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Sarju Prasad Pandey and ors. Vs. State of U.P. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ Nos. 1155, 1156, 1157 and 1250 of 1970
Judge
Reported inAIR1970All571
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 14, 171(3), 174, 174(2), 200, 213(1) and 245; Uttar Pradesh Kshettra Samitis and Zila Parishads (Alpakalik Vyavastha) Adhyadesh, 1970 - Sections 2
AppellantSarju Prasad Pandey and ors.
RespondentState of U.P. and ors.
Appellant AdvocateJ.N. Tiwari, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
constitution - promulgation of ordinance - articles 213(1), 213(1) proviso (b),200 and 245 of constitution of india - ordinance of governor challenged on various grounds - such as non publishing of order of prorogation of legislature - president's assent not taken - absence of immediate circumstances to take action - no need of publishing order of prorogation when information given to secretary of legislative council - no need of president's assent in this case - immediate circumstances as appealing to governor's mind existed - held, ordinance valid. - - it goes on to state that as a bill with the same object has already been passed by the state legislative assembly and as the state legislative council is not in session and the governor is satisfied that circumstances exist which render.....s.n. dwivedi, j.1. writ petition no. 1155 has been filed by 24 zila parishads and their adhyakshas; writ petition no. 1156 by 15 zila parishads and their adhyakshas; writ petition no. 1157 by 5 zila parishads and their adhyakshas; and writ petition no. 1250 by 2 zila parishads and their adhyakshas. they are challenging the constitutionality of the u.p. kshettra samitis and zila parishads (alpkalik vyavastha) adhyadesh, (u.p. ordinance no. 6, 1970), 1970. it shall hereinafter be referred to as the ordinance.2. the ordinance was promulgated by, the governor on match 23/1970. it was published in the u.p. gazette, extraordinary of the same date.3. the preamble of the ordinance states that it provides for certain temporary arrangements for the administration of the zila parishads pending a.....
Judgment:

S.N. Dwivedi, J.

1. Writ petition No. 1155 has been filed by 24 Zila Parishads and their Adhyakshas; writ petition No. 1156 by 15 Zila Parishads and their Adhyakshas; writ petition No. 1157 by 5 Zila Parishads and their Adhyakshas; and writ petition No. 1250 by 2 Zila Parishads and their Adhyakshas. They are challenging the constitutionality of the U.P. Kshettra Samitis and Zila Parishads (Alpkalik Vyavastha) Adhyadesh, (U.P. Ordinance No. 6, 1970), 1970. It shall hereinafter be referred to as the Ordinance.

2. The Ordinance was promulgated by, the Governor on Match 23/1970. It was published in the U.P. Gazette, Extraordinary of the same date.

3. The preamble of the Ordinance states that it provides for certain temporary arrangements for the administration of the Zila Parishads pending a review of their constitution and functions and for matters connected therewith. It goes on to state that as a bill with the same object has already been passed by the State Legislative Assembly and as the State Legislative Council is not in session and the Governor is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action to give effect to the provisions of the aforesaid bill, he is promulgating the Ordinance. Section 1 of the Ordinance specifies the title of the Ordinance. Section 2 is material for our purpose. It reads;--

'With effect from the commencement of this Ordinance, the provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Kshettra Samitis and Zila Parishads Adhiniyam, 1961 ...................shall, for a period of two years or until the reconstitution of the said Zila Parishads under Section 22 of the said Adhiniyam, whichever is earlier, have effect in relation to each of the Zila Parishads subject to the following provisions, namely:--

(a) notwithstanding anything in the said' Adhiniyam, the Adhyaksha, Upadhyaksha and members of the Zila Parishad shall cease to hold their respective officess;

(b) all powers, functions and duties of the Zilla Parishad, its Adhyaksha, Upadhyaksha and Committees shall be vested in and be exercised, performed and discharged by the District Magistrate and the District Magistrate shall be deemed in law to be the Zila Parishad, Adhyaksha, Upadhyaksha or the Committee, as the occasion may require;

(c) subject to any general or special orders of the State Government, the District Magistrate may in respect of all or any of the powers conferred on him by the last preceding clause delegate, subject to such conditions as he may think fit to impose, the powers so conferred, to any person or authority to be specified by him in that behalf;

(d) the District Magistrate may in respect of all or any of the powers conferred on him by Clause (b) consult such body or committee as may be constituted by the State Government in that behalf;

(e) the State Government may from time to time by notification in the Gazette make such incidental and consequential provisions, including provisions for adapting, modifying or suspending in whole or in part the operation of any provisions of the said Adhiniyam, as may appear to it to be necessary or desirable for any of the foregoing and connected purposes.'

4. We shall now set forth broadly the grounds of attack against the Ordinance. They are:

1. As the Legislative Council was in session on March 23, 1970, the Governor could not promulgate the Ordinance.

2. As the Ordinance has been promulgated without obtaining instructions from the President, it is unconstitutional.

3. There did not exist circumstances which could render it necessary for the Governor to take immediate action.

4. The Governor has exercised the Ordinance making power mala fide.

5. The subject matter of the Ordinance is beyond the law-making power of the Governor.

6. The Ordinance is inconsistent with the provisions of Article 171(3)(a) of the Constitution.

7. The Ordinance is inconsistent with the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution.

8. Clauses (c), (d) and (e) of Section 2 of the Ordinance suffer from excessive delegation of legislative power.

5. We shall examine these grounds of attack in their serial order.

Re: 1.

6. The State Legislative Council was admittedly in session upto 2-30 P.M. on March 21, 1970. At that point of time it was admittedly adjourned sine die. The State Legislative Assembly passed the billknown as U.P. Kshettra Samitis and Zila Parishads (Alpkalik Vyavastha) Vidheyak at 4-45 P.M. on March 21, 1970. According to the petitioners, the Governor left Lucknow for Kanpur in the forenoon of March 21, 1970. He returned to Lucknow in the afternoon on March 22, 1970. This allegation is not properly sworn to in the affidavits of the petitioners. Again, the exact time of departure of the Governor from Lucknow and the exact time of his return to Lucknow. Is not stated in the petitions. It is also not stated in the petitions that none on behalf of the Government had, in fact, met the Governor and obtained an order from him for proroguing the Legislative Council.

