1. This is an election petitioner presented under S. 81 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 praying for a declaration that the election of the 1st respondent is void and that the petitioner has been duly elected on the ground that the 1st respondent was disqualified to be chosen to till the seat in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, as he has a subsisting contract with the State Government for the sale of arrack and toddy in the course of his trade or business.
2. The material facts are not in dispute and they are as follows: The election to the Andhra Pradesh State Legislative Assembly for No. 253 Indurthi Assembly Constituency of Karimnagar Taluk and District was held in the month of Feb. 1978. The petitioner and the respondents Nos. 1 to 5 contested in the said election. The petitioner contested as a Congress-I candidate and secured 20,021 votes and the 1st respondent who contested as C.P.I. candidate secure 21,735 votes and was declared to have been elected. The 1st respondent was the successful bidder in the auction held by the Andhra Pradesh State Government regarding the ease of the right tot sell liquor in retail for the year 1977-78 in the arrack shop at Bommenapalli and he entered into an agreement with the Government with the Government and obtained a licence to sell liquor belonging to the Government during the Excise year commencing from 1-10-1977 till 30-9-1978. The 1st respondent was also a successful bidder to sell toddy in the shop at Potlapalli in Karimnagar Taluk for the Excise year 1977-78 and he also executed an agreement in favour of the Government and obtained a license for the period commencing from 1-10-1977 to 30-9-1978. When these two contracts with the Government for the sale of arrack and toddy are subsisting, the 1st respondent is disqualified under S. 9-A of the Representation of the People Act to be chosen to fill the seat in the Legislative Assembly and therefore, the result of the election has been materially affected by the improper acceptance of his nomination. It is further prayed in the petition that as the 1st respondent is disqualified, the votes polled in his favour have to be considered as thrown out votes and the petitioner who was the next to get the highest number of votes, is entitled for a declaration that he has been duly elected.
3. the 1st respondent in his counter stated that he does not have any trade or business. He is a member of the Communist party of India and also a whole time worker. He is elected as the honorary President of the 'District Geetha Panivarla Sangham.' While so, there was a dispute in Bommenpalli village with regard to the lease of the right to sell arrack between one P. Yellayya and Desina Papayya and both of them chose the 1st respondent as their arbitrator and asked him to have the license in his name formally for the sale of arrack till the dispute is decided. As requested by them the 1st respondent participated in the auction and was the highest bidder and he entered into an agreement as it was a necessary formality. Similarly in Potlapalli village also there were disputes among the tappers. There were factions among the tappers. One was led by Marka China Venkati and the other by Bongoni Venkataiah. Both of them felt that the differences between them may lead to unhealthy competition and permanent bickerings and so they approached the 1st respondent for arbitration. At their request the 1st respondent participated in the auction, and then he was the highest bidder and accordingly obtained the license and entered into an agreement with the Government. The 1st respondent further asserted that the agreements entered into by him with the Government were not at all in the course of trade or business, but he did so only to settle the disputes between the parties. He further stated that he had not entered into any contract with the Government for the supply of goods to it for the execution of any works undertaken by the Government and, therefore, he is not disqualified under s. 9-A of the Representation of the People Act.
4. Respondents 1 and 2 were represented by advocates. The 2nd respondent however did not file any separate counter. The other respondents remained ex parte.
5. On a consideration of the pleadings, the following issues were framed for trial:-
(1) Whether the selection of the 1st respondent for the Indurti Assembly Constituency is void on the ground that he is disqualified under S. 9-A of the Representation of the People Act, as there subsists a contract entered into by him in the course of his trade or business with the State Government being the highest bidder in the auctions held by the State Government for the leasehold right to sell liquor in retail in the arrack shops at Bommenapalli and Potalapalli in Karimanagar Taluk for the years 1977-78 and having entered into agreements with the State Government in respect of the said contract?
(2) Whether, in view of the disqualification of the first respondent to contest the election, the petitioner is entitled to be declared elected to Andhra Pradesh State Assmebly from the Indurti Constituency.
6. From a perusal of the petition and the counter it can be seen that the 1st respondent was the highest bidder regarding the lease of the right to sell liquor in retail for the year 1977-78 in the arrack shop at Bommenapalli. Similarly he was also the highest bidder in respect of the toddy shop at Potlapalli, Karimngar Taluk for the year 1977-78. He also entered into the necessary agreement with the Government as required under the Excise Act and the Rules. They were also subsisting at the time when he filed his nomination. Since these facts are not in dispute, no further evidence on the point was necessary. However, both sides have examined some witnesses and I will briefly refer to the same.
