V.P. Tyagi, J.
1. Thanaram, Pradhan of the Panchayat Samiti, Luni, has filed this writ petition under Article 220 of the Constitution against the State of Rajasthan and the Assistant Secretary (Inquiries), Block Development and Panchayat Department of the Government of Rajasthan, praying that the order passed by the State Government on 15th of March, 1972, suspending the petitioner from the office of Pradhan be quashed
2. The petitioner has challenged the validity of the impugned order mainly on the ground that Shri Parasram Maderna, who was the Minister incharge, has passed the impugned order with a malafide intention as the petitioner was suspected by him of having opposed during the general election the official candidate of the Congress from the Luni Assembly Constituency and, therefore, to wreck vengeance the impugned order was passed by the Minister on the eve of his laying down the office of Minister holding the charge of the Panchayat Department.
3. Shri Parasram Maderna was not a party to this writ petition. The petitioner, however, by his application dated 5th of August, 1972, prayed that Shri Maderna be impleaded as a party but that application was rejected on 14th of August, 1972 as the case was rips tor hearing After the arguments were heard at length, learned Additional Advocate-General made a request to the Court to allow him to file the affidavit of Shri Maderna to deny the charges of mala fides levelled against him. Permission was, however, given by the Court to file Shri Maderna's affidavit and consequently he filed an affidavit on 4th of Nov., 1972. Thereafter, certain additional facts were alleged by the petitioner in support of the charge of malafides against Shri Maderna and these facts were also controverted by Shri Maderna by filing additional affidavits which were also taken on the record.
4. Before entering on a discussion about the merits of the allegations of the petitioner against Shri Parasram Maderna, I would like to observe that I am not unaware of the fact that allegations of malafides and improper motives on the part of those who are in a power are frequently made and their frequency has increased in recent times. It is unfortunate that sometimes allegations of the nature which have no foundation in fact are lightly made in the writ petitions, but when serious allegations of malafides are made against a person of the position of a Minister, it becomes the duty of the Court to examine them carefully. While examining these charges levelled against Shri Parasram Maderna, I have borne in mind that charges of personal hostility are easily and very often made by persons who are subjected to penal or quasi-penal proceedings against those who initiate them and, therefore, I have made full allowance for these factors while examining and weighing the allegations made by the petitioner. I am also not unaware of the high position which Shri Parasram Maderna holds in the State which exposes him to all kinds of wild allegations by those who could not get their interests served through him and, therefore, every care has been taken by me to weigh the evidence carefully. It is in this light that I now proceed to examine the case of the petitioner.
5. It appears that in the year 1968 a complaint was lodged with Shri Parasram Maderna against petitioner. Thanaram by the three Sar-panchas of the Panchayats within the Panchayat Samiti, Luni making very serious allegations of misuse of power as Pradhan and misuse of the public funds of the Panchayat Samiti. This complaint is dated 6th of April, 1968, and has been placed on record as Ex. A-1 The Minister forwarded this application to the Development Commissioner for action. The Development Commissioner, in turn, sent this complaint for enquiry to the Deputy District Development Officer, Pali. After enquiry, the Deputy District Development Officer submitted his report recording a finding that most of the allegations made therein were correct. The enquiry report made by the Deputy District Development Officer has also been placed on record as Ex. A 3 This report is dated 24th of December, 1968 The Assistant Secretary (Inquiries) of the Government of Rajasthan on receipt of the said report held the view that instead of the Deputy District Development Officer holding the preliminary enquiry, the Collector, Jodhpur, should have made this enquiry under Rule 3 of the Rajasthan Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishads (Removal of Pradhan and Up-Pradhan) Rules, 1960 (hereinafter called the Rules). The matter was, therefore, referred to the Collector, Jodhpur, who, in turn, appointed the Additional Collector, Jodhpur, to hold the preliminary enquiry in the matter of the complaint lodged against the petitioner. It is in the affidavit of Shri Parasram Maderna that the Collector, Jodhpur, before he asked the Additional Collector on 4th April, 1969, to hold a prelimminary enquiry in the matter hid sent a copy of the report of the Deputy District Development Officer to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Anti-Corruption, Jaipur on which a case was registered by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Anti-Corruption, Jodhpur against the petitioner and the copy of the first information report registered was forwarded for information to the Assistant Secretary (Inquiries), Panchayat and Development Department of the Government of Rajasthan. It is alleged by the petitioner that the Deputy Seperintendent of Police, Anti Corruption, who conducted the investigation, found the charges levelled against the petitioner baseless and, therefore, a final report was submitted by him in the court of the Sessions Judge, Jodhpur. This final report was, however, presented to the Sessions Judge, Jodhpur after impugned order was passed by the Govt, but it is alleged that it was soon recalled with a view to have further probe in the matter and according to the petitioner it was done with a definite purpose to deprive the petitioner of the evidence of his innocence which could be made use of by him before this Court.
