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Mangalapuru Subrahmanyam and ors. Vs. the District Collector (Panchayats Wing), Nellore and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElection
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn No. 5013 of 1981
Judge
Reported inAIR1982AP50
ActsAndhra Pradesh Grampanchayats Act, 1964 - Sections 217; Andhra Pradesh Grampanchayat (Registration of Electors) Rules, 1978 - Rule 27 and 27(2); Constitution of India - Article 226; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Order 1, Rule 1
AppellantMangalapuru Subrahmanyam and ors.
RespondentThe District Collector (Panchayats Wing), Nellore and ors.
Appellant AdvocateE. Manohar, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateGovt. Pleader for Revenue and ;M.V. Ramana Reddy, Adv.
Excerpt:
election - electoral roll - section 217 of andhra pradesh grampanchyats act, 1964, rules 27 and 27 (2) of andhra pradesh grampanchayat (registration of electors), rules, 1978, article 226 of constitution of india and order 1 rule1 of code of civil procedure, 1908 - election of respondent challenged - petitioners contended that their names should be included in electoral roll and to hold election afresh - court observed that there is specific machinery provided by rules for correction of entries and inclusion of electoral roll - application should be filed according to that particular procedure - no application filed in this regard - held, election results valid. - - in the circumstances, we are satisfied that interests of justice do not require any interference in a writ petition......electoral registration officer and tahsildar, gudur to include the names of the petitioners in the final electoral roll for the vendodu gram panchayat, 1980 and hold elections afresh. 2. the case of the petitioners is that the draft electoral roll was published some time before the election. in the draft roll, the names of the petitioner were included. subsequently, when the final electoral roll was published, the names of all the petitioners were no found in the electoral roll. certain other defects in the electoral roll are also mentioned in the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition, but it is not necessary to set out in detail those defects. the first petitioner and fourteen other petitioners submitted a petition to the second respondent by registered post-acknowledgement.....
Judgment:

Alladi Kuppuswami, C.J.

1. The petitioner are residents of Vendodu Villae, Gudur Taluk, Nellore District. They have filed this petition praying for the issue of an appropriate writ declaring the election of the third respondent as Sarpanch of Vendodu Gram Panchayat as illegal and void and to set aside the same and further to direct Respondents 1 and 2, namely the District Collector (Panchayat Wing) Nellore and the Electoral Registration Officer and Tahsildar, Gudur to include the names of the petitioners in the final electoral roll for the Vendodu Gram Panchayat, 1980 and hold elections afresh.

2. The case of the petitioners is that the draft electoral roll was published some time before the election. In the draft roll, the names of the petitioner were included. Subsequently, when the final electoral roll was published, the names of all the petitioners were no found in the electoral roll. Certain other defects in the electoral roll are also mentioned in the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition, but it is not necessary to set out in detail those defects. The first petitioner and fourteen other petitioners submitted a petition to the second respondent by registered post-acknowledgement due dated 21.4.91 bringing to his notice the fact that the names of 41 persons were not included in the final electoral roll and other defects and requested him to include their names in the electoral roll. This appears to have been revived by the second respondent on 22-4-1981 as evidenced by the endorsement in the acknowledgement. The second respondent did not reply to the representation, not did he rectify the mistake with the result that the petitioners were prevented from exercising their franchise. The petitioners say that they are supporters of one Subba Reddy who was the other contestant for the post of Sarpanch. The third respondent was however declared elected with a majority of 27 votes. The case of he petitioners is that if their names appeared in the electoral roll and if they had participated in the election they would have voted for Subba Reddy and Subba Reddy would have been elected with a majority of 11 votes. The petitioners therefore pray that the election of the third respondent be declared as null and void and that Respondents 1 and 2 should be directed to include the names of the petitioners in the final voters' list and hold the election of the Sarpanch afresh.

3. In the counter-affidavit filed by the third respondent, it is stated that the final list of voters was published as early as on 30-12-1980. Under R.27 of the Andhra Pradesh Gram Panchayats (Registration of Electors) Rules made under the Andhra Pradesh Gram Panchayats Act, every person ;whose name is not included in the electoral roll of the Panchayat is entitled to apply ;to the Electoral Registration Officer to include his name in that roll. Such application should be made in the prescribed form, with the prescribed free. No such application was made by the petitioners. Even the representation said to have been made was made only by fourteen petitioners. the other petitioners did not make any representation. In the result, the final electoral roll cannot be questioned in this writ petition. No counter-affidavit has been filed on behalf of the first and second respondents. The learned Government pleader says that the draft counter-affidavit has been sent, but has not been received duly signed. He has, however, produced the records.

4. It is seen that the main contention of the petitioners is that their names have not been included in the final roll even though their names find a place in the draft roll. From a perusal of the records and the draft and final rolls we find that the final roll has been very clumsily prepared. One entire sheet in the draft roll is not to be found in the final roll with the result the names of several residents are found missing in the final roll. There does not seem to be any justification for the slovenly manner in which this final roll has been prepared. Further, the fact that a number of names do not find a place in the final roll was brought to the notice of the second respondent by a representation dated 21st April, 1981 which appears to have been received by him either on the 2nd or 24th, April, 1981. There was sufficient time for the second respondent to wake up and correct the roll, but apparently, he did not consider it expedient to do so. It does not however follow that the writ petition has to be allowed. Under r. 27 of the rules referred to above, there is a machinery provided for getting the final roll corrected. Under R. 27 of the rules referred to above, there is a machinery provided for getting the final roll corrected. Under R. 27 (1), any person whose name is not included in the electoral roll of a Gram panchayat or any person who considers any entry in the electoral Registration officer for the inclusion of his name in that roll or for making necessary correction. Under R. 27 (2), every such application shall be made in duplicate in such one of the farms 3, 5 5A and 5B as may be appropriate and shall be accompanied by a free of Ten paise only. Rule 27 (3) provides that the fee specified in sub-rule (2) shall be :

(a) paid in cash; or

(b) deposited in Government Treasury in favour of the Registration Officer : or

(c) paid by means of Non-Judicial Stamps.

