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Janardhan C. Upadhye Vs. Rajni Patel - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberAppeal No. 488 of 1972
Judge
Reported in(1974)76BOMLR654
AppellantJanardhan C. Upadhye
RespondentRajni Patel
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....whether possesses jurisdiction in disputes essentially of indoor management between members of political party--temporary injunction, grant of--specific relief act (47 of 1963), section 41.;under section 9 of the code of civil procedure, 1908, a civil court has no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon disputes arising between members of a political party which dispute essentially belongs to the indoor management of political matters such as election of office-bearers, register of members or units of organization or organizational qualification or disqualifications. unless any proprietary interest of any member or unjust and illegal expulsion of individual member is involved, the general doctrine of indoor management should apply to such cases and courts should ordinarily refuse to..........civil court on november 20, 1972, seeking leave to institute that suit on behalf of the numerous 'active members' of the b.p.c.c. and praying for an injunction restraining the defendants, who are the office-bearers of the b.p.c.c, from proceeding with the proposed organizational election to the b.p.o.c. commenced from november 21, 1972.2. the plaintiffs-appellants have challenged the organizational elections on throe grounds: (1) that the permanent register required to be maintained under rule 2 framed under article vi of the constitution of indian national congress was not maintained in accordance with the rule because (a) the date of enrolment as active members, (b) serial number of the active membership enrolment form, (c) date of enrolment as primary member, (d) serial number in the.....
Judgment:

Vaidya, J.

1. The above appeal arises out of a dispute raised by the appellants relating to the election of office-bearers of the various organs of the Bombay Pradesh Congress Committee constituted under the Constitution of the Indian National Congress and the Rules of the Indian National Congress as well as the rules called 'Constitution of the Bombay Pradesh Congress Committee'. The appellants have filed Suit No. 10336 of 1972 in the Bombay City Civil Court on November 20, 1972, seeking leave to institute that suit on behalf of the numerous 'active members' of the B.P.C.C. and praying for an injunction restraining the defendants, who are the office-bearers of the B.P.C.C, from proceeding with the proposed organizational election to the B.P.O.C. commenced from November 21, 1972.

2. The plaintiffs-appellants have challenged the organizational elections on throe grounds: (1) that the permanent register required to be maintained under Rule 2 framed under Article VI of the Constitution of Indian National Congress was not maintained in accordance with the rule because (a) the date of enrolment as active members, (b) serial number of the active membership enrolment form, (c) date of enrolment as primary member, (d) serial number in the primary membership register, and (e) the date of payment of renewal subscription were not shown in the register. Plaintiff No. 1 had filed objections to the entry of names of sixty-eight persons as the sixty-eight persons were not qualified to be active members of the Indian National Congress for one or the other of the reasons mentioned in the objections a proforma of which is annexed to the plaint at exh. 'C' which runs as follows:

To

The President,

Malad Ad-Hoc District Committee,

Goregaon,

SUB: OBJECTIONS TO THE ACTIVE WORKER

Sir,

As directed by the B.P.C.C. vide its circular dated 21st September 1972, I am filing my following objections and claims before you, which are taken without prejudice to one another and alternatively. I request your goodself to forward my objections and claims to the scrutiny committee appointed for the purpose. I also request you to dispose of the objections in my presence by giving me personal hearing. I demand inspection of the Original membership Books.

OBJECTIONS OF CLAIMS:

1. That he is not a primary member for 365 days prior to his enrolment as an active worker.

2. That he is not a Khadi wearer.

3. That he is a permit holder (Liquor and/or wine).

4. That he cannot be an active worker as he has not enrolled 25 clear members excluding himself.

5. That he has enrolled duplicate members.

6. That he has enrolled a primary member/members already enrolled by another member.

7. That he is neither a resident nor has he any business or place of employment within Malad District.

8. That he has openly opposed the official Congress candidate at the midterm Parliamentary elections and opposed the Congress policies and programmes.

9. That he has not enrolled 25 or more members from the single unit.

10. That he has come from Congress (O)/Jana Sangh/Shiv Sena/Swatantra Party.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,

( )

ACTIVE WORKER.Copy to:

1. The Pradesh Scrutiny Committee, Bombay.

2. Shri Vyalar Ravi, M.P. and Observer appointed by the A.I.C.C.

Neither the objections nor the appeals filed by plaintiff No. 1 against the entries of these persons in the register of active members were decided by the authorities set up by the Constitution of the Indian National Congress. (2) About 3,000 members who were entitled to be 'active members', were not shown as 'active members.' and (3) Whereas the Constitution provided for only 12 ad-hoe District Congress Committees, the respondents-defendants had created unauthorized putedly 28 District Congress Committees and 170 Block Congress Committees in contravention of Article IV and Article V of the Constitution of the B.P.C.C. though the procedure necessary for amending the Constitution as laid down in Article XXXIII was not followed.

