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Nandalal Khodidas Barot Vs. V.B. Buch and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appln. No. 18 of 1973
Judge
Reported inAIR1974Guj45; (1973)GLR903
ActsGujarat Municipalities Act, 1963 - Sections 32, 32(3), 33, 33(1), 36, 51 and 51(12)
AppellantNandalal Khodidas Barot
RespondentV.B. Buch and ors.
Appellant Advocate Party in person,; J.R. Nanavati, Adv.,; A.A. Patel,
Respondent Advocate H.M. Mehta and; J.D. Ajmera, Advs.
Excerpt:
civil - interpretation - sections 32, 32 (3), 33, 33 (1), 36, 51 and 51 (12) of gujarat municipalities act, 1963 - no specific section in act of 1963 empowering general board to reduce term of office of president once determined under section 33 (1) - by necessary implication such power not to be found to be conferred upon general board from any other act - question of validity of appointment of respondent 3 left open - question regarding vires of section 36 and meeting also open - application for certificate also rejected - held, general board of municipality not competent to reduce term of president once determined in accordance with section 32 and 33 (1). - - 2 shall be removed from the presidentship as well as the membership as an ordinary councillor from the municipality under r.....divan, j.1. the petitioner herein has challenged certain orders passed by the collector of mehsana in connection with matters arising before him under the provisions of the gujarat municipalities act, 1963 (hereinafter referred to as the act) and has also challenged the action of the second respondent, the president of kalol municipality, in connection with certain meetings held on the requisition by some of the members of that municipality. the petitioner is appearing in person. he is an elected councillor of this municipality. at the time of the presentation of the petition, he was the chairman of the legal committee of kalol municipality. respondent no. 2 is the president of the municipality and respondent no. 3 is the acting chief officer of the kalol municipality, who was appointed.....
Judgment:

Divan, J.

