1. By this application under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution the petitioner, who was elected in 1959 as the president of the Municipal Council, Chhuikhadan, prays for the issue of a writ of certiorari for quashing a resolution passed by the Council on 4th May 1964 expressing no confidence in him.
2. The applicant contends that there was no requisition at all as required by Section 47(2) (i) of the M.P. Municipalities Act, 1961 (hereinafter called the Act) for the convening of a meeting at which the motion of no-confidence was passed; that the notice of the meeting was not given to him and other Councillors ten clear days before the meeting; and that the meeting was presided over by one of the Councillors and not by the Vice-President of the Council, who was present at the meeting and who alone under Sections 52 and 59 of the Act could preside over the meeting.
3. There is no substance in any of these contentious, and this application must be dismissed As has been stated in the return and as is clear from the record, a requisition for the calling of a meeting for discussing a motion of no-confidence against the applicant was received by the Chief Municipal Officer as required by Section 47(2) of the Act, and it was on the receipt of this requisition that the Chief Municipal Officer convened a meeting of the Council on 4th May 1964 and a notice of this meeting was sent out to the Municipal Councillors on 22nd April 1964. An attempt was made to serve the petitioner with the notice on 23rd April 1964, but he refused to accept the same. Under Section 47(2) (ii) of the Act, the notice of the meeting called for discussing the motion of no-confidence has to he despatched by the Chief Municipal Officer to every Councillor ten clear days before the meeting. It is not necessary that the notice should actually he served on every Councillor ten clear days before the meeting. Here, the notice to every Councillor was sent out on 22nd April 1964 itself, and even a service of the notice was attempted to be made on the applicant on 23 April 1964. Thus, the grievance of the applicant that the meeting held on 4th May 1964 was convened contrary to Section 47(2) is without any foundation.
4. It is true that at the meeting held on 4th May 1964 the President of the Council, i.e. the petitioner, and two Vice-presidents of the Council were present, and the meeting was presided over by me Shri Ram Ratan Sharma, who was only a Councillor. In view of Clause (iii) of Section 47 (2), which prohibits the Presidc.nl or Vice-President against whom a motion of no-confidence is to be moved from presiding over the meeting called for the purpose of discussing the motion of no-confidence, the petitioner could not have presided over the meeting. One of the Vice-Presidents of the Council could have, no doubt, taken the Chair; hut if he did not and the Council elected one of the Councillors for presiding over the meeting, it cannot he held that the meeting was illegal. Sections 52 and 59 do not in any way assist the petitioner Clause (a) of Section 52 says:
'It shall he the duty of the Vice-President of the Council (a) in the absence of the President and unless prevented by reasonable cause to preside, at the meeting of the Council... ... .'
This provision casts a duty on the Vice-President to preside at the meeting of the Council only when the President is absent. Now, here, the petitioner who was the President of the Council was present at the meeting. The words 'unless prevented by reasonable cause have reference to the inability of the Vice-President to preside in the absence of the President and do not make the applicability of Clause (a) dependent on the absence of the President being founded on reasonable cause. Section 52(a) conies into play only when the President is absent and when the Vice-President is not prevented by reasonable cause from presiding at the meeting of the Council.
5. So also, Section 59 does not in terms apply to the present case. It runs as follows:
'At every meeting of a Council, the President, if present, or in his absence or during the vacancy of his office, a Vice-President and if there be no President or Vice-President present then such one of their number as the Councillors present may elect, shall preside as Chairman'.
It is clear from the above provision that the Vice-President can preside at the meeting of the Council only if the President is absent or if there is a vacancy in the office of the President. There was here neither any absence of the President nor any vacancy in the office of the President on 4th May 1964. The prohibition imposed by Section 47(2) (iii) of the Act on the President's presiding at the meeting at which a motion of no-confidence is moved against him can in no sense be construed as a vacancy in the office of the President, as was sought to be argued by learned counsel for the petitioner. In our judgment, the meeting held on 4th May 1964 was validly presided over by the Councillor elected by the Council for the purpose and was in order.
6. For all these reasons, this petition is dismissed with costs. Counsel's fee is fixed at Rs. 75/-. The outstanding amount of security deposit after deduction of costs shall be refunded to the petitioner.