7. On the meagre facts stated in the petitions it is difficult to believe that the Governor did not, in fact, prorogue the Legislative Council by an order dated March 21, 1970 and that that order of his is antedated.

8. On our direction, one Jagpal Krishna has filed a supplementary counter-affidavit on April 21, 1970. A copy of this affidavit was given to counsel for the petitioners, but the petitioners have not filed any reply to this affidavit. Annexure 'I' to this affidavit is a copy of the order of the Governor proroguing the Legislative Council. We have also been shown the original of the order. The entire order is in the handwriting of the Governor. The order reads:--

'May be prorogued as from today's midnight as suggested by C. M.

B. G. REDDI

21-3-70'.

We have little doubt in our mind that this order was, in fact, made by the Governor on March 21, 1970. The allegation that the order has been antedated is wholly unsupported by any evidence. It is a reckless allegation and should not have been made by the petitioners without any evidence.

9. It is said that as this order of prorogation was not made known to the public at large until March 28, 1970, it did not come into effect until that date. Accordingly the State Legislative Council was it is said, in session on March 23, 1970. We cannot accept this argument. Annexure '2' to the affidavit filed by Jagpal Krishna is the Hindi version of the order of prorogation. It is authenticated by Sri Prem Prakash, Secretary. An endorsement in the Hindi Version shows that Sri Prem Prakash had directed that a copy of the order of prorogation should be sent, inter alia, to Secretary, Legislative Council for information and necessary action, to the Personal Assistants of all Ministers for information of the Ministers and to the Director of Information for information and necessary action. Onthe bottom left hand margin of the annexure there is an endorsement to this effect:--

'Nirgat

21-3-70'.

This endorsement would show that the direction of Sri Prem Prakash was carried out and copies of the order of prorogation were despatched to the Secretary, Legislative Council as well as to other persons.

10. Annexure '3' to the affidavit of Jagpal Krishna is the direction to the Joint Superintendent, New Government Press, Lucknow, for printing the order of prorogation in the Extraordinary Gazette of March 21, 19.70. This annexure also hears an endorsement to this effect)

'Nirgat

21-3-70'.

It would follow that the order was sent to the Joint Superintendent, New Government Press. Lucknow, for printing in the Extraordinary Gazette of March 21, 1970.

11. R.S. Paul, Assistant Superintendent. New Government Press, Lucknow, has filed a counter-affidavit. He admits that the requisition to print the order of prorogation in the Extraordinary Gazette of March 21, 1970 was received in the Press in the evening of March 21, 1970. He further states that 40 copies of the 'Extraordinary Gazette were taken away on the morning of March 22 by one V. Sahai of the Legislative Department. According to him, other copies were printed on March 22, 1970. He has also said that copies of the Extraordinary Gazette were despatched to subscribers on March 28, 1970.

12. It is clear from the affidavits ofJagpal Krishna and R. S. Paul that the order of prorogation was made known to the Secretary, Legislative Council on March 21, 1970. It was also made known to the subscribers on and after March 28, 1970.

13. We think that the Secretary of the Legislative Council is one of the most appropriate persons to be informed of the order of prorogation of the Council. He was undoubtedly informed of the order on March 21, 1970. So the order of prorogation will take effect from, the first moment of March 22, 1970 as directed by the Governor in his order. At all events, the order of prorogation was made known to the public on March 28, 1970 and thereafter. So it will take effect from the first moment of March 22, 1970. And from that moment the Legislative Council ceased to be in session.

14. Article 174 of the Constitution empowers the Governor to prorogue the House or either House of the State Legislature. However, it does not prescribe any mode of publishing the order of pro-rogation. Accordingly It appears to us that the order of prorogation should take effect from the moment it is directed to take effect by the Governor. We are persuaded to take this view because the order of prorogation does not affect any, vested right of any person nor creates any liability against any person. It is an executive act of the Governor. Accordingly as soon as it is made known to thp persons concerned, it should take effect from the moment it is directed to take effect. We have already said that the Secretary of the Legislative Council is the most appropriate person to be informed of the order of prorogation of the Legislative Council. He was informed of the order on March 21, 1970.

15. In Ram Parshad v. State of Punjab : (1967)ILLJ438SC , the President of India issued a proclamation on March 4, 1953 under Article 356 of the Constitution with respect to East Punjab States Union (Pepsu). He assumed the powers of the Government of Pepsu from March 4, 1953. On February 27, 1954, the President issued the Bank of Patiala Regulation and Management Order, 1954. This order was published in the Gazette on March 14, 1954, but clause l(b) of the Order provided that it would come into force at once. It appears that the proclamation had already been revoked by that day. So it was urged before the Supreme Court that the order did not take effect at all. The argument was rejected. The Supreme Court said:

'It is doubtless true that the Regulation Order, though made on February 27, 1954, was not published in the Official Gazette till March 14, 1954. But Clause l(b) of the Order provides that it shall come into force at once and repeal all' the previous Orders and instructions in so far as they are inconsistent with the provisions of the Regulation Order. By reason of the fact that the Order itself provides for its commencement as the date on which it was made, it is clear that the Order came into operation on February 27, 1954, though it was published at a later date. The Order was therefore made before the date of termination of the President's rule in Pepsu.

It seems to us that in view of this decision there is little room for the argument that the order of prorogation did not come into force on March 22, 1970.

