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Bayad Gram Panchayat and anr. Vs. State of Gujarat and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtGujarat High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1984)2GLR1358
AppellantBayad Gram Panchayat and anr.
RespondentState of Gujarat and anr.
Cases ReferredState of Gujarat v. Raghav Natha
Excerpt:
- - moreover, the decision to change the location is bad also on the ground that before changing the place of location, no opportunity of being heard has been afforded to the petitioners. if the government takes decision at the secretariat level or even at the ministerial level and the decision is resented to by the people, it is the prime duty of the persons in power be it noted that these persons are merely representatives of the people, they are agents of the people who are given mandate to exercise the power as per the will expressed by the people to respond to the will of the people and if possible to mould the decision in such a way that the urges and aspirations of the people are satisfied. in democracy, the first and foremost rule of the game is that as far as possible the will.....a.p. ravani, j.1. the petitioners herein challenge the legality and validity of an order (annexure 'b' to the petition) dated november 16, 1983 passed by the department of health and family welfare in the government. by this decision the location of a community health centre in sabarkantha district has been changed. earlier as per government resolution (annexure 'a' to the petition) dated july 15, 1982, the location of the community health centre was fixed at village bayad. as per the impugned order, it is sought to be changed to amodra. petitioner no. 1 is a gram panchayat constituted under the provisions of gujarat gram panchayats act, 1962. the petitioner no. 2 is the sarpanch of the said gram panchayat. respondent no. 2 herein is a member of legislative assembly (m.l.a.) elected from.....
Judgment:

A.P. Ravani, J.

1. The petitioners herein challenge the legality and validity of an order (Annexure 'B' to the petition) dated November 16, 1983 passed by the Department of Health and Family Welfare in the Government. By this decision the location of a Community Health Centre in Sabarkantha District has been changed. Earlier as per Government Resolution (Annexure 'A' to the petition) dated July 15, 1982, the location of the Community Health Centre was fixed at village Bayad. As per the impugned order, it is sought to be changed to Amodra. Petitioner No. 1 is a Gram Panchayat constituted under the provisions of Gujarat Gram Panchayats Act, 1962. The petitioner No. 2 is the Sarpanch of the said Gram Panchayat. Respondent No. 2 herein is a Member of Legislative Assembly (M.L.A.) elected from Bayad constituency. Respondent No. 1 is the State Government.

2. The petitioners challenge the legality and validity of the aforesaid order at Annexure 'B' on the grounds that the order is actuated by mala fides inasmuch as respondent No. 2 belongs to village Amodra and he exerted his influence over the Chief Minister. He could exert influence since he belongs to the same caste as that of the Chief Minister and on account of political alliance. Alternatively it is submitted that respondent No. 2 himself or through other M.L.As. brought political pressure on the Chief Minister and on account of political pressure, the decision at Annexure 'B' is taken. On these grounds it is contended that the decision is actuated by mala fides.

3. It is also contended that the decision embodied in Annexure 'B' is contrary to the Government policy inasmuch as, according to the petitioners, the Government policy is to establish community health centres at taluka headquarters and Amodra is not a taluka headquarter. The petitioners further contended that the Government is estopped from changing the location of place of establishment of the community health centre on account of promissory/equitable estoppel. Moreover, the decision to change the location is bad also on the ground that before changing the place of location, no opportunity of being heard has been afforded to the petitioners.

4. The contentions raised may be examined in the order in which they have been argued. The petitioners contend that the Government policy is to establish community health centres at taluka/tashil level. i.e. the basis on which Bayad was fixed as the proper place where the community health centre should be established. It is further contended that the population of Bayad is roughly about 9000 while the population of Amodra is only 5000. All requisite amenities are available at Bayad. The decision was taken as far back as on July 15, 1982 which is embodied in Government resolution produced at Annexure 'A' to the petition. According to the petitioners, the Government policy, is reflected in Annexure 'A'. According to the policy the final decision is taken. The same is supported by the petitioner-Panchayat, Taluka Panchayat and District Panchayat concerned. Even so the decision is sought to be altered after a period of about 1 1/2 years. Thus after such an unreasonable and inordinate delay, it will not be open to the Government to change the decision.