1. The petitioner herein has challenged certain orders passed by the Collector of Mehsana in connection with matters arising before him under the provisions of the Gujarat Municipalities Act, 1963 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) and has also challenged the action of the second respondent, the President of Kalol Municipality, in connection with certain meetings held on the requisition by some of the members of that Municipality. The Petitioner is appearing in person. He is an elected councillor of this municipality. At the time of the presentation of the petition, he was the Chairman of the Legal Committee of Kalol Municipality. Respondent No. 2 is the President of the Municipality and respondent No. 3 is the Acting Chief Officer of the Kalol Municipality, who was appointed to that post under the circumstances set out in the petition. Respondent No. 1 is the Collector of Mehsana. Respondent No. 4 is the Government of Gujarat. Respondent No. 5 is the former Chief Officer of the Kalol Municipality and the sixth respondent is the Municipality itself. It is the case of the petitioner, as set out in the petition, that the present board of the Municipality was constituted on November 1, 1970. The petitioner contends that there are two groups in this Municipality. One of the two groups is led by respondent No. 2 and the other group is led by the petitioner. The petitioner contends that, when the new board was constituted in November 1970, respondent No. 2 had the support of 19 out of 25 councillors of the Municipality and the petitioner contends that between November 1970 and the date of the filing of this petition, on January 4, 1973, the second respondent had lost the support of the majority of the councillors and the Petitioner contends that at present respondent No. 2 is supported by only 8 councillors whereas the petitioner himself is supported by 15 councillors. The petitioner states that, on November 1, 1972, a special general meeting of the Municipality was held, under the chairmanship of the Vice President, to discuss a motion of no-confidence, moved under the provisions of Section 36 of the Act, and the motion was against respondent No. 2, the President. At that meeting, 18 councillors, including the President and the Vice President, were present and the petitioner states that the President and the Vice President voted against the motion and the remaining 16 councillors voted in favour of the motion, Thus, the petitioner contends that the motion of no confidence against the President was carried by more than two-thirds of the councillors present at the meeting, The proceeding of that meeting of November 1, 1972 was also written to that effect in the proceeding book on the spot and it was also signed by the Vice President, who was the Presiding Officer of that meeting. The petitioner says that he himself had read the proceeding but, subsequently, on November 2, 1972, when a special general meeting of the Municipality, presided over by respondent No. 2, was held, it was found that the proceeding had been changed. At that meeting of November 2, 1972 a resolution was passed, by which it was proposed to recommend to the Government that respondent No. 2 shall be removed from the presidentship as well as the membership as an ordinary councillor from the Municipality under r Section 37, sub-section (1) of the Act. This resolution of November 2, 1972 authorised the present petitioner to furnish all relevant papers to the Government of Gujarat and the resolution directed the Chief Officer to furnish to the petitioner without delay, the relevant papers as well as records as may be required by the petitioner. This resolution was carried by 16 votes to 6 votes. The petitioner says that in the said special general meeting of November 2, 1972 the minutes of the special general meeting of November 1, 1972 were neither read nor confirmed and the petitioner contends that at the end of the proceeding certain words were added after the proceeding books was signed by the presiding officer and after the contents of that proceeding had been actually read by the petitioner. The petitioner contends that these additional words were written by the then Chief Officer, respondent No. 5, at the instance of respondent No. 2. The petitioner contends that this action on the part of respondent No. 2 amounted to misconduct and the petitioner and others decided to call a special general meeting of the Municipality to discuss this alleged misconduct of respondent No. 5 and to take necessary action in the matter. A letter, signed by 10 councillors of the Kalol Municipality, was addressed and delivered to respondent No. 2 requesting him to call a special general meeting of the Kalol Municipality, The second respondent presided over the meeting of the Municipality held on November 4, 1972 and the question of correctness of the minutes of the meeting of November 1, 1972 was raised and there was a lot of discussion at the meeting. The points of order raised by the petitioner are alleged to have been overruled by respondent No. 2. A question was raised that it was not permissible for the president to preside over the meeting even for the purpose of confirming the minutes of the meeting of November 1, 1972 and the petition was overruled on this point. The petitioner then sets out a number of matters on which there were differences between the petitioner and respondent No, 2. The petitioner has also mentioned in the petition that, in the course of the controversy that arose, the Kalol Municipality by a majority purported to pass a resolution on December 4, 1972 reducing the term of office of the second respondent from five years to two years. At that meeting o f December 4, 1972 the petitioner had presided and there was some controversy between the parties as to whether the proceedings of the meeting of December 4, 1972 were legal and valid or not. In the course of this Judgment, we are not concerned to examine the correctness of the rival contentions on this point but the main question we have to consider, in the course of this Judgment, is whether it was competent to the general board of the Kalol Municipality to pass a resolution reducing the term of office of the President. After that resolution was passed, the third respondent herein, purporting to be the Chief Officer of the Kalol Municipality, addressed the letter dated December 5, 1972 to the Collector of Mehsana, respondent No. 1 herein, to the effect that, on reduction of the term of office of the President of the Kalol Municipality, the office of the President had fallen vacant and, under Section 42, sub-section (1) of the Gujarat Municipalities Act, the Collector was called upon to take appropriate action for filling up the vacancy. The Collector gave an opportunity of being heard to the petitioner, the second respondent and the third respondent, who claimed to be the Chief Officer of the Kalol Municipality, and, ultimately, by his order dated January 1, 1973, Annexure 'T' to the petition, the first respondent held that it was not competent to the Kalol Municipality to pass a resolution reducing the term of the President. In view of that conclusion, the Collector held that resolution No 285, by which the term of the President was supported to be reduced from five years to two years and one month, that is upto December 5. 1972, was as such illegal and beyond the competence of the municipal board and could not be recognised as valid.