16. In State of Punjab v. Satya Pal Dang, : [1969]1SCR478 the Governor had made an order proroguing the Legislature. The order was made on March 11. It was published in the Gazette of the same date. Copies of the Gazette were however despatched on March 12. It was urged that the order did not take effect on March 11, but the argument was notaccepted by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held that the order became effective on March 11 when theGovernor issued a public notification. Although Sri Khare tried to put his own gloss on this decision in his favour, we are satisfied that it does not support hisargument that the order of prorogation in the instant case could not come into force before March 28.

17. As we have already held that the order of prorogation came into effect on March 22, 1970, the two Houses of the. State Legislature were not in session on March 23, 1970 when the Governor promulgated the Ordinance. He could accordingly promulgate the Ordinance on the said date.

Re: 2:

18. The assent of the President of India was obtained to the Kshettra Samitis and Zila Parishads Act, 1961, but the Governor has promulgated the Ordinance without obtaining the instructions of the President. It is said on behalf of the petitioners that the assent ,of the President to the Act was obtained because the provisions of the Act conform to an all India pattern.

19. The proviso to Clause (1) of Article 213 provides that the Governor shall not promulgate any Ordinance without instructions from the President if (a) a Bill containing the same provisions would under this Constitution have required the previous sanction of the President for the introduction thereof into the Legislature; or (b) he would, have deemed it necessary to reserve a Bill containing the same provisions for the consideration of the President; or (c) an Act of the Legislature of the State containing the same provisions would under this Constitution have been invalid unless, having been reserved for the consideration of the President, it had received the assent of the President. It is not the argument of Sri Khare that previous instructions from the President were necessary for promulgating the Ordinance in view of Clauses (a) and (c) of the proviso to Clause (1) of Article 213. He says that such instructions were necessary in view of Clause (b) of the proviso. But he has failed to point out any provision of the Constitution which would make it necessary for the Governor to reserve a Bill containing the provisions of the Ordinance for consideration of the President. He has referred us to the second proviso to Article 200. It provides that the Governor shall not assent to any Bill, but shall reserve for consideration of the President such Bill as in his opinion so derogates from the powers of the High Court as to endanger the position which that Court is by this Constitution designed to fill. But this Ordinance doesnot curtail any power of the High Court So we find no force in this argument.

Re: 3:

20. Article 213(1) provides, inter alia, that when the Governor is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary' for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate an Ordinance. It is urged that in fact no such circumstances existed as would render it necessary for the Governor to take immediate action. We have already mentioned earlier that the preamble of the Ordinance includes a recital to the effect that

'the Governor is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action'.

It has not been asserted before us that the Governor was not in fact satisfied. What is tried to be shown is that the Governor was wrongly satisfied about, the existence of such circumstances as would render it necessary for him to take immediate action. An enquiry into such an argument is foreclosed to us by a decision of the Federal Court in Lakhinarayan Das v. Province of Bihar, 1949 FCR 693 - (AIR 1950 FC 59) and two Division Bench decisions of this Court in Vishwanath Agarwal v. State of Uttar Pradesh, : AIR1956All557 and Prem Narain Tandon v. State of Uttar Pradesh : AIR1960All205 . In view of these decisions we cannot enquire about the actual existence of such circumstances as would render it necessary for the Governor to take immediate action. However, while we are dealing, with the fourth argument it shall be shown that circumstances in fact existed which made it necessary for the Governor to take immediate action.

Re: 4:

21. For the purposes of this ground of attack we shall assume in arguendo that the motive of the Governor in promulgating the Ordinance is iusticiable. According to counsel for the petitioners the Government promulgated the Ordinance with these motives:--

1. Weakening the influence of political parties other than the Bhartiya Kranti Dal, which was the ruling party on March ' 23, 1970.

2. A desire of the Government to bypass the Legislative Council for it' has no majority in the Legislative Council, and

3. Influencing the election to the Legislative Council from local bodies constituencies in favour of the ruling party and against the other political parties.

22. None of these motives are satisfactorily proved by evidence on record before us. There are 51 Zila Parishads in this State. It is said in the petitions that only one Adhyaksha of the Zila Parishad, belongs to the Bhartiya Kranti Dal. A large number of Adhyakshas belongto the Congress party presided over by Sri Nijlingappa. It is, however, significant to notice that the petitions do not expose the political complexion of the members of the Zila Parishads in this State. The Adhyakshas and members presumably administer Zila Parishads not for the advantage of any political party but in the interest of the general public. It is difficult to believe how the Ordinance will undermine the influence of the political parties opposed to the Bhartiya Kranti Dal.

23. How various members of the Legislative Council would vote on the Bill passed by the Legislative Assembly can hardly be predicted with certainty, specially in the present climate of shifting political loyalties and alignments. Counter-affidavits show that different parties in the Legislative Assembly voted in favour of the Bill. It is accordingly not improbable that the Bill may receive support from different political parties in the Legislative Council.

24. It is not clear how the Ordinance will put any political party to disadvantage and the Bhartiya Kranti Dal to advantage in the election to the Legislative Council from the local bodies constituencies. At the time of the promulgation of the Ordinance election of 13 members to the Legislative Council was about to take place from 9 local bodies constituencies Bhartiya Kranti Dal was contesting only two seats from Kanpur-Farrukhabad and Azamgarh-Ghazipur local bodies constituencies.

25. It may also be noted that the composition of the Kshettra Samitis (which have not been suspended) and of the Zila Parishads is almost similar except for the members enumerated in clauses (iii), (iv) and (v) of Section 18 of the Kshettra Samitis and Zila Parishads Act. Sections 6 and 7(5) of this Act enumerate the membership of the Kshettra Samitis. The members mentioned in clauses (i), (ii), (vi) and (vii) of Section 18 are enumerated in Sections 7(5) and 6(i), (iv) and (v). As a result of the Ordinance only the members enumerated in clauses (iii), (iv) and (v) of Section 18 go out. It will appear from the counter-affidavit of Sri B.D. Agarwal that the total number of members of the Zila Parishads in the 9 constituencies is 38,500 and the total number of members who will cease to be members on account of the Ordinance is 450. So the number of members enumerated in Clauses (iii), (iv) and (v) of Section 18 would come to 450. They are Presidents of various Municipal Boards in the district, the Managing Director of the District Co-operative Bank, a representative of the District Co-operative Federation, a representative of Co-operative Societies and a representative ofCane Unions. The petitions do not disclose the political complexion of the members enumerated in clauses (iii), (iv) and (v). They also do not disclose the fact as to how many of the Adhyakshas are ex-officio members of the Zila Parishads by virtue of Section 19(3) of the Act. We are unable to hold that the Ordinance was promulgated with the motive of influencing the election to the Legislative Council from the 9 local bodies constituencies.