5. It is difficult to agree with the contention raised by the petitioners. The contention is based on the implicit assumption that once the Government takes a final decision in matters regarding the location of community health centres, the decision cannot be changed by the Government. Thus, according to the petitioners, such a decision taken by the Government becomes sacrosanct and inviolable. It can never be changed by the Government whatever be the reasons and circumstances. Counsel for the petitioner was requested to point out any of the provisions of law, or any authoritative pronouncement either of the Supreme Court or that of this High Court which lays down the principle that the Government cannot change its 'final' decision with regard to the location of community health centres. The Counsel for the petitioners frankly conceded that he was not in a position to show any provision of law or any such decision as stated above in support of his contention that a final decision taken by the Government in such matters cannot be changed and/or altered later on.

6. The essence of democracy lies in responding to the will and aspirations of the people articulated and expressed through the chosen representatives of the people. If the Government takes decision at the Secretariat level or even at the Ministerial level and the decision is resented to by the people, it is the prime duty of the persons in power be it noted that these persons are merely representatives of the people, they are agents of the people who are given mandate to exercise the power as per the will expressed by the people to respond to the will of the people and if possible to mould the decision in such a way that the urges and aspirations of the people are satisfied. On this basis, even the law enacted by the legislature may be required to be amended. On this basis, the so called 'final' decision may be overturned at any time. In democracy, the first and foremost rule of the game is that as far as possible the will of the majority, if the same is not becoming oppressive to the rest of the members of the community, be satisfied. Viewed from this angle, even if the decision taken by the Government by its order dated July 15, 1982 is held to be 'final', it cannot be said that the Government has no power to alter the same. On the contrary, if circumstances and situation of a particular matter so demand, it would be the duty of the Government to alter such decisions so that it can legitimately claim to be a democratic government.

7. However, in this case the stand of the Government is that the decision taken by the Government as per the resolution dated July 15, 1982 (Annexure 'A') was a provisional decision. The Government, as a matter of fact, changed the location of community health centres in three other districts, namely, Jamnagar, Kheda and Arnreli. This was the fourth instance. In fact the Government decision to change the location of the place of community health centre in Amreli district from Kukavav to Bagasara was a subject matter of challenge in Special Civil Application No. 53 of 1983. This High Court (Coram: N. H. Bhatt, J.) by order dated April 29, 1983 rejected the petition which was filed by the President of Taluka Panchayat, Kukavav. Incidentally in that case also, the allegation of mala fides was made and the M.L.A. of Bagasara constituency was alleged to be responsible for alteration of the place of location of community health centre. Regarding the allegations of mala fide, the Court observed : 'The allegations of mala fides are easy to be made, but difficult to be made out and unless the cases of glaring facts, which are either uncontroverted or incontrovertible, only in the rarets of rare cases such allegations are entertaining or could be entertained.' On merits the Court observed that it will be for the State Government to consider the question. After all it is the administrative wisdom that is required to be brought to bear on all such issues, where parochial feelings one way or the other are bound to be there. The Court expressed the hope that 'a man occupying high pedestal of a Health Minister would always be above such small parochial considerations and if the petitioners so think fit, they can present their case before the Minister concerned placing all the elaborate materials that are placed by them on the file of this Court and make their attempt to persuade him to revert to the decision at Annexure 'A'. As far as this Court is concerned, all it can say is that there being no right of the petitioners which required to be protected by this High Court and there having been no gross case of the abuse of the administrative power made out, this Court cannot interfere even if there may be some merit here or there, either in favour of the petitioners or in favour of the respondent No. 5, who pleads the cause of the Bagasara people.' In fact on the aforesaid basis this petition also could have been disposed of. However, since the petition has been admitted it will be necessary to give elaborate reasons for all the contentions raised by the petitioners.