7. P. W. 1 is the petitioner. Apart from the general facts he has stated that the 1st respondent has been participating in the auctions held by the Government, that for the year 1977-78 the 1st respondent became the arrack contractor for Bommenpalli village and toddy contractors for Potlapalli village and that the contracts are subsisting and therefore he is disqualified. In cross-examination he stated that he does not know whether in the year 1977-78 there was quarrels between the two groups in the villages of Bommenapalli and Potlapalli. He denied the suggestion that the 1st respondent is only interested in settling disputes between the groups of toddy workers and that he is not doing any excise business. In the further chief-examination he stated that he could not raise any objection at the time of scrutiny of nominations as there was no time for him to get the information and verify the records. P. W. 2 is the Excise Superintendent at the time of conducting the auctions relating to the toddy and arrack contracts for the year 1977-78. In respect of the arrack shop at Bommennapalli the 1st respondent is the highest bidder. Ex. A-1 is the auction register for the year 1977-78. Ex. A-2 is the entry relating to Bommenapalli village and Ex. A-3 is the signature of the 1st respondent. Ex. A-2 entry shows that the auction was knocked down in favour of the 1st respondent. Ex. A-4 is the agreement signed by the 1st respondent in respect of the toddy shop at Potlapalli for the year 1977-78. Exs A-5, A15 (a) and A-5 (b) are the signatures the 1st respondent in the agreement Ex. A-4 Ex A-6 is the agreement signed by the 1st respondent in respect of arrack contracts relating to the shop at Bommenapalli Exs. A-7, A-7 (a) and A-7 (b) are the signatures of the 1st respondent in the agreement dated 25-9-1977. The contracts under Exs. A-4 and A-8 ore for the period from 1-10-1977 to 30-9-1978. Ex. _4-8 is the certificate issued by the P. A. to the Collector (Excise), which shows that the shops continue in the name of the 1st respondent. Ex. A-9 is the certified extract from the auction registers relating to the toddy shop at Potlapalli and the arrack shop at Bommenapalli for the year 1977-78, which shows that the 1st respondent is the contractor in whose favour the auction 'as knocked down. P. W. 2 further deposed that the 1st respondent made the necessary deposits in his name towards the advance rentals for three months. The 1st respondent obtained a Nowharnama in favour of P. Yellayya in respect of the arrack shop at Bommenaralli and Ex. A-10 is the said Nowkarnama. For the years 1971-72, 1972-73, 1973-74 and for 1975-76 the 1st respondent was the highest bidder. Through P. W. 2 the relevant registers also were marked. He was not cross-examined. P. W. 3 is the Secretary of the Geetha Parisramika Sangham, Karimnagar Unit. He deposed that he has been carrying on toddy contracts for the last 10 years that the 1st respondent also was carrying on toddy-business and has been obtaining toddy and arrack contracts in his name, and that for this year the 1st respondent has taken the contract for the Bommenapalli arrack shop and the Potlapalli toddy shop. In the cross-examination he admitted that there is a separate Large Size Credit Co-operative Society in his village. He denied the suggestion that with a view to help the petitioner he deposed that the 1st respondent has been doing excise contracts. This is all the evidence adduced on behalf of the petitioner.
