Election - total 87 Councillors, the Nationalist Congress Party with 17, Muslim League with 2, R.P.I. with 1, Samajwadi Party with 1 and 2 Independents formed an aghadi (group) and elected the first respondent as their group leader (Gat Neta).- the same was approved - change of leader by one political party -maintainable ? - No- Once an aghadi (group) is formed and duly recognized by the Divisional Commissioner, it becomes a municipal party in terms of Section 2(i) of the Act. Once original political parties form a municipal party by way of an aghadi, for all purposes, the group leader is chosen by the municipal party (aghadi) only. Rules do not provide for nomination of group leader. Similarly, the group leader of the aghadi can be changed only by the group and not by one of the political parties, big or small, belonging to the aghadi-2015 S.C.MSKLAWREPORTS



Election to the Amravati Municipal Corporation was held  on  16.02.2012.  Of
the total 87 Councillors, the Nationalist Congress  Party  with  17,  Muslim
League with 2, R.P.I. with 1, Samajwadi Party  with  1  and  2  Independents
formed an aghadi (group) and elected the first  respondent  as  their  group
leader (Gat Neta). On 06.03.2012, the 23  members  submitted  the  following
application to the Divisional Commissioner, Amravati  for  approval  of  the
alliance and registration of the group leader:    
The request was granted and,  by  order  dated  11.04.2012,  the  group  was
recognized and the first respondent was registered as the group leader.     
Seeking a change of the leader, the General  Secretary  of  the  Nationalist
Congress Party,  on  22.03.2014,  addressed  the  following  letter  to  the
Divisional Commissioner, relevant port of which reads as follows:
"Subject:-  Nomination of the Group Leader of the  alliance  of  Nationalist
Congress Party in Amravati Municipal Corporation, Amravati.

Res / Sir,

      The Honourable Shri Bhashkarraoji Jadhao, the  President,  Maharashtra
Regional Nationalist Congress Party has been pleased to instruct  that  Shri
Sunil Haribhau Kale be nominated as a Group Leader of the  alliance  of  the
Nationalist  Congress  Party  (NCP)  in  Amravati   Municipal   Corporation,
Amravati; and that the group under  his  leadership  only  be  approved  of.
Hence, it is requested to take the necessary action, accordingly.

      Thanking you,
                                                            Yours sincerely,
                                                                        Sd/-
                                                           Shivajirao Garje.
To,
The Divisional Commissioner,
Amravati Division, Amravati."
                                                         (Emphasis supplied)


The Divisional Commissioner,  by  order  dated  16.06.2014,  registered  the
appellant herein as the group leader based on the letter  of  the  Secretary
of the Nationalist Congress Party. The relevant portion of the  order  reads
as follows:
"... It appears that from the letter of Shri  Shivajirao  Garje  appointment
of Shri Sunil Kale has been made as Group Leader of the  Party  in  Amravati
Municipal Corporation.  There is a prevailing  system  of  appointing  group
leaders/parted on the  elected  groups  of  all  political  parties  by  the
political parties themselves.  Under these circumstances giving approval  to
the appointment of Shri Sunil Kale on the post of Group  Leader  appears  to
be correct.

Hence by way of rejecting the application of  the  applicant  Name  of  Shri
Sunil Haribhau Kale is being  registered  as  Group  Leader  of  Rashtravadi
Congress Party in Amravati Municipal Corporation. ..."
                                                         (Emphasis supplied)=
Once  the  Rules  provide
for the election of the group leader, it has to be done in that manner  only
and not in any other manner, even when there is change of  the  leader.  
The
change of leader has to be in the same democratic process of  induction,  in
the absence of any other method prescribed under the Rules concerned.

Once an aghadi (group) is formed  and  duly  recognized  by  the  Divisional
Commissioner, it becomes a municipal party in terms of Section 2(i)  of  the
Act.
 Once original political parties form a municipal party  by  way  of  an
aghadi, for all purposes, the group leader is chosen by the municipal  party
(aghadi) only.  Rules  do  not  provide  for  nomination  of  group  leader.
Similarly, the group leader of the aghadi can be changed only by  the  group
and not by one of the political parties, big  or  small,  belonging  to  the
aghadi. In a democracy, a leader is not imposed;  leader  is  elected.  Once
the birth of a leader in a group is by way of election  by  the  group,  the
group leader thus elected cannot be  replaced  otherwise  than  through  the
very same process of the election in the group, in the absence of any  rules
to the contra. No doubt, the Nationalist Congress Party has  17  members  in
the aghadi (group). That does not mean that the  said  party  can  impose  a
group leader in the aghadi. Imposition of a group leader otherwise  than  by
the democratic process cuts at the roots of the democracy and  certainly  it
is in violation of the Rules. It is always open to  the  original  political
parties to have their respective leaders in the aghadi. However, as  far  as
group leader is concerned, he has to be elected by the aghadi (group).

Thus, although for a few other different reasons as well, apart  from  those
sounded by the High Court in the impugned order,  we  agree  with  the  view
taken by the High Court. The appeal hence is dismissed.  The  interim  order
dated 05.09.2014 is vacated.-2015 S.C. MSKLAWREPORTS

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