Election to the Amravati Municipal Corporation was held on 16.02.2012. Of
the total 87 Councillors, the Nationalist Congress Party with 17, Muslim
League with 2, R.P.I. with 1, Samajwadi Party with 1 and 2 Independents
formed an aghadi (group) and elected the first respondent as their group
leader (Gat Neta). On 06.03.2012, the 23 members submitted the following
application to the Divisional Commissioner, Amravati for approval of the
alliance and registration of the group leader:
The request was granted and, by order dated 11.04.2012, the group was
recognized and the first respondent was registered as the group leader.
Seeking a change of the leader, the General Secretary of the Nationalist
Congress Party, on 22.03.2014, addressed the following letter to the
Divisional Commissioner, relevant port of which reads as follows:
“Subject:- Nomination of the Group Leader of the alliance of Nationalist
Congress Party in Amravati Municipal Corporation, Amravati.
Res / Sir,
The Honourable Shri Bhashkarraoji Jadhao, the President, Maharashtra
Regional Nationalist Congress Party has been pleased to instruct that Shri
Sunil Haribhau Kale be nominated as a Group Leader of the alliance of the
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Amravati Municipal Corporation,
Amravati; and that the group under his leadership only be approved of.
Hence, it is requested to take the necessary action, accordingly.
The Divisional Commissioner,
Amravati Division, Amravati.”
The Divisional Commissioner, by order dated 16.06.2014, registered the
appellant herein as the group leader based on the letter of the Secretary
of the Nationalist Congress Party. The relevant portion of the order reads
“… It appears that from the letter of Shri Shivajirao Garje appointment
of Shri Sunil Kale has been made as Group Leader of the Party in Amravati
Municipal Corporation. There is a prevailing system of appointing group
leaders/parted on the elected groups of all political parties by the
political parties themselves. Under these circumstances giving approval to
the appointment of Shri Sunil Kale on the post of Group Leader appears to
Hence by way of rejecting the application of the applicant Name of Shri
Sunil Haribhau Kale is being registered as Group Leader of Rashtravadi
Congress Party in Amravati Municipal Corporation. …”
Once the Rules provide
for the election of the group leader, it has to be done in that manner only
and not in any other manner, even when there is change of the leader.
change of leader has to be in the same democratic process of induction, in
the absence of any other method prescribed under the Rules concerned.
Once an aghadi (group) is formed and duly recognized by the Divisional
Commissioner, it becomes a municipal party in terms of Section 2(i) of the
Once original political parties form a municipal party by way of an
aghadi, for all purposes, the group leader is chosen by the municipal party
(aghadi) only. Rules do not provide for nomination of group leader.
Similarly, the group leader of the aghadi can be changed only by the group
and not by one of the political parties, big or small, belonging to the
aghadi. In a democracy, a leader is not imposed; leader is elected. Once
the birth of a leader in a group is by way of election by the group, the
group leader thus elected cannot be replaced otherwise than through the
very same process of the election in the group, in the absence of any rules
to the contra. No doubt, the Nationalist Congress Party has 17 members in
the aghadi (group). That does not mean that the said party can impose a
group leader in the aghadi. Imposition of a group leader otherwise than by
the democratic process cuts at the roots of the democracy and certainly it
is in violation of the Rules. It is always open to the original political
parties to have their respective leaders in the aghadi. However, as far as
group leader is concerned, he has to be elected by the aghadi (group).
Thus, although for a few other different reasons as well, apart from those
sounded by the High Court in the impugned order, we agree with the view
taken by the High Court. The appeal hence is dismissed. The interim order
dated 05.09.2014 is vacated.-2015 S.C. MSKLAWREPORTS