2. In these proceedings, the petitioner has challenged this order, Annexure 'T' to the petition, passed by the first respondent on January 1, 1973. We may also mention that the petitioner has challenged the constitutional validity of Section 36 of the Act and has contended that Section 36 is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution inasmuch as it makes provision for a special majority for passing a motion of no-confidence without any reasonable classification based on intelligible differentia. The first respondent and the second respondent appeared at the hearing and after the stage of admission of this petition and after the matter was discussed before us, the petitioner and respondents Nos. 2 and 6 arrived at a certain arrangement between themselves on January 11, 1973. Under those consent terms, it was agreed that a special general meeting of the Municipality should be called by the second respondent on January 18, 1973 for discussing the Propositions set out in those consent terms. Those consent terms were filed in Court. in view of those consent terms, the only question that we have to decide, in the course of this judgment, is whether under the provisions of the Act it is open to the general board of the Municipality functioning under the Act to reduce the term of the president of the Municipality after it has been initially fixed under the provision of the Act. We may mention that the petitioner ham not given up the point regarding the constitutional validity of Section 36 of the Act and we have kept that question open as it is not necessary for us to express any opinion regarding the validity of that sect-on for the purpose of deciding this petition.

3. Before we proceed to discuss the provisions of the Act in this connection we may mention that it is common ground that at the first meeting of the newly elected members of this municipality after the new board was constituted in the month of November 1970, the term of office of the president of the municipality was determined to be five years and thereafter the second respondent was elected as the President. The petitioner contends that under the provisions of the Act, it is competent to the general board of the municipality to modify or cancel this resolution passed in November 1970 in such a manner that the term of the president is not reduced below two years and once the period of two years from the date of the first determination of the term of office has passed, It is oven to the municipality in view of the provisions of Section 51 to modify or cancel the resolution and even though a longer period for the term of the President can in the first instance be determined, it can be reduced to a period of not less than two years.

4. The relevant Provisions of the Act that require consideration may now be noticed. Under Section 31 of the Act, a municipality is required to be presided over by a president who shall be elected by the councillors from among themselves in the manner prescribed by rules made by the State Government and there shall be a vice-president similarly elected for each municipality. It is to be noted in this context that the President and the vice-president must be from amongst the councillors and this has an important bearing when we consider the other provisions of the Act. Under Section 32(1), after a general election to a municipality, the Collector shall call the first general meeting of the municipality for the determination of the term of office of the president and the vice-president of the municipality and for the election of the president and vice-president, Such meeting shall be called within twenty five days from the date on which the names of the councillors of the municipality are published in the Official Gazette under Section 6. This meeting is to be presided over by the Collector or such officer as the Collector may by order in writing appoint in this behalf. The procedure of the first meeting is to be prescribed by rules made by the State Government and the presiding officer is to have such powers as may be prescribed by the said rules but he has no right to vote. Sub-section (3) of Section 32, in terms, lays down that, no business other than the determination of the term of office of the president and vice-president and the election of the president and vice-president shall be transacted at such meeting. Thus, at the first meeting, only two items can be on the agenda of the meeting, namely, the determination of the term of office of the President and vice-president and the election of the president and vice-president and no other business can be transacted at that first meeting. Subsection (4) of Section 32 is not material for the purpose of this Judgment. Section 33, sub-section (1) is the material section which requires to be considered and It is in these terms:

'Save as otherwise provided in this Act, a president or vice-president shall hold his office for such term as the municipality shall previous to hire election determine, not being less than two years or the residue of the term of office of the municipality, whichever be less, and not exceeding five years, and he shall, be eligible for re-election:

