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Gurbhaian Singh and ors. Vs. State of Punjab and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElection
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petition No. 4414 of 1983
Judge
Reported inAIR1984P& H105
ActsPunjab Gram Panchayats Act, 1952 - Sections 5(2); Municipal Election Rules, 1962; ;Registration of Electors Rules, 1960 - Rules 3 to 28
AppellantGurbhaian Singh and ors.
RespondentState of Punjab and anr.
Cases ReferredSumatuch Devi v. State of Bihar.
Excerpt:
- sections 80 (2) & 89 & punjab motor vehicles rules, 1989, rules 85 & 80: [t.s. thakur, cj, jasbir singh & surya kant, jj] appeal against orders of state or regional transport authority imitation held, a stipulation regarding the period of limitation available for invoking the remedy shall have to be strictly construed. that is because any provision by way of limitation is in the nature of a restraint on the remedy provided under the act. so viewed two inferences are clear viz., (1) sections 80 and 89 of the act read with rule 85 of the rules make it obligatory for the authorities making the order to communicate it to the applicant concerned and (2) the period of limitation for any appeal against the order is reckonable from the date of such communication of the reasons would imply.....s.s. sandhawalia, c.j. 1. can a state legislature validity admit the electoral rolls for the time being in force maintained under the representation of the people act, 7950 for the purposes of elections to its panchayats do the provisions of s 52i of the punjab gram panchayats act, 1952 suffer in the one of abdication of its functions by the legislature and. one consequently void? t ns is the win ques4ion before this full bench underlying the challenge to the validity of the recently held elections to the gram panchayats within the state of punjab.2. the five petitioners are the residents of village chat. tehsil raipura. district patiala. who have attained the age of 21 years, on or above the 1st of jan. 1983, and on that base, entitled to be registered as votes far the purposes of.....
Judgment:

S.S. Sandhawalia, C.J.

1. Can a State Legislature validity admit the electoral rolls for the time being in force maintained under the representation of the people Act, 7950 for the purposes of elections to its Panchayats Do the provisions of S 52i of the Punjab Gram Panchayats Act, 1952 suffer in the one of abdication of its functions by the Legislature and. one consequently void? T ns is the win ques4ion before this Full Bench underlying the challenge to the validity of the recently held elections to the Gram Panchayats within the State of Punjab.

2. The five petitioners are the residents of village Chat. Tehsil Raipura. District Patiala. who have attained the age of 21 years, on or above the 1st of Jan. 1983, and on that base, entitled to be registered as votes far the purposes of Panchayat elections. on the l0th Sept. 1983 the Punjab Government issued a public notification calling for election to the Panchayats, to be held from Sept. 2-1-1983 to Sept. 30. ` 1983. It is pointed out that by virtue of S. 5 (2) of the Punjab Gram Panchayats Act 1952 (hereinafter called 'the Act'1 and the rules framed where under every person who is entered as a voter on The electoral roll of the Punjab Legislative Assembly for the time being in force would entitled to cast vote in the said election.. The aforesaid electoral roll is governed entirely by central statute, namely: The Representation of the People Act, 1950. and in particular S. (21 thereof. There is no provision for the revision of this electoral roll at the instance of the State Government and such power is exercisable only by the Election Commission, which is appointed by the Central Government under a Central statute. Since no recent revision of the electoral roll within the State of Punjab has vet been made. the writ petitioners who have attained the age of 21 years have not as yet been entered in the final roll and are consequently deprived of their right of the franchise and of the right to vote in the Panchayat elections.

3. It is then their case that under Art. 246 of the Constitution of India read with entry No. 5 of the State List. it in the exclusive power of the State legislature to make law for the constitution of the Gram Panchayats and inevitably for conducting elections thereto the maintenance of the electoral rolls therefor. It is pointed further that Art. 4 of the On situation m the Director principles a states the State to take steps to 0og se village Panchayat and to confer Powers and authority. as may be them to functions as units of self government. It is averred that the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madras, Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar have enacted State legislation which vests the control and maintenance of the electoral role for the Panchayats in State agencies. However. by virtue of S, 5(2) of the Act the Legislature of Punjab has wholly abdicated its legislative functions to enact laws for the framing of the electoral roll for the Panchayats and instead has vested the same entirely in the election commission and the Union of India, who maintained the electoral roles for the Parliament and the State Legislatures.

