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Cherukuri Pirchiah, Advocate and Municipal Commissioner, Gudivada Vs. Andhra University, Waltair and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElection
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 664 of 1960
Judge
Reported inAIR1961AP465
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Andhra University Act, 1926 - Sections 27; Andhra University Code - Rule 4
AppellantCherukuri Pirchiah, Advocate and Municipal Commissioner, Gudivada
RespondentAndhra University, Waltair and ors.
Appellant AdvocateN.V.B. Shankerrao and R. Subbarao, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateAdv. General, ;Government Pleader and ;Y.B. Tata Rao, Advs.
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
.....petitioner - challenged validity of decision - under section 27 chancellor not required to issue notice - chancellor exercising quasi-judicial function - need to comply judicial procedure - action without notice violated rule of natural justice - petitioner entitled to make representation - held, cancellation of election is not valid. - all india services act, 1951. sections 32(c) (as amended by section 3 of amendment act, 2005] & 10 & general clauses act, 1897, section 6: [g.s. singhvi, cj, dr.g. yethirajulu, ramesh ranganathan, g.bhavani prasad, c.v. nagarjuna reddy, jj] exemption of building from applicability of provisions of act held, (per majority) section 32(c) of the act provides that the provisions of the act shall not apply to any building the rent of which as on the date..........learned counsel for the petitioner that any order passed by the chancellor without notice to the affected person violates the principles of natural justice. it was incumbent upon the chancellor to have given an opportunity to the petitioner to hear him before decision was given against him, continues the learned counsel. 4. this is countered by the learned advocate-general appearing for the university by the argument that there are no principles of natural justice in abstract and that whether any rules of natural justice have been contravened or not is to be determined with reference to the statutory rules governing the disposal of appeals. neither section 27 of the andhra university act nor the regulations framed thereunder casts an obligation on the chancellor to issue a notice to.....
Judgment:

Chandra Reddy, C.J.

1. The order of the Chancellor of the Andhra University setting aside the election of the petitioner to the senate of that university is called in question in this petition.

2. In January 1960, the District Collector, Kri-shna, conducted the election of one member to the senate from the local bodies' constituency of that district, as requested by the university. In that election the petitioner secured 426 votes as against 424 polled by the third respondent. Consequently the petitioner was declared elected to the senate and the result of the election was Intimated to the university. It was notified in the Andhra Pradesh Gazette.

The unsuccessful candidate preferred an appeal to the Chancellor of the university against the declaration of the result of the election complaining that some of the votes cast in his favour were improperly rejected by the Returning Officer. The Chancellor, being of the opinion that the grounds of invalidation of the votes were Improper, set aside the election of the petitioner and ordered a fresh election to be held. Before taking the final decision, the Chancellor had not issued any notice to the petitioner, the successful candidate in the election. It is this order of the Chancellor that is in issue in this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.

3. The main challenge to the order is based on the non-issue of notice to the petitioner. It is urged by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that any order passed by the Chancellor without notice to the affected person violates the principles of natural justice. It was incumbent upon the Chancellor to have given an opportunity to the petitioner to hear him before decision was given against him, continues the learned counsel.

4. This is countered by the learned Advocate-General appearing for the university by the argument that there are no principles of natural justice in abstract and that whether any rules of natural justice have been contravened or not is to be determined with reference to the statutory rules governing the disposal of appeals. Neither Section 27 of the Andhra University Act nor the regulations framed thereunder casts an obligation on the Chancellor to issue a notice to the successful party before taking the action coa-templated by that section, argues the learned Advocate-General.

5. At this stage, it is convenient to look at the terras of Section 27. It reads:

'Save as otherwise provided, if any question arises whether a person has been duly elected or nominated or is entitled to be a member of any authority of the university, tie question shall be referred to the Chancellor whose decision shall be final.'

6. The University Code (Vol. I at page 216) makes a provision for the mode in which this question is brought before the Chancellor by rule 4. That rule recites;

'Save as otherwise provided, if any question arises whether a person has been duly elected or nominated as or is entitled to be a member of any authority of the University, the question shall be referred to the Chancellor whose decision thereon shall be final. Any candidate at any election, intending to appeal to the Chancellor against any declaration made by the Vice Chancellor, or the person deputed by him to act in his place or any other Returning Officer, in respect of nominations, or the conduct of ballot or the declaration of the results, thereof, shall lodge his appeal with the Chancellor through the Vice-Chancellor within fifteen clear days after the date of such declaration to which he takes objection. Appeals received by the Chancellor after the period fixed shall not be considered.'

7. It is thus seen that either the statute or the regulation does not enjoin upon the Chancellor to afford an opportunity to the successful candidate in the election to make his representations. At the same time, there is no rule excluding the issue of notice.

