1. Challenge in this writ application is to the order dated 21-6-1982 (Annexure 2) passed by the Chancellor of Utkal University cancelling the election of the petitioner to the Syndicate and directing fresh election under Section 10(1) (g) of the Utkal University Act (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). The petitioner works as a Laboratory Assistant in the Department of Psychology in Buxi Jagabandhu College, Bhubaneswar. He is a member of the Senate of Utkal University having been elected from the Registered Graduates' Constituency under Section 9 (1) (p) of the Act. According to the petitioner, the Registrar of Utkal University, opposite party No. 2, invited nominations for election to the Syndicate under Section 10 (1) (g) of the Act from amongst the members of the Senate and accordingly he filed his nomination along with other candidates. On 27-2-1982 opposite party No. 2 scrutinised the nominations and declared, the nominations of the petitioners and one Arun Patnaik as valid. The election to the Syndicate was held on 26-3-1982 at an open meeting and the petitioner was duly elected by the Senate having secured the largest number of votes. Thereafter opposite parties 3, 4 and 5 applied to the Chancellor for cancellation of the petitioner's election to the Syndicate on the ground that the petitioner was not eligible to contest. The Chancellor gave notice to the petitioner and the opposite parties and after hearing them passed orders on 21-6-1982 cancelling the election of the petitioner on the ground that the latter was connected with a college and as such was not eligible to contest at the election. The petitioner asserts that the order of the Chancellor declaring his election invalid and directing fresh election was without jurisdiction, illegal and void. It is further stated that the statutory expression--'not in any way connected with the University or with any college', actually means not connected with teaching in the University or in any college and that any other interpretation would disqualify all the members of the Senate to contest. The petitioner has accordingly prayed that the order as per Annexure 2 should be set aside,
2. In the return filed on behalf of the Chancellor, opposite party No. 1, it is stated that admittedly the petitioner is directly connected with a college and therefore he was not eligible to contest. It is further stated that the order of the Chancellor as per Annexure 2 is valid and) proper being in accordance with the statutory provision contained in Section 10 (1) (g) of the Act. It is explained that the object of the aforesaid statutory provision is to make the composition of the Syndicate broad-based so that the Syndicate comprises of persons connected with the University and colleges as well as persons not connected with the University or any of the colleges. It is reiterated that the petitioner was ineligible to be elected from the Senate and therefore could not claim any right in his favour merely because the Registrar had declared him eligible to contest and he had succeeded at the election.
3. In his counter opposite party No. 2 has narrated the facts beginning with the receipt of nominations for election to the Syndicate and ending with the order of the Chancellor as per Annexure 2. Opposite Party No. 3 who is an elected member of the Senate has filed a separate counter in which he has opposed the writ application on the ground that the action and order of the Chancellor cancelling the election of the petitioner and directing fresh election are valid and proper and are based on correct interpretation of the relevant statutory provisions.
4. The matter in controversy in this writ application is limited to the interpretation of the expression 'not in any way connected with the University or with any college', contained in Section 10 (1) (g) of the Act. Sub-section (1) of Section 10 deals with membership of the Syndicate and Clause (g) thereof provides:--
'(g) nine persons to be elected by the Senate from among its members of whom two shall be University Post-Graduate teachers, four shall be College teachers, and the remaining shall be persons not in any way connected with the University or with any College.'
Before examining this statutory provision it would be useful to refer to the following important decisions on interpretation of statutes. In : 1SCR360 , Kanai Lal Sur v. Paramanidhi Sudhukhan, it was observed:
'... ... ... it must always be borne in mind, that the first and primary rule of construction is that the intention of the Legislature must be found in the words used by the Legislature itself. If the words used are capable of one construction only then it would not be open to the Courts to adopt any other hypothetical construction on the ground that such hypothetical construction is more consistent with the alleged object and policy of the Act.
The words used in the material provisions of the statute must be interpreted in their plain grammatical meaning and it is only when such words are capable of two constructions that the question of giving effect to the policy of object of the Act can legitimately arise. When the material words are capable of two constructions, one of which is likely to defeat or impair the policy of the Act whilst the other construction is likely to assist the achievement of the said policy then the Courts would prefer to adopt the latter construction.
It is only in such cases that it becomes relevant to consider the mischief and detect which the Act purports to remedy and correct... ... ...'
In : 1SCR276 , State of Rajasthan v. Mrs. Leela Jain, it was observed:
'... ... ... Unless the words are unmeaning or absurd, it would not be in accord with any sound principle of construction to refuse to give effect to the provisions of a statute on the very elusive ground that to give them their ordinary meaning leads to consequences which are not in accord with the notions of propriety or justice entertained by the Court No doubt, if there are other provisions in the statute which conflict with them, the Court may prefer the one and reject the other on the ground of repugnance. Surely, that is not the position here. Again, when the words in the statute are reasonably capable of more than one interpretation, the object and purpose of the statute, a general conspectus of its provisions and the context in which they occur might induce a Court to adopt a more liberal or a more strict view of the provisions, as the case may be, as being more consonant with the underlying purpose. But we do not consider it possible to reject words used in an enactment merely for the reason that they do not accord with the context in which they occur, or with the purpose of the legislation as gathered from the preamble or long title. The preamble may, no doubt, be used to solve any ambiguity or to fix the meaning of words which may have more than one meaning, but it can, however, not be used to eliminate as redundant or unintended, the operative provisions of a statute ... ...'