Rule 27 (4) provides that the Registration Officer shall, immediately on receipt of such application direct that one copy thereof be pasted in the following places together with a notice inviting objections to such application within a period of seven days from the date of such pasting :

(i) some conspicuous place in the office.

(ii) in the office of the Gram Panchayat.

Rule 27 (5) says that the Registration Officer after considering the objections may include the name of the person or amend: transpose or delete any entry. If the application is rejected, he has to record in writing briefly his reasons for such rejection. Rule 27 (7) provides that no amendment transposition or deletion of any entry shall be made and no direction for the inclusion of a name in the electoral roll of a Gram Panchayat shall be given under this rule after the date fixed for division of electoral roll according towards under S. 14 (5) (c) of the Act for an election in that Gram Panchayat and before the completion of that election. It is therefore clear that there is a specific machinery provided by the Rules for the correction of entries and inclusion of names in the electoral roll. Under that procedure, there should be an application in a particular form accompanied by a fee. In this case, no such application was made. Only a representation in an ordinary white paper without affixing any fee was filed. We are of the view that such an application in the eye of law made according to the rules prescribed for that purpose. Sri Manohar contended that the application made by 15 persons on 21-4-1981 should be treated as an application substantially complying with the requirements of R. 27 (2). We are not inclined to agree. When it is provided under the rules that an application should be in a particular form and should be accompanied by the prescribed fee. We cannot regard an application without complying with requirements to be one made in substantial compliance with the requirements of the rule. Secondly, Sri Manohar argued that once it was brought to the notice of the Electoral Registration Officer, it was his duty to suo motu correct, the electoral roll. We do not find any basis for such a submission. There is no provision which enables the Electoral Officer to make correction sub motu as several other steps have to be taken before such correction is made, namely, a copy of the application should be pasted in the places referred to in R. 27 (4) objections called for and considered and a reasoned order passed. Hence, the position is that there was no application for correction in the eye of law or according to the rules. Therefore, the roll became final and it is not permissible for the petitioners to question the correctness of the roll in writ petition. Further, it has also to be noticed that the application was made only by fifteen out of thirty eight petitioners before us. Even assuming for a moment that such application within the meaning of R. 27 (2), all that could be done was to include the names of those particular persons in the roll. Even further assuming that all of them would have voted in favour of Subba Reddy, the result of the election would not have been materially affected as the third respondent was elected by a majority of 27 votes. It is not open to the thirty eight petitioners to urge the cause of those persons who never applied for correction of the rolls before the Electoral Registration Officer. In the circumstances, we are satisfied that interests of justice do not require any interference in a writ petition.

5. There is also the further fact that the party who was really aggrieved that not joined the petitioners in this writ petition. He has chosen to content himself with filling of an election petition which is said to be pending before the Election Tribunal. Apparently, he wanted to have two strings to his bow and has persuaded the writ petition here while fighting his own cause before the Tribunal.

6. Sri Manohar drew our attention to the decision of the Supreme Court in Chief Commr, Ajmer v. Radhey Shyam, : [1957]1SCR68 where it has been held that it is of the essence of the elections that proper electoral rolls should be maintained and if the electoral roll not in conformity with the provisions of law, it could not form the basis of any valid elections. The case before the Supreme Court bears no resemblance to the case before us. In that case. the respondent's nomination was rejected on the ground that he was not one of the electors according to the rolls. He made an application for rectification of the mistake in the Parliamentary Electoral Roll which was also rejected on the ground that the roll of the Municipal elections had been finally published earlier. He therefore filed a writ petition for a writ of mandamus restraining the District Magistrate, Ajmer from holding the elections to the Ajmer Municipal Committee. Further, no rules had been framed for giving an opportunity to the parties concerned to ask for the revision of the electoral roll and for the adjudication of claims to be enrolled therein. In these circumstances it was observed that unless this is done, the entire obligation cast upon the authorities holding these elections held in such imperfect electoral rolls would acquire to validity and would be liable to be challenged at the instance of the parties concerned. In this case, however there are rules which contain a machinery for getting the electoral rolls corrected, objections being passed. We are therefore of the view that the decision of the Supreme court has no application to the facts of the case. On the other hand, in Sudharshan v. district Collector, Warangal. : AIR1964AP421 it has been held that for raising objections in regard to the preparation of the electoral rolls of the Assembly constituency, a machinery is provided under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act and the rules. if the petitioners wanted their names to be included in the rolls, they had any amount of opportunity to do so. In the result, this court did not avail of those opportunities, they could not question the correctness of the electoral roll in a writ petition.

7. For the above reasons, we dismiss the writ petition, but in the circumstances without costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 100/-

8. Petition dismissed.


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