3. Soon after the suit was filed, the plaintiffs took out a Notice of Motion for an ad interim injunction before a Judge of the City Civil Court who heard both the parties and refused the ad interim injunction on November 21, 1972. The learned Judge found: (1) that the plaintiffs failed to establish any substantial injury to them as a result of the proposed elections; (2) that the plaintiffs were aware of the programme of the elections and the places where the elections were to be held in advance; (3) that plaintiff No. 1 himself filed a nomination for election as a Unit Member on November 17, 1972 and has acquiesced in the election and (4) it was open to the plaintiffs to file an Election Petition under the Constitution of the Indian National Cosgress; and hence it was not just or proper to stop the elections. The said decision of the Judge of the City Civil Court is challenged in the above appeal.

4. It was contended on behalf of the appellants that the organizational elections being conducted in respect of the B.P.C.C. Offices were manifestly in contravention of the Constitution of the B.P.C.C, the Constitution of the Indian National Congress and the rules made thereunder and hence there was a strong case for the plaintiffs to stop the election being held against the Constitution, as the objections raised by plaintiff No. 1 with regard to sixty-eight members were not decided in accordance with the Constitution and more than 3,000 members who were entitled to participate in the election as 'active members' of the Congress were not included in the list of members and the election was proceeding on a footing of there being 28 District Congress Committees and 170 Block Congress Committees which were not authorised by the Constitution. In support of this argument, reliance was placed on Leigh v. Nat. Union of Railway-men [1969] 3 All E.R. 1249 and the decision of a single Judge of the Allahabad High Court in Vijai Pratap Singh v. Ajit Prasad : AIR1966All305 .

5. It was, however, fairly stated on behalf of the appellants that the interim injunction was sought under Order XXXIX, Rule 2 of the Civil Procedure Code, as the plaintiffs were relying on the Constitution and the rules which in the eye of law constituted a contract between the members of the B.P.C.C. and the election was being held in breach of the Constitution which in law amounted to breach of the contract.

6. It is well established that for granting an interim injunction under Order XXXIX, Rule 2, there must be a prima facie case made out by the plaintiff for perpetual injunction. It is also well established that the Court will not grant a temporary injunction before the hearing in every case where a perpetual injunction might fitly be granted at the hearing; for to justify a temporary injunction, not only must the ease be such that an injunction is the appropriate relief, but there must be the further ingredient that unless the defendant is restrained forthwith by a temporary injunction irreparable injury or inconvenience may result to the plaintiff before the suit is decided upon its merits.

7. I do not think that, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the present case, either of these conditions is fulfilled by the appellants. Prima facie, the dispute is one relating to the internal organization or affairs of a political party. Plaintiffs have no express right under the Constitution of the party to challenge an election while it is being held on the basis of the Register of the party. The appellants are unable to cite any decision of any Court, Indian or foreign, where a civil Court has granted an injunction restraining an election of a political party being held, particularly at the instance of a person who has himself participated in the election, like plaintiff No. 1 in this case, and who has been elected in the election. The qualifications and disqualifications for being included or excluded from the Register of Members of a political party are for the political party concerned to regulate. There is no law enabling Courts to interfere in such matters.

8. It is only when the suit is of a civil nature that the civil Court has jurisdiction under Section 9 of the Civil Procedure Code. Whether sixty-eight members are not qualified or 3000 members are qualified or whether 170 Block Committees are properly constituted are all questions relating to the political organizing of a political party. Courts cannot interfere with such internal matters of a political party. In my judgment, prima facie, the civil Court has no jurisdiction under Section 9 to adjudicate upon such disputes arising between members of a political party with regard to any of the essentially internecine or indoor management of political matters such as election of office-bearers, register of members or units of organisation or the qualifications based on abstaining from drinking or wearing habitually of Khaddar or past history of members or their present conduct. It may be that the civil Court may have jurisdiction if any proprietary interest of members or if any unjust and illegal expulsions of individual members are involved but where, as in the present case, the plaintiffs themselves do not claim any personal relief but are asking merely the stopping of organizational elections, on the basis of the internal organizational qualification, disqualification, election machinery and details of working of a political party, I doubt very much whether a civil Court can entertain such a suit. The general doctrine of indoor management must be applied in such cases and Courts should ordinarily refuse to interfere. No precedent, Indian or foreign, has been cited on behalf of the appellants before me to show that any Court in any civilized country has authoritatively laid down that any such suit for interference with an organizational election of a political party can be instituted.

9. Further so far as this Court is concerned, it is also well established that the principles which should guide Courts in granting an injunction under OrderXXXIX, Rule 2 are similar to the principles laid down by the Legislature in the Specific Relief Act. (See Nusserwanji Merwanji Panday v. Gordon ILR(1881) 6 Bom. 266. Section 41 of the Specific Belief Act, 1963, lays down that an injunction cannot be granted:.

(e) to prevent the breach of a contract the performance of which would not be specifically enforced;

(f) ...