8. Counsel for the petitioners contends that the decision embodied in Annexure 'A' cannot be said to be a provisional decision and the stand taken by the Government is not supported by any document whatsoever. The contention cannot be accepted for the simple reason that the resolution dated July 15, 1982 (Annexure 'A') itself indicates that the decision embodied therein with regard to the place of location of community health centre is tentative and/or provisional only. The first part of the resolution refers to the historical background of the scheme. Thereafter the resolution deals with the criteria for establishment of community health centre at particular places. The criteria being:

(1) such community health centre should be at a place from where four primary health centres can be served.

(2) in such community health centre certain specialities such as, surgery, gynaecology, paediatrics, etc. should be made available.

(3) as per the guideline or approach of the Central Government such community health centre be established at taluka places where there may be hospital in existence and at such place additional facilities be given and community health centre be established. Thereafter in second para of the resolution, the name of district and the place where community health centre is to be located is given. The last four lines of the resolution when translated into English read as follows:For the establishment of these community health centres, after receiving the detailed information from the Director (of health) and after receiving the sanction of the Financial Adviser, necessary further proceedings shall be taken on hand.

The aforesaid analysis of the resolution makes it clear that in the later part of the first paragraph of the resolution, indication is given as to the criteria for establishment of community health centres. In the last paragraph it is made clear as to on what basis the further proceedings will be taken. The resolution clearly mentions that only after the receipt of detailed information from the Director of Health and after receiving sanction from the Financial Adviser, the further actions will be taken. What was the necessity for asking detailed information from the Director of Health? The purpose is very clear. If on receipt of the information from the Director of Health it is found that the decision taken by the Government with regard to the location of community health centre is not in accordance with the criteria expressed in the first paragraph of the resolution, the same can be changed. The proper authority with respect to the hospital facilities available at a particular centre and the availability of medical personnel and the availability of services of speciality and super-speciality and the existence of primary health centres at particular places, would be only the Director of Health. Had the decision with regard to the location of places been final, there was no purpose whatsoever for calling for the detailed information from the Director of Health. The fact that the resolution itself provides for the calling for the information and also states that thereafter further necessary actions will be taken indicates that the decision taken by the Government as per this resolution was provisional. In above view of the matter, the contention raised by the petitioners that the Government decision was final cannot be accepted. Alternatively as shown hereinabove, even if the Government decision is final, it will be open to the Government if the situation and circumstances so demand to alter the same.

9. Counsel for the petitioners submitted that after an unreasonable delay of 1 1/2 years from the date of earlier decision, i.e. 15-7-1982 the decision should not have been altered. There is no merit in this argument. The Government is not exercising power under any statute. The Government is not exercising revisional powers in this sphere. The Government is exercising executive powers on its administrative side. In the instant case, there is no restriction arising on account of time factor. The Counsel for the petitioners sought to rely upon the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of State of Gujarat v. Raghav Natha reported in 10 GLR 992. It was a case under Bombay Land Revenue Code and the question involved therein was as to within how much time revisional jurisdiction of the Government under Section 211 of the Code, can be invoked. The principles laid down therein have no application whatsoever to the facts and circumstances of the present case. Hence the argument is rejected.

10. The argument that the Government should not have changed its decision because the Panchayat, the Taluka Panchayat and the District Panchayat concerned had made recommendation in favour of the establishment of community health centre at Bayad, may be examined. Panchayat, Taluka Panchayat and District Panchayat are of course bodies representing a section of the people. They are local authorities. Views expressed by them should be taken into consideration by the Government. But that does not mean that the views expressed by them or the recommendations made by them should always be accepted by the Government. There is no such provision of law. Hence this argument also is rejected.