In : 131ITR597(SC) , K.P. Varghese v. Income-tax Officer, Ernakulam it was observed (at pp. 1927-28 of AIR).
'The primary objection against the literal construction of Section 52, Sub-section (2), (I. T. Act 1961), is that it leads to manifestly unreasonable and absurd consequences. It, is true that the consequence of a suggested construction cannot alter the meaning of a statutory provision but it can certainly help to fix its meaning. It is a well-recognised rule of construction that a statutory provision must be so construed, if possible, that absurdity and mischief may be avoided. There are many situations where the construction suggested on behalf of the revenue would lead to a wholly unreasonable result which could never have been intended by the Legislature ... -.. ... ... We must, therefore, eschew literalness in the interpretation of Section 52, Sub-section (2), and try to arrive at an interpretation which avoids this absurdity and mischief and makes the provision rational and, sensible, unless of course, our hands are tied and we cannot find any escape from the tyranny of the literal interpretation. It is now a well-settled rule of construction that where the plain literal interpretation of a statutory provision produces a manifestly absurd and unjust, result which could never have been intended by the Legislature, the Court may modify the language used by the Legislature or even 'do some violence' to it, so as to achieve the obvious intention of the Legislature and produce a rational construction: Vide Luke v. I. R. C., 1963 AC 557 : (1964) 54 ITR 692. The Court may also in such a case read into the statutory provision a condition which, though not expressed, is implicit as constituting the basic assumption underlying the statutory provision. We think that, having regard to this well-recognised rule of interpretation, a fair and reasonable construction of Section 52, Sub-section (2), would be to read into it a condition that it would apply only where the consideration for the transfer is understated or, in other words, the assessee has actually received a larger consideration for the transfer than what is declared in the instrument of transfer and it would have no application in the case of a bona fide transaction where the full value of the consideration for the transfer is correctly declared by the assessee... ... ...'
5. Keeping the aforesaid observations in mind we may now approach the construction of Section 10 (1) (g) of the Act During his submissions in Court learned counsel for opposite party No. 2 made a faint attempt to support the action of opposite party No. 2 in accepting the nomination of the petitioner for election to the Syndicate, but finally did not challenge the decision of the Chancellor as per Annexure 2. Learned counsel for the petitioner has urged that the expression 'not in any way connected with the University or with any College', must in the context in which it occurs in Clause (g) mean not in anyway connected with teaching in the University or any College. It is pointed out that a member of the Senate is connected with the University and, therefore, a literal construction of the aforesaid expression would lead to the absurd result that no member of the Senate would be eligible to be a member of the Syndicate under Clause (g). This contention is without force. The words 'nine persons to be elected by the Senate from among its members ... ...', leaves no room for doubt that under Clause (g) only members of the Senate are eligible to contest and his right is exercisable even if their membership of the Senate is said to connect them with University. Learned counsel appearing for the Chancellor and learned counsel appearing for opposite party No. 3 have submitted that the expression 'not in anyway connected with the University or with any College', is not at all ambiguous and the words used are not capable of more than one construction. It is also submitted that the words 'not in anyway connected, with the University or with any College', do not lead to manifestly unreasonable or absurd consequences and, therefore, the words should be given their natural meaning. An examination of the broad features of the Act reveals that under Section 4 (3) the Senate and the Syndicate are two different authorities. Section 9 deals with membership of the Senate, the term of office of its members and its functions and powers. Section 10 deals with membership of the Syndicate, the term of office of its members and its functions and powers. It is worthy of note that not all members of the Senate are eligible to be members of the Syndicate. It is seen that under Section 9 (1) (p) twenty persons to be elected from the Registered Graduates' Constituency shall not be teachers of any college. This clause maintains a distinction between teachers and non-teachers. As regards Academic Council, Section 11 (1) (h) provides that two persons shall be elected by the Senate from amongst its members who are neither teachers nor students. Here again the distinction between teachers and non-teachers is expressly maintained. Thus it is clear that where the legislature wanted a distinction between teachers and non-teachers to be maintained it has been expressly said so. Accordingly it follows that in Section 10 (1) (g) of the Act where no such distinction between teachers and non-teachers is expressly stipulated it would not be permissible for the Court to introduce any such distinction by speculative inference or implication. Further, the other provisions of the Act are not in conflict with Section 10 (1) (g). It is also worthy of note that Clause (g) of Section 10 (1) of the Act was amended in 1976 and the said clause prior to its amendment read, as follows:--
'(g) Nine persons to be elected by the Senate from among its members of whom five shall be college teachers and the remaining four shall be persons other than college teachers.'
Thus in the old law a distinction had been made between members of the Senate who were college teachers and those who were not. The amendment in 1976 removed that distinction between teachers and non-teachers and introduced a new line of distinction between teacher-members and members of the Senate not in anyway connected with the University or any of the Colleges. Clause (g) as it now stands stipulates that of the nine members of the Senate to be elected to the Syndicate two shall be University post-graduate teachers, four shall be college teachers and the remaining three shall not merely be non-teachers, they shall not be in any way connected with the University or with any college as well. The language of Section 10 (1) (g) is clear and explicit and our duty is to give effect to it. The petitioner is admittedly connected with a college and hence he was not eligible to be a candidate for election to the Syndicate. The order if the Chancellor as per Annexure 2 is correct and valid.
6. In the result, this writ application must fail and it is dismissed. Parties will bear their own costs.
P.K. Mohanti, J.