Whether in a given case, the Collector has transgressed the limits of his own jurisdiction is a matter which can be addressed in a challenge under Article 226 of the Constitution. = In view of the above, the ground urged by the appellant that the Collector ought to have enquired into the validity of the signatures of 10 members, who subsequently filed affidavits stating that their signatures were obtained by fraud, had been justly negatived by the High Court. Hence, the impugned judgment does not warrant any interference.

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REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2623 OF 2018
Smt. Kavita …..Appellant(s)
:Versus:
The State of Uttar Pradesh through
Secretary & Ors. ….Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
A.M. Khanwilkar, J.
1. This appeal is directed against the judgment and order
dated 3rd August, 2017, passed by the High Court of
Judicature at Allahabad in Writ-C No.27912 of 2017, whereby
the Division Bench of the High Court dismissed the writ
petition filed by the appellant for challenging the no confidence
motion notice issued under Section 15 of The U.P. Kshettra
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Panchayats and Zila Panchayats Adhiniyam, 1961 (for short,
“the Act”).
2. A Notice was issued by the Collector/District Magistrate,
Bulandshahar, U.P., dated 15th June, 2017 on the basis of
requisition given by 32 members out of 59 members of the
Kshettra Panchayat, expressing no confidence against the
appellant who was the Block Pramukh of Kshettra Panchayat,
Lakhawati at the relevant time. The notice had fixed the
meeting date as 1st July, 2017 i.e. on the 17th day from the
date of notice. The appellant challenged the said notice by way
of a writ petition before the High Court of Allahabad on two
counts. First, that the Collector had failed to hold an enquiry
into the validity of signatures of 10 members, who
subsequently filed affidavits stating that their signatures were
obtained by fraud. Second, that there was no clear 15 days’
notice as contemplated under sub-section (3) of Section 15 of
the Act. The Division Bench, after considering the factual
position emanating from the record before it, negatived both
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the contentions and eventually dismissed the writ petition filed
by the appellant vide the impugned judgment.
3. Feeling aggrieved, the appellant has approached this
Court raising the self-same two grounds urged before the High
Court, for challenging the validity of the no confidence motion
notice dated 15th June, 2017. The respondents have supported
the reasons recorded by the High Court and would contend
that both the grounds urged by the appellant are devoid of any
merit.
4. We have heard Mr. Aditya Ranjan, learned counsel for
the appellant.
5. Reverting to the second contention that there was no
clear 15 days’ notice, this aspect has been considered by the
High Court on the basis of record before it, revealing that the
appellant had refused/avoided to receive the notice personally
and hence it was sent by post. The High Court also found that
the appellant had failed to produce any material on record to
show that the notice was dispatched after the 17th day and
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that on the appellant’s own admission in the writ petition, it
was evident that the objection to the said notice was taken on
the 16th day itself relating to signatures of few members who
had signed the notice. This was a strong circumstance to belie
the tall claim of the appellant. Taking an overall view of the
matter, the High Court noted that the issue involved a
disputed question of fact and could not be decided in writ
jurisdiction. At the same time, the High Court took note of the
fact that the meeting was duly conducted as scheduled in
terms of the stated notice and the no confidence motion was
passed by a majority, against the appellant. We, therefore, find
no reason to depart from the conclusion recorded by the High
Court for rejecting the challenge that no clear 15 days’ notice
was given as claimed by the appellant. Accordingly, this
contention must fail and is rejected.
6. As aforesaid, since the stated notice has already been
acted upon and the no confidence motion has been passed
against the appellant by majority, no further enquiry into the
grounds urged by the appellant is warranted. Be that as it
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may, even the first ground urged by the appellant has been
justly negatived by the High Court following the exposition of
the Full Bench of the same High Court in Smt. Sheela Devi
Vs. State of U.P. and Ors.,
1 which decision adverts to the
dictum of another Full Bench decision of the same High Court
in Mathura Prasad Tewari Vs. Assistant District
Panchayat Officer, Faizabad.
2
In the impugned judgment,
the Division Bench has reproduced paragraph 23 of the Full
Bench decision in Sheela Devi, (supra) which reads thus:
“23. For these reasons, we have come to the
conclusion that where a notice is delivered to the
Collector under sub-section (2) of Section 15, the
Collector has the discretion to determine whether the
notice fulfills the essential requirements of a valid
notice under sub-section (2). However, consistent with
the stipulation of time enunciated in sub-section (3) of
Section 15 of convening a meeting no later than thirty
days from the date of delivery of the notice and of
issuing at least a fifteen days’ notice to all the elected
members of the Kshettra Panchayat, it is not open to
the Collector to launch a detailed evidentiary
enquiry into the validity of the signatures which
are appended to the notice. Where a finding in
regard to the validity of the signatures can only be
arrived at in an enquiry on the basis of evidence
adduced in the course of an evidentiary hearing at

