G.O. issued in violation of the Constitution, alleges petitioner
The Andhra Pradesh High Court reserved its order on a petition that opposed G.O. Ms.No.2 (dated March 25, 2021) through which certain powers of the village administration were sought to be transferred to the Village Revenue Officers (VROs).
The writ petition filed by T. Krishna Mohan, sarpanch of Thokalavanipalem village in Kollur mandal of Guntur district came for hearing by a single-judge bench comprising Justice B. Devanand on Tuesday.
Mr. Krishna Mohan argued that the G.O. was issued in violation of the Constitution and the spirit of Article 73 of the Constitution Amendment Act.
He said that the prescribed academic qualification for VRO posts is SSC whereas the same for Panchayat Secretaries who are directly recruited is graduation. The Panchayat Secretaries are, therefore, more competent than the VROs to ensure effective administration.
Besides, the VROs are under the supervision of Tahsildars who oversee the revenue administration hierarchy. On the other hand, the Panchayat Secretaries are accountable to the Mandal Parishad Development Officers (MPDOs), District Panchayat Officers and Secretary (Panchayat Raj & Rural Development) at the district and State levels respectively.
Advocate General S. Sriram appeared for the State while advocate N. Srinivasa Rao presented the arguments on the behalf of the petitioner.
Mr. Sriram said through the G.O. No.2, VROs have been made the cheque disbursing officers for the functional assistants, whose leave applications are also processed through the VROs.
He insisted that the G.O. in question was the policy space of the government and it should be allowed to learn and evolve based on its experiences without the court’s interference at this stage.
He denied that the government had any intention to create a parallel power centres and that the village secretariats with the functional assistants are merely meant for the last-mile delivery of various welfare schemes.
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