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M. Kunjukrishnan Nadar Vs. Hon'ble Speaker, Kerala Legislative Assembly, Trivandrum and Ors. (23.01.1964 - KERHC) - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberO.P. No. 2459 of 1963
Judge
Reported inAIR1964Ker194
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 190(3) and 226; Kerala legistative Assembly Rules - Rule 162
AppellantM. Kunjukrishnan Nadar
RespondentHon'ble Speaker, Kerala Legislative Assembly, Trivandrum and Ors.
Appellant Advocate P. Govinda Menon,; V. Rama Shenoi and; R. Rava Shenoi
Respondent AdvocateAdv. General
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
civil - effect of resignation - rule 162 of kerala assembly rules and article 190 (3) of constitution of india - petitioner sent resignation letter with effect from future date to speaker - acceptance of resignation prior to date mentioned in resignation letter - petitioner withdrew resignation letter prior to date mentioned in resignation letter but after acceptance of resignation - acceptance of petitioner's resignation prior to effective date mentioned in resignation letter untenable. - - it is conceded by counsel for the petitioner that the first two requisites are satisfied in the letter of november 23rd. in matters like this the petitioner is bound to place all cards before the court......speaker read the letter in the assembly, announcing thereby the petitioner's resignation to take effect on december 1, 1963. on november 29, 1963, the petitioner wrote to the speaker, ' sir, in my letter dated 23-11-1963 i have expressed my intention to resign my membership of the legislative assembly from the 1st of december, 1963. after mature consideration, i feel that it will be proper not to resign at this juncture. i therefore hereby withdraw my letter of resignation dated 23-11-1963. yours faithfully,sd. (m. kunjukrishnan nadar)29-11-1963' this letter was received by the speaker on november 30, 1963. it appears that it was not given heed to; for the kerala gazette dated 10th december, 1963, came with a notification,' no. 6654-la1/63. dated, trivandrum, 5th december 1963. .....
Judgment:

M. Madhavan Nair, J.

1. The petitioner, Shri Kunjukrishnan Nadar, is a member of the Kerala State Legislative Assembly having been returned in February 1960, from the Parassala Constituency.

2. On November 23, 1963, he wrote to theSpeaker,

'The Hon'ble Speaker,

Legislative Assembly,

Kerala, Trivandrum.

Sir,

As I wish to devote more time for meditation and religious purposes, I shall not be able to continue as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, Kerala. So, I request you to kindly accept this letter as my resignation as a member of this Assembly, to take effect from 1-12-1963.

Yours faithfully,

Sd. (M. Kunjukrishnan Nadar)

23-11-1963'.

On November 26, 1963, the Speaker read the letter in the Assembly, announcing thereby the petitioner's resignation to take effect on December 1, 1963.

On November 29, 1963, the petitioner wrote to the Speaker,

' Sir,

In my letter dated 23-11-1963 I have expressed my intention to resign my membership of the Legislative Assembly from the 1st of December, 1963. After mature consideration, I feel that it will be proper not to resign at this juncture.

I therefore hereby withdraw my letter of resignation dated 23-11-1963.

Yours faithfully,

Sd. (M. Kunjukrishnan Nadar)

29-11-1963'

This letter was received by the Speaker on November 30, 1963. It appears that it was not given heed to; for the Kerala Gazette dated 10th December, 1963, came with a Notification,

' No. 6654-LA1/63.

Dated, Trivandrum, 5th December 1963.

Shri M. Kunjukrishnan Nadar, an elected member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly from the'Parassala' Assembly Constituency has resigned hisseat in the Kerala Legislative Assembly from the 1stDecember 1963.

By order,

D. Tirumalal,

Secretary, Legislature Secretariat, Secretary.Trivandrum. Legislative Assembly. '

According to the petitioner his letter of November 23,1963,

'evidences only an expression of an idea that I may resign on 1st December 1963 and Is not a valid resignation in writing as provided by' Article 190 of the Constitution. That idea was changed before it was given effect to and the intimation of this change was communicated by the letter dated November 29, 1963'

and therefore the Notification published in the Gazette 'is illegal and void and of no effect.' He prays in this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.

'to declare the same (the Gazette Notification) to be null and void and of no effect and to quash the same and to declare that the petitioner still continues to be a member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly.'

3.. A counter-affidavit filed by the Assistant Secretary, Legislature Secretariat, Trivandrum, on behalf of the Speaker, stales:

'Article 190 (3) uses the significant words 'his seat shall thereupon become vacant.' On the language of the Article it is doubtful if communication of intention to resign to the Speaker or the acceptance of the letter of resignation by him is required. Assuming, however, that these are necessary, I submit that on the facts of this case, there has been a communication to the Speaker and also acceptance of the resignation by him. The Speaker accepted the letter of resignation as evidenced by his initials on the letter dated 23-11-1963 and as evidenced further by his reading out the said letter announcing the resignation of the petitioner in the Assembly on 26-11-1963. On these facts I submit that the petitioner's resignation has taken effect and the same cannot be recalled by the petitioner.'

