GO issued in violation of the Constitution, claims the petitioner
The Supreme Court of Andhra Pradesh reserved its decision on a petition against GO Ms No. 2 (dated March 25, 2021) which sought to transfer certain powers of the village administration to the village tax officers (VROs).
The written application submitted by T. Krishna Mohan, Sarpanch of the village of Thokalavanipalem in the Kollur mandal of the Guntur district, was heard on Tuesday by a single judge’s bench with Judge B. Devanand.
Mr Krishna Mohan argued that the GO was issued in violation of the Constitution and the spirit of Article 73 of the Constitutional Amendment Act.
He said that the mandatory academic qualification for VRO positions is SSC, while the same for Panchayat secretaries who are directly hired is the degree. The Panchayat Secretaries are therefore more competent than the VROs to ensure effective administration.
In addition, the VROs are under the supervision of Tahsildars, who oversee the hierarchy of revenue management. On the other hand, the Panchayat Secretaries are accountable to the Mandal Parishad Development Officers (MPDOs), the District Panchayat Officers and the Secretary (Panchayat Raj & Rural Development) at the district and country level.
Attorney General S. Sriram appeared for the state while Attorney N. Srinivasa Rao advanced the arguments on behalf of the petitioner.
Mr Sriram said that GO No. 2 made VROs the check payment officers for the functional assistants, whose vacation requests are also processed through the VROs.
He insisted that the GO in question was the political space of the government and should be allowed to learn and develop based on its experiences without interference from the court at this point in time.
He denied that the government intended to create parallel centers of power and that the village secretariats with the functional assistants were only intended for the last mile of various social benefits.