The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that "no-confidence motion" was an inherent and integral part of democracy which cannot be vested in the bureaucracy as it creates a "very dangerous situation" and is unconstitutional.
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and C K Prasad castigated Punjab government for amending the Panchayati Raj Act to vest the powers indirectly in the bureaucracy, thus depriving the elected members to remove a sarpanch.
"He (official) can't be a dictator. There are basic tenets of democracy and Article 14 cannot be violated. It is violative of the preamble of the Constitution.
"It is killing the spirit of democracy. It is a legislative perversion. You have created a situation where a sapranch can never be removed by a no-confidence motion. No confidence motion is an integral an inherent right," the bench said.
The apex court made the remarks while refusing to entertain the state government's appeal challenging Punjab and Haryana High Court's decision to quash the amendment as being unconstitutional.
The high court had last month struck down the implementation of the Punjab Panchayati Raj Amendment Act, 2011. It was sought to be put into retrospective effect from July 1 last.
Under the controversial amendment which was introduced by way of Section 1(2), sarpanches cannot be removed by a no-confidence motion at least for two years. Their subsequent removal was subject to an application made to the block development officer or other senior officials who were virtually given the power to scrutinise the motion and decide on it.