11. Counsel for the petitioners submitted that the Government is estopped by principles of promissory estoppel inasmuch as after the first resolution dated July 15, 1982 (Annx. 'A') the petitioner-Panchayat has changed its position relying upon the decision taken by the Government as per the said resolution. Assuming that the principles of promissory estoppel would be applicable in this case also, it is difficult to agree with the Counsel for the petitioners that the petitioner-Pachayat has changed its position to its own detriment relying upon the pronouncement made by the Government in resolution dated July 15, 1982. At the most what the petitioner-Panchayat has done is this. It has passed the resolution saying that it will offer land for the site of community health centre. It will provide road facilities. Moreover, it is sought to be contended that the panchayat had entered into an agreement with some land owners who had agreed to sell the land to the Panchayat. This land was required to be utilised for the purpose of community health centre. By offering the land, the petitioner-Panchayat did not change its position to its own detriment. It is not shown that on account of this offer having been made the petitioner-Panchayat has been put to any loss whatsoever. On the contrary now the decision having been altered, the Panchayat will be in a position to retain the land with it. It is not suggested that since the Panchayat offered this land to the Government, it had to cancel some of the contracts entered into with it by some other persons and on account of such action or any other type of similar actions, the petitioner-Panchayat has been put to loss or damage. In support of the contention that the petitioner-Panchayat had entered into agreement with one Shri Dhirubhai Patel, a land owner, the Counsel for the petitioners relied upon the declaration made by Shri Dhirubhai Patel on October 10, 1982. It is produced at Annexure 'I' to the petition. Shri Dbirubhai Patel is a co-owner of the land situated in the village Bayad. He only made a unilateral offer of land for the approach road of community health centre for a price of Rs. 4,101/-. It is not shown that this offer has been accepted by the Panchayat and a valid and binding contract has been entered into and executed with the owner of the land. There being no such document on record evidencing the contract as stated above, it cannot be inferred and assumed that the panchayat bad entered into a contract and that it has resulted into loss or damage to the petitioner-Panchayat. In above view of the matter there being no material whatsoever to support the contention of the Counsel for the petitioners that the Government is estopped on account of promissory estoppel, the contention fails.

12. The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that when the Government changed its decision as per resolution dated November 16, 1982 (Annexure 'B'), the Government did not afford an opportunity of being heard to the petitioner-Panchayat and therefore the decision is contrary to the principles of natural justice and hence the same is illegal and void. In a similar situation, this Court (Coram : N. H. Bhatt, J.) in Special Civil Application No. 53 of 1983 has observed that 'there being no right of the petitioners which required to be protected by this High Court and there having been no gross case of the abuse of the administrative power made out, this Court cannot interfere even if there may be some merit here or there...' I am in entire agreement with the observations made by my learned Brother N. H. Bhatt, J. In such matters, public bodies like Panchayat or individual members of a particular locality have no right whatsoever to claim that the location of the community health centre should be at a particular place only. Counsel for the petitioners has not been able to point out any provision of law on the basis of which it can be said that on account of resolution dated July 15,1982 (Annex. 'A'), a right has been conferred upon the petitioner-Panchayat that the community health centre should be located at village Bayad. Be it noted that by resolution dated July 15, 1982 (Annx. 'A') the Government merely expressed its decision indicating the proposed place of location of community health centre. Even if the Government took final decision in this behalf, as contended by the petitioners, the resolution does not say that the community health centre so established would be entrusted to the petitioner-Panchayat or that even administration thereof will be entrusted to the Panchayat. Even if the community health centre had been established at village Bayad, it was not going to be the property of the Panchayat. At any rate the resolution does not say anything in this behalf. The resolution nowhere refers to any local authority whatsoever much less the petitioner-Panchayat. It may be good for the petitioner-Panchayat. It claims to be an enlightened Panchayat. On this count it may be in a position to show to the village people that this particular body took interest for bringing the medical facilities to the village concerned. But on this basis it can never be said that by the resolution any right whatsoever is vested with the petitioner-Panchayat. Once there is no right whatsoever, there is no question of any hearing being given to the petitioner-Panchayat. Hence the argument has got to be rejected.