1
AIR 2015 All. 65
2
1966 ALJ 612
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a full-fledged trial, such an enquiry would be
outside the purview of Section 15. The Collector
does not exercise the powers of a Court upon
receipt of a notice and when he transmits the
notice for consideration at a meeting of the elected
members of the Kshettra Panchayat. Hence, it
would not be open to the Collector to resolve or enter
findings of fact on seriously disputed questions such
as forgery, fraud and coercion. However, consistent
with the law which has been laid down by the Full
Bench in Mathura Prasad Tewari’s case, it is open to
the Collector, having due regard to the nature and
ambit of his jurisdiction under sub-section (3) to
determine as to whether the requirements of a valid
notice under sub-section (2) of Section 15 have been
fulfilled. The proceeding before the Collector under
sub-section (2) of Section 15 of the Act of 1961 is more
in the nature of a summary proceeding. The Collector
for the purpose of Section 15, does not have the
trappings of a Court exercising jurisdiction on the
basis of evidence adduced at a trial of a judicial
proceeding. Whether in a given case, the Collector has
transgressed the limits of his own jurisdiction is a
matter which can be addressed in a challenge under
Article 226 of the Constitution. We clarify that we have
not provided an exhaustive enumeration or list of
circumstances in which the Collector can determine
the validity of the notice furnished under sub-section
(2) in each case and it is for the Collector in the first
instance and for the Court in the exercise of its power
of judicial review, if it is moved, to determine as to
whether the limits on the power of the Collector have
been duly observed.”
(emphasis supplied)
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7. Notably, this Court in the case of Kiran Pal Singh Vs.
The State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. (in C.A. No.2622 of 2018
decided on 17th May, 2018)
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on the purport of Section 15(2) of the Act. In paragraph 15 of
this decision the Court observed thus:
“15. To appreciate the controversy, we have to understand
the scheme engrafted under Section 15 of the Act.
Subsection (2) of Section 15 provides that a written notice of
intention to make the motion in such form as may be
prescribed, signed by at least half of the total number of
elected members of the Kshettra Panchayat for the time
being together with a copy of the proposed motion, shall be
delivered in person, by any one of the members signing the
notice, to the Collector having jurisdiction over the Kshettra
Panchayat. Subsection (3) requires the Collector to convene a
meeting. At this stage, the jurisdiction that the Collector
has is only to scan the notice to find out whether it
fulfills the essential requirements of a valid notice. The
exercise of the said discretion, as we perceive, has to be
summary in nature. There cannot be a detailed inquiry
with regard to the validity of the notice. We are obliged to
think so as subsection (3) mandates that a meeting has to be
convened not later than 30 days from the date of delivery of
the notice and further there should be at least 15 days’
notice to be given to all the elected members of the Kshettra
Panchayat. The Collector, therefore, should not assume
power to enter into an arena or record a finding on
seriously disputed questions of facts relating to fraud,
undue influence or coercion. His only duty is to
determine whether there has been a valid notice as
contemplated under Subsection (2) of Section 15. His
delving deep to conduct a regular inquiry would frustrate
the provision. He must function within his own limits
and leave the rest to be determined in the meeting.”
(emphasis supplied)

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2018 (7) SCALE 605
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8. In view of the above, the ground urged by the appellant
that the Collector ought to have enquired into the validity of
the signatures of 10 members, who subsequently filed
affidavits stating that their signatures were obtained by fraud,
had been justly negatived by the High Court. Hence, the
impugned judgment does not warrant any interference. As no
other contention has been urged, the appeal must fail.
9. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed with no order as to
costs.
.………………………….CJI.
(Dipak Misra)
…………………………..….J.
(A.M. Khanwilkar)
…………………………..….J.
(Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud)
New Delhi;
September 05, 2018.