1. This is a petition under Articles 226/227 of the Constitution of India.
2. The petitioner's case is this. The petitioner is the elected Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat Phufer, Pargana Basoda, District Vidisha, since 1970. This Panchayat consisted of 19 members including 16 elected and 3 co-opted. On 14-9-72, a meeting was convened to consider a, 'no-confidence' motion against the petitioner. Only 10 members attended that meeting, out of whom 9 voted for the resolution but it was not carried out.
3. Bhajju, Jujharsingh, Rajhai and Gyanbai Panchas resigned on 15-9-72 (Annexures 2, 3, 4 and 5). Another meeting was again convened on 5-10-72 to consider the motion of 'no-confidence' against the petitioner. In this meeting, the above Panchas who had resigned voted in favour of the 'no-confidence' motion. Further, according to Section 31 of the M. P. Panchayats Act (hereinafter referred to as ''the Act') the motion could not be moved again before the expiry of six months. The petitioner, therefore, prayed that the proceedings of the meeting dated 5-10-72 be quashed as being illegal.
4. The non-petitioners Nos. 1 and 2 in their return contended that, the resignations of the four Panchas were not accepted under Section 26 of the Act as amended, published in the Extraordinary Gazette of M. P. dated 24-7-72, and as such these Panchas validly continued to hold their office. On 5-10-72, a valid motion of 'no-confidence' was passed against the petitioner. They further contended that Sections 24 and 31 of the Act being independent of each other a second motion of 'no-confidence' could be validly moved. Since the motion of 'no-confidence' was rightly and legally passed against the petitioner on 5-10-72, the petition deserves to be dismissed.
5. The non-petitioners Nos. 3 to 6 in their return denied that they had resigned on 15-9-72 and contended that the resignations were forged and fabricated. They contended that they were perfectly within their right to vote in favour ofthe 'no-confidence' motion since they had not resigned and, therefore, the petitioner could not claim to be in office after a valid motion of 'no-confidence' was passed against him. They further contended that Section 31 of the Act could not bar the moving of a second 'no-confidence' motion.
6. We have heard Shri A.R. Naokar, Advocate for the petitioner, Shri S.N. Tandon, Dy. Govt. Advocate for non-petitioners Nos. 1 and 2 and Shri H.G. Mishra, Advocate for non-petitioners Nos. 3 to 6. We are of the view, for the reasons hereinafter stated, that the petition must be dismissed.
7. Shri Naokar, Advocate for the petitioner, contended that since resolution of 'no-confidence' motion could not be passed in the meeting dated 14-9-72, a second motion of 'no-confidence' within six months of the first meeting was barred by Section 31 of the Act.
8. Section 31 of the M. P. Panchayats Act runs as under:--
'31. Reconsideration of question disposed of by Gram Panchayat-- No subject once finally disposed of by Gram Panchayat shall be reconsidered by it within six months unless the recorded consent of not less than three-fourths of its Panchas has been obtained thereto, or unless the prescribed authority has directed its reconsideration.'
9. In Vasantrao v. Gram Panchayat, Lanji, 1972 Jab LJ 179 = (AIR 1972 Madh Pra 83) it is held as under:--
'What is prohibited by Section 31 of the Act is the reconsideration of the same subject. When a no-confidence motion is moved against any person, it is based on certain allegations available at a particular time and when a second no-confidence motion is moved on some other allegations, it cannot be said that the same subject-matter was brought for reconsideration. Section 31 of the Act does not refer to no-confidence motion.
Besides, Section 24 of the Act read with the Rules made thereunder provides a complete and independent procedure as compared to other resolutions that can be passed by the Gram Panchayat in the conduct of its business.'
10. We may mention that Chapter III of the M. P. Panchayats Act consists of two parts, namely, constitution and conduct of business. In the first part is included. Section 24 which provided the procedure for moving 'no-confidence' motion. Rules are also made under that section. The section read with the Rules provides a complete and independent procedure as compared to other resolutions that can be passed by the Gram Panchayat in the conduct of its business. In thesecond part of Chapter III, which is styled as 'conduct of business' Section 29 provides, that rules can be made for the procedure to be followed at a meeting of the Gram Sabha and Gram Panchayat. Then Section 31 provides that no subject once finally disposed of by the Gram Panchayat should be allowed to be considered within six months. It is thus obvious that Section 31 refers to the meetings of the Gram Panchayat called for the conduct of business and it does not refer to the special meeting for 'no-confidence' motion specially provided for.
11. Thus there can be no bar to the moving of the second 'no-confidence' motion under Section 31 of the Act, because for a democratic process, a person having lost confidence of the elected body cannot be allowed to function as its President or Chairman. Allowing such a person to occupy the post for a period of six months even when he has lost confidence is contrary to the well-settled notion of democracy.
12. We thus find that the second 'no-confidence' motion was validly passed and Section 31 of the Act did not affect the validity of this 'no-confidence' motion.
13. The petitioner further contended that the four Panchas who had resigned on 15-9-72 took part in the second meeting held on 5-10-72 and, therefore, the proceedings of 5-10-72 were bad in law. The non-petitioners Nos. 3 to 6 have denied that they had tendered any resignation. They have sworn affidavits in support of their contention that they had not resigned and the resignations put forth by the petitioner were forged and fabricated. No counter-affidavit to this appears to have been filed by the petitioner. According to Section 26 of the Act, a Panch of a Gram Panchayat may resign his office by giving a letter of resignation in writing and such a resignation shall take effect from the date of its receipt by the Sarpanch. Section 26 of the Act has been amended by the M. P. Panchayats (Amendment) Act, 1972. The amended section provided that the manner of giving notice and procedure for acceptance of the resignation shall be such, as may be prescribed. The amended section was published in the Extraordinary M. P. Gazette dated 24-7-72 and, therefore, the resignations of the four Panchas even if genuine could not take effect from the date of their receipt by the Sarpanch. Since there was no procedure prescribed for acceptance of resignations on 15-9-72 it could not be urged that the resignations were validly accepted, and, therefore, the four Panchas who were said to have resigned could participate in the 'no-confidence' motion. As held above, 'no-confidence' motion wasvalidly moved as per fresh requisition dated 15-9-72 and the resolution was validly passed against the petitioner. We find no force in the petition.
14. In view of the above, we dismiss the petition. In the circumstances of the case, we order the parties to bear their costs as incurred. The security amount shall be refunded to the petitioner.