8. R. W. 1 is the Nowkarnama-holder for the Bommenapalli arrack shop. He deposed that there were disputes between him and Desina Papayya (R. W. 2) in respect of the arrack shop at Bommenapalli. They approached the 1sr respondent for arbitration and he gave a decision that he (R. W. 1) should take the arrack shop and the toddy shop should be run by Papayya. In the cross-examination he admitted that the 1st respondent is his relation. He denied the further suggestion that the 1st respondent advanced moneys for running the shop during the year 1976-77. He also stated that he paid Rs. 3,500/- to the 1st respondent towards the deposit of the rentals. R. W. 2 is a tapper by profession, and he deposed that as there were disputes between R. W. 1 and himself relating to the arrack shop they had approached the 1st respondent for arbitration and asked him to take the license in his name. In other respects he corroborated R. W. 1. In cross-examination he admitted that the 1st respondent is related to him. He further admitted that for the year 1977-78 the license was given in his name for the toddy shop, on behalf of the Toddy Tappers Co-operative Society. R. W. 3 is another tapper by profession and he is a resident of Potlapalli. He deposed that he had one Bongani Venkataiah have been running toddy shop in their village and they have a Nowkarnama in their names. He further deposed that he had one Bongani Venkataiah have been running toddy shop in their village and they have Nowkarnama in their names. He further deposed that there were disputes between him and the said Venkataiah in respect of the toddy shop at Potlapalli and approached the 1st respondent for arbitration and asked him to take the license in his name and accordingly the 1st respondent took the license in his name and R. W. 3 and Venkataiah have been running the toddy shop. In cross-examination he admitted that under Exs. B-1 to B-6 the amounts were paid on behalf of the 1st respondent for running the shop. R. W. 4 is the 1st respondent himself. He deposed that he is member of the Communist Party of India and he contested in the elections held in February, 1978 for the Induri Assembly Constituency of Andhra Pradesh and was the successful candidate. He further stated that he was a whole time worker of the Communist Party of India, President of the District Toddy Tappers Society and also the Sarpanch of his village for about 22 years, and that he has no trade or business and he does not run any arrack or toddy shop. With regard to the arrack shop at Bommanapalli and toddy shop at Potlapalli he deposed as stated by the earlier witnesses. Viz., that they had disputes and they approached him for arbitration and only with a view to help them he participated in the auctions and became the highest bidder. But actually the business is carried on only by R. Ws. 1 to 3 and others and he himself did not carry on any trade or business. He further asserted that he never entered into any contract with the Government for the supply of goods, or for execution of any works, and therefore he is not disqualified. In cross-examination he stated that since 1952 he has been in the Communist Party of India. He denied that he purchased 4 acres of land in Duddinapalli village and 30 guntas at Bommenapalli. He denied the suggestion that out of the income from the toddy and arrack shops he purchased the land. He also denied the suggestion that he deposited the license fee, etc. and invested amounts by himself during the years 1971-72, 1972-73 and 75-76 and utilised the profits for himself. He however admitted that he obtained licences for toddy shop and arrack shop at Bommenapalli during the year 1971 to 76. In the cross-examination he asserted that after the disputes were settled R. W. 1 was running the shop by himself. He denied the suggestion that there were no disputes between R. W. 1 and R. W. 2, or between R. W. 3 and B. Venkataiah in respect of the arrack and toddy shops. He admitted that he has signed the agreements Exs. A-4 and A-6. He admitted the other signatures also.
9. From a perusal of the election petition, the counter as well as the evidence of the above witnesses, particularly that of P. W. 2, it is beyond dispute that the 1st respondents was the highest bidder for the arrack shop at Bommenapalli and for the toddy shop at Potlapalli. He also signed the agreements Exs. A-4 and A-6 and by the time he filed the nomination paper these contracts were subsisting and it is also clear that the licences for these two shops continued to stand in his name. As a matter of fact, P. W. 1 the Excise Superintendent deposed to all these facts and he was not even cross-examined. A perusal of the relevant provisions of the Excise Act and the Rules thereunder as well as the agreements signed by the 1st respondents, shows that the highest bidder has to deposit the monthly rentals and purchase the arrack from the Government at the issue price and sell the same to the public. If there are any arrears in the monthly rentals the same can be recovered as arrears of land revenue. Similarly with regard to the toddy shop he has to tap the toddy from the trees allotted to him by the Government by paying the tree-tax and sell the toddy to the public. For the toddy shop also he has to pay monthly rentals and if he falls in arrears the same can be recovered as arrears of land revenue. There are other incidental conditions in the agreement like, place etc. the fact remains that there is an agreement between the highest bidder i.e., the 1st respondent and the Government in respect of the carrying on the business in arrack and toddy in the above-mentioned manner, and the same are not disputed.
10. the real controversy is whether in view of the above stated facts the 1st respondent is disqualified to be chosen as a member of the Legislative Assembly as per the provisions of Section 9-A of the Representation of the People Act, hereinafter referred to as 'the Act.' Section 9-A reads thus:-
'Disqualification for Government Contracts, etc.:- A person shall be disqualified if and for so long as, there subsists a contract entered into by him in the course of his trade or business with the appropriate Government for the supply of goods to, or for the execution of any works undertaken by that Government.'
A plain reading of the section makes it clear that for disqualifying a person thereunder, the following conditions must be satisfied:-
(1) There must be a contract between the person against whom Section 9-A is being invoked and the Government.
(2) Such a contract must be for the supply of goods to the Government; or for execution of any works undertaken by the Government;
(3) Such contracts must have been entered into by that person in the course of his trade or business; and
(4) Such a contract must be subsisting on the date of the filing of the nomination papers.
