G.K. Misra, J.
1. Late Krishnakanta Ray, father of the defendant (petitioner), stood as a candidate from the Kendra-para Parliamentary Constituency in the general election of the year 1957. He took a set of electoral rolls and voter's list for that constituency from the Cut-tack District Election Officer and granted the receipt Ext 1 on 7-2-57 to the following effect.
'Received a complete set of electoral rolls of Kendrapara Parliamentary Constituency with condition that the price of the roll will be paid if the rules do not permit of free supply.'
Krishnakanta died in 1959. The defendant was called upon to pay a sum of Rs. 263-10-0 towards the price of the electoral rolls. The defendant did not pay. The State of Orissa 'accordingly filed the suit for recovery of the price of the electoral Tolls. The defendant contested the suit on various grounds the most important of which were that the suit was barred by limitation, that the State of Orissa was not competent to recover the money, and that the Union of India or the Election Commission was alone entitled to recover the money. On the facts it was pleaded that the defendant offered to return back the electoral rolls which were lying unused and was not liable to pay the dues. The learned S. C. C. Judge decreed the plaintiffs suit The Civil Revision has been filed by the defendant under Section 25 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act
2. At first Mr. Mohanty canvassed all the contentions raised before the learned S. C. C. Judge. He however, ultimately mooted the only contention that the suit at the instance of the State of Orissa is not maintainable. To appreciate the aforesaid contention, an analysis of Mr. Mohanty's argument may be presented. Under Article 284 of the Constitution, all moneys received by or deposited with any officer employed in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State in his capacity as such, other than revenues or public moneys raised or received by the Government of India or the Government of the State, as the case may be, shall be paid into the public accounts of India or the public accounts of the State, as the case may be.
Under Article 324, Clause (1) of the Constitution, the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduce of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of every State and of election to the offices of President and Vice President held under the Constitution, shall be vested in a commission (referred to in the Constitution as the Election Commission). Under Article 324, Clause (6), the President, or the Governor of a State, shall, when so requested by the Election Commission, make available to the Election Commission or to a Regional Commissioner such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of the functions conferred on the Election Commission by Clause (1).
3. Mr. Mohanty concedes that the electoral rolls were supplied to the defendant's father by the District Election Officer and that the price is recoverable by the District Election Officer who is a State servant. He however contends that the District Election Officer is entitled to collect the money not as an officer of the State of Orissa or of the Revenue Department, but in his capacity as the District Election Officer functioning under Rule 33 of the Rules framed by the Central Government in consultation with the Election Commission of India under the Representation of the People Act, 1950. He also concedes that the money so collected from the sale proceeds of the electoral rolls is deposited into the State treasury by the District Election Officer, but that again he does while so functioning under the Representation of the People Act.
4. The argument of Mr. Mohanty is doubtless ingenious, but does not touch the fringe of the problem. It is true that the District Election Officer or the Chief Election Officer, who is an officer of the State, acts under the control of the Election Commission in discharge of his duties as an electoral officer. But the point for consideration is whether the collections made by the District Election Officer in respect of papers connected with election to the Parliament or to the State Legislature are to be initially collected on behalf of the State of Orissa or Union of India.
It seems clear from the letter issued by the Government of Orissa in the Home (Elections) Department dated the 9th August 1961 that the sale proceeds should be credited to the head 'XLVI-Misc-Miscellaneous Receipts in connection with Election -- Sale Proceeds of electoral rolls and connected papers'. The head 'XLVI' pertains to the State budget. Thus, though ultimately the sale proceeds of the electoral rolls relating to Parliamentary election may go to the coffers of the Union of India, initially the collection is to be made by the State of Orissa under its budgetary head. The Civil Budget Estimate for the year 1957-58 makes a clear provision for it. At page 67 under the major head 'XLVI-Miscellaneous' provision has been made for receipt in connection with election. Similarly at page 103, under Demand No. 1 '25-General Administration--Elections--other election charges' provision has been made for amount recoverable from the Government of India. The position is clarified by the Reports on the first and second general elections in India.
5. Chapter XXV of the Report on the First General Elections in India 1951-52, Volume I, generally deals with financial arrangements. The relevant portion runs thus:
'For obvious administrative reasons, the work of enumerating the voters and printing the electoral rolls, was delegated to the administrative machinery of the State Governments. The rolls so prepared were of course to be utilised not only for elections to the State Legislatures but also the House of the People. Initially, therefore, the State Governments incurred all the expenditure involved. The Government of India subsequently entered into an agreement with the Governments of Part A and Part B States according to which its share of all election expenditure in every State would be reimbursed to the State Government. This agreement also covered the expenditure to be incurred subsequently in connection with the actual conduct of the elections. According to this agreement, all extra expenditure incurred by a State Government in connection with the preparation and printing of the electoral rolls was to be borne by the Central and State Governments on a half-and half basis.'
In Chapter XXVII of the Report on the Second General Elections in India 1957, Volume I, general provision was made for financial arrangements. The relevant portion runs thus:
'The Central and the State Governments share on a half and half basis all expenditure on the following items:
(1) expenditure in connection with the preparation and printing of electoral rolls; XX XX XX
6. It would thus be apparent that though doubtless the Chief Election Officer and the District Election Officers act under the control of the Election Commission of India and though under Article 284 of the Constitution and the Rules of the Representation of the People Act amounts payable to Union of India would be credited to the Union of India, it was found difficult to maintain separate accounts of expenditures and receipts. For convenience of financial arrangements, the Union and the State Governments adopted the arrangement that the State Government would initially bear all expenses and collect all receipts of sale proceeds and finally the liabilities would be divided half-and-half. By this arrangement the power to collect sale proceeds of the electoral rolls remains with the State Government. The suit is therefore competent.
7. The revision has no merit and is accordingly dismissed. But in the circumstances there will be no order as to costs of this Court.