(g) to prevent a continuing breach in which the plaintiff has acquiesced;

(h) when equally efficacious relief can certainly be obtained by any other usual mode of proceeding except in case of breach of trust;

(i) when the conduct of the plaintiff or his agents has been such as to disentitle him to the assistance of the court;

(j) when the plaintiff has no personal interest in the matter.

It is doubtful whether the Constitution of a political party which is no more than a contract in the eye of law can be specifically enforced. It is not disputed in this case that the plaintiffs have no personal interest in the matter, apart from their interest as active members of the B.P.C.C. in the working of the B.P.C.C. in accordance with the Constitution and the rules made thereunder. On this ground alone, the temporary injunction has to be refused.

10. Besides, it is not disputed that the B.P.C.C. by a Circular letter dated September 21, 1972 had notified a time-table beginning from the publication of preliminary list of primary and active members till the final publication of rolls. Thereafter the B.P.C.C. by a Circular letter dated October 6, 1972 extended the time limits mentioned in the said Circular dated September 21, 1972. The B.P.C.C. and the various District Congress Committees formed the Pradesh Scrutiny Committees and the District Scrutiny Committees in order to receive and decide all claims and objections regarding the preliminary publication of the list of 'primary' and 'active' members. By the said Circular letter dated October 6, 1972, the following time-table was published:

Dates

'1. Primary Publication list of Primary and Active members by sub-

ordinate and District Congress Committee. 22-9-1972

2. Filing of objections and claims before District Scrutiny Committee. 10-10-1972

3. Decision by District Scrutiny Committee. 17-10-1973

4. Appeals before Pradesh Scrutiny Committee. 24-10-1972

5. Decision by Pradesh Scrutiny Committees. 29-10-1972

6. Final publication of Rolls. 5-11-1972.

The elections, being organizational elections, are being held on the basis of the final rolls published on November 5, 1972. The election programme is undis-putedly as follows:

TIME-TABLE FOR ORGANIZATIONAL ELECTIONS-1972.

13th November 1972.

Notification of election time-tabte.

17th November 1972.

Filing of nominations for election of unit members from 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.

18th November 1972,

Scrutiny and declaration of names of eligible candidates.

20th November 1972.

Upto 8.00 p.m.--Withdrawals of Nomination papers.

21st November 1972,

Election of Unit Members by Primary Members.

22nd November 1972.

Election of Block Congress Committee Office Bearers and Nomination for election of DCC and PCC Members.

23rd November 1972.

Election of DCC Members by Members of the Block Congress Committees and election of DCC Executive.

24th November 1972.

Election of PCC Members by Electoral College comprising unit members of delegates constituencies.

25th November 1972.

Election of Executive of PCC and AICC Members.

10th December 1972.

Election of Congress President.

11. It is stated on behalf of the respondents that the B.P.C.C. has its organizations extending over the entire population of Greater Bombay; the number of primary members of the B.P.C.C. is 3,31,000; the number of active members as per the list, on the basis of which the elections are being held, is 8,588. Plaintiffs have efficacious remedies against the breaches of the Constitution of their party in the Constitution itself. If the plaintiffs wanted any relief, in respect of sixty-eight members who were not qualified or in respect of 3000 members who were qualified, they could mot have waited till November 20, 1972 when the election programme had already started at great cost for the B.P.C.C, as organizing such elections among the various units under the Constitution must have been done at enormous expenditure. They have no right to use the Courts or to hold up the Court's normal civil work by ventilating their purely political grievances springing from political dissensions.

12. As stated above, plaintiff No. 1 himself acquiesced in the election and got himself elected unopposed. Having regard to these circumstances, it is clear that it can never be said that any irreparable loss will be caused to the plaintiffs if the election is completed in the way set out in the programme of elections by the B.P.C.C. Thus, apart from the fact that these elections are in connection with a political party and therefore a civil Court has no jurisdiction to entertain an application for injunction relating to such elections, it is clear that the plaintiffs cannot ask the Court to restrain the office-bearers from conducting the elections, having waited from September till November.

13. The two cases referred on behalf of the plaintiffs are irrelevant. The English case arises out of a dispute in a Trade Union, a statutory body organized under an English statute, which is definitely on a different footing from a political party, which is not so organized under any law, though on certain points such as miss appropriation of property or funds or unlawful expulsion of individual members, the Law of Clubs may be applied to both. A political party may have its own rules for choosing its leaders and for changing them or for changing the rules. The Allahabad decision was in connection with contempt proceedings and all that was laid down was that the suit order of stay of elections, breach of which was complained against, was issued by a Court which, prima facie, had jurisdiction to issue such a stay order during the pendency of a suit. The question was not finally decided.

14. The learned Judge of the City Civil Court has exercised his discretion and refused the relief. The discretion is exercised reasonably and in accordance with judicial principles, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case. I, therefore, find no reason to interfere with that discretion in view of all that is stated hereinabove. The appeal is, therefore, dismissed with costs.

15. In view of the above order, no separate order is necessary in the Civil Application No. 2933 of 1972.


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