Now it has to be seen whether these conditions are satisfied in the instant case where the above-mentioned facts are not in dispute. As already mentioned, the contracts entered into by the 1sr respondent were subsisting on the date of the filing of the nomination paper. Further the 1st respondent admitted that for the earlier years also he obtained licences to sell toddy and arrack at Bommnapalli. However, for resolving the controversy, it may not be necessary to consider the question whether the 1st respondent bid on behalf of others, or whether he entered into the contracts in the course of his trade or business. It is enough if we consider whether these subsisting contracts were for the supply of goods or for the execution of any works undertaken by the Government.
11. A plain understanding of the facts does not show that the 1st respondent was supplying any goods to the Government or that the contract was for the execution of any works undertaken by the Government. The learned counsel for the petitioner however at the outset contended that the object of the Parliament in enacting Section 9-A was to preserve the integrity and the independence of the members of the Legislature and to prevent any possible conflict between the public duty and private gain and therefore a beneficiary construction should always be placed upon the section so that it may harmonise the intention of the Legislature. In support of this contention he relied on A. J. Arunachalam v. Election Tribunal Vellore. (1954) 9 ele LR 471 (Mad) wherein Subba Rao, J. as he then was, held thus:-
(1) Section 7(d) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 was enacted to prevent the abuses pointed out by the learned Judge In construing a provision intended to keep a Legislator beyond any suspicion in the interests of public morality, a liberal construction should be put upon the section. The beneficial effect of it should nor be allowed to be whittled down by subtle arguments based upon a conflict of powers or the law of agency.' In Konappa v. Vishwanath, : 2SCR90 the Supreme Court observed that a sensible view of the section will have to be taken. At the same time it was observed that the right of a person to stand for an election is a valuable right. In Ratnakar v. Jugal Kishore, : AIR1976Ori85 it is held that the legislative intent in enacting Section 9-A has to be kept in view in considering if the provisions of that section would apply to the facts of a case.
12. There is no doubt that the object of the Parliament in enacting Section 9-A was to preserve the integrity and independence of the members of the Legislature and to keep the Legislature beyond any suspicion in the interests of public morality. But as observed by the Supreme Court in Konappa v. Vishwanath,. : 2SCR90 the right of a person to stand for an election is valuable right just as a right of a person to vote and that a sensible view of the section will have top be taken. In Bhaskara Rao v. C. V. K. Rao, : AIR1964AP77 a Division Bench of this court while considering the cope of the old Section 7(d) which is analogous to the present Section 9-A, observed thus (at P. 82): 'Since Section 7(d) is disabling provision and deprives citizens of India of the right to stand for election and serve the community, it should receive a very strict interpretation. Statutes which encroach on the rights of the subject, whether as regards person or property, are subject to a strict construction and it is a recognised rule that they should be interpreted if possible, so as to respect such rights and if there is any ambiguity as to the meaning of the section, inasmuch as it is a disabling section, the construction which is in favour of the freedom of the individual should be given effect to as stated by Maxwell.' The learned Judges also considered the other contention viz., that the object of the Parliament in enacting the disabling section is to maintain the integrity of the members of the Legislature and that any interpretation contrary to such an intendment cannot be made, and held thus (at p. 83):-
'No exception could be taken to these rules as stated thus. But, at the same time, we cannot overlook the cardinal rule that Courts should not strain the language of a stature in order to cover cases which are plainly excluded from the natural meaning of the words.'
In this context it is beneficial to refer to some passages from 'Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes', which read thus:-
'The first and most elementary rule of construction is that it is to be assumed that the words and phrases of technical legislation are used in their technical meaning if they have acquired one, and otherwise in their ordinary meaning, and the second is that the phrases and sentences are to be construed according to the rules of grammar,..The safer and more correct course of dealing with a question of construction is to take the words themselves and arrive if possible at their meaning without. In the first instance, reference to cases.
The rule of construction is 'to intend Legislature to have meant what they have actually expressed.' The object of all interpretation is to discover the intention of Parliament, 'but the intention of Parliament must be deduced from the language used, 'for it' it is well accepted that the belief and assumptions of those who frame Acts of Parliament cannot make the law.' Bearing these principles in mind, if we examine the plain language of Section 9-A we notice that the two important requirements, apart from other requirements, under the section are, the subsisting contract must be for the supply of goods to the Government, or for the execution of any works undertaken by the Government. The nature of the contract in the instant case prima facie is such that the 1st respondent was not under an obligation to supply any goods to the Government or the contract is for the execution of any works undertaken by the Government.