Provided that the term of office of such president or vice-president shall be deemed to extend to and expire with the date on which his successor is elected.' Under sub-section (2) of Section 33, if during his term of office mentioned in sub-section (1), the president or vice-president ceases to be a councillor he shall vacate the office held by him. Under sub-section (4) of Section 33, on the expiry of the term of office of a municipality the president and vice-president Shall continue to carry on the current administrative duties of their offices until such time as a new president and vice-president shall have been elected and shall have taken over charge of their duties. Section 35 provides for resignation of the office by the president or vice-president or by any councillor and the persons to whom such resignations have to be tendered are mentioned in Section 35. Thus, a president may vacate, his office, either when he ceases to be a councillor or when he resigns his office under Section 35 and the Collector accepts the resignation of the post of the president. Equally, a president may resign his office as a councillor and thereby once he ceases to be a councillor, he has also to vacate the office of the president held by him. Section 36 provides for a motion of no-confidence. Any councillor of a municipality who intends to move a motion of no confidence against its president or vice-president may give a notice thereof, in such form as may be prescribed by the State Government, to the municipality. A motion can be moved only if it is supported by not less than one third of the total number of the then councillors of the municipality. Under sub-section (2) of Section 36, if the motion is carried by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total number of the then councillors of the municipality, the president or, as the case may be, the vice-president shall cease to hold office after a period of three days from the date on which the motion is carried unless he has earlier resigned, and thereupon the office held by him shall be declared to be vacant. Thus, the passing of a motion of no confidence by the requisite two-thirds majority out of the total number of the then councillors of the municipality is one more occasion when the president vacates his office before the expiry of the term of his office. Under Section 37, the State Government has been empowered to remove from office any councillor of a municipality or any president or vice-president of a municipality on the ground of misconduct in the discharge of his duties or of any disgraceful conduct or becoming incapable of performing his duties under the Act. Section 38 provides for certain disabilities in the case of a councillor from continuing as a councillor and if the requirements of Section 38 are met, he is disabled from continuing to be a councillor and his office as a councillor shall become vacant. Section 39 provides that if any councillor absents himself for the different periods mentioned therein from the meetings of the municipality or from the municipal borough without the requisite leave of absence, he shall cease to be a councillor and his office shall become vacant. Section 40 empowers the State Government to suspend from office a president or a vice-president under the circumstances mentioned therein and once the order of suspension is passed after following the appropriate procedure, a councillor has to be elected to perform all the duties and exercise all the powers of a president or, as the case may be, vice-president during the period for which such suspension continues. Thus, under the provisions of different sections, which we have so far mentioned, the office of a councillor becomes vacant if the conditions of the relevant sections are satisfied and if the councillor whose office becomes vacant under those provisions happens to be a president or vice-president, under Section 33, sub-section (2), the president or vice-president, as the case, may be, vacates the office held by him. Over and above these provisions relating to the vacating of office of a councillor, there are specific provisions, which we have mentioned above, provide for a vote of no confidence or resignation or order passed by the State Government on grounds of misconduct or disgraceful conduct or becoming incapable of performing the duties under the Act, which indicate that the office of a president may become vacant, even before the expiry of the term of office determined at the first meeting of the municipality. Under Section 42, provision is made for filling up of vacancies. Under sub-section (1) of that section, when any vacancy occurs due to failure to elect the full number of councillors at a general election or due to the non-acceptance of office by a person elected to be a councillor, or due to an election having been set aside, or any vacancy of a president, vice-president or councillor occurs due to any reason, the Chief Officer of the municipality and in the absence of the Chief Officer, such officer as the Collector may, by general or special order, designate for the purpose has to give a notice of such vacancy to the Collector within fifteen days from the date on which the vacancy occurs. Sub-section (2) of that section provides for the procedure to be followed by the Collector on receipt of such a notice of vacancy. For the purpose of this judgment, sub-section (5) of Section 42 is material. It is in these terms:-

'A person elected or deemed to be elected as a councillor or elected as a president or vice-president under sub-section (2) shall hold office so long only as the councillor, president or vice-president in whose place he is elected, would have held office had the vacancy not occurred.'