13. This brings us to the question of mala fide exercise of power. The contention in this behalf is that the decision to change the place of location of the community health centre is reconsidered on account of political pressure. There is no valid or relevant ground on the basis of which the decision could have been altered. Therefore the power exercised on account of political pressure and the decision taken accordingly should be held to be illegal and void. The argument that the decision being taken on irrelevant and extraneous grounds, if upheld, may have some force. But it is difficult to understand that how a decision taken by the Government on account of exertion of political influence would be bad on that count alone. The Counsel for the petitioners submitted that in this case the decision has been taken on account of threat having been given by respondent No. 2. The Government has yielded to the threat and therefore the decision is bad. In this connection it may be noted that as many as II members of Legislative Assembly represented to the Health Minister by letter dated March 15, 1983. They represented that the better place for the community health centre in Sabarkantha district would be Amodra and not Bayad. As per the representation there was a hospital having ultra modern facilities at a distance of 1 1/2 km. from village Bayad (the reference is to the hospital at village Padra). That there was a dispensary where services of an M.B.B.S. Doctor were available. Further there was a health centre at a distance of about 8 km. at village Gamut. At a further distance of 5 km. there is another such centre at village Satand. On these grounds and other grounds it was submitted that the village Bayad was not a proper place for establishment of community health centre. It was further submitted in the representation that Amodra was at a distance of 18 km. from Bayad and no medical facilities were available. That Amodra was situated in such a way that community health centre would cater to the needs of about 50,000 people. Amodra was habitated by poor people and it was a locality habitated by poor and downtrodden people who are required to be given medical facilities. Ultimately it was submitted that it is the policy of the Government to give such medical facilities in backward and interior areas. In such a situtation it was not understood why the Government was adamant and sticking to its earlier decision for establishing community health centre at Bayad. Lastly recommendation is made in the representation in favour of village Amodra.

14. Four M.L. As. submitted an undated letter (Annexure 'P' to the petition) to the Chief Minister and requested that place of community health centre be changed and be fixed at village Amodra. The last four lines of the representation when translated into English read as follows:

Formerly also letter bearing signatares of most of the M.L. As. has been given to you and the Health Minister. Still however, the same is not implemented. Therefore, this another letter of M.L.As. from Sabarkantha is being submitted for implementation.

It is stated at the Bar by the Counsel representing the Government that the aforesaid letter has been received by the office of the Chief Minister on March 16, 1983. The Counsel for the petitioners contends that the aforesaid four lines indicate that respondent No. 2 brought about political pressure and/or threatened the Chief Minister. First of all the reading of both the letters one dated March 15, 1983 and another received by the office of the Chief Minister on March, 16, 1983, is not proper. The first letter is signed by 11 M.L.As. All of them approached the highest executive authority of the Department of Health. They represented their case. They felt that the decision taken by the Government with regard to the location of community health centre in Sabarkantha district was not proper. They submitted a sort of memorandum. In the earlier letter dated March 15, 1983 addressed to the Health Minister, the M.L.A. (respondent No. 2) from Bayad has not put his signature. Three other M.L.As. who were signatories to the representation made to the Health Minister have also put their signature in the representation made to the Chief Minister. The three M.L.As. who are common in both the letters are of Modasa, Khed Brahma and Bhiloda constituencies. After the representation having been made to the Health Minister, the highest executive authority as far as the Department of Health is concerned, the M.L.As. of the constituency concerned, i.e. respondent No. 2 herein, together with few other M.L.As. of the district made further representation to the highest executive authority of the State, i.e. the Chief Minister. He is head of the executive. In the four lines extracted hereinabove what is stated is this only, that formerly a representation bearing signatures of most of the M.L.As. has been submitted to the Minister for Health but the same has not been implemented. Therefore the second letter for implementation is being given. That is all. This is merely an attempt to bring to the notice of the highest executive authority of the State i.e. the Chief Minister that the request made by the M.L.As. to the Head of the Department is not properly heeded to or it has not been immediately heeded to. Nothing else is indicated in these four lines. It is only by way of reference to point out that such a representation is also made to the Departmental head. It is difficult to read any threat or pressure in these words. It is at the most an attempt at persuasion. How these lines can be construed to contain an element of pressure or threat is beyond comprehension. Therefore the argument that political pressure was brought over the Chief Minister by these two letters cannot be accepted.

