presiding Officer had to call off the process of the meeting requesting the police authority to intervene. The report of the Presiding Officer was forwarded to DP&RDO vide Memo No. 138/Kul/PGE2018 dated 27.08.2018 for his information and necessary instruction."

31. Having heard the parties and considering the materials placed, this Court arrives at the following findings:-

A) That the language of Rule 3 of the 1975 Rules under Chapter II thereof is self-explanatory. Rule 3 deals with the steps to be taken by the PA or the PO, as the case maybe, to call and hold a meeting of all elected members of the GP in issue for the purpose of electing the Pradhan and Upa-Pradhan of the GP.

Section 9(2) of the 1973 Act stipulates the procedure to be followed by the PA in the prescribed manner connected to the First Meeting of a newly constituted GP to elect one of its members as the Pradhan and another as Upa-Pradhan.

It is relevant to mention that Section 9(1) of the 1973 Act states, inter alia, that election of the Pradhan and the Upa-Pradhan can take place at the First Meeting at which a quorum is present.

B) The prescribed manner as specified in Section 9(2) of the 1973 Act is the procedure laid down under Rule 3 of the 1975 Rules. Whereas Section 9(1) refers to the mandatory holding of the First Meeting on the basis of the quorum which is present, Rule 3(3) (supra) refers to a situation when there is no quorum consisting of 1/3rd of the total number of members as referred to in Clause (i) of sub-section 2(A) of Section 4 of the 1973 Act, subject to a minimum of three members. Rule 3(3) therefore, on the condition of no quorum being present, permits the PO to adjourn the meeting. The adjourned meeting shall then take place on such date, place and time as maybe fixed by the PA and the provision regarding notice of the adjourned meeting as contained in Rule 3(1) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

C) Rule 3(4), Rule 3(6), Rule 3(6A) upto Rule 3(10),inter alia, provide for the methodology of holding the election of Pradhan and Upa-Pradhan. It will be important for this discussion to briefly state the relevance of the provisions of Rule 3(4), 3(6) and Rule 3(6A) as well as Rule 3(10) to the facts of this case.

Rule 3(4) requires members to take oath under Section 197 of the 1973 Act. Such oath or affirmation should be in Form 3 before the PO. Rule 3(6) next provides for the PO to call upon the members present to propose and second the names of the eligible candidate under Form 1B for election of the Pradhan. The names of the candidates along with the names of the proposer and the seconder shall be then recorded by the PO.

D) Rule 3(6A) requires the PO to obtain a written declaration in Form 3A to the effect that on being elected, such candidate shall devote his whole time to his office and shall not be associated with any other office, profession or business. The failure on the part of the candidate to declare under Form 3A vide Rule 3(3A) (supra) shall entitle the PO to reject such candidature.

Rule 3(10), inter alia, provides that the papers relating to the election of the Pradhan or Upa-Pradhan shall be sent by the PO to the PA for safe custody. The PA shall keep the papers in safe custody for six months after which they may be destroyed.

E) Returning to the facts of the present case it would be first important to notice the First Information of the First Meeting of the GP in issue as held on the 27th August, 2018. The PO in his communication to the PA unequivocally underscores the following points:-

(a) The First Meeting started at the appointed time.

(b) The oath taking or affirmation was duly performed.

(c) The members were requested to propose and second names of candidates.

(d) Two names came up for contest for the post of Pradhan.

(e) In view of the contest the ballot box was utilised for members to cast vote.

(f) Seventeen members cast their votes.

(g) The two candidates for the post of Pradhan are said to have received equal number of votes.

(h) In view of the tie between the two candidates it was decided to draw lots to decide the winning candidate as provided by Rule 3(7)(b) of the 1975 Rules.

(i) At this stage the members present started a heated altercation and ballot papers were attempted to be snatched from the hands of the PO. However, with the help of the police personnel present the PO managed to recover the ballot papers.

(j) Not being able to control the pandemonium at the venue, leaving the election of the Pradhan and Upa-Pradhan at that stage, the PO had to vacated the spot.

F) At this stage this Court must again notice the averments at Paragraph 3 of the Affidavit filed on behalf of the Respondent No. 2/BDO/PA. Paragraph 3 stands reiterated below:-

"I say that as all the seventeen ballot papers in connection with the election of the Pradhan at the DualbarabHabibpur Gram Panchayat (27th August 2018) are in my custody as prescribed by the authority and the relevant ballot box which was used on that day is also in my custody under the capacity of PA on one ballot paper, PO has marked "cancelled".