6. The petitioner's case is that in the general elections held for the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly in the year 1972, petitioner supported the cause of Shri Poonamchand Bishnoi to get the Congress ticket from the Luni Assembly Constituency and for that purpose telegrams ware sent on behalf of the petitioner and the other Sarpanchas of that area to the Prime Minister; All India Congress Committee President, New Delhi, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Smt. Laxmi Kumari Chundawat, President of the Rajasthan Prant Congress Committee, Shri Swaran Singh Foreign Minister, New Delhi and Shri Nathuram Mirdha, New Delhi. According to the petitioner, Shri Poonamchand Bishnoi's candidature from the Luni Assembly Constituency was not liked by Shri Parasram Maderna and he wanted Shri Ramsingh Bishnoi, who had opposed him in the last general election of 1967 from Bhopalgarh Assembly Constituency, to be set up as a Congress candidate from the Luni Assembly Constituency. This attitude of the petitioner, according to him, enraged Shri Parasram Maderna and soon after the elections were over, Shri Parasram Maderna in order to wreck vengeance against the petitioner got a note prepared on the file which was pending before the Government about the complaint lodged against the petitioner in the year 1968 and suspended the petitioner on the day when he was to hand over charge of the portfolio of Panchayats held by him in the outgoing Ministry. This order has been challenged by the petitioner mainly on the ground that the power vested in the Government to take action against the Pradhan was misused by Shri Maderna with an ulterior motive and since it has been used with a malafide intention, the order is vitiated and it should, therefore, be set aside.
7. The State Government have refuted the charge levelled against Shri Maderna and in support of their stand an affidavit of Shri Maderna dated 4th of November, 1972, has been filed. In this affidavit Shri Maderna has denied the allegation that he was in any manner opposed to the candidature of Shri Poonamchand Bishnoi. On the contrary, it was averred that he was a person who had proposed the candidature of Shri Poonamchand Bishnoi from the Luni Assembly Constituency. He also denied to have harboured any illwill against the petitioner.
8. The case of the respondent Government is that after the complaint was required into by the Deputy District Development Officer and his report was received against the petitioner, it was thought necessary under the rules that before taking any action against a delinquent Pradhan a preliminary enquiry in such matters must be made by the Collector and it was from that point of view that the matter was referred in April, 1969 to the Collector the matter unduly remained pending for a considearable long time because the Anti-Corruption Department did not promptly discharge its duties and, therefore, the Government could not take any action against the petitioner. It is contended that in the case of the Ex-Pradhan, Panchayat Samiti, Bhadra. a question whether the Government could initiate enquiry under Rule 4 without a preliminary enquiry being made by the Collector under Rule 3 was re-examined by the Law Department, and it gave its opinion that it was not necessary that the Collector in every case should make a preliminary enquiry before ordering a regular enquiry under Rule 4. The Law Department was of opinion that even without such a preliminary enquiry made by the collector, the Government had an authority to serve the charge sheet under Rule 4 of the Rules on the delinquent Pradhan, It was on this advice of 'he Law Department that a note was prepared by the Assistant Secretary (Inquiries) on 16 of March, 1972, expressing that without waiting for the report from the Collector the Government had the authority to take action against the petitioner, and as the Government was satisfied by going through the report of the Deputy Development Officer dated 24-12-1968 that a prima facie case was made out against the petitioner, an order was passed by Shri Shri. Maderna to bold a regular enquiry and till the matter was finally disposed of it was further ordered that the petitioner shall remain suspended from his office. It is further averred that having due regard to all the facts and circumstances of this case, the order of suspension passed by the Minuter was quite justified.
