Panchayat:Repo18/Law Manual Page0092

be complied with, before a final notification is issued. Evidently, consultation under Section 4(2) is a procedural requirement which is a pre-condition for the validity of the subsequent decision. It is well settled that if the statute requires a particular thing to be done in a particular manner, then it shall be all. This also indicates that the provision is mandatory – Saji Joseph @ Sebastian M.J. and Others v. State of Kerala - 2010 (3) KHC 617: 2010 (3) KLT 672. Remoteness of the seat of administration, want of proper transport and communication facilities. etc. are relevant factors which requires consideration before reorganization of local bodies. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Government to have a rational basis for forming the village panchayats and block panchayats considering these factors. Evidently, these principles, if applied to the fact situation herein, it cannot be said that the Government has kept in mind such principles in these cases thus resulting in an arbitrary and illegal exercise in finalising the proposals. Therefore, as far as these cases are concerned, clearly it is a case of arbitrary exercise wherein certain Grama Panchayats have been picked up and chosen for exclusion from the existing Block Panchayats and sought to be included in other Block Panchayats. The same is without considering the loss of all round facilities for the people who are residing in the Village Panchayats close to the headquarters of the existing Block Panchayats and the difficulties they may have to experience if they are included in a far distant new Block Panchayat. There is no scientific study or consideration of geographic and administrative convenience preceding the reorganisation. The facts pointed out leads only to one conclusion that the assertion that the Government wanted to reorganise them on a rational basis, is clearly unsupportable. No rational basis has been projected or shown through and the materials are lacking in support of the same Joseph v. State of Kerala – 2010 (3) KHC 617.

The question is whether there was a meaningful or effective consultation, since the term 'consultation' in Section 4(2) is a pre-requirement for a final notification. It is well settled that the Court can examine whether there was sufficient consultation. It is evident that a formal compliance of the provision regarding consultation is not that is indicated in the provision. It was held that "the form is not material but the substance is important. It is necessary that consultation shall be directed to the essential points and to the core of the subject involved in the discussions." These are important principles to be applied while considering the sufficiency of the consultation initiated by the Government herein also. Keeping in mind the above principles, the question whether the Government has properly consulted the Panchayats and has considered the relevant materials projected by them in effecting diminution of the area of certain Block Panchayats, arises for consideration. The exercise done does not satisfy the principles laid down by the Apex Court in Pradhan Sangh Kshettra Samiti's case, and there is total non application of mind to the relevant circumstances and total absence of materials proposal as well as the final notification. The consultation initiated by forwarding the proposal, cannot to be sufficient and meaningful and therefore the final notification is clearly vitiated - Saji Joseph v. State of Kerala – 2010 (3) KHC 617.

The organisation of Village Panchayats and Block Panchayats therefore should be done in a rational basis which will have an administrative set up considering the geographical and administrative convenience also. That alone will suit the needs of the public. The Apex Court has laid emphasis on this aspect while considering a similar issue in State of U.P. and Others v. Pradhan Sangh Kshettra Samithi and Others. The Apex Court emphasised the various relevant factors including the remoteness of the seat of administration, want of proper transport and communication facilities, etc. in the said paragraph. This principle is of general application, evidently. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Government to have a rational basis for forming the village panchayats and block panchayats considering these factors. – Saji Joseph v. State of Kerala – 2010 (3) KHC 617.

It is well settle that the action of the Government should be fair, not tainted by arbitrariness, or mala fides and there should be proper application of mind to arrive at such decisions. That the exclusion of such areas and inclusion of the same in other Block Panchayats results in adverse civil consequences. is a well settled principle which has been clearly stated in Pradhan Sangh Kshettra Samiti's case, in para 51 that "the change in the areas of the local bodies results in civil consequences." In fact the words "civil consequences" will include infraction of not merely property or personal rights but of civil liberties, material deprivations and non-pecuniary damages and everything that affects a citizen in his civil life, is well settled by various decision of the Apex Court. (See - Canara Bank and Others v. Dabasis Das and Others) – Saji Joseph v. State of Kerala – 2010 (3) KHC 617.

The ambit and scope of the word 'consultation' has been the subject matter of interpretation by the Apex Court in various decisions. Attention was also invited to a decision of this Court in Ajith v. State of Kerala. The question was elaborately considered by the Supreme Court in Supreme Court Advocateson-Record Association and Others v. Union of India, while interpreting Articles 124(2), 217(1) and 221(1) of the Constitution of India. The question arose in connection with the various principles governing the