G) Therefore, to the mind of this Court, notwithstanding the stand taken by Learned State Counsel, Mr. Mondal, that in the absence of the declaration received from a candidate under Form 3A following the provisions of Rule 3(6A), the entire electoral exercise of 27th August, 2018 stands vitiated, is a position which this Court finds difficult to accept.

This Court must notice from the spontaneous report of the PO that the formalities connected to a quorum under Rule 3(3) as well as the further formalities of subscribing oath or affirmation under Rule 3(4) and the formalities to propose and second a candidate under Rule 3(6) stood completed as per the prescribed procedure. Accordingly, the 17 candidates were asked to proceed for casting their votes, which they did and, the PO having rejected 1 vote out of 17, having regard to the nature of the voting and number of votes actually cast, a tie had arguably emerged between the Petitioner No.1 and the competing candidate for the post of Pradhan. The PO therefore, again had correctly reported that when steps were being taken under Rule 3(7)(b) to resolve the tie by drawing lots, pandemonium broke out which the petitioners attribute to the camp of the private respondents who, arguably again, no longer found themselves holding the slender majority of one member.

H) In the above view of the matter having regard to the statutory provisions of the 1973 Act and the 1975 Rules (supra), there could be no occasion for the PA/BDO to roll back the electoral process. The PA could have rolled back the electoral process only if the PO had reported that no quorum was formed under Rule 3(3) (supra) and the vote could not have proceeded to the stage of taking of the oath or affirmation and thereafter to the positive exercise of franchise. In the considered view of this Court there arose no occasion for the PA/ BDO to call the second meeting to elect the Pradhan and Upa-Pradhan on the 28th of September, 2018.

I) Since the PA admits to the ballot box and the votes cast remaining in his custody, including the cancelled vote, it was always open to the PA to have completed the voting exercise in terms of Rule 3(6A). The PA could have proceeded to draw lots as per the report of the PO in terms of Rule 3(7) (b). It was not necessary for the PA/BDO to have relied on correspondence subsequent to the report of the PO only for the purpose of presenting an alternate scenario to

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the true facts as recorded by the PO, being present on the spot, of the events of 27TH August, 2018. J) The only point which requires to be now addressed by this Court is the effect of the reported failure of the candidates to declare an oath vide Form 3A under Rule 3(6A) of the 1975 Rules. Although Learned State Counsel, Mr. Mondal, has strongly argued this point,it does appear to this Court on a plain reading of Rule 3(6A) that the declaration under Form 3A is linked to the rejection of the candidature. This Court further finds that since the result of the election of the Pradhan at the First Meeting on 27th August, 2018 was not announced formally or, not declared, the status of the competing candidates had not changed from being candidates and, not elected candidates. There is no prohibition in the language of Rule 3 (6A) (supra) that till the electoral process is formally concluded, noncompliance of Rule 3 (6A) and Form 3A, if arguably not complete, would be fatal to a candidate at the candidature stage. K) This Court must therefore find that qua the election of the Pradhan to the GP in issue as complained of in the Writ Petition, the notice of the second meeting as well as the second meeting dated the 28th September, 2018 do not enjoy statutory backing. 32. In the backdrop of the above discussion, it is directed as follows:- (I) The second meeting dated the 28th of September, 2018 along with its proceedings and results stand set aside. Consequently, the election of the Pradhan and Upa-Pradhan, if any, on the basis of the second meeting held on 28th September, 2018 also stand set aside. (II) The PA/BDO /the Respondent No. 2 is now directed to complete the election of the Pradhan on the basis of the vote held on 28th August, 2018 following, as necessary, the prescription of Rule 3(7) (b) of the 1975 Rules. It is also directed that prior to declaring the result of the election, the PA shall be entitled to complete the steps under Rule 3 of the 1975 Rules which could not be completed on account of the artificial pandemonium at the First Meeting as reported by the PO. (III) However, since no voting admittedly could take place for the office of the Upa-Pradhan and there is no record of names being proposed or seconded, the PA shall be entitled to also complete the remaining agenda of the First Meeting dated 28th August, 2018 from the stage of formation of the quorum on that date. (IV) It is expected that the above directed exercise shall be completed not later than 4 weeks from the date of communication of this Order. 33. W.P. No. 18466 (W) of 2018 stands accordingly allowed. 34. Urgent Xerox certified photocopies of this judgement, if applied for, be given to the parties upon compliance of the requisite formalities. Later:- Mr. Saha Roy with Mr. Bhattacharjee, Learned Counsel, appearing for the Private Respondent Nos.10-18 prays for stay of the operation of this judgement and order dated 15th of March, 2019. Prayer for stay is considered and refused.
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