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Tota Lachhaiah Vs. District Panchayat Officer, Guntur and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 850 of 1959
Judge
Reported inAIR1960AP493
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Madras Village Panchayats Act, 1950 - Sections 9, 128 and 128(1)
AppellantTota Lachhaiah
RespondentDistrict Panchayat Officer, Guntur and anr.
Appellant AdvocateI. Kotireddy, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateM.S. Ramachandra Rao, 2nd Govt. Pleader
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
constitution - power of state government - sections 9 and 128 of madras village panchayats act, 1950 and article 226 of constitution of india - government divided village into wards under section 128 - action challenged - power to divide villages into wards lies with inspector and not with state government under section 9 - government cannot take suo motu action when no action's been taken by subordinate authorities - held, action of government not sustainable. - all india services act, 1951.sections 8 & 11 & a.p. buildings (lease, rent and eviction) control rules, 1961, rule 5: [v.v.s. rao, g. yethirajulu & g. bhavani prasad, jj] refusal by landlord to receive rent - deposit of rent in court - held, a tenant has the option to take recourse to section 8 in case of refusal or evasion by..........president of the oppicherla panchayat in the palnad taluk of the guntur district. after the madras village panchayats act, 1950 (x of 1950) (hereinafter referred to as the 'act') was enacted, the revenue village of oppicherla was declared to be a 'village' under the provisions of section 3 of the act and a panchayat was duly constituted for the village hy the inspector-general of local administration. the village was divided into three wards and the elections to the panehayat were held on the basis of the said division during the years 1953 and 1956.on 26-3-1957 the panchayat board passed a resolution requesting the government to divide the village into four wards. on the basis of this resolution, the government called for reports from the additional district panchayat officer, guntur.....
Judgment:

Satyanarayana Raju, J.

1. This Is a petition, under Article 226 of the Constitution, for the issue of a writ of Certiorari quashing the notification issued by the Government in G. O. (Ms) No. 1552 L. A., dated 22-6-1959 or in the alternative for the issue of a writ of Mandamus directing the District Panchayat Officer, Guntur to renotify the wards as indicated in the earlier G. O, Ms. No. 1255 L.A. dated 23-5-1958.

2. The petitioner was, at the time of the filing of this petition, the President of the Oppicherla Panchayat in the Palnad Taluk of the Guntur District. After the Madras Village Panchayats Act, 1950 (X of 1950) (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act') was enacted, the revenue village of Oppicherla was declared to be a 'village' under the provisions of Section 3 of the Act and a panchayat was duly constituted for the village hy the Inspector-General of Local Administration. The village was divided into three wards and the elections to the Panehayat were held on the basis of the said division during the years 1953 and 1956.

On 26-3-1957 the Panchayat Board passed a resolution requesting the Government to divide the village into four wards. On the basis of this resolution, the Government called for reports from the Additional District Panchayat Officer, Guntur South and the Inspector-General of Local Administration and on 23-5-1958 issued G. O. Ms. No. 1255 L. A. in and by which they directed the division of the village into four wards. The aforesaid Order of the Government purports to have been made in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 128 of the Act.

By the same order, the Government directed the Regional Inspector and the Additional District Panchayat Officer, Guntur to take action for including Varalakshmipuram in the Panchayat limits and to notify the wards as indicated therein. On 28-8-1958 the Regional Inspector of Local Administration issued a notice to the Oppicherla Panchavat calling for its views with regard to the proposed division. On 14-10-1958, the Panchayat Board passed a resolution unanimously accepting the proposal.

But it appears that some of the villagers made representations to the Government opposing the division into four wards. In their Memo No. 126868-1-58 dated 30-4-1959. the Government rejected these representations and reiterated their intention to have the village divided into four wards. There were some more representations made to the Government by the villagers requesting the Government not to proceed with the division and on further investigation, the Government decided not to disturb the status quo ante.

On 22-6-1959 the Government issued another order, G.O. (Ms.) No. 1552/L.A., cancelling their earlier order and restoring the original division into three wards. On 18-7-1959 the District Panchayat Officer issued a show-cause notice to the Panchayat Board with regard to the proposal to retain the existing division. In reply thereto, the Panchayat stated that the division into four wards had already been accepted by the Government and that the District Panchayat Officer had no jurisdiction to go back upon the earlier Order.