Thus, a person elected to fill up a vacancy holds office only so long as the person in whose place he is elected would have held office had the vacancy not occurred, These Sections 31 to 42 are to be found in Chapter III of the Act and the heading of that Chapter is President, Vice-President, Councillors and Chief Officer and Sections 31 to 43 both inclusive occur in a group of sections with the heading provisions relating to Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Councillors of municipalities. We are not concerned with the remaining provisions of this Chapter. Chapter IV of the Act deals with the conduct of business and under the group of Sections 51 and 52 with the heading Municipal Meetings, provision has been, made with respect to meetings of the municipality. Section 51 provides for meetings of the municipality and procedure. Sub-section (10) of Section 51 provides that, save as otherwise provided by or under this Act all questions shall be decided by a majority of votes of the councillors present and voting, the -presiding authority having a second or casting vote in all cases of equality of votes. Votes are to be taken and the result thereof to be recorded in such manner as may be prescribed by rules in that behalf for the time being- in force under Clause (a) of Section 271. The petitioner, who has argued his case in person, has relied very strongly on sub-section (12) of Section 51, which is in following terms : -

'No resolution of a municipality shall be modified or cancelled within three months after the passing thereof, except by a resolution supported by not less than one-half of the whole number of councillors and passed at a general meeting, whereof notice shall have been given fulfilling the requirements of clause (3) and setting forth fully the resolution which it is proposed to modify or cancel at such meeting and the motion or proposition for the modification or cancellation of such resolution'.

It has been urged before us that ordinarily a resolution passed by the general board of the municipality cannot be modified or cancelled within a period of three months after it has been passed but once the period of three months has expired, any resolution whatsoever can be cancelled or modified by a simple majority, because under sub-section (10) of Section 51, save as otherwise provided by or under this Act all questions are to be decided by a majority of votes of the councillors present and voting. It was contended that, even the original resolution determining the term of office of the president passed at the first meeting of the municipality contemplated by Sections 32 and 33 has to be passed by a simple majority and not by any special majority. Under Section 36, sub-section (2) a special majority is required for passing a motion of no confidence against the president or vice-president, namely that the motion of no confidence must be carried by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total number of the then councillors of the municipality. We may also mention that under Section 48, no chief officer or officer appointed under sub-section (4) or (5) of Section 47 can be removed from office, reduced in rank or suspended except by a resolution passed by a majority of at least two-thirds of the total number of the then councillors. Thus, wherever the statute so requires, provision has been made for a majority of two-thirds of the then councillors instead of for a simple majority of the councillors present at the meeting and voting. It was contended by the petitioner before us that since no special majority is provided for the purpose of passing a resolution modifying or canceling any earlier resolution of the municipality, any earlier resolution can be modified or cancelled by an ordinary majority of the councillors present and voting at the meeting and hence it is open to the general board of the municipality to reduce the term of office of the President determined under sub-section (1) of Section 33, read with Section 32, sub-section (3), to any period but not less than two years.