4. Factually, it is pointed out that out that the 121 constituencies of the Punjab Legislature Assembly. the Election Commission had recently ordered the revision of the electoral rolls for 64 constituencies Draft rolls had been prepared for them and after learned objections. the final publication of the revised electoral rolls was fixed no 5th Oct i983. In the remaining constituencies such publication was l likely to take place sometime in Jan. 1984. It is the case that as far as village Chat which the petitioners belong. is a concerned. the same is included in one of constituencies where revision has already been ordered and in the draft electoral roll the names of the petitioners am included and would have been finally published on the 5th of Oct. 1983 and they would thus be entitled to vote if elections were to be held after that date. However. the respondent State of Punjab in unseemly haste had ordered the elections before the revised rules are published which would render the writ petitioners and the persons similarly situated to be negligible for exercising their right of franchise, It is pointed out that even by virtue of the contemplated revision on the 5th Oct 1983 about 10 percent more votes than the previous electoral which was revised way back in 1980 would be added thereto. This would be make a substantial change in the quantity and the quality of the electorate apart from the disenfranchising persons who are now entitled to participate in the elections by reasons of their having attained age of 21 years and thus eligible for being registered as voters.

5. On the aforesaid premises a frontal challenge to the validity of S. 5 (2) of the Act is raised and Dressed primarily on the ground of the abdication of its legislative functions by the legislature of the State of Punjab to enact laws for the electoral process for its Panchayats in general and for the maintenance and revision of electoral roll therefor in particular.

6. In the return filed on behalf of the State of Punjab the factual position is not seriously controverted. It is however averred that the instructions have been issued by the Chief Electoral Officer. Punjab that all applications received under Sec 22 & 23 of the Representation of the People Act Sept. 9. I983. should be disposed of by Sept. 19. 1983. and as a result thereof supplements to the electoral rolls be prepared by Sept 19. 1983. in order to ensure that the persons who have applied for enrollment as voters up to 9th Sept. 1983. may be able to cast their votes in the forthcoming elections. The legal stand taken and behalf of the writ petitioners is. however. hotly controverted end it is averred that Section 5 (2) of the Act is wholly constitutional and valid and there is not the least abdication of the legislative functions involved in adopting the electoral roll for the Parliament and State Legislature elections for the purpose of Panchayat elections as well.

7. This writ petition had come up for motion for hearing or the 14th Sept 1983 and on that date and late the interim relief for staying the elections all over the State. scheduled from Sept. 21 to Sept; 30. 1983, was hotly pressed but was eventually declined yet in view of the public importance and urgency of the matter the petition was admitted to the full bench and listed for hearing forthwith.

8. As in manifest hereinafter the primary argument Dressed on behalf of the writ petitioners is that the Punjab Legislature abdicated its essential Legislative function of providing for the elections to the Gram Panchayats by an unqualified adoption of the Punjab legislative assembly roll for the time being in force and thus accepting it not only as it existed in 1952 but with all future amendments of which it could not possibly be aware at all. 'It appreciate this basic contention and its ancillary ramifications it becomes not only apt but indeed necessary to view the matter in the context of its legislative history.

9. At the very outset our attention was drawn to Section 5 of the Punjab Gram Panchayat Bil1 1952 Punjab Bill No. 2I a 1952. As envisaged therein the said provision had three sub-sec whereby it was inter alia provided by the every gram Sabha shall consists of adult qualified cause to be register the prescribed manner of all adults entitled to be members of t6e Gram Sabha. These provisions obviously envisaged the maintenance of the electoral roll by the prescribed authority according to the rules framed under the Act which would have been primarily under the control of either the State Legislature or the Executive. However. during the course at the Assembly debates the aforesaid provision for an electoral roll, as Prescribed by the rules. was deleted and substituted by the original sub-s. (3) to S. 5 which is terms adopted the electoral roll of the State Legislative Assembl9 for the time being in force pertaining to the Sabha area, S. 5 later underwent a substantial change b9 Punjab Act No. 17 of 1975 but the provision regarding the electoral roll was retained a sub-section (21 of the said Section

10. It is against the aforesaid background that Mr. Khoji. the learned counsel for the petitioners had submitted that the reason for substituting the provision of S. 5 of the original Gram Panchayat Bi71 1952 was that wa9 back in 1950 the Representation of the People Act itself Provided for an annual revision of the electoral roll for Parliament and the State Legislatures. Therefore an9 duplication of the process of maintaining a Fresh electoral roll for the purposes of Pancha9at election was deemed wasteful and consequently the electoral rolls for the Punjab Legislative Assembly were unreservedly adopted for this purpose.