13. The learned counsel for the petitioner, however, relying on the decision cited supra, contended that a broad view of the section has to be taken and it should be interpreted in such a manner giving due effect to the object of the Parliament. But it is well settled that where the language is clear and unequivocal, the same cannot be strained in order to cover cases which are plainly excluded from the natural meaning of the words. In 'Maxwell on the Interpretation of Statutes', Chapter 2 Twelfth Edition, page 29 a passage runs thus;-
'Where, by the use of clear rind unequivocal language capable of only one meaning, anything is enacted by the legislature, it must be enforced however harsh or absurd or contrary to common sense the result may be. The interpretation of a statute is not to be collected from any nations which may be' entertained by the court as to what is just and expedient words are not to be, construed, contrary to their meaning. as embracing or excluding cases merely because no good reason appears why they should not be embraced or excluded. The duty of the court is to expound the law as it stands, and to 'leave the remedy (if one be resolved upon) to others.'
It is true that the object of the Parliament in enacting Section 9-A was to preserve the integrity of the Legislators and to prevent any possible conflict between the public duty and private gain; but it must be remarked that a person has a right to contest the election. and Section 9-A restricts that right. therefore the section has to be construed and interpreted in a reasonable manner having due regard to the plain meaning of the wards used therein. The language used in Section 9-A reflects the intention of the Parliament and there is no difficulty in understanding the same. Even if it is permissible to take a broad view of the section, there cannot be any justification to extend the provision to things which are plainly excluded from its natural meaning. In Ram Padarath Mahto v. Mishri Sinha, : 2SCR470 the Supreme Court observed that in dealing with the statutory provisions which disqualify a citizen. it would be unreasonable to take merely a broad and general view and ignore the essential points of distinction on the ground that they are technical. Therefore, the contention of the learned counsel that broad view must always be taken even ignoring the plain meaning of the language in interpreting S. 9-A. cannot be acceded to. The above-mentioned decisions show that a broad and unrestricted interpretation should not always be given to the language of S. 9-A ignoring the cardinal rules of interpretation.
14. Let us now examine the scope of S. 9-A. Whatever may be said about other contracts, S. 9-A does not cover a contract for the performance of any services undertaken by the Government. S. 7(d) of the Act as it stood prior to the amendment in 1958 was in the following terms:--
'A person shall be disqualified far being chosen as. and for being, a member of either House of Parliament or of the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council of a State-- [d) if, Whether by himself or by person or body of persons in trust for him or for his benefit or on his account he has any share or interest in a contract for the supply of goods to, or for the execution of any works or the performance of any services undertaken by the appropriate Government.'
In 1958 this Section was amended and the words 'or the performance of any services '' are omitted. It can be seen that after amendment in 1958 the language of S. 7(d) is the same as we find in S. 9-A as renumbered in 1966 The Legislature has deliberately omitted the words 'or the performance of any services' which is very significant. Some of the cases decided prior to the amendment would show that a contract with the Government to carry an certain services undertaken by the Government came within the mischief or S. 7(d) as it stood then. The cases rendered by the various Courts, subsequent to the amendment clearly throw much light on the effect of the amendment and an examination of these decisions would also make it clear that only such contracts to supply goods or to execute the words undertaken by the Government are covered by S. 9-A. A. J. Arunachalam v. Election Tribunal 11954) 9 Elec. LR 471 (Mad). was a case where an objection was raised to the candidature of the petitioner on the ground that he was disqualified for standing far election under S. 7(d) (before amendment)as he had entered into a contract with the State Government where under he was appointed as a State nominee for distribution of bales of yarn. The High Court held that the candidate had an interest in the contract far the performance of the services undertaken by the Government of Madras within the meaning of S. 7(d). In N. Satyanathan v. K Subramanyan. : 2SCR83 it was held that the contractor therein. who had entered into an agreement with the Central Government in the Postal Department to carry mail bags and postal articles. which was based on mutual promises i. e., by the contractor to carry the mail bags. etc., and by the Postal Department to pay him suitable remuneration for the services thus rendered. performed the services undertaken by the Central Government and was therefore disqualified under S. 7(d) as it stood prior to the amendment in 1958. In this decision his Lordship Justice Sinha, as he then was having regard to the bets therein observed thus.
'It cannot be gainsaid that the Government in the Postal Department is rendering a very useful service. and that the appellant has by his contract with the Government undertaken to render that kind of service on a specified route. The present case is a straight forward illustration of the kind of contract contemplated by S. 7(d) of the Act.'