3. The petitioner contends (i) that the Government have no power under Section 9 of the Act to divide the village into wards as it is only the Inspector General of Local Administration that is competent to do so; and (ii) that the Government could not exercise their revisional powers under Section 128 of the Act in the matter of the division of wards and assuming that the Government had Such a power, they, having earlier decided to divide the village into four wards, had no power to review the earlier order,

4. It is contended by the learned Government Pleader, Mr. M. S. Ramachandra Rao, that the division of wards is an administrative act not amenable to the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution, and that, therefore, the petitioner is not entitled to canvass the correctness of either the earlier Order of the Government dividing the village into four wards, or the later order restoring the pre-existing division of the village into three wards.

5. It is well settled that the division of the panchayat into wards and the conduct of elections are administrative acts of the Government but that itself is not a ground for rejecting the petition. As is well known, there is an essential distinction between a writ of certiorari and a writ of mandamus. A writ of certiorari is available for the removal of any judicial or quasi-judicial act of an inferior tribunal, whereas a writ of mandamus is issued to compel the performance of duties of a public nature. The condition that the act complained of should be a judicial act applies to the former relief and not to the latter.

6. With regard to the first of the contentions raised by the petitioner, it may be stated that the Government have no power under Section 9 of the Act to divide the village into wards. Section 9 in so far as it is material for the present purpose, reads :

'9. (1) Division into wards : For the purpose of electing members to a panchayat, the Inspector shall, after consulting the panchayat, by notification, divide the village into wards and determine the number of members to be returned by each ward.'

The power to divide the village into wards is ves-ted in the Inspector, and not in the State Govern-ment. So much is conceded. But what is stated by the learned Government Pleader is that under Section 128 of the Act, there is a revisional power vested in the Government, in the purported exercise of which, the impugned order has been passed. Section 128 reads :

'128. Revision: (1) The Government may, in their discretion, at any time, either suo motu or on application, call for and examine the record of any order passed or proceeding recorded under the provisions of this Act by.....

(a) the Inspector or the Collector or any officer or person authorised by the Inspector or the Collector under Sub-section (2) of Section 127 or :

(b) any authority, officer or person authorised by the Government under Sub-section (1) of that section or any person empowered by them under Sub-section (3) of that section, or

(c) any other authority, officer or person for the purpose of satisfying themselves as to the legality or propriety of such order, or as to the regularity of such proceeding and pass such order in reference thereto as they think fit.

(2) The powers of the nature referred to in Sub-section (1) may also be exercised by such authority, officer or person as may be empowered in this behalf by the Government.''

7. Learned Counsel for the petitioner, Mr. Koti Reddy has pointed out that the power vested in the Government under the above provision is limited to the examination of the 'the record of any order passed or proceeding recorded.' He has contended that there was 110 order passed by any of the subordinate authorities specified in Clauses (a), (b) or (c) of Section 128 (1) or 'proceeding recorded' by any of them, and that the Government had suo motu entertained the request of the Panchayat Board to divide the village into wards and that, therefore, the exercise of the power under Section 128 of the Act is not warranted.

On the language of the Section, this contention appears to be well founded. But that would not really help him to obtain the relief which he seeks in the writ petition. Both the Orders of the Government, that is, the one dated 23-5-1958 and the later Order dated 22-6-1959, were both made by them in the purported exercise of the powers of revision vested in them under Section 128 of the Act. If so, both the Orders would be bad and the resultant situation would be that the original division of the village into three wards made in 1953 would remain undisturbed, Therefore, giving effect to the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner himself would land him in this difficulty.

8. But the learned Counsel has however argued that both the orders are bad in law and are beyond the powers of the Government and under Section 128 of the Act the petitioner is entitled to request the Government to consider the division of the wards de novo, and make suitable alterations, with regard to the delimitation of the wards. We do not think that we can grant this request to the petitioner. What all he seeks in this writ petition is that the later Order of the Government cancelling the earlier Order should be quashed by the issue of a writ of certiorari. This he has done hoping that it would leave the earlier Order of the Government dividing the village into four wards in tact. But having regard to the conclusion reached by us, neither of the Orders can be sustained. On this result, it must follow that the petitioner is not entitled to any relief in this petition.

9. This petition is dismissed but in the circumstances, we make no order as to costs.


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