11. Reference must now be made to Art. 328 which is the constitutional Magna Carta for elections to parliament and the Legislative Assemblies of the States on the basis of adult suffrage. Apart.from providing some imperative qualifications itself the Article authorises the framing of other laws by appropriate legislatures with regard to the entitlement of citizens to be registered as voters in these elections. It is under this constitutional umbrella that the Representation of the People Act, 1950 was enacted. Therein as originally promulgated Section (21 prescribed the qualifying date as the lst of March 1950 and in case of every electoral roll subsequentl9 prepared the said date would be the first day of March of the year in which it was prepared. Section 23 then mandated an annual revision of the electoral roll in the manner prescribed by ' reference to the qualifying date. Section 26 Provided far the electoral rolls for the Assembly elections. Learned counsel for the petitioners on the basis of thaws provisions highlighted the fact that the Representation of the People Act, as oriRinall9 enacted. did not envisage any state electoral roll and indeed provided for an oven-fresh one by prescribing both the qualifying data as lst of March of the particular 9ear and the annual revision of the rolls.

12 However. it would appear that the original Provisions of the 1950 Act were radically. amended in 1956 a thereafter with the result that its provision underwent a complete metamorphosis. Counsel, therefore. seems to be right in his submission that virtually all that now reins alter these changes in fact the name of to,p Act and its Preamble as originally al Ted. The rest of the provisions that been virtually substituted and the entire Scheme of the statute has been changed overhauled by road recognition. Particular emphasis was laid on the fact that the twin concept of a fixed qualifying date far each year and the mandate of an annual revision of the electoral roll has no been altogether abandoned. To indicate this. reference was made to Section 14 which has introduced the new definition of the qualifying date and Section (21 which has completely substituted the earlier provisions with regard to the preparation and revision of electoral rolls. The provisions introduced an altogether new concept of relating the qualifying date to the holding of the parliamentary or Assembly elections and thus the qualifying date becomes the first of January of the year in which the Assembly or parliamentary elections ma9 come to be called. Thus. it introduces an altogether fortuitous element in determining as to what could be the qualifying date.

13. Against the background of this aforesaid legislative chances and the consequent legal position. Mr. Rho7i. the learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that when the Punjab Legislature in 1952 oriqinall9 enacted Section 5 of the Act it had in terms adopted and accepted an Assembly electoral all fixed to the pole-star of a qualifying date of the lst.of March of the year and an annual revision of the said electoral roll which necessaril9 made it virtually upto-date. However, the drastic changes in 1950 Act. according to counsel, had broken down the nexus for having adopted the Assembl9 or Parliamentary electoral rolls as foundational to Panchayat. elections because Up to date electoral rolls are no longer available when Panchayat elections name to be called. In the Present ease it was vehemently argued (apparently under a misapprehension that when Panchayat elections were decreed to be held in Sept. 1983. the electoral rolls existed on the basis of a qualifying date which was that of the lst..Jan, 1980 in' which year The Assembly: ' elections in Punjab had been called, It was further argued that Section 22 and 23 which provide for the correction of entries in the electoral rolls and inclusion of names therein would.in no way remedy the situation because they. again have reference only to the qualifying date. which would still continue to remain as the lst Tan. 1980. The practical result of this anomalous situation, according to counsel. was that persons who had attained the age of 21 years and thus become entitled to be registered in the electoral roll betwixt the period of Ist Jan. 1980 and Sept. 1983 would be deprived of their valuable right of franchise. Quantitatively it was pointed out that within three years nearly 10 per cent of the existing electoral strength would be added thereto be the fact' of citizens attending the basic requirement of the age of 21 years apart from other considerations like the migration of population etc. In sum the argument is that state electoral rolls result in a deprival of what was virtual1y termed as a fundamental right of franchise to the citizen. Reliance Was placed on Chief Commr of Ajmer v. Radhey Shyam Dauj, AIR 1959 SC 309