8. Therefore, the question for consideration is whether the absence of any provision requiring the authority disposing of the appeal to give notice, would entitle that authority to dispense with notice to the affected person. In our judgment, in the absence of any provision governing the hearing of appeals, the law implies that substantial requirements of justice are not to be infringed, one of such requirements being that the party to be affected should be given an opportunity to state his case.

9. This is the dictum of Earl of Selbourne L. C. laid down in Spackman v. Plumstead Board of Works, (1885) 10 AC 229 at p. 240. Says the learned L. C.:

'No doubt, in the absence of special provisions as to how the person who is to decide is to proceed, the law will imply no more than that the substantial requirements of justice shall not be violated. He is not a Judge in the proper sense of the word, but he must give the parties an opportunity of being heard before him and stating their case and their view. He must give notice when he will proceed with the matter, and he must act honestly and impartially, and not under the dictation of some other person or persons to whom the authority is not given by law'.

10. We will do well to extract in this context the following observations of Viscount Haldane L.C. in Local Government Board v. Arlidge, 1915 AC 120 at p. 132.

'In the absence of a direction to the contrary which they could not find in the statute, the analogy of the procedure in a Court of justice must guide them.'

The learned L. C. observed in another part of his speech thus:

'When the duty of deciding an appeal is imposed, those whose duty it is to decide must act judicially. They must deal with the questions referred to them without bias and they must give to each of the parties the opportunity of adequately presenting the case made. The decision must be given in the spirit and with the sense of responsibility of a Tribunal whose duty it is to mete out justice.'

11. The observations of Lord Shaw in that case are to the same effect. The learned Law Lord stated :

'When a Central Administrative Board deals with an appeal from a local authority, it must do its best to act justly and to reach just ends by just means. If the statute prescribes the means, it must employ them. If it is left without express guidance, it must still act honestly and by honest means. In regard to these, certain ways and methods of judicial procedure may very likely be imitated.'

12. These principles have been reiterated in Rex. v. North; Ex parte Oakey, 1927-1 KB 491 and General Council of Medical Education and Registration of United Kingdom v. Spackman, 1943 AC 627 at p. 644.

13. The pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Nagendra Nath Borad v. Commr. of Hills Division, Assam, : [1958]1SCR1240 ix to the same effect. At page 806 of the report (SCJ) : (at p. 406 of AIR) this is what Sinha J. (as he then was) remarked :

'Where there is a right vested in an authority created by statute, be it administrative or quasi-judicial, to hear appeals and revisions, it becomes its duty to hear judicially, that is to say, in an objective manner, impartially and after giving a reasonable opportunity to the Parties concerned in the dispute, to place their respective cases before it.'

14. To a like effect, is the judgment of a Full Bench of this Court in Veeraswamy v. State of Andhra Pradesh, : AIR1959AP413 . Dealing with the provisions of Section 64-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, Jaganmohan Reddy J. who Spoke for the Division Bench, stated that if a person has been adversely affected By any order of the Government, principles of natural justice require that notice should be issued to him giving him an opportunity to make his representations, though there is nothing in the aforesaid section to warrant a right of personal hearing or through advocates. It may be noted that Section 64-A did not provide for the issue of notice to any of the parties.

15. It is unnecessary to multiply citations. Suffice it to say that though the statute or the University Code does not require in express terms that notice should be issued, an obligation to give an opportunity on the part of the authority hearing the appeal is to be implied. The expression 'natural justice' conveys the notion that the result of the process should be just. There are two concepts underlying this doctrine, namely, the authority deciding the dispute should be impartial and the party to be affected should be given full and fair opportunity of being heard.

It is of the essence of justice and equity that a person should not be deprived of his property or the right or privilege without being given an opportunity to show cause against it. The Chancellor, though not a Judge in the real sense of the term but constituted only an administrative authority, exercises quasi-judicial functions in deciding whether a person was duly elected or not. Therefore, he should observe the judicial process. Even an administrative authority, when he acts in a quasi-judicial capacity, has to conform to the forms of judicial procedure.

It is thus meet that in the name of substantial justice, a person to be affected by the decision should be entitled to know the case he has to meet and place his views. The maxim audi alteram partem means that no person should be condemned without being heard. In other words, any person to be affected must be afforded an opportunity to know the case he has to meet and to put his view-point before the authority deciding the dispute. This does not mean that the party affected is entitled to a personal hearing though it is open to the Tribunal to grant the request of the affected individual to hear him in person. It is not incumbent on him to hear a party by counsel or in person. The party affected is entitled only to make his representations.

16. For these reasons, we think that the order of the Chancellor should be quashed. It is, however, open to the Chancellor to decide the dispute afresh after giving an opportunity to the petitioner. The petitioner will be paid his costs by the first respondent. Advocate's fee fixed at Rs. 100/-.


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