He has also produced two letters that the petitioner has addressed to the Speaker on the subject. They read:

'Kanjiramkulam,

5 Dec. 1963.

To

The Hon'ble Speaker, Legislative Assembly,

Kerala State,

Trivandrum.

Sir,

I beg to invite your kind attention to my letter of resignation from the State Legislature dated 23-11-63, to take effect from 1-12-63.

Later, at the insistent pressure of friends and others Interested in me, I wrote to you requesting withdrawal of my letter of resignation, on 30-11-63.

On a reconsideration of the whole matter, I am of the view that the letter of resignation may stand and that no withdrawal is called for.

Hence, my letter of resignation may kindly be accepted.

Yours faithfully,

Sd. (M. Kunjukrishnan Nadar)

5-12-63. '

and

12th December 1963.

To

The Hon'ble Speaker,

Kerala Legislature Assembly,

Trivandrum.

Sir,

I beg to Inform you that I have not 'resigned my seat by writing under my hand' as required by Article 190(3)(b) of the Constitution. As such my seat has not become vacant. I request you therefore to record the same and allow me to continue as a member with all its privileges.

Yours faithfully,

Sd. (M. Kunjukrishnan Nadar)

12-12-1963.'

4. Article 190(3) of the Constitution of India, reads:

'(3) If a member of a House of the Legislature of aState-

(a) becomes subject to any of the disqualifications mentioned in Clause (1) of Article 191; or

(b) resigns his seat by writing under his hand ad dressed to the Speaker or the Chairman, as thecase may be, his seat shall thereupon become vacant.'

5. Counsel for the petitioner contends that a prospective resignation is not contemplated in the aforesaid Article, that a resignation to be valid must operate in praasenti and not in future, that the petitioner's letter dated November 23, 1963, being expressed to take effect only on December 1, 1963, is not a latter of resignation in accordance with the provisions of Article 190(3) and must therefore be construed only as the expression of an intention to resign in future, and that, even if it be taken as a valid letter of resignation, it, having been withdrawn before the date it was designed to come to effect, has become Inoperative and therefore the seat of the petitioner in the Assembly has not become vacant

6. In my view, the contents of the letter of November 23 leave no room for doubt as to the matter communicated by it. The request therein 'to kindly accept this letter as my resignation' is a positive expression of an actual resignation. It is not conditional but absolute in itself. The fact that it was to take effect on a specified future date does not militate against its determined character. The vacillation seen in the subsequent correspondence of the petitioner is not foreshadowed in it. I would therefore overrule the contention that it is not a letter of resignation as such, but only an expression of intention to resign in future.

7. Article 190(3) does not contemplate an acceptance of the letter by the Speaker. As pointed out by the learned Advocate General, the only requisites of a valid resignation are that it should be

(1) in writing

(2) under his hand, and

(3) addressed to the Speaker.

It is conceded by counsel for the petitioner that the first two requisites are satisfied in the letter of November 23rd. I record so here because of the denial contained in the petitioner's letter dated December 12, 1963, quoted above.

There is a controversy between counsel as to the import of the expression 'addressed to the Speaker'. According to the learned Advocate General it is enough if the contents of that letter show that the letter is to the Speaker, and an actual receipt of the letter by the Speaker is unnecessary. According to counsel for the petitioner it is essential that the letter must reach the Speaker. In A New English Dictionary by Murray the meaning given for word 'address' includes 'to send as a written message to (some one); to write (anything) expressly that it may reach and be read by some one; to destine, inscribe, dedicate. To address a letter to one: To write and send it'. In the context in which the word appears in Article 190(3) that meaning seems quite apt, and that appears in consenance with the object and purpose of the provision. I would therefore: hold that the expression 'addressed to the Speaker' in Article 190(3) means 'conveyed to the Speaker', and not mere naming of the Speaker in the heading of the letter. There is no question that the petitioner's letter of November 23rd has been communicated to the Speaker.

