In an important judgment, the Punjab and Haryana high court has ruled that the MPs and MLAs who are nominated as members of local bodies in Haryana cannot be deemed as elected members of those bodies and thus cannot participate in no-confidence motions against the mayors, presidents and vice-presidents of the respective local bodies.
The judgment came on a petition, filed by one Sanjeev Kumar Verma who was elected president of Naraingarh municipal committee in Ambala but was voted out in 2010 through a no-confidence motion brought against him.
He had challenged in the petition that nominated members of the committee should not be treated as elected members of committee and thus should not be allowed to participate in a no-confidence votes. In the said case, he got voted out with two-thirds majority with two among the thirteen voting members being nominated.
The full bench comprising justices SK Mittal, Mahesh Grover, Jaswant Singh, HS Sidhu and Deepak Sibal also ruled that a member of an elected committee or local body fighting elections to the post of MLA or MP will cease to be a member of such a body as soon as he is elected.
The HC over ruled a 1997 full bench judgment which considered nominated MLAs and MPs as elected members of that particular local body and ruled that the expression elected members did not require any further interpretation.
“Elected members means the member of the committee who have been chosen through direct election from the territorial jurisdiction of the municipality in the municipal area,” the 2015 full bench observed.
HC observed that article 243R of the constitution provided that all the seats in a municipality would be filled by persons chosen by direct election from the territorial constituencies in the municipal area.
There was nothing in Article 243R which provided that the nominated members of the municipality would be considered as elected members of the municipality.
Meanwhile, the state legislature had inserted section 13-B in the Haryana Municipal Act which provided that no person would be an elected member of a committee, MLA of the state or MP simultaneously, also if a person was elected as MLA and MP, the person would cease to continue as an elected member of the committee in which she/he was a member.
“A clear distinction has been made by the state legislature between the elected and nominated members of the committee while enacting the law with regard to their right to vote in the election or removal of the president of the municipal committee,” the HC observed as subsection (3) of section 21 of the Municipal Act clearly provided that a motion of no-confidence could only be carried by two-third elected members of the committee.
“The right to elect and right to be elected is a statutory right and not a common law right. It can only be conferred by the statute,” the HC held. email@example.com