Himachal HC set aside notification of Nagar Panchayat Ani

Himachal Pradesh High court today quashed and set aside the Notification dated 27.10.2020, issued by the State Government, whereby  creation of Nagar Panchayat, Ani, was notified out of the different revenue  estates of the neighboring panchayats.  A Division Bench comprising Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and  Justice Virender Singh, found the Notification clearly in violation of the provisions of the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Act. The orders came to be passed on a petition filed by the residents of different villages of Anni Tehsil, who have been effected by the creation of Nagar Panchayat Ani.  The petitioners alleged that the respondents have illegally created  Nagar Panchayat, Ani, by taking out the villages from G.P. Bakhnao, Ani, Karana, Kungas, and Namhog. The petitioner contended that the Deputy Commissioner, Kullu of his own and in absence of any resolution on behalf of any of the panchayats for creation of Nagar Panchayat, Ani, recommended the matter to the Director, Urban Development, who in turn, issued a Notification dated 25.08.2020, whereby a proposal was made for constitution of the Nagar Panchayat, Nirmand, consisting of areas of above mentioned Gram Panchayats. Though at the end of the Notification, it was mentioned that Nagar Panchayat was proposed to be created for Ani. In terms of the Notification, objections/ suggestions were invited to be filed within six weeks. Various objections were filed, but, according to the petitioners, the same were not considered and the final Notification dated 27.10.2020, with regard to creation of Nagar Panchayat, Ani, was issued which according to them is illegal as there was no compliance of the mandatory provisions of the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Act.  It was further contended that additional areas have been taken for  creation of Nagar Panchayat, Ani, in the final Notification. In the absence of any proposal in the notification, these areas could not be taken out of  respective Gram Panchayats for inclusion in the Nagar Panchayat Ani. The respondents opposed the petition and contended that the  proposal as submitted fulfilled the requirement of law, more particularly, the legal propositions and conditions for formation of the Nagar Panchayat. The objections/suggestions and justified demands, were taken into consideration and some populated commercial area was included in this newly formed  Nagar Panchayat. However, during the course of hearing, the Court observed that the State Government is required to issue a notification whereby it proposes any local area to be a municipal area under the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Act. The notification so issued is to define the limits of the local area to which it relates. In case, further area is to be included, then procedure as prescribed in the Act is required to be followed the State While going through the record the Court found that proper procedure has not at all been followed and additional areas have been included in the creation of Gram Panchayat, Ani, which is clearly in violation of the provisions of the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Act. Consequently, the Notification dated 27.10.2020, issued by the State Government, notifying creation of Nagar Panchayat, Ani, has been quashed and set aside.

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