8. The wording of Article 190(3) is that if a member resigns his seat by writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker 'his seat shall thereupon become vacant'. According to counsel for the petitioner the word 'thereupon' means 'immediately' or 'without delay or lapse of time'. I do not accept this argument. The words thereabout, thereafter, thereat, thereby, therefor, therefrom' thereinto, thereof, thereon, thereto etc. are of very common use in legal parlance, as combinations of the respective prepositions with the pronoun 'that' or 'it'. Thus, 'thereabout' means about that (place); 'thereby' means by that (menus); 'therefor' means for that (object or purpose); 'therein' means in that (place or thing) and so en. In this usage 'thereupon' means 'upon that', that is to say, in consequence of that. In the context of Article 190(3) 'shall thereupon become vacant' means, in my opinion, shall in consequence of the resignation become vacant. It then follows that if the letter of resignation is expressly made to take effect on a specified day the seat would consequently become vacant on such specified day only, and not immediately on its receipt by the Speaker. This conclusion gains strength from the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Kerala Legislative Assembly made by the Assembly under Article 208(1) of the Constitution and published in the Kerala Gazette dated 3rd January 1961. Rule 162 thereof relates to resignation of seats in the Assembly and reads thus:

'162. Resignation of seats in the Assembly: - (1) A member who desires to resign his seat in the Assembly shall intimate, in writing, under his hand addressed to the Speaker, his intention to resign his seat in the Assembly in the following form and shall not give any reason for his resignation:

Place.................

Date.................

. To

The Speaker, Kerala Legislative Assembly, Trivandrum.

Sir,

I hereby tender my resignation of my seat in the Assembly with effect from ..................

Yours faithfully,

Member of the Assembly.

Provided that where any member gives any reason or introduces any extraneous matter, the Speaker may, in his discretion, omit such words, phrases or matter and the same shall not be read out in the Assembly.

(2) As soon as may be, the Speaker shall, after he has received an information in writing from a member under his hand resigning his seat in the Assembly, inform the Assembly that such and such member has resigned his seat in the Assembly:

Provided that when the Assembly is not in session,the Speaker shall inform the Assembly immediately afterthe Assembly re-assembles, that such and such a memberhas resigned his seat in the Assembly during the inter-session period.

(3) The Secretary shall, as soon as may be, after the Speaker has received such intimation from a member resigning his seat in the Assembly, cause the information to be published in the Gazette and forward a copy of the notification to the Election Commission for taking steps to fill the vacancy thus caused.'

It is pertinent to note here that the provision in Article 101(3) of the Constitution for resignation of a seat in the Parliament is virtually identical in expression with that in Article 190(3), and the rule for resignation made by the Parliament under Article 118 is virtually identical with the Rule 162 made by the Kerala Assembly. See Basu's Commentary on the Constitution of India, 4th Edn. Vol. 2, at page 558.

I do not agree with the contention of counsel for the petitioner that a letter of resignation to be valid must operate as soon as it is put into the hands of the Speaker and not at a moment later. It bristles with innumerable practical difficulties and is not consistent with reason or the rules made by the Parliament and the Assembly. I hold therefore that it is open to a member of the Legislature to tender his resignation on a prior date to take effect on a subsequent date specified therein. The letter of resignation has then to be construed as been deposited with the Speaker on the earlier date, to be given effect to only on the date specified by the Member therein.

9. Viewed thus, the petitioner's letter of November 23, 1963, has to be held a letter resigning his seat in the Assembly on December 1, 1963, deposited with the Speaker on November 23, 1963. It remains a mute letter till December 1, 1963, when alone it can speak with effect. On November 29, 1963, the petitioner has withdrawn that letter by writing under his hand addressed to the Speaker himself; and the counter-affidavit on be-half of the Speaker admits receipt of the latter letter by him on November 30, 1963. It is in effect the neutralization of the latent vitality in the former letter deposited with the Speaker. The withdrawal nullifies the entrustment or deposit of the letter of resignation in the hands of the Speaker, which must thereafter be found to have become non est in the eye of law. The absence of a specific provision for withdrawal of prospective resignation in the Constitution or the Rules is immaterial as basic principles of law and procedure must be applied wherever they are relevant. The subsequent letters addressed by the petitioner to the Speaker on December 5 and 12 contained no fresh resignation by him but only referred to his letter of November 23, 1963. If that letter has died out even before it breathed effect and was become non est in law, the later letters cannot revive or resuscitate it. It then follows that there was no valid letter of resignation on the material date, viz. December 1, 1963, to be given effect to and therefore the petitioner's seat in the Assembly has not become vacant. The impugned notification issued on December 5, 1963, published in the Gazette dated December 10, 1963, is not warranted in law and has therefore to be declared null and void. Judgment accordingly.

10. The petitioner has not in his affidavit disclosed all material correspondence relating to the instant resignation. The letters dated December 5, 1963, and December 12, 1963, have been suppressed by him. In matters like this the petitioner is bound to place all cards before the Court. In view of the above conduct, he is not entitled to costs in this petition, which is therefore disallowed.


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