Opposing the government’s move to involve district guardian ministers in the process of selecting and appointing administrators to the nearly 14,000 gram panchayats, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Sarpanch Parishad said on Tuesday they will petition the courts against the “politically-motivated move”.
With elections to these gram panchayats postponed on account of the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown, the State Election Commission has recommended to the government that administrators be appointed wherever the elected members’ body is completing its tenure by November.
The sarpanch of Marsangvi village in Latur district’s Jalkot taluka, Daud Biradar, said he would file a second petition in the Bombay High Court specifically opposing the “political motivation” of the Government Resolution (GR) – dated July 13 – that directs zilla parishad chief executive officers to appoint administrators in consultation with district guardian ministers.
His petition challenging the ordinance, under which the appointment of administrators is now set to begin, was heard by the Aurangabad bench of the HC last week.
“This has come at a time when as a sarpanch, I have been working non-stop for three months to ensure that migrant workers returning here from Pune and Mumbai do not end up infecting the village. From enforcing quarantine rules to maintaining sanitation, the sarpanch of every village has made a huge contribution,” Biradar said.
Akhil Bharatiya Sarpanch Parishad president Jayant Patil Kurdukar said several sarpanches had expressed the desire to move court against the GR. “Some are preparing to lobby with authorities to ensure that their associates are appointed administrators. Others are angry and planning to move court. Everybody is so agitated about this that the fight against coronavirus appears to have been forgotten,” said Kurdukar.
He added that the government should instead declare elections to these gram panchayats to prevent the huge political impact of appointing administrators.
Nearly 50 per cent of Maharashtra ’s 28,000-odd gram panchayats would have gone to polls between March and November. On Monday, a GR issued by Additional Chief Secretary Arvind Kumar had said that from the point of view of administrative convenience, zilla parishad CEOs would be entrusted the work of appointing a suitable person as administrator for each gram panchayat whose tenure is ending now. It added that the appointments will be made in consultation with each district’s guardian minister.
The order pertains to 1,566 gram panchayats whose term ended between April and June and 12,668 of those whose term ends between July and November.
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