14. Before noticing and adverting to the main argument of the abdication of legislative functions. it seems apt to first dispose of the aforesaid,ancillary contentions with regard to an overly state electoral roll and a.deprival of the right of franchise. Learned counsel for the petitioners had waxed eloquent on the wholly tenuous basis that the electoral rolls herein were stale and outmoded because of the qualifying date being the 19th Of Jan. 1980. I: am second to none in holding to the importance o! the maintenance of Proper electoral rolls which in a way are the essence op electoral process. However. the learned counsel for the petitioners herein is factually in error in cam. assigning his case that the electoral rolls have been prepared with the Qualifying date as the lst of Jan. 1980. This stand was hotly controverted on behalf of' the respondent-State and undisputed documentary evidence was produced from the record to show that the Election Commission had ordered the summary revision of the electoral rolls including the State of Punjab with the lst o! Jan. 1882 as the qualifying date. It was the case that in fact the State Government had made a request to the effect to the Election Commission and the same had been accepted and replied with. Consequently with the directions aforesaid the draft electoral rolls had been duly published and claims d objections with regard thereto had been invited and after disposal thereof the final and supplementary rolls had been. printed and 'published with the result that-the electoral roll was up to date with the qualifying date of the lst of Jan. 1982. Consequently the mainstay of the learned counsel !or the petitioners' stance here is that the electoral rolls were a stale as the lst of Jan. 1980 is:untenable and crumbles to the ground,

15. Equally I am unable to accept the sentimental but untenable stand that the right to franchise was inherent or fundamental and any law supposedly running contrary thereto was void This learned Advocate General had firmly taken his stand on the terra firma that electoral rights are in essence statutory alone. Then is no inherent or inaccessible right beyond of above the statute conferring the rights of franchise. and that is so. no legal grievance can arise if the statute conferring the right of franchise is validly varied or amended. An electoral statute cannot be struck down or:voided on the ground of being contrary to any supposed fundamental right of franchise, Reliance on behalf of the respondents has been rightly placed on the proviso to Section 21(2) of the 1950 t1 which in terms lays down that if the electoral roll is not revised as prescribed the validity or the continued operation of the said electoral roll shall not thereby be affected. Once that provision holds and the same has not been challenged before us, an election held on the basis of unrevised rolls cannot be said to be illegal or void.' On this premise or by way of analogy it was argued that though as a matter op propriety electoral rolls should be up to date yet for one reason or another this cannot be done and the statute in term provides for the holding or elections on the existing rolls no quarrel can be raised with the power of the legislature to prescribe so and the same cannot be struck down on any presumed unconstitutionality or the violation of a taking rights above the statute to claim election only on oven-Press rolls. That an election once held is not to be upset hue' being held on unconvinced rolls i.e. o5vioqs from the observations in n Paris h v. State of Haryana. 1972 Pun LJ 469: fair 19?4 P xi 1231 and Pritam Sin th v. State of Punjab. 19T3 Pun LJ 6dfi and Dilip Kumar Singh v. State of Bihar, AIR 1971 Pat. 65 (FB). This limb of the learned counsel contention therefore also must be rejected..

16. Coming now to the basic contention of the abdication of its legislative functions by the Punjab legislature it was directly rested on this language of Section 5 (2) which may. therefore. be noticed in extenso:-

'Section 5. Establishment of a Gram Sabha: (1) Government may. by notification. establish a Gram Sabha have by name in every Sabha area

(2) Every person who is entered as a voter on the electoral roll of the Punjab Legislative assembly for the time being in force pertaining to the area of any Sabha shall be member of that Sabha.'

Relying pointedly on sub-section (2) it is submitted that the electoral roll herein has obvious reference to that maintained under the Representation of the People Act 1950 with the result that the Punjab legislature adopted in future provisions of which it was not aware and in fact could not be aware in view of the power of the Parliament of amend the aforesaid Act from time to time which in fact has been exercised repeatedly to virtually. metamorphose the provisions relating to the preparation and maintenance of the assembly electoral roll. According to counsel the true legal effect of the provisions, therefore, is that electoral roll for the Panchayat is not conditioned to the requirements for elections thereto as the same has been and is liable to be amended from time to time by Parliament over which State Legislature has no control whatsoever. It was pointed out that for argument's sake if Parliament tomorrow were to raise or reduce the age of voting or to put in properly qualifications for the same or to exclude women from the adult suffrage, or make any other changes affecting both the quality and the quantity of the electorate the same would come to be blindly adopted for the purposes of Panchayat election irrespective of the needs and the quality of the electorate therefor. In some, the argument is that from the moment Section 5(2) was enacted in its present terms it amounted to abdication of its legislative function by the Punjab legislature and the subsequent changes in the 1950 Act are sharply illustrative of the adoption of a law, the contents of which, the Punjab Assembly was not and by its very nature could not possibly be aware of.