In Ram Padarath Mahto v. Mishri Sinha : 2SCR470 the candidate's firm entered into contract with the Government to stock and store foodgrains for sale in pursuance of the grain Supply Scheme Of the Government far which a proper custodian and bailee for reward was necessary The Supreme Court held that the contract was one of bailment which imposes on the bailee the obligation to stock and store the foodgrains in his godown. and it could not be said to be a contract for the purpose at the service of sale of grain which the Slate Government had undertaken and therefore the contract did not attract the application of Section 7(d) of the Act as it stood prior to the amendment. Gajendragadkar. J. as he then was speaking for the Court further observed thus:--
'If the service undertaken by the State Government is one of supplying grain how does it necessarily follow that a contract by which the bailee undertook to store the grain was a contract for the supply of grain?. It may sound technical, but in dealing with a statutory provision which imposes a disqualification on a citizen it would he unreasonable to take merely a broad and general view and ignore the essential points of distinction on the ground that they are technical.'
In R. Deshpande v. Muttam Reddy : AIR1961AP180 a Division Bench of this Court considered a case where there was a contract between the Government and the candidate for sale and purchase of Beedi leaves. The Division Bench having considered the terms of the contract, observed that the nature or the contract was such that no supply of goods or execution of any works to or for the Government was envisaged and that the Government for a consideration sells that Beedi leaves in forest areas specified in the' contract to the contractor who should within the period of the contract, Pick the Beedi-leaves and remove them from the forest. The learned Judges considered whether the contract is deemed to be performing the service undertaken by the Government, and rejecting that contention observed thus;--
In our view, a contract of service must, in order to come within the mischief of S. 7(d) of the Act, specifically have as its object the performance of a service. In other words. it means a contract directly for the performance of services or ancillary to the performance of any such service.''
These are some of the cases decided prior to the amendment in 1958. In the last cited case the High Court held that a contract to purchase Beedi leaves from the Government and to Sell the same to the public does not attract the application of S. 7(d) of the Act as there was neither supply of goods nor execution of any works or performance of any services undertaken by the Government. The facts in this case are some what similar to the facts in the present case As already mentioned. the words Performance of any services'' in S. 7(d) were omitted by way of an amendment in the year 1958 and it can be noticed that the scope of S. 7(d) has been narrowed down and the disqualification has been restricted. Such, of the contracts for the performance of services undertaken by the Government can no longer be covered by amended S. 7(d). At any rate, a plain reading of the language manifests the same.
15. The learned counsel for the petitioner however argued that the object of the Legislature was not to restrict the scope of disqualification and in this context he referred to the statement of objects and reasons attached to the Bill amending S. 7(d). I do not think that the learned counsel is correct in this regard. I have perused the Statement of Objects and Reasons attached to the Bill introduced to amend S. 7(d) C1. 13 of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 1958 provides for the said amendment. The reasons given in the Notes for the proposed amendment of S. 7(d) are as follows;-
'The language of S. 7(d) of the 1951 Act which provides for disqualification in case of contracts with the Government is wide and vague enough to bring any kind of category of contract within its scope and it has been a fruitful source of election disputes in the past. Persons who only occasionally broadcast any talk from the radio station or contribute any article to any Government publication may come within the mischief of this Section It is accordingly proposed to redraft S. 7(d) in a sumpler and more rational way so as to bring within its purview only two categories of contracts entered into by a person with the Government in the course of his trade or business. These two categories are contracts for the supply of goods and contracts for the execution of any works.''
From these reasons it can be seen that the object of the Legislature was to redraft S. 7(d) in a simpler and more rational way so as to bring within its purview only two categories of con tracts entered into by a person with the Government in the course of his trade or business and they are for supply of goods. end for the execution of any works undertaken by the Government The Parliament also intended to restrict the scope of S. 7(d) or that it may not be vague enough to bring any kind of category of contracts within its scope in order to prevent all sorts of election disputes being raised. However a reference to the Statement of Objects and Reasons is not necessary as the terms of S. 9-A which is in the same language as S. 7(d) after amendment, are not ambiguous or vague and on the other hand they are clear and plain, In Express Newspaper (Pvt) Ltd. v. Union of India, : (1961)ILLJ339SC their Lordships held that a reference to the Statement Of Objects and Reasons attached to bill is not an aid to the construction of the terms of a statute which have of course to be given their plain and grammatical meaning and that it is only when the terms of the statute are