5. The Petitioner has urged before us that the opening words of Section 33, sub-section (1) 'save as otherwise provided in this Act' include the provisions of Section 51, sub-section (12) of the Act which, according to him, can cover the modification or cancellation of a resolution determining the term of office of the President. We are unable to agree with this contention of the petitioner. In the first place, sub-section (1) of Section 33 deals with the determination of the term of office of president and vice-president of the municipality and this section clearly provides that such term of office of the president or vice-president has to be determined previous to the election of the president or vice-president. Secondly, as, indicated by sub-section (3) of Section 32 at the first meeting of the municipality held after the new board is constituted, no business other than the determination of the term of office of the president and vice-president and the election of the President and the Vice-President are to be transacted. The order in which these two items of business are to be transacted are mentioned in Section 33. Namely, firstly the municipality must decide about the term of office of the President and Vice-President and after the term is so determined by the appropriate resolution of the municipality, the election of the President and Vice-President can be held. Sub-section (1) of Section 33 deals only with the term of office of the President and Vice-President and hence the words 'save as otherwise provided in this Act' occurring at the commencement of Section 33 contemplates only those sections whereby the term of office of the President and Vice-President can be affected in any manner. The different modes in which the term of office of the President can be affected have been mentioned by us earlier. He may cease to be President if a motion of no confidence is carried against him, ; the State Government may remove him from his if he has incurred a disqualification or if he is disabled from continuing to be a councillor. For want of leave of absence a councillor may vacate his office and thus because a president vacates his office for one reason or the other his term of office may come to an end, even before the expiry of the term determined by the municipality at the first meeting, under Section 33, sub-se ton (1), read with Section 32, sub-section (3). Therefore, there are other Provisions in the Act which clearly indicate that though the term of office of the President may be fixed at the first meeting for any period between two years and five years the President will have to vacate, his office and the provisions of Section 42 are to be invoked for filling up the vacancy and it is only one of these contingencies of vacating the office of the President which is contemplated by the words 'save as otherwise provided in, this Act'. These words, in our opinion, only cover those other sections and other provisions in the Act, which have an impact on the term of office of the President or Vice-President. These opening words cannot, in our opinion, cover the provisions of Section 51, sub-section (12) which deal with the procedure to be followed at the meeting of the municipality. The words 'not being less than, two years or the residue of the term of office of the municipality, whichever be less, and not exceeding five years' occurring in Section 33, sub-section (1) qualify the word 'term' occurring in that section and it is clear 'from these qualifying words that the term of the office of a president or vice-president which may be determined by the municipality cannot be less than two year; and cannot exceed five years but if the residue of the term of office of the municipality as a whole is less than two years, then, it must extend to the residue of the term of office of the municipality and not full two years. These words, in our opinion, which are qualifying words for the words 'such term' occurring in Section 33, sub-section (1) cannot empower the general board of the municipality to pass a resolution modifying or cancelling an earlier resolution without reducing the total term of office of the President to less than two years.

6. We have pointed out above that under Section 36 a Procedure for a motion of no confidence as been laid down and such a motion of no confidence has to be carried by the requisite majority prescribed in sub-section (2) of Section 36, namely, not less than two-thirds of the total number of the then councillors of the municipality and not by a majority of the councillors present at the particular meeting where a motion of no confidence is moved. If we were to accept the argument of the petitioner we would be permitting that to be done in an indirect manner, which cannot be done directly by a bare majority of councillors present at a meeting. If the petitioner's argument regarding the competence of the general board to pass a resolution reducing the term of office were to be accepted, it would permit a bare majority of the councillors, once the

Period of two years from the commencement of the term of office of the President is over, to pass a resolution reducing his term of office from five years to two years, as is sought to be done in the Present case, and in effect remove a President from office, even though two-thirds of the total number of the then councillors of the municipality have not passed a resolution removing the President from office. It may be pointed out that under the scheme of different sections which we have noticed, the only power specifically conferred upon the councillors to remove a President from office once he is elected, is by passing a motion of no confidence and that too as required by Section 36 of the Act. There is no other specific power conferred upon the general board to remove a President or Vice-President, save by complying with the provisions of Section 36 of the Act The other occasions on which the President or Vice-President or a councillor may vacate his office may be because of his own act of omission and commission or because of an order passed by the State Government but, so far as the general board is concerned, the only power which the general board has been specifically given to remove a President or Vice-President, even before the term of the office, which has been determined at the first meeting, as contemplated by Section 33,sub-section (1), is the power conferred upon the general board under Section 36. Therefore, if the power which has been contended for by the petitioner is to be conceded to the councillors under Section 51, sub-section (12) of the Act, under the power of modification or cancellation of an earlier resolution, it would amount to holding that, though two-thirds of the total number of the then councillors of the municipality have not voted for a motion of no confidence in the President, the President has to go out of office by virtue of the resolution passed or purported to have been passed by the councillors present at a meeting by a simple majority under the provisions of Section 51, sub-section (10) of the Act.

7. Again the very words of Section 33, sub-section (1) which use the words 'a president or vice-president shall hold his office for such term as the municipality shall, previous to his election determine' clearly indicate that the president or vice-president has a right to continue and hold his office for the term thus determined by the municipality before his election took place. That right conferred by Section 33, sub-section (1) can only be taken away by a specific power given to the municipality as such and not by virtue of the exercise of general power purporting to have been exercised under Section 51, sub-section (12) of the Act.