17. Reference was then made to Sections 4. 5 and 6 of the Madhya Pradesh Panchayats Act, 1962 and Section 10 of the Rajasthan Panchayat Act, 1953 and simi1ar provisions in the Madras and the Bihar Panchayat Raj Acts which retained the control of the State legislatures over the maintenance of electoral rolls Generally reliance was placed to Municipal Election Rules 1962 framed under the Punjab Municipal Act which also Provided to the maintenance of an electoral roll with regard to each municipal area. a or n to prescribed rules Presidential reliance was placed primarily on B. Shama Rao v. Union Territory of Pondicherry, AIR 1%7 SC 1480 and b9 eray of anelosy on N. Veerraiu v. Distt. Mq tsif, AIR 1957 AP 393 and Parrnesbwar Mahaseth v. State of Bihar, AIR 1!IaB Pat 149.

18. I am inclined to the view that argument of the abdication of legislative functions herein is broadly covered against the writ petitioners by an unbroken line of precedent in this court which now stand sanctified by the final court itself. It is therefore unnecessary to digress on first principles as if the matter was res integra. As in manifest the heart of the argument on behalf of the petitioners is that the legislatures cannot unreservedly adopt the provisions of another statute enacted by the different legislature for the time being in force which may be subjected to continuous arguments.,

19. Now the identical arguments aforesaid was raised on behalf of the petitioners in Auto Pins (India) Regd. Faridabad v. State of Haryana AIR 1970 Punj. & Har 333 whilst assailing S. 9(3) of the Central Sales Tax Act whereby Parliament adopted the legislation of the various States for the collection of sales tax even with the prospective modifications thereof. Rejecting the contentions after an exhaustive discussion on principle and precedent the Bench had concluded as follows:--

'' ' . We are hence of the view that the parliament was entitled to enact sub-sec, (3) of S. 9 at the Central Act. That being so. the language of this sub-section is a clear pointer to the fact that the Parliament was adopting the state legislation--with an future modifications which may be made therein by the appropriate States.' The aforesaid ratio were forcefully assailed before another Division Bench in Rattan Ial and Company v. State of Punjab, CWP 759 of 1969 decided on the lst of De. 1970: ((1972) 29 STC 607: 1971 Tax LR 1009) (Punj & Har-appendix) but was re-affirmed in an exhaustive judgment. both the aforesaid judgments were again sought to be strenuously assailed before the Full Bench in Tek Chand Daulat Rai v. Theand Taxati on Officer. Ferozepur, (I9?2) 29 ST'C 58,5: (1972 Tax LR 22731 Punj & Har but were expressly approved in the follow terms (at R 2283): ''' I fully agree with the view taken by P, C. Pandit and Sandhawalia. J:T. in that judgment in holc6nR that the adoption of the rates in force under the State Act in pursuance of the provision of S. 9(2) of the Central Act does not amount to abdication of legislative power on the part of parliament.' It is thus manifest that within this Court the consistent view is that the adoption of another statute with and future modification which may be made therein would not ipso facto amount to abdication of legislative functions.

20. Apart from the above the recent decision of their lordships Shiv Datt Rai Fateh Chand v. Union of India, (1983) 3 SCC 5Z9: (1983 Tax LR 2917) would lend stamp on approval to the store aid view and has added a further ' dimension to the concept of abdication of legislative functions. It is at to re recall in the case by inserting sub-sec.. (2-A) to S 9 of the Central Sales Tax Act. Parliament had virtually adopted the State ms at near 20 States with re ad to the provision relating to offences and penalties. as a amended from time to time, The challenge to aforesaid, sub-section (2-A) m the proud of abdication of 1emslat'sve functions by the Parliament as revealed by their load after full moderation on principle and precedent on the point.. The s enunciated 'in this case appears to be that for determining the question of abdication one has to see a variety of considerations including the statute to be adopted. the policy behind the same etc The criteria enunciated this case. which would validate such adoption. was spelt out as:--

(i) Whether the objects of the two statutes are similar;

(ii)Whether the adoption or incorporation is made for the purposes of advancing the objects and purposes of the Act adopting the other;

(iii) that the adopting legislature had knowledge of the statute which it was adopting; and

(iv) some control over the new provisions is retained by the parent legislature to the extent of the power of repeal or amendment of the law.