9. During the course of the hearing of this petition, petitioner Thanaram filed another affidavit on 17th of November, 1972, that on an application made by him to get himself registered as an effective member of Congress, he was informed by the President of the Dehat Zila Congress Committee, Jcdhpur, that he was expelled from the Congress for six years for having worked against the official candidate of the Congress in the general election. This letter dated 28th of September, 1972, has been filed by Shri Thanaram. In this affidavit be has also mentioned that Shri Parasram Maderna was the member of the Dehat Zila Congress Committee which had taken this action of expelling him from the organization. During the course of arguments, Mr. Raj Narain categorically stated that no doubt Shri Parasram Maderna was the member of Dehat Zila Congress Committee, but he did not attend the meeting of the Dehat Zila Congress Committee wherein the decision for expelling the petitioner from the Congress was taken. Mr. Mridul says that Shri Maderna has filed an affidavit to verify this fact that he was not present in the meeting of the Dehat Zila Congress in which the decision for expelling the petitioner from the Congress was taken but that affidavit is not traceable on the file though the copy of such affidavit was given to Mr. Mridul by Mr. Raj Narain.
10. It may be mentioned here that one Shri Sultan Singh, who was incharge of the investigation, informed the petitioner that the charges against him were found baseless &that; the final report had been submitted in the Court of Sessions, but Sultan Singh, who was then in service, filed an affidavit stating that he never informed the petitioner about the final report having been filed by the Anti-Corruption Department. However, later on Sultan Singh was made to retire prematurely and then he filed an affidavit in this Court on 7th February, 1973 making certain wild allegations against Shri Parasram Maderna that he met Shri Maderna on 26th of August, 1971, at the Circuit House, Jodhpur, where Shri Maderna first rebuked him and then made enquiries about the progress in Thanaram's case to which the deponent (Sultan Singh) said that the investigation was going on and the result thereof shall be conveyed to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police who is proper authority to decide the matter. In this affidavit Shri Sultan Singh has also levelled a charge that he was compulsorily retired under Rule 244 of the Rajasthan Service Rules on 2nd of February, 1973, because he did not toe the line of the Minister to implicate Shri Thanaram, bur these allegations which have been controverted by Shri Parasram Maderna by his affidavit dated 12th of March, 1973, seem to be quite baseless and unfounded. Shri Maderna in his affidavit of 12th March, 1973, has stated that on 26th of August, 1971, he was at Delhi attending a conference which was convened on 22ad of August, 1971 and continued upto 27th of August, 1971. According to him, he left Delhi on 27th of August, 1971, at 3.00 p.m. In support of this averment, two certificates have been filed by Shri Maderna, one of the Chief Superintendent of the Motor Garage stating that from 22nd of August, 1971 to 27th of August, 1971, a vehicle No. RRL 31 was detailed in the duty of Shri Parasram Maderna which took him to Delhi with Shri Durgasingh driver. The copy of the T.A. bill filed along with this affidavit also shows that Shri Maderna was at Delhi on 26th of August, 1971 and, therefore, the averment made by Shri Sultan Singh that he met Shri Maderna at the Circuit House, Jodhpur, on 26th of August, 1971, appears to be a piece of imagination. In this view of the matter, I am not prepared to place any reliance on the affidavit of Shri Sultan Singh by which a suggestion has been made by the petitioner that Shri Parasram Maderna was interested in getting him involved in the criminal charges which were being investigated against him by the Anti-Corruption Department by exercising his influence as a Minister.