26. On the other hand, the case set up by the Government appears to us to be persuasive. The Gaon Sabhas, Kshettra Samitis and Zila Parishads in this State are inter-related. The Pradhans of the Gaon Sabhas are members of the Kshettra Samitis. All Pramukhs and certain members of the Kshettra Samitis are members of the Zila Parishads. All Presidents of Municipalities are members of the Zila Parishads. Gaon Sabhas were elected in 1959-60; Kshettra Samitis were constituted in 1962; Zila Parishads were constituted in 1963 and the Municipalities were constituted in 1964. Each had a normal five years term. Their terms have been extended from time to time and no fresh elections have been held so far. The terms of the Town Areas and notified areas in this State have also expired and no fresh elections have taken place so far. The counter-affidavit of Anant Ram explains why fresh elections could not be held.

27. The term of the Zila Parishads in the State was to expire on March 31, 1970. The Government received complaints against 37 Adhyakshas till January 1970. Some of those complaints were found prima facie true and enquiries about other complaints were pending. Moreover, in the Legislative Assembly members of the opposition parties expressed their dissatisfaction with the working of Zila Parishads and pressed for their dissolution. It would appear from the counter-affidavit of Sri Shiv Raj Singh, Minister for Panchayati Raj, that haying regard to the large number of complaints and the dissatisfaction expressed by the opposition parties in the Legislative Assembly, the Government decided not to extend the term of the Zila Parishads. The term could be extended only upto June, 1970. The Government also decided to make a review of the constitution and functions of the Zila Parishads.

Pending review of their constitution and functions, the Government introduced a Bill on the lines of the Ordinance in the Legislative Assembly. The Bill was passed by the Legislative Assembly without any dissent at 4-45 P.M. on March 21, 1970. But a little before that, at 2-30 P.M. the Legislative Council stood adjourned sine die. It could not on convened before. March 26, 1970 as therewere Holi holidays between March 22 and 25, 1970. Even though the Bill could be considered by the Legislative Council between March 26 and 31, 1970, one could not be sure whether it could be passed during that period. As the Government had made up its mind not to extend the term of Zila Parishads beyond March 31, we are satisfied that there did exist circumstances which made it necessary for the Governor to take immediate action for promulgating the Ordinance. The facts already set out would also show that the Governor has acted in good faith.

28. It has been pointed out by Sri Khare that the Adhyakshas could be elected by the members of the Zila Parishads. But the members of the Zila Parishads have been elected long back. The Government wanted that Zila Parishads should be reconstituted. This would not be possible until the Gaon Sabhas, Kshettra Samitis, Town Areas, Notified Areas and Municipalities have been reconstituted by 'election. It is also pointed out by him that even after the decision of the Government not to extend the term of the Zila Parishads, the administration of the Zila Parishads could be carried on by the Adhyakshas under the proviso to Section 21(1) of the Act. We are unable to appreciate this argument. There were complaints against a large number of Adhyakshas.

Moreover, when the Government has decided not to extend the term of the Zila Parishads, the members of the Zila Parishads cease to hold their offices. How could the Government then allow the Adhyakshas to continue to hold office? He is either an elected member or an ex-officio member. He should sail on the same boat with other members. Sri Khare has also submitted that the Government could take action under the Act against the Adhyakshas. The procedure for taking action against an Adhyaksha is dilatory. Moreover, we are not required to weigh on the golden scale various alternatives before the Government. On the whole, the Government has shown by satisfactory evidence that the Government has acted in good faith by promulgating the Ordinance. There did exist circumstances which rendered it necessary for the Governor to take immediate action to promulgate the Ordinance.

Re: 5:

29. The power of the Governor to promulgate an Ordinance is co-extensive with the power of the State Legislature to make an Act. If the State Legislature cannot legislate with respect to the subject-matter of the impugned Ordinance, the Governor could not promulgate it. It will be void. So we have to find out whether the State Legislature could make an Act in respect of the subject-matter of the Ordinance. We have already set outSection 2 of the Ordinance. Section 2 consists of five clauses. Clauses (c), (d) and (e) are consequential and ancillary provisions. The vital provisions are contained in Clauses (a) and (b) of Section 2, Clause (a) declares that the Adhyaksha,, Upadhyaksha and members of the Zila Parishad shall cease to hold office. Clause fb) provides that all powers, functions and duties of the Adhyaksha, Upadhyaksha, Zila Parishad and its committees shall be vested in and be exercised, performed and discharged by the District Magistrate. In short, by virtue of Section 2 the members of the Zila Parishads cease to hold their office and there steps in their place the District Magistrate. He begins to exercise their powers. It may also be noted that the Ordinance does not either abolish or suspend the Zila Parishads. The Zila Parishad is a corporate body under Section 17(2) of the Act. Notwithstanding section 2 of the Ordinance it continues to exist.

30. In pith and substance the subject-matter of the Ordinance falls prima facie within Item 5 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. But the argument of Sri Khare and Sri Shanti Bhushan is that a law providing for the carrying on of the administration of Zila Parishad by a person nominated by the Government instead of by elected representatives of the people is not a law with respect to Item 5 of List II. According to them. Item 5 provides for legislation with respect to incessant elected membership of local, bodies. Sri Shanti Bhushan has maintained that a law removing or suspending the Adhykshas and members of the Zila Parishads for any fraction of time will not fall under item 5. Item 5 of List II reads:

'Local Government, that is to say, the constitution and powers of municipal corporation, improvement trusts, district boards, mining settlement authorities and other local authorities for the purpose of local self-government or village administration.'

