Read Judgment: State of Rajasthan V. Ashok Khetoliya & Anr. 

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, March 11, 2022: Finding that the High Court had struck down the notification issued by the State of Rajasthan declaring Gram Panchayat Roopbas, District Bharatpur as Municipal Board, only for the reason that the notification under Article 243Q(2) of the Constitution was not published, the Supreme Court has opined that as Section 5 of the Rajasthan Municipalities Act, 2009 is not inconsistent with any provisions of Article 243Q, therefore, two notifications are not contemplated or warranted under the Scheme of Part IXA or the Rajasthan Municipalities Act, 2009. 

A Division Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V. Ramasubramanian observed that the State Government had exercised powers to establish Municipality in terms of Section 5 of the Municipalities Act, and hence, such notifications cannot be said to be illegal or arbitrary in any manner and were rightly issued in exercise of the statutory powers conferred on the State by the Legislature.  

The observation came pursuant to an appeal challenging an order passed by the High Court of Judicature of Rajasthan, whereby a notification dated August 12, 2014 declaring Gram Panchayat Roopbas, District Bharatpur as Municipal Board was set aside. The High Court found that no public notification as contemplated under Article 243Q(2) of the Constitution of India had been produced specifying Gram Panchayat Roopbas as a “transitional area” and thus, it cannot be declared as a Municipal Board.

After considering the submissions, the Top Court noted that since the local Government falls in entry 5 of List II of the Seventh Schedule, therefore, it is the State Legislature alone which is competent to legislate in respect of the municipalities with only one limitation that the provisions of the State Act cannot be inconsistent with the mandate of the Scheme of Part IXA of the Constitution. 

The scheme of Part IXA of the Municipalities Act does not contemplate a separate notification under Article 243Q of the Constitution and thereafter u/s 5 of the Municipalities Act, added the Court. 

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Gupta clarified that the State Government is competent to divide the Municipalities in the State into classes according to their income or other factors like population or importance of the local area and other circumstances as provided u/s 329 of the Municipalities Act. 

Accordingly, the Apex Court allowed the appeal and set aside the order passed by the High Court. 

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