11. Mr. Raj Narain, appearing on behalf of the State Government, has taken a preliminary objection that no finding of malafides can be recorded against the State Government or Shri Maderna without impleading him as a party to the writ petition and even if this Court feels that the allegations made against Shri Maderna have a grain of truth in them, it should not set aside the impugned order declaring it to be vitiated by malafides unless Shri Maderna is made a party to the petition. I do not find any force in this argument because in this case whatever the charges have been levelled against Shri Maderna have been met by him by filing counter-affidavit; Shri Maderna has not filed only one affidavit but as and when occasion arose he controverted the charges levelled against him by the petitioner and, therefore, it cannot be pleaded with any justification that even if this Court arrives at the conclusion that the impugned order was passed with malafide intention, this Court cannot set aside the order in the absence of Shri Maderna who has not been impleaded as a formal party to the petition.
12. It was next urged that under Rule 4 of the rules, even if the report of the preliminary enquiry has not been received from the Collector under Rule 3 by the State Government, the Government has a power to proceed with the enquiry Under Rule 5 after framing charge against the delinquent officer Under Rule 4. The opening portion of Rule. 4 reads:
If upon consideration of the report received as aforesaid, or otherwise the State Government is of the opinion that action under Sub-section (1) of Section 40 is necessary, the State Government shall frame definite charges and shall communicate them in writing to the Pradhan or the Up-Pradhan, as the case may be, together with such details as may be deemed sufficient for him to understand the nature thereof and require him to submit within such time as may be specified, a written statement....
13. Section 40 of the Rajasthan Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishids Act, 1959, deals with the power of the Government to remove the Pradhan and it lays down that if in the opinion of the State Government the Pradhan or Up-Pradhan of a Panchayat Samiti wilfully omits or refuses to carry out the orders of the State Government for the proper working of the Panchayat Samiti or abuses the powers vested in him or is found to be guilty of misconduct in the discharge of his duties, or of any disgraceful conduct, the State Government, after giving the Pradhan or Up-Pradhan, as the case may be, a reasonable opportunity for explanation and after consulting the Zila Parishad in the nutter & taking into consideration its opinion if received within thirty days from the date of the despatch of the communication for such cosultation, may by order remove such Pradhan or Up-Pradhan, as the case may be, from office. Sub-section (2) further empowers the Government to suspend such a Pradhan or Up-Pradhan against whom an enquiry has started under Sub-section (1) of this section. According to Mr Raj Narain, when Section 40 is read with Rules 3 and 4 of the rules, then it becomes clear that it is not necessary in all circumstances to get a preliminary enquiry done through the agency of the Collector. The use of the word 'otherwise' in Rule 4, in his opinion, suggests that even without getting the preliminary enquiry done by a Collector, the Government can charge sheet the Pradhan if otherwise it is convinced that the Pradhan is guilty of any of the actions mentioned in Sub-section (1) of Section 40 which entails his dismissal from the membership of the Panchayat Samiti. He, therefore, urged that if the Collector to whom a preliminary enquiry was entrusted in the month of April, 1969, failed to submit his report to the Government, the Government could, on the basis of the report of the Deputy District Development Officer, satisfy itself about the prima facie nature of the charges levelled against the Pradhan and order the enquiry under Rule 5 of the rules after framing charges and inviting explanations from the delinquent Pradhan under Rule 4. In the instant case, the State Government ordered to frame charge against the petitioner on the strength of the satisfaction of the Government derived from the report of the Deputy District Development Officer which was submitted to it in the year 1968 and initiated the enquiry against the petitioner and while exercising its power under Sub section (21 of Section 40 of the Rajasthan Pancnayat Samitis and Zila Parishads Act, 1959, the petitioner was suspended. Mr. Raj Narain in these circumstances strenuously argues that no illegality has been committed by the State Government in taking the action against the petitioner. Mr. Mridul, on the other hand, urged that if the State Government has two alternatives to satisfy itself about the correctness of the charges levelled against the Pradhan and if one of the alternative has been resorted to by the State Government then it cannot switch on to another alternative and cannot initiate the enquiry without receiving the report of the Collector if called under Rule 3 of the said rules.