It appears to me that in the present case the aforesaid criteria are amp satisfied. An analysis of Shiv Dutk Rai Fateh Chand's case (1983 Tas I8 2917) (SC) (supra) and the one relied upon therein would indicate that as the la. now stands. if there is a conscious decision to adopt the provisions of a similar statute with its subsequent modification as well then it would not amount the abdication of legislative functions. Thus if Parliament eyed innumerable State legislation's, with their jurisdiction, as amended from time to time. it was held to be a valid exercise of 1ertistative power. On a p arit7 of reasoning, if the Punjab. at as makes a conscious that it do's not wish to and cannot electoral rolls of its own and could adopt the Parliamentary or take A be e1ectoral rolls framed under the representations of the People Act 1950 as and when amended and either expressly or by necessary implication makes this intent patent then it cannot be struck down as abdication of legislative functions.

21. Though the larger and the broader challenge on the point of abdication raised on behalf of the petitioners does not hold water yet on must notice the stand of the respondent State that in fact there had been no complete surrender or abdication of the legislative functions here. It was rightly pointed out on behalf of the respondent State that it is not as if the whole electoral process of the Panchayats is surrender or delivered over for Central legislation but only a minuscule part thereof with regard to the maintenance of electoral rolls in order to avoid a pointless duplication has been adopted. Reference was made to the provisions of the Punjab Gram Panchayat Act making detailed specific legislation for the creation of such bodies. Under the said Act. the Punjab Gram Panchayat Election Rules 1960 have then been exhaustively framed. These define en elector and negatively prescribe for the qualifications and the are requirement ete. therefor. Again for all practical purposes not only had the State legislature retained its control over the creation and the electoral process of the Panchayats but ultimately has also the power to repeal or amend the State law. It was submitted that for obvious convenience. pointless duplication and the incurring of heavy financial burden u d even for the better maintenance of the electoral rolls the State legislature in its wisdom chose to adopt the Punjab Assembly rolls for the purposes of Panchayat elections. With apparent plausibility. it was argued that an electoral roll which is Rood and sound basis for election to such august bodies as the Parliament of the Union itself and the various State legislatures can equally be the foundational basis for Panchayat elections. Arguing in the reverse, it was pointed out that it was hardly possible for the State to maintain with elaboration and impeccability impartiality an electoral roll at par with the parliamentary and Assembly electoral rolls maintained under a. x independent and statutory Election Commission. Learned counsel for the respondents firmly took the st d that an electoral roll maintained under another statute may be adopted or incorporated and this in fact has been done by various Legislatures. It was pointed out that no judgment could be dated on behalf of the petitioners which in terms either bared the adoption of an electoral roll or has held such an adoption to be an abdication of legislative function. Therefore on' the somewhat narrow ground the mere adoption of an electoral roll with subsequent modifications cannot be easily dubbed as a surrender or abdication of legislative functions with regard to the larger prescription of the electoral process.

22. Again in this context one cannot but instructively refer to the observations of the Division Bench in Sumatuch Devi v. State of Bihar. AIR 1965 Pat' 220. That was a converse ease where the State of Bihar had by Ordinance abandoned the list of electors under the State statutory rules and adopted the electoral rolls for the Assembly. election maintained under the Representation of the People Act. 1950. This was not only upheld but commended as proper and desirable too (at P. 222):

