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Wokha DC’s order violates VDMR 1980: HC

Nagaland News

Suspends Ashaa village VDB Secy & 1 VDB member’s appointment

DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 20: The Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court has declared that an order issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Wokha on January 18, 2022 prima facie violates the Village Development Model Rules (VDMR) of 1980 and thus suspended the appointment of VDB Secretary and another VDB member of Ashaa Village in Wokha District till the next hearing.
Four residents of Ashaa and members of the village’s VDB Management Committee ~ Thungbamo Shitiri, Lishanthung Shitiri, Abemo Shitiri and Ezubmoni ~ had filed a writ petition against the State of Nagaland represented by the Chief Secretary; Deputy Commissioner of Wokha; EAC of Sungro; Libemo Shitiri, Chairman of Ashaa Village Council; N Tsenbenthung Shitiri; and Lichamo Shitiri.
According to an order issued by Justice Songkhupchung Serto on February 18, the petitioners, who were appointed as VDB Management Committee members of Ashaa Village for the term 2022-2025, had filed a case against the appointments of N Tsenbenthung Shitiri as VDB Secretary and Lichamo Shitiri as one of the VDB members.
The Counsel for the petitioners submitted that as per the provisions of Rule 4 (a) of VDMR 1980, only a person who is a resident of a particular village is eligible for appointment as VDB member of that village; and as per Rule 7 of VDMR 1980, only the members of the Management Committee are authorised to select the Secretary of the Committee amongst themselves.
However, the Counsel submitted Lichamo Shitiri had been appointed as a VDB member even though he was not a resident of Ashaa Village while N Tsenbenthung Shitiri was appointed as VDB Secretary by the Village Council Chairman.
“Therefore, the order dated 18.01.2022 issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Wokha under his office O.M No. DCW/COUN-1/ASHAA/VDB/2022 was issued in violation of the said provisions of the Model Rules. Hence the same is not sustainable in law.
“To show that the respondent No. 6 (Lichamo Shitiri) is not a resident of the Ashaa Village, the petitioner has filed a list of tax-paying households of Ashaa Village and to show that the respondent No. 5 (N Tsenbenthung Shitiri) was appointed in a meeting chaired by the Chairman of Ashaa Village Council, the petitioner has filed a copy of the letter of the Chairman of Ashaa Village Council to the Extra Assistant Commissioner of Sungro Village, Wokha, on 13.11.2021; and the meeting attendance sheet, which shows names of those who attended the meeting wherein the respondent was selected”, the order read.
After concluding that the provisions of law cited by the petitioner’s Counsel and the documents submitted reveals prima facie that DC, Wokha, had on January 18 issued an order in violation of the of VDMR 1980, Justice Serto ruled that a notice returnable within 4 weeks be issued to the respondents.
“Since it has been categorically submitted by the learned Counsel of the petitioner that no handing over or taking over has taken place, the impugned order will remain suspended as far as it relates to the appointment of the respondent No. 5 and 6 till the returnable date”, the order added.
(Page News Service)