14. Section 40 of the Act when carefully perused with Rules 3. 4 and 5 of the Rules make it abundantly clear that the law confers a power on the State Government to serve a charge sheet on a delinquent Pradhan or Up-Pradhan and order the institution of an enquiry against him without even getting a preliminary enquiry done by the Collector under Rule 3 provided the Government stands satisfied on the basis of any other material on the record, otherwise brought before it to show that a prima facie case is made out against such delinquent Pradhan or Up-Pradhan. In this view of the law, I find it difficult to accept the submission of Mr. Mridul that without the report of the preliminary enquiry conducted by the Collector the Government could not proceed with the enquiry under Rules 4 and 5 against the petitioner. If the Government were satisfied from the material otherwise brought on record that a prima facie case was made out against the delinquent Pradhan it was well within its jurisdiction to initiate an enquiry by serving charge sheet under Rule 4 of the rules. In my opinion, there was no impediment in the way of the Government to launch as enquiry into the conduct of the petitioner if it were really satisfied that action under Rules 4 and 5 was warranted.
15. From the tenor of the arguments, grievance of the petitioner is rot that the Govt, had served the petitioner with a charge sheet, but the real grouse is that for such old and stale allegations which were ultimately discovered by the Anti-Corruption Department as unfounded the petitioner was put under suspension. The action of the Government according to Mr. Mridul has put the petitioner to great humiliation which he had to face because the Minister was out to wreak vengeance and that too with a political motivation. There is nothing on the record to show that any fresh material had come on the file which could prompt the Government to take such drastic step without even permitting the petitioner to meet the three and a half years old charges by filing his reply to them.
16. It is now a well-settled rule of law that the power to Suspend a delinquent officer is never exercised to punish him. This power of suspension is generally used when the authority exercising such a power comes to the conclusion that by permitting the delinquent office there is likelihood that such an officer may misuse his office or when there is an apprehension that his continuance in the office is likely to create impediment in the conduct of the enquiry ordered against him. It is only with a view to serve these two purposes that order of suspension is passed against the delinquent officer.
17. Lord Lindley in General Assembly of Free Church of Scotland v. Overtoun 1904 AC 515 has said:
I take it to be clear that there is a condition implied in this as well as in other instruments which create powers, namely, that the power shall be used bonafide for the purposes for which they are conferred.
18. Relying on this observation of Lord Lindley, Mr. Mridul contended that the power to suspend a delinquent Pradhan or Up-Pradhan as to be used in a bonafide manner by the Government and not as an instrument for seeking personal or political vengeance. In view of this argument advanced by Mr Mridul, I have to examine whether under the circumstances of the present case the order of suspension passed by the Minister was justified.
19. It is clear from the record that serious allegations were made against the petitioner in the year 1968. On enquiry made by the Deputy District Development Officer, most of the charges were found to be correct, but despite that report Government did not think it necessary to take immediate steps against the petitioner and entrusted the preliminary enquiry to the Collector. Even thereafter the Government did not show any active interest to see that the matter is expeditiously disposed of. The Collector, as is evident from the record, passed on this enquiry in the routine course to the Additional Collector who in turn sent the same for investigation to the Anti Corrpution Department. However, the allegation of the petitioner is that when he fell out from Shri Maderns, who was an important member in the Congress Government, a suspicion aroused in the mind of the Govt, that he had worked in the general elections against the official candidate of the Congress in the Luni Assembly Constituency, the interest of the Government was aroused and the old allegations which were resting in cold storage for 1 years were immediately dug out to take action against the petitioner. A note was prepared in the Secretariat suggesting that a charge sheet may be served on the petitioner and he may be suspended till the enquiry is finalised. This note was processed through all the necessary stages at the Secretariat level and reached the hands of the Minister on that very day and the Minister agreed with the suggestion made by the Assistant Secretary to serve the petitioner with charge sheet and to suspend him forthwith. It was done on the eve when a new Government was to be formed after the general elections and when Shri Parasram Maderna was about to leave the charge of the portfolio of the Department of Panchayats.