8. In our opinion, a very useful guidance to the interpretation of Section 33, sub-section (1) is to be found in Section 42, sub-section (5) of the Act. Section 42 lays down the procedure for filling up of vacancies occurring in the office of councillor, president or vice-president and sub-section (5) clearly says that a person elected as a councillor or president or vice-president under Section 43 shall hold office so long only as the councillor, president or vice-president in whose place he is elected would have held office had the vacancy not occurred. Taking an illustration, if the first meeting of the municipality has fixed the term of office for five years at the first meeting of the municipality and, if before the expiry of that period of five years the president vacates his office for one reason or the other, the person elected to fill up the office of the president holds office for the residue of the period of five years, because it is only for the residue that the president would have held office had the vacancy not occurred. At such an election of a president to fill up the vacancy, it is not open to the general board to fix the term of office of the president who is to be elected. The words of Section 42(2)(b) which provide that the provisions of Sections 31 and 32 shall mutatis mutandis apply to such meeting for filling up the vacancy of the president or vice-president and the election of the president or vice-president thus chosen to fill up the vacancy have to be read subject to the provisions of sub-section (5). The term of office of the president elected to fill up the vacancy of an earlier elected president has not to be determined once again by following the procedure under Section 32, sub-section (2) but the newly elected president will hold office only for the residue of the term of the president who has vacated his office for one reason or another.

9. There is another angle from which the argument urged before us by the petitioner can be considered. Section 51, sub-section (12) is a restriction on the general power of modification or cancellation of earlier resolutions which the general board of the municipality always possesses. It is well recognised that if a body or an authority is competent to transact a business, it is competent to modify or cancel a decision taken by it earlier. On this general power, a restriction is sought to be put by Section 51,sub-section (12) viz. that once a resolution has been passed by a municipality, it shall not modify or cancel it within three months after such resolution is passed but if within the Period of three months it is to be modified or cancelled, then, the special procedure laid down in Section 51, sub-section (12) has to be followed. Section 51, sub-section (12) can not, therefore, be read as empowering the general board of the municipality to modify or cancel a resolution determining the term of office of the president once determined under Section 33, sub section (1) of the Act. Section 51, sub section (12), as mentioned earlier, is not a provision dealing with the determination of the term of office of the president or vice-president and reading the whole scheme of the Act, in the different provisions, which we have discussed above, it is not possible for us to accept the contention urged before us by the petitioner in person.

10. The petitioner drew our attention to several passages from Maxwell on the Interpretation of Statutes, 12th Edn., dealing with the primary rule of interpretation of statutes namely, that the language of the Act must be interpreted as it stands and the statute must be read as a whole and the Act has to be regarded as a whole and not piecemeal. In arriving at our conclusions we have followed well-recognised principles on Interpretation of Statutes and it is not necessary for us to deal with different passages from Maxwell relied upon by the petitioner in the course of the arguments.

11. The ultimate conclusion is that since there is no specific section in the Act empowering the general board to reduce the term of office of the President once determined under Section 33,sub-section (1) and since by necessary implication such power could not be found to have been conferred upon the general board from any other provisions of the Act, it must be held that it is not competent to the general board of the municipality to reduce the term of the president once determined in accordance with the provisions of Section 32 and Section 33, sub-section (1) of the Act.

12. We may mention that all other points which are mentioned in the petition including the question of the validity of the appointment of respondent No. 3 are left open. The question regarding the vires of Section 36 of the Act and the question of validity of the meeting of January 25, 1973 of which notice has been given by the second respondent are also left open.

13. The petitioner has orally applied for a certificate under Art. 133(1)(3) of the Constitution but, in our opinion our judgment does not raise a question of substantial law of public or private importance to justify the issue of such certificate. We have, therefore, rejected the oral application of the petitioner.

14. In these circumstances, the petition stands disposed of. Rule is discharged. There will be no order as to costs.

15. Rule discharged.


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