Panchayat:Repo18/Law Manual Page0212

which is convened by issuing a notice under Rule 4 of those Rules. (Para 21) - Mohammed Ali V.M. v. Kulukkalloor Grama Panchayat and Others – 2010 (1) KHC 201 : 2010 (1) KLT 273.

A conjoined reading of sub-sections 2, 3 and 10 of Section 162 drives home, without any doubt, that the total number of members of each standing committee shall be as decided by the Panchayat in terms of sub-sections 2 and, having regard to sub-section 3, the total number of the members of a standing committee is not a matter that could be tinkered in the meetings of the Panchayat Committee and any casual vacancy has to be filled up, only by election and not otherwise. Rule 9(1) of the Standing Committee Rules provides for conducting election for the purpose of filing up the vacancies. The procedure to be followed is that contained in Rules 7 and 8 of those Rules which deal with the manner of election of members and the manner of recording votes, counting of votes and declaration of result in elections. (Para 21) - Mohammed Ali V.M. v. Kulukkalloor Grama Panchayat and Others - 2010 (1) KHC 201 : 2010 (1) KLT 273.

On the face of the embargo on sub-section 3 of Section 162, the Panchayat Committee could not have changed the number of members of a committee fixed under sub-section 2. Secondly, and more importantly, without conducting an election in a meeting specially convened for that purpose, the casual vacancy could not have been filed up. Even if there is no contest, the declaration that one is elected uncontested, can be only in that meeting. Thirdly, even if the casual vacancies were filled up by election, if there were two vacancies, as in the case in hand, the election has to be by the first preference vote. Having not followed any of the aforesaid procedures, it has to be necessarily held that respondents 4 and 5 are not entitled to act as members of the Standing Committee for Welfare, of the first respondent Grama Panchayat. They had no authority to join in giving notice for the motion of no-confidence against the petitioner. The motion of non-confidence for which notice is given with respondents 4 and 5 also as signatories, has also to necessarily fail. (Para 23) - Mohammed Ali V.M. v. Kulukkalloor Grama Panchayat and Others - 2010 (1) KHC 201 : 2010 (1) KLT 273. Chathukutty P. v. Kalpatta Municipality and Others, 2009 (4) KHC 74 : 2009 (4) KLT 303 : ILR 2009 (4) Ker. 164; (Para 15) - Referred to). S.162(2), S.188 - The equality is predicated as between "Members elected to each Committee", who cannot include either the President or Vice President - Panchayat should not disregard the fixation of number of members in each Standing Committee done in accordance with subsection within the term of that Panchayat.-George Varghese v. State of Kerala - 2006 KHC 1527 : 2006 (4) KLT 452. The election to elect the members of the Standing Committees shall be held in a meeting of the elected members of the Panchayat, convened for the said purpose in the serial number of the Standing Committees as given in S. 162(1) of the Act. This means that the meeting for the purpose of the election to the standing Committees shall be one meeting and all the /standing Committees have to be elected in that meeting. The legislative intention in this regard is clear. R.7 provides for casting preferential votes and the scheme of R.5(1) of the Standing Committee Rules is to exclude the declaration of result of the decision to one among the Standing Committees from influencing the mind of the voter as regards the other Standing Committees. - Suresh v. State of Kerala - 2006 (1) KLT 669.

The Standing Committee Rules, particularly Rule 8(4), do not provide the bonafide correction of an entry as a ground for rejection of the ballot paper. It also does not prescribe that any correction or rectification of an entry made in the ballot paper will result in the rejection of the ballot paper. Since no such ground is provided in the Statute and the consequence or effect of such a situation has not been provided as one that would result in invalidating the vote, the same cannot be treated as a ground for invalidating the vote cast by the voter. - Benny Esthappan v. State of Kerala - 2006 (1) KLT 921. [AIR 1983 SC 1293 & AIR 1990 SC 838 - Referred to.]

S. 162(2) (as amended) & S. 161(7) – The provisions of Rr. 3 and 4 of the Kerala Panchayat Raj (Procedure for Constitution and Power of Standing Committee) Rules, 1995, though provides for the constitution of standing committees and the election of members to be made at the earliest immediately after the constitution/re-constitution of the new Panchayat, does not state that the strength of the Standing Committee once fixed cannot be varied. On a conspectus of the provisions of the Act and the Rules in regard to the constitution of the standing committees and the procedure thereof, it is viewed that there is no inhibition in varying the strength of the standing committee initially fixed. The only limitation is that it should not be less than three and that it should not exceed 5 – Chacko v. State - 2001 (1) KLT 67.

e S.162(2) & Rules relating to Election of Members of Standing Committee & Chairman, Rr.6(3) & 7A(b)- The election by proportional representation by single transferable vote means is given the choice of preference to all the contestants. A reading of S. 162(2) and other provisions set out above gives no room for doubt that election to the vacancy should be held not separately but at the same time and it must be by proportional representation by single transferable vote. If election is to be held separately it will be defeating the object of the proportional representation, whenever there is a vacancy.