S.M.N. Raina, J.
1. This is a revision petition under Section 26 of the M. P. Municipalities Act, 1961, (hereinafter referred to as the Act).
2. After the election of the elected Councillors of the Municipal Council, Morena, in 1968, a meeting was held for the selection of the selected Councillors. At the said meeting, there were two candidates, namely, Manila Krishna Kumari and Mahila Sakun Bhatnagar for the seat to be filled by a woman candidate. Mahila Krishna Kumari (petitioner before this Court) was selected. Her selection was, however, challenged by an election petition filed by Rajaram (non-applicant No. 2) before the District Judge, Morena. The contention of Rajaram was that the nomination paper of Mahila Krishna Kumari was wrongly accepted as she failed to express her willingness in writing to serve as a Councillor, to the Chairman of the meeting as required by Rule 49 of the M. P. Municipalities (Preparation, Revision and Publication of Electoral Rolls. Election and Selection of Councillors) Rules 1962. He therefore prayed that the selection of Mahila Krishna Kumari be set aside and Mahila Sakun Bhatnagar (non-applicant No. 1) may be declared duly selected as she was the only other rival candidate. That petition was allowed and the selection of Mahila Krishna Kumari was set aside. She has, therefore, filed this revision petition against the order of the District Judge, Morena, in the election petition against her.
3. The main question for consideration, in this case is whether the petitioner has duly complied with the provisions of Rule 49, which is reproduced below for facility of reference:--
'49. Nomination. The Chairman shall call upon the Councillors present to propose names of candidates for selection, of which at least one shall be that of woman. No. person's name shall be proposed unless--
(i) he/she is voter and not otherwise disqualified to be Councillor by or under the Act, and
(ii) he/she has expressed his/her willingness, in writing, to serve as a Councillor, and such writing has been given to the Chairman of the meeting. Every candidate must be nominated in writing and the nomination papers must be signed by two of the newly elected Councillors as proposer and seconder.'
The said rule lays down that no person's name shall be proposed unless he/she has expressed his/her willingness in writing to serve as Councillor and such writing has been given to the Chairman of the meeting. The contention of the learned counsel for the non-applicants is that this provision is mandatory and it requires that the willingness in writing of a candidate must be conveyed to the Chairman before his name is proposed and since this has not been done, the nomination paper was liable to be rejected. This contention prevailed in the lower Court and we have to see if the view taken by that Court is correct.
4. The nomination paper of thepetitioner (Ex. C) bears an endorsementdated 6-1-1969, duly signed by the petitioner to the following effect:--
^^eSa ij mfYyf[kr mEehnokj] bl uke funsZ'kuds fy;s lger gwa**
This endorsement does amount to expression of willingness in writing as contemplated by the aforesaid rule, but the question is whether it can be said to have been conveyed to the Chairman before the petitioner's name was proposed. It has been urged in this connection by the learned counsel for the non-applicants that this endorsement is below the nomination form and as such it would appear that the written consent was conveyed subsequent to the proposal and not before it as required by the rule. I am, however, not impressed by this contention. All that can be reasonably inferred from the nomination form (Ex. C) containing the written consent of the petitioner is that the proposal and the written consent were simultaneously conveyed to the Chairman. This, in my opinion, is sufficient compliance with Rule 49.
5. Learned counsel for the non-applicants urged that a strict compliance with Rule 49, which is mandatory is necessary and in support of his contention, he relied on a number of decisions. In Purushottamdas v. Collector, Gird, AIR 1955 Madh B. 179 it was held that the rules made under the Madhya Bharat Municipalities Act relating to election are mandatory and must be strictly followed. In Jagan Nath v. Jaswant Singh, AIR 1954 SC 210 it was held that the general rule is well settled that the statutory requirements of election law must be strictly observed. I need not refer to other authorities on the subject because the rules pertaining to election are generally construed as mandatory requiring strict observance. In this case, there can be no doubt that Rule 49 is mandatory but the question is whether there has been sufficient compliance with the rule or not.
6. Although strict observance of the rule is required, we must take into consideration the object and purpose of the rule for the purpose of determining whether there has been sufficient compliance with the rule or not. Strict compliance does not mean a literal compliance divorced from common sense. The object of Rule 49 in requiring a candidate to convey his willingness in writing to serve as a councillor is merely to ensure that no nomination paper shall be deemed to be validly presented unless it is accompanied or preceded by such writing. The mere fact that the writing relating to the willingness of the candidate is on the nomination paper itself would not make the nomination paper invalid because, in my view where the willingness in writing and nomination paper are handed over to the Chairman simultaneously, there is sufficient compliance with the rule. It may be mentioned here that in Kishanchand v. M.C. Kurwai, 1969 Jab LJ 1039 it was observed that the defects in a nomination farm, which were not of a substantial character, were of no consequence. Although strict compliance with the rules is necessary, we must look to the substance of the rule for the purpose of determining whether there has been sufficient compliance with it or not. As, in my view, there was sufficient compliance with the rules in this case, the learned District Judge was in error in setting aside the election of the petitioner as invalid. The impugned order is therefore liable to be set aside.
7. The petition is, therefore, allowed and the order of the District Judge dated 26-9-1970 setting aside the election of the Petitioner is hereby set aside. Non-applicant No. 2, shall pay the costs of this petition and bear his own, counsel's Fee Rs. 25/- if certified.