15. It was next contended that respondent No. 2 belongs to village Amodra and therefore he being interested in changing the location of the community health centre, he exerted his influence over the Chief Minister for changing the place of the community health centre. It may be that a public worker may have sympathy for a place to which he belongs. As far as possible such considerations should not enter in the mind of people who exercise powers for the benefit of the people at large. But at that same time simply because a person belongs to a particular place, that place should not be kept out of consideration only on the ground that the M.L.A. happens to belong to that particular place. Just as such factors should not be a qualification or an eligibility criterion for awarding benefits, similarly the same cannot be an index or criterion for exclusion. It is not shown on record that respondent No. 2 will have any personal gain or advantage on account of the establishment of community health centre at village Amodra. It is not shown that any of his relatives are going to be benefitted on account of the establishment of this community health centre at village Amodra. It is not even suggested that by establishment of the community health centre at this village, he is going to be benefitted, say, on account of his holdings of land in that particular area. It may be that in a given case a person might be interested in changing the location on account of personal considerations. Such a person might be holding land in the nearby area or he himself might be interested in granting a part of the land for such purpose and thereby reaping the benefit of resultant rise in price of land as far as other part of the land retained by him is concerned. No such oblique motive is even remotely alleged. Therefore simply because village Amodra is a native place of respondent No. 2, that factor alone is not sufficient to exclude village Amodra for being considered as the proper site for establishing the community health centre.

16. The Counsel for the petition's submitted that respondent No. 2 and the Chief Minister both belong to the same caste and on account of the caste factor the Chief Minister has altered the decision. This also exhibits a narrow, superfluous approach to a public issue. If respondent No. 2, a Member of the Legislative Assembly, belongs to the same caste as that of the Chief Minister, how does it affect the decision on a public issue It is not shown nor even contended that the members of the caste of the Chief Minister and that of respondent No. 2 are residing in village Amodra and they are not residing at village Bayad; Or that there is a headquarter of this caste at village Amodra and this headquarter is in any way likely to be benefitted on account of this change in location of the community health centre There is no suggestion whatsoever to indicate that their caste in going to be benefitted on account of this decision. It is not even suggested that this caste is interested in the cause of public health as against other castes who may be, say, apathetic to the cause of public health. In this situation it is not understood how this caste factor has any relevance at all. The Chief Minister in his affidavit has categorically denied the caste factor having entered into the process of the decision. Therefore the argument based on the circumstance that the Chief Minister and respondent No. 2 both belong to the same caste has no bearing whatsoever and therefore the same has got to be rejected.

