1. This petition under Article 226 of the Constitution is directed against a no confidence motion passed against the petitioner, as a result of which he has been removed from the office of Chairman of Amingad Town Panchayat. His appeal to the Assistant Commissioner against such removal had also been rejected.
2. The total number of members constituting Amingad Town Panchayat was 17. But at the relevant point of time, one of them had died. On a requisition by six of the members of the Panchayat, in accordance with Section 32 of the Karnataka Village Panchayats, and Local Boards Act, 1959, a meeting was convened by the Vice-Chairman on 11-9-1975. Out of the members Present, eleven members voted in favour of the motion of no confidence against the Chairman (petitioner). There was also a twelfth member who had consented to such no confidence motion although he was not actually present at the meeting. It was thus the Petitioner was removed from the office of Chairman. His appeal to the Assistant Commissioner having failed, he has approached this Court for relief.
3. On behalf of the petitioner, several contentions were urged by Sri M. Narayanaswamy, the learned counsel. It is sufficient for the purpose of disposal of this petition to refer to one of them. It is contended that having regard to the provisions of sub-section (1) of S. 32 of the Act, it was the clear duty of the Chairman to convene the meeting for the purpose of passing a motion of no confidence, and, only on his failure to convene such meeting within 30 days thereafter that the Chief Executive Officer of the Taluk Board would acquire the necessary authority to convene such a meeting. This position is not disputed on behalf of some of the respondents by the learned counsel appearing on their behalf. It is not also in dispute that the meeting had not been convened either by the Chairman or the Chief Executive Officer concerned. But it is contended that the ordinary law of meetings would also apply in such cases, and therefore the meeting convened by the Vice-Chairman was in order and the resolution in question would not call for interference. In support of such a submission, reliance was placed on a decision of the High Court at Delhi in Bar Council of Delhi v. The bar Council of India, : AIR1975Delhi200 . On a careful scrutiny of the decision, it is seen that the facts of that case were clearly distinguishable. That was a case where no special provision analogous to Section 32 (1) of the present Act, had been made. It was therefore held that the principle available at common law in regard to the election and removal of a Chairman of elected members would be attracted.
4. In the instant case, a reading of the provisions of Section 32 (1) leaves no scope for the application of such a principle available at common law. The subsection reads:
'A motion of no-confidence may be moved by any member against the Chairman or the Vice-Chairman after giving such notice as may be prescribed and such notice shall be supported by not less than one-third of the total number of members of the Panchayat. If a meeting for consideration of the motion is not convened by the Chairman within 30 days from the date of notice, the Chief Executive Officer of the Taluk Board shall himself convene a meeting.'
(rest of the section not set out as unnecessary)
It is clear from this provision that it is only the Chairman or the Chief Executive Officer who is competent to convene a meeting for the purpose of consideration of a motion of no-confidence, in the circumstances set out therein, and none other. In this situation, the meeting of no-confidence convened as it was by the Vice-Chairman of the Town Panchavat, has no validity. The resolution, therefore, has to be set aside, as a result whereof the order of the Assistant Commissioner, Bagalkot Sub Division, made in No. VPC 881177 on 8-11-1975 cannot also be sustained.
5. The result is that this petition deserves to succeed and is accordingly allowed. The resolution of no-confidence of the Town Panchayat, Amingad, passed on 11-9-1975 and the order of the Assistant Commissioner aforementioned is hereby quashed. In the circumstances, the parties will bear their own costs,
The learned High Court Government Pleader is permitted to file the memo of appearance within two weeks from today.
6. Petition allowed.