HC notice to Sidhu, others on Phagwara mayor petition

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Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued notices to Local government minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and others on a petition filed by mayor of the Phagwara Municipal Corporation on the issue concerning functioning of the civic body.

A single bench of high court Justice Jitendra Chauhan issued notices to Sidhu, Additional Chief Secretary, Local Bodies department, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Phagwara, ex-minister Joginder Singh Mann, Harjit Singh, General Secretary, Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee, and two Municipal Councillors of Congress for March 28, 2019.

The petition was filed by Phagwara mayor Arun Khosla, his counsel H C Arora said.

He said Khosla, in his petition, alleged that Sidhu had visited Phagwara on April 21, 2017, and had set up a four-member committee that included Joginder Singh Maan and Harjit Singh Parmar for inquiring into transactions of conferring of ownership rights on tenants under a policy.

The petitioner, he said, contended that the committee set up by the minister was "unconstitutional and illegal", saying any such body can be set up only by the Municipal Corporation under Section 42 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976.

The petitioner also alleged that the minister was showing "total discourtesy" to him and was directly inaugurating projects funded by the municipal corporation.

Even the commissioner is permitting the local Congress leaders to inaugurate various projects of the municipal corporation, the petitioner alleged.

The petitioner claimed that Sidhu had inaugurated a multi-level parking in Phagwara on June 15 this year and the invitation cards for the function did not mention his name, whereas the names of Joginder Singh Mann, District President Congress Committee, Kapurthala, were printed on the cards.

The petitioner also alleged that under various provisions of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, the Commissioner was bound to provide any document, information or report regarding the projects funded by the municipal corporation, but the commissioner is not even responding to various such requisitions made by him, in his capacity as the mayor.

The petitioner prayed that the cabinet minister be restrained from constituting committees in "unconstitutional" manner and he be directed to show due courtesy to the mayor, including for inaugurating various development projects funded by the MC.

He further sought that the government should take action against the Commissioner for "violation" of provisions of the Municipal Corporation Act, 1976.

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