I.D. Dua, J.
1. This writ petition was referred by me to a larger Bench for determining the question whether a finding arrived at by the prescribed authority trying an election petition under the Punjab Gram Panchayat Act No. 4 of 1953 without adverting to affirmative evidence on the record can be successfully assailed in writ proceedings.
2. The facts have been narrated exhaustively in my referring order; it is therefore necessary only to briefly recapitulate the relevant facts for our present purpose. The election, out of which the present controversy arises, was held in December, 1963 for electing Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat, Bishanpura, Tehsil Phagwara. Waryam Singh, the present petitioner in this Court, was successful in the election. One Raju Ram presented an election petition, one of the grounds on which the election was challenged being that Waryam Singh was in arrears of Gram Panchayat tax (chullah tax) at the time of the election. On this plea, the learned Ilaqa Magistrate, acting as prescribed authority, came to the conclusion that Waryam Singh was in arrears to the extent of Rs. 3 at the time of filing his nomination-papers. The evidence on the record is conflicting in nature, but the learned prescribed authority has, among other things, taken into account the fact that Ram Kishan Lambardar has not been produced as a witness to show that he had received the payment of tax on 25-12-1963 and also that the cash book was not produced before him. Non-production of a kacha receipt said to have been taken, evidencing payment of Rs. 8, has also weighed with the learned prescribed authority. It is true that there is some other evidence on the record in support of the petitioner's case which has not been discussed by the prescribed authority, and indeed the petitioner's grievance is that the said authority has completely Ignored that evidence which, if taken into account, would in all probability have changed the fate of the impugned order
3. At the bar, our attention has not been drawn to any decided case which would show that an order passed by the prescribed authority without considering in the order a part of relevant evidence on the record is open to challenge in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution. On behalf of the petitioner, reference has been made to Dr. Tilak Raj Chadha v. Chief Commr., Delhi, AIR 1961 Punj 276, in which a Bench of this Court has reaffirmed the view that the High Court grants relief under Article 226 of the Constitution in grave cases where the Subordinate Tribunals or bodies or officers act wholly without jurisdiction, or in excess of it, or in violation of the principles of natural justice, or refuse to exercise a jurisdiction vested in them, or where there is an error apparent on the face of the record and such act, omission, error or excess has resulted in manifest injustice. This decision obviously does not cover the present case. The three decisions in Omar Salay Mohamed v. Commr. of Income-tax, AIR 1959 SC 1238; Lalchand Bhagat Ambica Ram v. Commr. of Income-tax, AIR 1959 SC 1295 and Dhirajlal Girdharilal v. Commr. of Income-tax, AIR 1955 SC 271, are cases arising out of reference to the High Court under Section 66(2), Indian Income-tax Act, and, therefore, of little assistance. K.M. Shanmugam v. The S.R.V.S. (P.) Ltd., AIR 1963 SC 1626, lays down that if relevant considerations in the matter of granting stage carriage permit under Motor Vehicles Act are not taken into account as a result of manifest error of law, then there would be an error of law apparent on the face of the record for the purpose of invoking the jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. This again is of little assistance to the petitioner. In Avadh Narain Singh v. Additional Superintendent of Police, AIR 1960 All 304, extensive portions of the speeches of some of the Noble Lords from a decision of the House of Lords in Edwards (inspector of Taxes) v. Bairstow etc., 1955 (3) All ER 48 have been reproduced, but I am unable, as at present advised, to draw much assistance from the decision of the Allahabad High Court in the instance case.
4. In the case in hand, it appears that the prescribed authority, has relied on certain circumstances which cannot be considered to be irrelevant for drawing inferences in respect of the question of fact, and in doing so, no error of law is manifest on the face of the record. It is true that a part of the relevant and material evidence has not been dealt with in the impugned order which could perhaps have been appropriately discussed therein; whether this omission is an error of law which can be considered to be manifest on the face of the record justifying interference by a Court of writ, has not been fully canvassed at the bar; I would, therefore, decline to comment on and to express in this case my considered opinion on this narrow point, the final conclusion of the prescribed authority, however, cannot be described to be based on no relevant evidence, because inferences on a matter of fact drawn from failure to produce relevant evidence may in a given case validly clothe the finding of fact with immunity from challenge in writ proceedings. As has often been said, the general principles underlying the jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari or a similar order or direction is no longer in doubt; the real difficulty arises in applying the principle to the particular facts of a given case. Errors in appreciating evidence, including relevant material and conduct of parties, and in drawing inferences therefrom on matters of fact can rarely --if at all--be treated as errors of law on the face of the record assailable in writ proceedings, unless in the course of doing so, an error of law manifestly creeps in. However unsatisfactory a conclusion of fact may be on the merits, and whatever the consequences flowing therefrom on the rights of the parties, this Court must withhold its hands and decline interference. I am not unmindful of the fact that the petitioner's right to seek election as Sarpanch has been negatived by the impugned order which is final and not open to appeal or revision. This right is undoubtedly of considerable importance to the citizens in this country, but is both created and controlled by statute and if the impugned order is not in law open to challenge on the writ side, this Court can do precious little, whatever the infirmity of the impugned order on the merits.
5. In view of the foregoing discussion, I am unable to find any cogent ground for interfering with the impugned order on writ side. This writ petition accordingly fails and is dismissed with costs, which are fixed at Rs. 100.
S.B. CCapoor, J.