ambiguous or vague that resort may be had to them for the purpose of arriving at the true intention of the legislature The well established principle of interpretation of statutes is that the provision of a statute must be construed according to its plain meaning, neither adding to It nor subtracting from it and when the terms are clear and plain, it is the duty of the Court to give effect to it as it stands. In Satya Prakash v. Bashir Ahmed, ATR 1983 Madh Pra 316 also the learned Judges held that It is only when the terms of the statute are ambiguous or vague, resort may be had to the statement of Object, and Reasons attached to the Bill for the purpose of arriving at the true intention of the Legislature. Having examined the Statement of Objects and Reasons attached to the Bill which led to the passing of the Amending Act of 1958 the learned Judges further held that it will not be legitimate to construe S. 7(d) of the Act with the Bid of them Having thus observed, the learned Judges held thus [at p. 321):-
'The deletion of the expression 'the performance of any service, undertaken by which occurred in the old S. 7(d) does not in any way enlarge the meaning of the expression 'contract for the Supply of goods to ..Government' and ''contract for the execution of my works undertaken by ...Government' It does not sweep into those expressions contracts which were outside their scope before S. 7(d) was amended in 1958. ..The general consideration that the disqualification under a 7(d) is for the purpose of ensuring that there is no conflict between interest and duty when a person b chosen as a member of Parliament or State Legislature is not a sufficient reason far wresting the clear words used in S. 7(d) from their plain meaning. Bearing these principles in mind, I see no ambiguity about the words used in, S 9-A, viz, 'for the supply of goods to, for the execution of any works undertaken and therefore there is no necessity to refer to the Statement of Objects and Reasons attached to the Bill. As already noticed from the Statement of Objects and Reasons while amending S. 7(d), the Parliament though intended to maintain the integrity and independence of the Legislators, but at the same time did not intend to brine in every type of contract within the scope of the disqualifying section.
16. Let us now refer to some of the cases wherein the scope of Section 7(d) after amendment, came up for consideration. Satya Prakash v. Bashir Ahmed, : AIR1963MP316 is a case where the candidate who filed the nomination had a subsisting contract with the Central Government to carry postal mail bags and articles on the remuneration mentioned in the contract. It was contended that he was disqualified in view of the provisions of S. 7(d). The learned Judges specifying the importance of the amendment brought out in the year 1958 held that a contract entered into by the candidate to carry postal mail bags and postal articles is not a contract for the supply of goods or for the execution of any works undertaken by the Government. The learned Judges also referred to the decision of the Supreme Court in Satyanathan's Case, AIR 1955 SC 359 rendered before the amendment wherein the same type of contract was held to be covered by S. 7(d) and pointed out that a subsisting contract with the Government to carry the mail bags does not disqualify a candidate after the amendment. At this juncture it is necessary to note one of the arguments of the learned counsel for the petitioner, viz., that so far as the contract In respect of the teddy shop is concerned, it amounts to supply of goods to the Government. According to the learned counsel the 1st respondent taps the trees allotted by the Government by paying tree-tax and the toddy so tapped must be deemed to be supplied to the Government, which in turn under its own authority sells to the public. This is rather a strained argument. The contractor pays the tree-tax for tapping the toddy, but the monthly rentals that he pays is for the right to sell the toddy to the public. The Government does not come in between Therefore, I am unable to understand as to how this can be treated as supply of goods to the Government. One can understand if the tapped teddy is handed over to the Government, for being sold to the public. But that is not so. S. 15 of the Andhra Pradesh Excise Act, 1968 lays down that no person shall sell or buy any intoxicant except under the authority and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a licence granted in that behalf. The proviso to that section is to the effect that a person having .licence to draw teddy from an excise tree may sell such teddy to a person licenced to buy teddy under this Act without obtaining a licence for such sale but subject to such restrictions and conditions as the Commissioner may, by general or special order, specify. This section and other rules make it clear that the right to sell the intoxicants is the monopoly of the Government. Under S. 17 the Government may, subject to such conditions as they deem fit to impose, grant for a fixed period a lease to sell the intoxicant. The relevant Rules provide for conducting the auctions. As already mentioned, the highest bidder has to enter into an agreement end should deposit the necessary rentals. It can therefore, be seen that the right to sell liquor is only leased out by the Government. R. 21 of the Andhra Pradesh Excise (Lease.of Right to Sell Liquor in Retail) Rules. 1969, deals with the counterpart agreement to be executed by the licensee under Form A-2. The terms and conditions therein only show that the contractor has to pay the monthly rentals, etc. regularly. There is nothing there to show that he supplies goods in any manner to the Government. Therefore, this contention has to be rejected.
