Shimla: Himachal Pradesh High Court on Saturday has quashed and set aside the notification of the creation of Nagar Panchayat, Ani, in Kullu district. 

As per the notification that was issued on October 27, 2020, issued by the State Government, the creation of Nagar Panchayat, Ani, was notified out of the different revenue estates of the neighbouring panchayats.

The decision has been passed by 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 have been passed on a petition filed by the residents of different villages of  Anni Tehsil, who have been affected 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 the creation of Nagar Panchayat, Ani, recommended the matter to the Director, Urban Development, who in turn, issued a notification in which 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 on October 27, 2020, the final notification with regard to the 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 the 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 the 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 the 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, the further area is to be included, then procedure, as prescribed in the Act, is required to be followed by the State.

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Navneet Rathore is a Shimla based journalist having two-years of experience in the field of journalism. Navneet is a post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla and is specialised in crime, education, health, environment, agriculture and Horticulture beats.