21. The argument of Mr. Mridul is that all these hasty steps taken by the Government against the petitioner amply justify his contention that Shri Maderna was impatient to pass an order of (suspension against the petitioner before he had left the charge of his portfolio. The Government have not placed any material on the record to justify such a hurried action against the petitioner. There is nothing on the record to show that the petitioner who after the report of the Deputy District Development Officer was holding the charge of his office as a Pradhan had, in any manner, used his office of the Pradhan for his personal or political ends. It is also not pleaded by the Government that it had any reasonable apprehension in its mind that if the petitioner had not been temporarily removed from the office be was likely to use his office to create impediment in the progress of the enquiry. In these circumstances it cannot with any justification be argued on behalf of the Government that order of suspension under subsection (2) of Section 40 had become necessary before the enquiry was launched against the petitioner. It is really surprising to note that if the petitioner who continuously held the charge of his office of Pradhan for more than three years even after certain allegations were found to have been established against him did not misuse his office, how all of a sudden he became an undesirable person to hold the charge of that office to which he was elected by the voters of that constituency. If the Government before taking such a drastic step had taken little care to enquire from the officer of the Anti-Corruption Department, who was investigating the charges against the petitioner then perhaps it would not have felt the necessary to out the petitioner under suspension as the charges entrusted to the Anti-Corruption Department as a result of investigation were discovered as unfounded as is evident from the final report submitted after some time in that case before the court of Sessions, Jodhpur. In such circumstances, fairness demanded that the Government should have enquired about the stage of the investigation carried on by the Anti-Corruption Department before passing the impugned order.
22. The facts that the petitioner was elected to the office of Pradhan as a member of the Congress and he continued to be the member of that organisation till he was expelled therefrom on a charge of actively working against the official Congress nominee in the last general election from Luni Constituency; the total absence of the fresh material to show the exploitation of the authority of his office by the petitioner after 1968 for his personal or political ends; the absence of any apprehension in the mind of the Government that the petitioner was likely to create any impediment in the progress of the enquiry to be launched against him after serving a charge sheet under Rule 4, and the passing of the impugned order on the even of relinquishing the charge of the Panchayat department and that, too, without any further material on the record & without making any enquiry from the Collector and the Anti-corruption department where allegations against the petitioner were being examined under the orders of the Government, speak volume for the motive of the Government to take such a drastic action against the petitioner. The argument of Mr. Raj Narain that Shri Parasram Maderna might be ignorant about the anti-Congress activities of the petitioner in the last general elections has no legs to stand as Shri Maderna himself does not deny it in his affidavit. I am prepared to accept the averment of Shri Maderna that he was not present in the meeting of the Dehat Zila Congress Committee in which the decision of expulsion was taken against the petitioner, but he does not anywhere say that he was ignorant about the fact of petitioner being expelled on a charge of infidelity to the organisation. All these circumstances, therefore, become very much relevant for this Court to judge the allegation of the petitioner that the power to suspend the petitioner was grossly misused by the Government for ulterior motive.
23. In S. Partap Singh v. State of Punjab : (1966)ILLJ458SC , a question arose as to how the malafides of an authority can be established, because in such cases direct evidence about the state of mind using a particular power vested in him is difficult to be brought on the record. The learned Judges of the Supreme Court in the background of the facts of that case observed in this connection as follows:
Doubtless, he who seeks to invalidate or nullify any act or order must establish the charges of bad faith, an abuse or a misuse by Government, of its powers. While the indirect motive of purpose, or bad faith or personal ill will is not to be held established except on clear proof thereof, it is obviously difficult to establish the state of a man's mind, for that is what the appellant has to establish in this case, though this may sometimes be done (See Edgington v. Fitzmau-rice, (1884) 29 Ch D 459,. The difficulty is not lessened when one has to establish that a person in the position of a Minister apparently acting in the legitimate exercise of power has, in fact, been acting mala fide in the sense pursuing an illegitimate aim. We must however, demur to the suggestion that, malafide in the sense of improper motive should be established only by direct evidence that is that it must be discernible from the order impugned or must be shown from the nothings in the file which preceded the order. If bad faith would vitiate the order, the same can, in our opinion, be deduced as a reasonable and inescapable inference from proved facts.