31. The key to Item 5 is to be found: in the opening expression 'local government.' The natural and ordinary meaning of this expression is very comprehensive and it should receive its fullest construction. The subject-matter of the Ordinance will certainly fall within its' wide scope. The words which follow this expression in Item 5 do not cut down its scope; they are words of illustration or enlargement (See Manikka Sundara Bhattar v. R.S. Nayudu, 1946 FCR 67 = (AIR 1947 FC 1)) . The phrase for the purposes of local self-government' in Item 5 does not qualify and limit the scope of the opening expression 'local government.'

32. By the Devolution Rules under the Government of India Act, 1919, theProvincial Legislature was authorised to make a law with respect to 'local Self-Government.' in Item 13 of List II of the seventh Schedule to the Government of India Act, 1935, we find the expression 'local government' instead of the expression 'local self-government.' The same is the case with the Constitution, We know for definite that various local bodies in this State at one time consisted of elected as well as nominated members. The Municipalities Act of this State still empowers the Government to constitute a Board of elected and nominated members. Improvement Trusts in this State consist of a majority of nominated members, although the expression 'Improvement Trust' is mentioned in Item 5 of List II. Various Acts dealing with the local bodies in this State have always included a provision for suspending andremoving members and Presidents and for dissolving and superseding the local bodies as well as for appointment of a person to carry on the administration of the dissolved or superseded local bodies for the time being.

33. 'Local government' signifies full local self-government as well as grant of local self-government in stages and temporary suspension of it. The opening expression 'local government' in Item 5 should be given its widest amplitude. It will enable the State Legislature to make a law with respect to the supersession of a local body. It will enable the State Legislature to make a law for removing, terminating and suspending the members of the local bodies. It will also enable the State Legislature to make a law empowering any person to carry on temporarily the administration of the local body when the members have been asked to quit.

34. We may also compare Item 5 of List II with Item 3 of List I. Item 3reads:

'Delimitation of cantonment areas, local self-government in such areas, the constitution and powers within such areas of cantonment authorities ..................'

We know very well what measure of power is exercised by the elected members in the cantonment areas. The President of the cantonment area is invariably an Army Officer. The Cantonment Board consists of the majority of nominated official members and only a minority of the members is elected. In certain cases the Government may alter even this balance of composition. The Board works under the rigid control of the President. All these provisions are there in the Cantonment Act even though the expression 'local self-government' occurs in List I of the seventh Schedule to the Government of India Act, 1935 and in Item 3 of List I. So the legislative history of local bodies in this country supportsour interpretation of Item 5 of List II.

Re: 6:

35. It is the main argument in the case. The argument is elaborated in this manner: Article 171(3)(a) of the Constitution guarantees incessant membership of the local bodies. Article 245 of the Constitution enables the State Legislature to make laws for the State subject to the provisions of the Constitution. So by virtue of Item 5 of List II the Governor cannot make an Ordinance providing for the termination of membership of the local bodies specified in Article 171(3)(a). The power of terminating membership of the local bodies specified in Article 171(3)(a) should be subtracted from the purview of Item 5 of List II.

36. The counter-argument on behalf of the Government is that the Ordinance has a very small impact on Article 171(3)(a). We have already mentioned earlier that the membership of the Kshettra Samitis and the Zila Parishads is almost similar except for the members enumerated in Clauses (iii), (iv) and (v) of Section 18(1) of the Act. It appears that the number of those members is abou,t 450. The counter-argument suggests that this number is small and will not invalidate the Ordinance. We are unable to apply the de minis rule for saving the Ordinance. If we find that the Ordinance really conflicts with Article 171(3)(a), it will not be possible to say that 450 is a small and negligible number.

37. Although counsel for the petitioners have relied upon only Article 171(3)(a), it is necessary to set out the entire Article 171, in so far as it is material for our purpose. It materially reads:

(1) The total number of members in the Legislative Council of a State having such a Council shall not exceed one-third of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly of that State:

Provided that the total number of members in the Legislative Council of a State shall in no case be less than forty.

(2) Until Parliament by law otherwise provides, the composition of the Legislative Council of a State shall be as provided in Clause (3).

(3) Of the total number of members of the Legislative Council of a State-

(a) as nearly . as may be, one-third shall be elected by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and such other local authorities in the State as Parliament may by law specify;

(b) as nearly as may be, one-twelfth shall be elected by electorates consisting of persons residing in the State who have been for at least three years graduates of any university in the territory of India orhave been for at least three years in possession of qualifications prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament as equivalent to that of a graduate of any such university;

(c) as nearly as may be, one-twelfth shall be elected by electorates consisting of persons who have been for at least three years engaged in teaching in such, educational institutions within the State, not lower in standard, than that of a secondary school, as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament;

(d) as nearly as may be, one-third shall be elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly of the State from amongst persons who are not members of the Assembly;

(e) the remainder shall be nominated by the Governor in accordance with the provisions of Clause (5).

(4) The members to be elected under Sub-clauses (a), (b) and (c) of Clause (3) shall be chosen in such territorial constituencies as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament.......

38. At this stage it is necessary to point out to rules of construction which should be borne in mind while dealing with this argument. Firstly, limitations on legislative power should be either expressed or implied in the Constitution, Courts will not recognise other limitations which may appear to be desirable or expedient, (See in Re: Indo Pakistan Agreement (7)). Secondly, List II is as much a part of the Constitution as Article 171. The Constitution should be construed as a whole. Thirdly, the Constitution is an organic document. It cannot be presumed that the Constitution-makers intended a conflict between various parts of the Constitution. Indeed they have made an endeavour to avoid conflicts. Accordingly, in case of a seeming conflict between certain parts of the Constitution Courts should apply the rule of harmonious construction and endeavour to reconcile the seeming conflict in such a manner as to give effect to all. There should be a reasonable and practical construction of the provisions. (See in the matter of the Central Provinces and Berar Sales of Motor Spirit and Lubricants Taxation Act .