17. It is next contended that the A. P. Excise Act regulate the production. manufacture and sale of intoxicants, and provides for the levy of duty and excise and under the said Act it is the Government that has the exclusive power to carry on these Regulations and therefore it must be deemed that the Government has undertaken these words within the meaning of S. 9-A of the Representation of the people Act and the Subsisting contract entered in to by the 1 st respondent is to execute such works This contention also is devoid of merits. The words used in this section are '' any works and they definitely connote the carrying out of some construction activities. In Satya Prakash's case : AIR1963MP316 a similar contention was raised. The Division Bench repelling the said contention held thus (at p. 320):--
'The contract under consideration is not even a contract 'for the execution of any works undertaken' by the Central Government. In transporting postal articles and mail bags the Company no doubt undertook to do the work of carrying them. But this is not sufficient to attract the last part of S. 7(d). which postulates that the appropriate Government has undertaken 'some works., and It is for the execution of such works that the contract has been entered into by the person with the Government. The expression 'execution of any works' means and implies the carrying out of some act or acts or course of conduct to the commencement and completion of the works, It is of significance that in cl. (d) the word used is not the singular 'work'` but the plural 'works..' The plural is always used in the sense of 'operations.' projects,' 'schemes.' 'plan,' such as building works, irrigation works, defence works etc.-- what is connoted is the carrying out of something to be built or constructed and not merely something to he done the transport of postal articles and mail bags from one place to another is undoubtedly a piece of work. But contract for doing that work does not fall within the category of contract 'for the execution of any works undertaken.' by the Government' This decision of the Madhya Pradesh High Court has been followed by the Patna High Court in Yugal Kishore Singh v. Nagendra Prasad, : AIR1964Pat543 and again by the Allahabad High Court in Brahma Dutt v. Pari. purna Nand, : AIR1972All340 . In the latter decision the learned Judge considered the 'cope of S: 9-A of the Act. That was a case where the candidate ' the proprietor printer and publisher of a newspaper and there was a rate contract between the Directorate of Advertisement of the Government and the candidate for printing advertisements of the organisation. It was contended that the contract 'as for execution of works undertaken by the Government of India. The learned Judge of the Allahabad High Court, following the above-mentioned decisions of the Madhya Pradesh High Court and the Patna High Court. held that such a con tract would not fall within the expression 'execution of any works..'
18. It can. therefore, be seen that the contract entered into by the 1st respondent in the present case with the Govt. to sell arrack end teddy to the public after due payments of rentals to the Government does not amount to contract for the execution of any works undertaken' by the Government. The relevant Provisions of the A. P. Excise Act and the Rules referred to above only indicate that the Government has the monopoly to buy, sell or to import any intoxicant: and under Section 17 it Can grant a lease in favour of any person for fixed period subject to certain conditions for the supply, manufacture or sale of intoxicants. In the instant case the lease granted in favour of the 1st respondent who was the highest bidder, was only for the sale toddy and arrack in those two villages for one year. The scheme of the Excise Act of the Rules made thereunder do not in any way indicate that the Government has undertaken any works' within the meaning Section 9-A or the Representation of the People Act, and I see no reason to take a different view from the one taken by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Satya Prakash's case, : AIR1963MP316 , which has been followed by the Patna and the Allahabad High Courts as mentioned supra.
19. It may be that if Section 9-A had been in the Same terms as that of Section 7(d) as it stood prior to the amendment the contracts of this nature under the A. P. Excise Act would have come within the sweep of the words ' the performance of any services''. But those words are omitted by the amendment Act of 1958. It is already noticed that Same innocuous Contracts like carrying Postal mail bags, etc.. came within the mischief of Sec of 7(d) as it stood prior to the Amendment and the candidates holding such contracts were disqualified. But Section 9-A which is in pari materia with Section 7(d)after amendment does not cover all kinds of contracts which are in a way meant for 'he performance of any services undertaken by the Government. It may not he possible to say that the persons who have excise contracts with the Government are of lesser consequence front the point of view of the integrity and independence of the Legislators when compared to the other persons who have some contracts either for supply of goads to the Government or for the execution of any works undertaken by the Government. The accusing finger in this context can as well be pointed against the persons doing Excise contracts. But after the omission of the words 'the performance of any services' in the relevant provision of law it can no more he said that all contracts for the performance of any services undertaken by tin Government still come within the mischief of Section 9-A The language of Section 9-A is clear and this Court cannot construe the section in a different manner by straining the same. The remedy to set right incongruity, it any, lies with the Legislature.
20. For the aforesaid reasons. the contracts entered into by the 1st respondent with the State Government to sell toddy and arrack do not come within the mischief of Section 9-A .as they are neither to, supply of goods to the Government nor for the execution of any works undertaken by the Government, and consequently the 1st respondent does not suffer from any disqualification for being chosen as a Member of the Legislative Assembly-
21. In the result, the election petition is dismissed with costs. Advocates fee Rs. 10000/-.
22. Petition dismissed.