17. It was next contended that the Chief Minister and respondent No. 2 belong to the same political party and because of political alliance, the decision is changed. This allegation is also denied by the Chief Minister in his affidavit placed on record. On the contrary it 11 M.L.As. hailing from Sabarkaatha district and other nearby places made representation to the Minister for Health. That representation is not signed by respondent No. 2. The representation in favour of village Amodra has emanated from M. L. As. belonging to other constituencies. Taking this factor into consideration it was sought to be contended that it was through respondent No. 2 that this device was adopted and other M. L. As. exerted their influence. The argument is difficult to be swallowed. It does not require any enterprise or great research to be made to realise that a person who can muster the signature of 11 M. L. As. would remain an ordinary M. L. A. in today's politics. It is a fact that respondent No. 2 is 'an ordinary M. L. A.' Had he been in a position to muster the signatures of 11 M. L. As. in his favour, he would have ceased to be 'an ordinary M. L. A.' and would have been in a better position of power by now. That is what the present day politics is. Therefore, having regard to the facts and circumstances, the argument that respondent No. 2 was instrumental for obtaining the signatures of 11 M. L. As. cannot be accepted. Even if it is believed that he could collect the signatures of all these 11 M. L. As., this circumstances does not lead to the inference that all other M. L. As. signed the same blindly and without understanding the same. Further it cannot be inferred that the Minister of Health considered the said representation without there being any merit. Thus the argument that the decision taken is actuated by mala fides has no basis and therefore, the same requires to be rejected.

18. It was contended that the Health Minister was against the alteration of the place of location of the community health centre. The contention so raised is resisted on behalf of the Government. Respondent No. 2 has produced a letter written by Minister for Health dated December 8, 1983. This letter is addressed to respondent No. 2. The Miniter concerned has communicated the decision of the Government to change the place of community health centre from Bayad to Amodra. Of course the letter has been placed on record during the course of arguments. Counsel for the petitioners objected to the letter being looked into only on the ground that it is being placed on record at a belated stage and that the same has not been referred to in earlier affidavits filed by respondent No. 2. Counsel for the petitioners does not say that the letter is not genuine. Once the genuinences of the letter is not doubted, I do not see why the same should not be taken on record. If the Counsel for the petitioners wanted time to make any comment on the letter enough time would have been granted to him. Moreover, the Government had kept the relevant file ready in court. The same has been shown to me. It cannot be said that the Miniter for Health was against the shifting of the location of the community health centre. All that he appears to have said is that earlier decision was taken by taking into consideration all relevant aspects. However, if the Chief Miniter thought that the place be changed, he had no objection. This stand cannot be said to be a contrary stand. It cannot be said he was against the decision taken by the Government. Assuming that the Minister for Health was against the decision, when the issue might have been discussed at the appropriate level, even then the decision taken by the Government cannot be stigmatised as mala fide. In such a situation it is for the Minister concerned as to what steps should be taken, when his opinion is not heeded to, or overruled by majority in the Government On that count the decision does not become either unlawful or actuated by mala fide. It is the essence of democracy that the will of the majority should prevail. In executive and in administrative matters, the head of the executive has a right to dictate the decisions in appropriate cases. If anyone holds contrary view, then he can take the matter before the cabinet meeting or at other appropriate level. Ultimately what is to be seen is the decision of the Government and not the opinion of a particular person howsoever high position he might be holding-be he a Secretary or a Minister. Their individual opinion is of no relevance. What is relevant is the decision of the Government. Therefore, assuming that the Counsel for the petitioners if factually right in stating that the Minister for Health was against the alteration in the earlier decision taken, even then the same is irrelevant and the same would not help the petitioners in any way.

19. In the instant case, as it is borne out from the affidavit-in-reply filed on behalf of the Government, on relevant considerations such as the need of the people residing in interior area and to make the medical facilities available to more and more people and to prevent the concentration of medical facilities at a particular place, the decision to alter the place of community health centre from Bayad to Amodra is taken. It cannot be said that the decision is taken on irrelevant or extraneous grounds. If the political pressure or political persuasion is the cause for alteration of the decision, the same cannot be treated as a ground for attacking the decision on the basis of mala fides.