39. In re, Sea Customs Act, (1964) 3 SCR 187 : (AIR 1963 SC 1760) the Parliament proposed to pass a, bill imposing customs and excise duties on the goods of the State Governments imported into or exported from India or manufactured in a State. Various State Governments cast doubts on the constitutionality of the proposed measure. So the President referred the matter to the Supreme Courtfor opinion. The States relied on Article 289(1) of the Constitution. Article 289(1) provides:

'The property and income of a State shall be exempt from Union taxation.'

The Union Government asked for a limited construction of Article 289(1). According to them Article 289(1) should be read in this manner: 'The property and income of a State shall be exempt from Union taxation on property and income.' The Union wanted the Supreme Court to read after the word 'taxation' the words 'on property and income.' The Supreme Court by majority accepted the suggested construction and held that Article 289(1) should be confined to Union taxation on property and income. So read, the property of the State could not be subjected to a tax on income or a tax on property, but could be subjected to other kinds of taxes.

The learned Chief Justice, who wrote the leading judgment, said:

'Before dealing with the argument on either side, .............. it is necessary tobear in mind certain general considerations and the scheme of the constitutional provisions bearing on the power of the Union to impose the taxes contemplated by the proposed legislation'.

After examining the various taxing entries in Lists I and II of the seventh Schedule and other related provisions of the Constitution, the learned Chief Justice said:

'If therefore Article 289(1) completely exempts all property of the States from all taxes the power of Parliament to regulate foreign trade by the use of its power of taxation would be seriously impaired and this consideration will have to be kept in mind when interpreting Article 289(1).'

Re-emphasising this aspect, the learned Chief Justice added:

'The effect of reading the word 'all' before the words 'Union Taxation' would in our opinion be so serious and so crippling to the resources, which the Constitution intended the Union to have, as to make it impossible to give that intention to the words of Clause (1) of Article 289. On the other hand, the States would not be so seriously affected if we read the words 'on property and income' after the words 'Union taxation' in Article 289(1), for unlike other Constitutions there is provision in Part XII of our Constitution for assignment or distribution of taxes levied and collected by the Union to the States and also for grants-in-aid from the Union to the States................'

40. We have to .ascertain the true scope of Article 171(3)(a) and Item 5 of List II in the light of the aforesaid rules of construction.

41. We have already held that the expression 'local Government' in Item 5 of List II has got a very wide amplitude and comprehends the power to legislate with respect to the cessation of membership of a local body. As Article 245 expressly stated that the power of the State Legislature to legislate subject to the provisions of the Constitution, it is to be seen whether Article 171(3)(a) abrogates the power of the State Legislature to make a law with respect to the cessation of membership of a local body specified therein.

42. It may at once be said that Article 171(3)(a) does not enact an express limitation on the scope of Item 5 of List II. The question then is: does it enact an implied limitation thereon?

43. We shall first look to the serious consequence that will flow from accepting the view that Article 171(3)(a) creates an implied limitation on the scope of Item 5 of List II. Sub-clause (a) of Article 171(3) provides that one-third of the members of the Legislative Council shall be elected by members of Municipalities, District Boards and such other local authorities in the States as Parliament may by law specify. Municipalities and District Boards are expressly mentioned besides some other specified as well as unspecified local authorities in Item 5 of List II. If the argument of counsel for the petitioners is accepted, the power of the State Legislature to make a law with respect to the cessation of membership of Municipalities and District Boards is gone. Not only that. Article 171(3)(a) also provides that members of such other local authorities in the States as Parliament may by law specify will also have a right to elect members of the Legislative Council from local bodies constituencies. The Parliament has made such a Law. There is the Representation of the People Act, 1950. The Parliament has specified certain local authorities in this State in the fourth Schedule to the Representation of the People Act, 1950, They are: Municipalities, Zila Parishads, Cantonment Boards, Town Area Committees, Notified Area Committees and Kshettra Samitis. The only other local authority which is not mentioned in the fourth Schedule is the Gaon Sabha. Parliament may include that authority as well.

Indeed, there is nothing to prevent the Parliament from including in the fourth Schedule as many authorities as the State Legislature may create. If that happens, as it may well happen, then the interpretation of Article 171(3)(a) suggested by the petitioners will completely deprive the State Legislature of the power to make a law with respect t6 the cessation of membership of all local bodies in the State. It cannot be denied that cessation of membership in many circumstances may be highly desirable in the public interest. Amember of a local body may misconduct himself and may abuse his power as a member. Similarly all the members of a local body or local bodies may abuse their membership and may mismanage the local body or local bodies. In either case it may become necessary to suspend or remove a member or supersede the mismanaged local body. But in view of the suggested Interpretation the power is gone and no such law can be made.

44. Sri Shanti Bhushan has maintained that in view of Clauses (b) and (c) of Article 171(3) the State Legislature cannot make a law abolishing a University or a Secondary School or Higher Secondary School. In other words, if his argument is accepted, the power of the State Legislature to make a law with, respect to Item 11 of List II is also severely curtailed..

45. We have, therefore, to bear in mind that the interpretation of Article 171(3)(a) suggested by counsel for the petitioners restricts the natural and ordinary meaning of the expression 'local Government' in Item 5 of List II and entails severe curtailment of the legislative power.

46. Article 171(1) provides for the composition of the Legislative Council in a State. Article 171(3) specifies the constituencies from which members will be appointed to the Legislative Council. Clauses (a), (b), (c) and (d) point out as to who will be the electors in the said constituencies. Thus Article 171(3) deals with election. In this connection one may note two Items in Lists I and II of the seventh Schedule. Item 72 of List I reads:

'Elections ............ to the Legislaturesof States ............'