'The amendment, to mg mind. had been brought about in order to avoid the unnecessary expenses, complications and imperfections by providing in S. 4 op the Act itself that all persons enrolled as electors in so much of the electoral roll or rolls of an Assembly Constituency of the State of Bihar. for the time being in force. as relates to the local areas comprised with n the limits of the Gram Panchayat. shall be in members: that is to sag. persons entitled to be registered in the electoral roll of the connected Assembly constituency under S. 19. of the Representation of the People Act 1950 (Central AM 43 of 19501 and so entered in the electoral roll under the provisions of the said Act and the rules framed thereunder. shall be the members of the Gram Panchayat concerned. By amending Rules 5 and 13 and by omitting Rules 6 to 12 preparation of different registers of members and voters has been completing done away with. It would be noticed with reference to the provisions of Ss. 14 to 20 of the AM 43 of 1950. that the qualification for being a voter in the Assembly Constituency is. more or leas, the same as was provided in S. 5 of the Act, as it stood prior to the amendment. That being so, the more perfect, precise and thorough machinery provided in Ss. 21 to 25 of Act 43 of 1950 and Rules 3 to 28 in Part II of the Registration of Electors rules, 1960 for preparation and revision of electoral rolls. correction of entries in them and inclusion of names therein is better suited for determining the membership of the Gram Panchayat '

23. I would wish to concur with the aforesaid observations. Therefore in view of the detailed discussion earlier it emerges that both on principle and precedent and equally on the larger' concept of abdication and the specific legislation in 5. 5(2) of the:yet be mere adoption of the Assembly electoral rolls for the time being in force cannot be labeled as a surrender of legislative power nor would it suffer from the vide of any excessive declaration, PA.

24. To finally concludes it has to be held in answer to the twin questions p ed at the outset that a State legislature can validly adopt the electoral rolls for the time being in force maintained under the Representation of the People Act, 1950 for the purposes of elections to its Panchayats. Consequently the provisions of S. 5 (2) of the Punjab Gram Panchayat Act 1952 do not amount to any abdication of its legislative functions by the legislature.

25. All that now remains is to examine the innuendoes raised in the writ petition which were sought to be Given the guise of legal mala fides in fixing the date of election on the 22nd of &ept; 1983 onwards. It was urged before us that in the State of Punjab. the electoral rolls in 64 Assembly constituencies had Already been ordered to the revised and draft rolls therefor were scheduled to be published on 5th Oct. 1983. On the other hand in the remaining 53 constituencies the old electoral ro116 were continuing and were apparently scheduled to be revised in Jan. 1984. In the two Assembly constituencies in Nanqal and Faridkot wherein directions had been, held in 1982 the rolls had Already been revised on the qualifying date of lst of Jan. 1980. On this premise it was argued that the poet-haste fixation of the dates of election from 22nd Sept. 1983 onwards was designedly done to pre-empt the elections from being held do the revised and fresh electoral rolls which. were likely to be published in the very near future.

26. The aforesaid stand has been conclusively repelled on behalf of the respondent-State both by averments in the written statement and in the course on argument. It has been. rightly pointed out that the prescribed 5 years statutory period for holding Panchayat elections had lapsed and thus the State was duty bound to hold them in accordance with the time laid out by statutory mandate. Any further delay would only be a neglect of statutory duty to hold Panchayat elections after five years and It was pointed out that the revision of rolls is a massive process which might take considerable time and the expenses whereof cannot always be forecast with accuracy. It was further pointed out that it would have led to anomalous results if the Panchayat elections were to be held in 64 Assembly constituencies on the revised rolls after 5th of October, and on the existing unversed electoral rolls in the remaining 57 Assembly constituencies. Therefore the postponement of the Panchayat elections would have involved an indefinite postponement in the hope of revision of the electoral roll in all the Assembly constituencies within the State which could not be precisely forecast. For these reasons it was canvassed on behalf of the respondent-State that the election programme had indeed been fairly fixed. This stand of the respondent-State appears to be pate any plausible and it would appear that far from there being any actual or legal mala fides in holding the Panchayat elections before the 5th of Oct. 1983. this apparently has been done for wholly bona fide reasons in order to provide a uniform electoral roll for the elections to the Panchayat and for holding them within the prescribed period of five years. The allegation of mala fides and had faith in this context. therefore. must fail and is hereby objected.

27. Consequently in view. of the findings on the preliminary legal issues for paragraphs 22 and 23 above. the writ petition is without merit and is hereby dismissed. There will. however. be no order as to costs.

P.C. Jaln, J.

28. I agree.

S.C. Mital, J.

29. I agree.

30. Petition dismissed.


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