Take ‘Final Call’ On Trust Vote Against Dy Mayor, HC Tells SMC

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J&K High Court – File Pic

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed SMC to take a final call on a motion moved against the corporation’s Deputy Mayor and asked later to prove his majority “if the motion is strictly under rules and regulations.”

“Keeping in view the averments made in petition and having regard to submissions made on behalf of the official respondents (SMC) that they may be given 14 days’time to consider the motion, I deem it appropriate to dispose of this petition, directing the respondents to take final call on the motion moved by petitioners strictly under rules and regulations,” a bench of Justice Tashi Rabsatan said.

“It is further provided that if the motion is strictly under rules and regulations, let respondent No.5 (Deputy Mayor) prove his majority on the floor of the house of Srinagar Municipal Corporation by or before 29.08.2020,” he added.

However, the court said, the SOPs issued from time to time to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including social distancing shall be strictly adhered to.

The former Mayor SMC Junaid Azim Mattu and others had petitioned the high court, seeking its direction for culmination of a motion moved against the deputy Mayor.

They had contended that in terms of the provisions of the Municipal Corporation Act, 2000, a resolution of no confidence can be moved against the Mayor or the Deputy Mayor of the Corporation in accordance with the rules and regulations. Section 37 of the Act of 2000 provides that a notice of intention to move a resolution requiring the Mayor or the Deputy Mayor of the Corporation to vacate his office, signed by not less than majority of its total elected Councilors/Corporators, may be made in accordance with the procedure laid down in the rules.

Accordingly, a resolution was moved against the incumbent Deputy Mayor, signed by 38 Corporators which stands received in the office of the Secretary, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, on July 14.

As rules provide that a Councilor, who wishes to move a resolution, has to give at least 48 hours notice to the Secretary of his intention , the counsel for the petitioners submitted that a conjoint reading of Section 37 of the Act of 2000, and Regulation 21 of the Regulations of 2005, would reveal that a resolution of motion of no confidence against the Mayor or the Deputy Mayor was required to be signed by not less than majority of its councilors and the quorum for convening the special or general meeting for the purpose has to be not less than one half of its total elected members.

Admittedly, the court observed that officials of SMC could not consider the motion due to the present contagious situation of COVID-19 spread and the lock down imposed on account of pandemic.

The counsel for the petitioners submitted that since the Government has modified the SOPs, by allowing the business to operate as well as movement of transport, the SMC have to give final call on the motion made by the petitioners.

Momin Khan, counsel appearing for SMC, when pointedly asked by the Court that how much time would it require to take final call on the motion moved by the petitioners, he submitted that at least 14 days’ time was required to consider the motion that too under rules and regulations occupying the field. (GNS)

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