Item 37 of List II reads:

'Elections to the Legislature of the State subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament.'

Under Item 72 of List I Parliament has enacted the Representation of the People Act, 1950. Having regard to Clause (2) of Article 171 it is open to the Parliament to change the electors and the constituencies mentioned in Clause (3) of Article 171. It can make such a law by virtue of Item 72 of List I.

Similarly the State Legislature may make a law with respect to election to the Legislature of the State. So it can make a law with respect to election to the Legislative Council of the State, but Item 37 of List II expressly subjects this power to the provisions of any law made by Parliament under Item 72 of List I. The power of the State Legislature to make a law with respect to the election to the Legislative Council is also subject to the provisions of the Constitution. In the result, the State Legislature cannot enact a law directly changing the electorates and the constituencies mentioned in Article 171(3). The Ordinance does not do that. Itis significant to observe that Item 5 of List II is not made expressly subject to any Item in List I. It seems to us that the makers of the Constitution thought that the subject matters of Item 5 and Items 37 of List II and 72 of List I do not overlap. Had they thought otherwise, they would have made Item 5 expressly subject to Item 72.

47. We will now compare Article 171(3) with some other provisions of the Constitution dealing with the composition of other Legislature. Article 80 provides for the composition of the Council of States. Clause (1)(b) of Article 80 provides that not more than two hundred and thirty eight representatives of the States and of the Union territories will be members of the Council of States. Clause (4) of Article 80 provides that the representatives of each State shall be elected by the elected members of the Legislative. Assembly of the State in accordance with the system of proportional representations by means of the single transferable vote. Article 174(2)(b) empowers the Governor to dissolve the Legislative Assembly. Article 356 empowers the President to dissolve the Legislative Assembly of a State and to assume to himself the functions of the Government of the State in a certain situation. When Article 80(4) is read along with Arts. 174(2)(b) and 356, it would appear that some such words 'if there is any' should be read after the words 'Legislative Assembly of the State' in Clause (4) of Article 80. In other words, the Constitution makers did not intend that the Legislative Assembly should never be dissolved and that it is a perpetual body. It cannot be said that Article 80(4) overrides Articles 174(2)(b) and 356. All these Articles are to be read harmoniously to avoid any conflict and the conflict can be avoided as suggested by us by reading the words 'if there is any' after the words 'the Legislative Assembly of the State.'

48. Article 81 provides for the composition of the House of the People. Article 81(1)(b) provides that the House of the People shall consist of not more than twenty-five members to represent the Union territories, chosen in such manner as Parliament may by law provide. Article 2 provides that Parliament may by law admit into the Union or establish, new States. It is, therefore, open to the Parliament to convert all the Union territories into States. The extension of the argument of the counsel for the petitioners in regard to the construction of Article 171(3)(a) will however, prevent the Parliament from converting the Union territories into States on account of Article 80(1)(b). The argument cannot clearly be extended to Article 80(1)(b). It appears to us that some such words as 'if there be any' should be read after the words 'Union territories' in Clause (b) of Article 80(1).

49. Art 171(3)(d) provides that one-third members of the State Legislative Council shall be elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly of the State from amongst persons who are not members of the Assembly. Our discussion in relation to Article 80(4) applies with equal force to Article 171(3)(d). And we have to read some such words as 'if there be any' after the words 'Legislative Assembly of the State' in Article 171(3)(d). If the true scope of Articles 80(4), 80(1)(b) and 171(3)(d) is to be found by reading those provisions along with other provisions of the Constitution harmoniously and by reconciling them with each other, we are unable to comprehend why the true scope of Article 171(3)(d) should not be determined by reading it harmoniously with Item 5 of List II and by reconciling the seeming conflict between them.

Following the rule of harmonious construction, the words 'if there be any' would be read at the end of Clause (a) of Article 171(3). In other words. Article 171(3)(d) does not seek to immortalise Municipalities, District Boards and such other local authorities in the State as Parliament may by law specify. It does not also seek to immortalise the members of such local bodies. The purpose of Art 171(3)(d) is only this that if there be any members of Municipalities, District Boards and such other local authorities in the State as Parliament may by law specify, then one-third members of the Legislative Council shall be elected by them. If at any given time there are no members of Municipalities, District Boards and such other local authorities in the State as Parliament may by law specify, then no members shall be elected to the Legislative Council under Article 171(3)(d). In that event it will be open to the Parliament to act under Clause (2) of Article 171 read with Item 72 of List I. It can by law provide for another constituency and another set of electorate. There is no danger of a hiatus.

50. It is now necessary to notice Article 169. Article 169(1) provides that Parliament may by law provide for the creation of a Legislative Council in a State if the Legislative Assembly of the State passes a resolution to that effect. We are taking an extreme case. Suppose the Legislative Assembly of a State having no local bodies passes a resolution for having a Legislative Council in the State and the Parliament thereupon makes a law creating a Legislative Council for that State; Article 171(3)(d) cannot come into operation. A question will then arise as to whether the Legislature of that State can be compelled by a Court of law to make a law creating local bodies enumerated in Article 171(3)(d). The power of the Legislature of a State to make laws is discretionary. It is difficult to conceive that any Court of law can compel the Legislature to make a law on any subject. In that event it will be open to Parliament to make a law creating a new constituency and a new set of electorate under Article 171(2), This extreme case suggests that some words as 'if there be any' Should be added at the end of Article 171(3)(d).

51. The construction of Article 171(3)(d) suggested by us does not create any difficulty. On the other hand, it avoids the severe curtailment of the Legislative power under Item 5 of List II. The construction of Article 171(3)(d) suggested by counsel for the petitioners, as already indicated, severely curtails the power of the State Legislature to legislate with respect to Item 5 of List II.