20. It would not be out of place to discuss the question as regards the consideration of political pressure or political persuasion in the process of taking or reviewing a decision by the Government at the administrative level. The basic tenets of any democratic form of Government are that a person who sits in the position of power should be accountable to the people and that he can sit in the position of power for a limited and specified period. After the expiry of such specified period, he must seek fresh mandate from the people. Democracy further means that the will of the majority be respected by all concerned, including the persons in power. These are some of the basic tenants of democracy - be it Parliamentary form of Government or Presidential form of Government, but there cannot be disagreement with regard to these basic tenants of democracy. The ensure that power is not exercised arbitrarily, the method of check and balance is evolved in almost all demoracies. As far as the courts are concerned the check on the exercise of power can be put and the person in authority can be restrained from exercising power only if it is shown that the exercise of power is actuated by mala fides or the power is exercised arbitrarily. Whosoever is conferred with power (even including the Judiciary) cannot exercise the power mala fide and/or arbitrarily. However, for the function in of democracy those who represent the people and those who are accountable to the people, are duty bound to heed to the urges and aspirations of the people articulated through the chosen representatives of the people. The only mode for communicating the urges and aspirations of the people to the persons in power known to democracy is to make representations through one's own representative or through other legitimately open avenues. The best avenue in such cases would be to make representations through one's own elected representative. The Minister concerned who may be the executive head of the Department or the Chief Minster who will be the executive head of the State, can be approached and should be approached by the people through their representatives only. If the representatives of the people, meaning thereby, M.L.As. and M.Ps., make representations to the persons in power and persuade them to take a particular decision or to modify the particular decision or to reconsider a decision which has been taken and in turn if the persons in Government feel that the decision so taken is required to be modified, reconsider or postpone or suspend the same, it would be in consonance with the basic principles of democracy. In a given situation, the representation that may be made by the chosen representatives of the people may even not be reasonable from the point of view of the Minister concerned. The Minister concerned personally may feel that the demand made by the people through their representatives is neither proper nor legitimate. In such a situation he may try to persuade the representatives of the people. He himself may go to the people and make his view point clear to them. Even then if the people persist in making representation and in turn if the Minister concerned or the Government as a whole decides to reconsider the decision already taken or to modify the same, it cannot be said that the Government is in any way acting arbitrary or on extraneous grounds or acting with mala fide. In democracy the voice of the people articulated and expressed through the chosen representatives is the most relevant factor which should be taken into consideration by the persons in power. This may be in the realm of location of a community health centre or in the realm of police administration in a particular taluka/district or it may be in the spheres of health, education and such other matters. Views of the representatives of the people must be heeded to by the persons in power. If they do not take the views of the representatives of the people into consideration, they fail in their duty. If such a cause is prevented by courts from being adopted by the persons in power, it would be tantamount to directing the persons in power to become despots rather than democrats. This will be the last thing a court in a democratic country will do. In above view of the matter, the argument that the political pressure is brought and therefore the decision should be held to be mala fide and/or arbitrary has no merits whatsoever. On the contrary, on account of the political pressure if the decision is reconsidered and on relevant grounds if the Government has found that the decision is required to be changed, that will be perfectly in consonance with the democratic principles. In this case, as stated hereinabove, the decision to alter the place of community health centre is not taken on any irrelevant or extraneous grounds.

21. In above view of the matter, all the contentions raised by the petitioners are rejected. No other contention is raised. In the result the petition stands rejected. Interim relief granted earlier stands vacated. Rule discharged with no order as to costs.

22. Counsel for the petitioners requested that the interim relief granted by this Court on March 21, 1984 be continued for some time. As held by this Court (Coram : N. H. Bhatt, J.) in Special Civil Application No. 53 of 1983, the petitioners have no right whatsoever, to invoke the jurisdiction of the High Court, I am also of the same view. Moreover, if the interim relief granted earlier is continued, the progress of the work for the establishment of community health centre at village Amodra will be discharged. No one is to benefitted if the work is delayed. Moreover, it will be presumptive to believe that the Government will start work tomorrow. Howsoever the Government machinery may move, it will take considerably long time to prepare the plan, get the same sanctioned from the appropriate Department and again get the financial sanction for the project in question etc. The grant of extension of the interim relief at this stage will only mean that even the preliminary work at the Government level may not start. Hence the request is rejected.


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