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Councillor gets no relief from Bombay HC to withdraw her ‘angry’ resignation – Times of India

MUMBAI: Bombay high court dismissed a petition filed by Congress party member Farzana Ismail Rangrez for permission to withdraw her own resignation letter of October 2020 as a ‘councillor’ to the commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Bhiwandi, Nizampur. She said she had tendered her resignation on October 26, 2020, in an angry huff following a “quarrel with her husband.’’
Law does not permit her to withdraw her resignation only because she was “angry and depressed,’’ said a bench of Justices S J kathawalla and Riyaz Chagla.
The HC said on her resignation, the seat fell vacant immediately, and under the law and her letter of its withdrawal a week later, was of no consequence. It also said the civic chief is She said she had been elected as a councillor of the Bhiwandi, Nizampur civic body in 2012. She said she won as a candidate from Indian National Congress (Congress-I) party by a huge margin for the five year term, till 2022, again in the 2017 elections.
Her petition argued by senior counsel Atul Damle said on October 25, 2020 she had a quarrel. The next day she submitted her resignation letter as councillor of the civic body and in her letter she “recorded that she is not tendering her resignation under any pressure but is giving her resignation of her own free will and volition and the same be accepted.’’
Her husband and other family members, on learning of her resignation, sought to pacify her. After cooling down she realized “the blunder committed be her’’ and on November 3, 2020, she issued a letter requesting withdrawal of her resignation.
The Bhiwandi Nizampur civic commissioner, gave her a hearing. She was under the impression that on submitting her withdrawal letter her resignation stood withdrawn, she said.
She was “shocked and surprised’’ to learn on December 2, 2020 that the corporation had taken steps to inform the state Town Planning Department and the State election commission of her resignation.
She said by not mentioning her withdrawal letter, the civic body and its commissioner had acted “malafidely’’ against her. Her plea was that it was in no one’s interest to hold a by-election for only one seat and “incur a huge expense’’ since her term any way ends in 2022 when fresh elections would be held.
The HC noted that the law on resignation by an elected councillor kicks in immediately from the date of the notice.
The HC said, “There is no provision made in the above quoted Section 7 for the Councilor to withdraw his/her resignation at a later date, the same having been accepted immediately upon it being tendered under the law. It is not the case of the Petitioner that she has in her Letter of Resignation stated that her resignation would come into effect from a subsequent date mentioned in her Resignation Letter. If such would have been the case, the Petitioner certainly would have been able to withdraw her resignation prior to such date, her seat not having fallen vacant from the date of her notice.’’
“Even her being an active social worker, or being at the forefront during the current pandemic to help the needy would not come to her rescue in light of S. 7 quoted above, dealing with ‘resignation of office by councillor,’’ said the HC In its order of January 7, uploaded on Saturday, February 20.
The HC after hearing government lawyer M P Thakur and SD Ghaisas for the corporation said the actions of the commissioner of the Bhiwandi Nizampur municipal corporation “can by no means be termed as malafide or vindictive conduct on his part.’’
“The question therefore of any interference by this court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, as sought by the petitioner, does not arise and writ petition is dismissed with costs,’’ said the HC order.