52. Having regard to the serious inroad on the legislative power of the State Legislature, the scheme of the related constitutional provisions and the items in Lists I and II of the seventh Schedule, we are of the opinion that the makers of the Constitution did not intend to operate Article 171(3)(d) in such a manner as to abrogate the power of the State Legislature to make a law with respect to the cessation of membership of local bodies under Item 5 of List II. Article 171(3)(d) contemplates the election of certain members to the Legislative Council by members of certain local bodies if there be any. If there are no members of the local bodies in a State, then Parliament should make an alternative law under Article 171(2) read with Item 72 of List I. Accordingly we are of opinion that Section 2 of the Ordinance is not inconsistent with Article 171(3)(d).

Re. 7:

52-A. It has been urged that the Ordinance is inconsistent with the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution. Sri Shanti Bhushan says that while the Ordinance directs that the members of the Zila. Parishad shall cease to hold office, the members of the Kshettra Samitis constituted under the Kshettra Samitis and Zila Parishads Act continue to hold their office without any rhyme or reason. Sri Khare goes a step further. He argued that members of the Gaon Sabhas, Town Areas, Notified Areas and Municipalities continue to hold their office. It is said that while the local self-government has ceased to operate in the Zila Parishads, it continues to operate in the other local bodies.

53. The argument appears to us to be frivolous. It appears from the affidavits on record that the Gaon Sabhas were constituted in 1959-1960. Their five years term expired some time in 1965. Since then their terms have been extended several times until December 31, 1969. On that date there was another extension for three months. The Kshettra Samitis were'constituted in May 1962. Their term expires in May 1970. [While the petitioners affidavits show that their term has been extended upto May 4, 1970, the counter affidavit of Anant Ram shows that the term has been extended upto March 31, 1970 only.] The extended term of the Zila Parishads expired on March 31, 1970. There is, nothing oh the record to show when the Town Areas, Notified Areas and Municipalities were constituted in this State. Further, there is nothing to show as to when their extended term is going to expire. If the extended term has not yet expired, then they would constitute a separate class. Again, there is a distinction between the Zila Parishads and the other bodies. The counter affidavits show that there were serious complaints against a large number of Adhyakshas of the Zila Parishads. There is nothing on the record to show that there were similar complaints against other local bodies. Accordingly it became necessary to take action with respect to Zila Parishads only in view of mal-administration.

The 'number of Gaon Sabhas and Kshettra Samitis must be very large, while the number of the Zila Parishads is only 51. It is administratively more convenient to administer Zila Parishads than the Goan Sabhas and Kshettra Samitis. Administrative convenience may, therefore, be another legitimate reason in justification of the Ordinance. Again, the Gaon Sabhas and Kshettra Samitis are minor bodies and it does not appear that they are entrusted with large property, while the Zila Parishads are undoubtedly entrusted with large funds and property. The impact of abuse of power in the Zila Parishads will be far heavier than that in the Gaon Sabhas and Kshettra Samitis on the public. For all these reasons we are of opinion, that the Zila Parishads, Kshettra Samitis and Gaon Sabhas cannot be put in one, class. There was general complaint of mal-administration in the Zila Parishads by members of the Legislative Assembly. So the Governor was justified in making the Ordinance with respect to the Zila Parishads. There is no vilolation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

Re. 8:

54. The last argument is that Clauses (c), (d) and (e) of Section 2 of the Ordinance suffer from the vice of excessive delegation of legislative power. Clause (c) provides that subject to any general or special orders of the State Government, the District Magistrate may, in respect of all or any of the powers conferred on him by the Ordinance, delegate subject to such conditions as he may think fit to impose, the powers so conferred, to any person or authority to be specified by him in that behalf. It is said that it is open to the District Magistrate to delegate his power even to a peon of the Zila Parishad whomay have no capacity to carry on the administration of the Zila Parishad. This is an uncharitable assumption. The District Magistrate is the highest executive officer in the district. He has a lot of administrative experience. It should be presumed that the would exercise his powers under Clause (c) with moderation and sagacity. Again, Clause (c) places 'a check on him in this respect. He can delegate his powers to any person or authority subject to any general or special orders of the State Government. So the State Government has been given superintending control over the power of the District Magistrate to delegate his powers. We are, therefore, unable to hold that Clause (c), authorises arbitrary delegation of power. The power of delegation is guided and controlled and vested in a responsible officer.

55. Clause (d) of Section 2 is also said to suffer from the vice of excessive delegation of legislative power. Clause (d) provides that the District Magistrate may in respect of all or any of the powers conferred on him under the Ordinance consult such body or committee as may be constituted by the State Government in that behalf. There is hardly any delegation of legislative powers here. Clause (d) authorises the District Magistrate to consult such, body or committee as may be constituted by the State Government. It does not direct him to act in accordance with the advice of such body or committee. He may follow the advice, if it is sound and sensible; he may ignore it if it is not sound and sensible. Again, the body or the committee is to be constituted by the State Government. It is to be presumed that the District Magistrate as well as the State Government will exercise their power with wisdom and a sense of proportion.

56. Clause (e) is also alleged to suffer from the vice of excessive delegation of legislative power. It has not been pointed out to us that the Government has yet acted under Clause (e). So the attack on Clause (e) is premature. As and when the Government acts under Clause (e), it will be open to persons affected by such act of the Government to challenge the validity of Clause (e). The petitioners are hardly affected by Clause (e) at the present moment Accordingly we refrain from expressing our opinion on the validity of this clause.

57. Let us assume for the time being that Clauses (c), (d) and (e) are invalid. We have already held that Clauses (a) and (b) of Section 2 of the Ordinance are valid. We are also of opinion that Clauses (c), (d) and (e) are severable from Clauses (a) and (b). It cannot be urged that they are, inextricably interwoven with Clauses (a) and (b). So Clauses (a) and (b) survive even though Clauses (c), (d) and (e) may be invalid.

58. These are our reasons in support of our order dated April 23, 1970 by whichwe dismissed all the writ petitions.


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