24 In the present case, except that the petitioner has brought certain circumstances on the record, it is difficult to say that a direct evidence of mala fides has been brought on the file. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court have observed that in such cases it is difficult to establish by direct evidence the state of man's mind and therefore the Court has to consider the circumstances which may lead the Court to infer about the motive which prompted the authority vested with such a power to exercise it. From the circumstances established, as discussed above, I find no escape from the conclusion that the power to suspend the petitioner has been used by the Government with intention which can safely be termed as malafide intention.
25. We cannot forget that in a State wedded to democracy 'rule of law' acts as a constant deterrent for temptation against the misuse of the power conferred by the Legislature on the Government which functions as a trustee to safeguard the rights and the interests of the people. The 'rule of law' always operates through the instrumentality of the court and ensures that the persone in power do not, while executing the approved policies of the legislature, act arbitrarily injuring the individual in life, liberty, property or reputation. The expression 'rule of law' primarily implies that the life, liberty property and reputation of the people shall not be damaged or impaired except under the authority of the law, that is to say, for a purpose stated in the law and in the manner so stated Rule of law is not a mere mechanical rule just requiring compliance with statute. It is much more, it is a principle. Thus, if the law laid down by the Parliament itself authorises that the Government Of any official thereof may act in a manner stated therein, then he has not only to follow the procedure laid down in the statute but has to follow the purpose for which such a law has been enacted by the legislature. It is in this sense that modern writers have said that an act may be pet fectly legal and yet it may be contrary to rule of law--the principle. This phrase has been derived from the Latin expression La Legalite which connotes Government on principles of law, not of men. The implication of this is that society is really ruled or governed by law, enabling the common man to foresee the actions of the administration. There is no doubt that the administration always exercises some degree of discretion, but the area of discretion left with the administrator should be delimited by certain clear cut norms so as to exclude the exercise of arbitrary power. Arbitrary or tyrannical power is thus foreign to the conception of' the rule of law.' It conceives justice as a supreme human good and for any unjustified infringement of a liberty of man the liability of a Minister of State is no whit different from that of another inferior authority.
26. Mr. Raj Narain, appearing on behalf of the State, urged that the impugned order passed by the Minister was within the ambit of the authority given to the Government by the statute and, therefore, this Court should not interfere in the exercise of its extraordinary jurisdiction if it comes to the conclusion that the circumstances did warrant the institution of enquiry under Rule 4 and 5 of the Rules. I regret, I cannot accept this contention of Mr. Raj Narain because if the Court comes to the conclusion that the motive for passing the impugned order was wholly extraneous the Court should not feel helpless to redress the wrong done to the person injured by such an order, other wise if the Court refuses on technical grounds to extend protection to the aggrieved person, then the whole concept of the rule of law will be rendered nugatory. In S. Partap Singh v. State of Punjab (2), the Supreme Court has held that if the act of an authority is in excess of the power granted or is an abuse or misuse of power the matter is capable of interference and rectification by the Court. It has further observed that in such an event the fact that the authority cencerned denies the charge of malafide or asserts the absence of oblique motive or of its having taken into consideration irrelevant or improper matter it cannot deter the court from enquiring into the truth of the allegations made against the authority and affording appropriate relief to the party aggrieved by such abuse of power. Here, I would like to quote the famous words of Chief Justice Earl Warren of the Supreme Court of the United States of America who while taking about the part to be played by the Courts while maintaining the ''rule of law' in a democracy has observed:
Throughout the recorded history of mandkind, the rule of law has meant the application of right, reason and fairness. All peoples understand it to carry such a connotation. They know it means rules governing conduct and decision according to what is morally right to ensure liberty, equality and justice in relationship between man and Government.
27. In view of all these discussions, I feel that the Court shall be failing in the discharge of its pious duty if like a silent spectator it allows the use of power by an authority for a purpose different from the one for which such a power is conferred by the Legislature on the authority I am convinced that in this case the power to suspend the delinquent Pradhan has been used by the Government for an ulterior motive. The power which has been vested in the Government to exercise its supervisory jurisdiction over the functioning of the Panchayat Samitis cannot be allowed to be degenerated into a medium for taking revenge from the political adversaries. In democracy Government has to play a role of an institution to serve the basic need of man and not to ride roughshod over him. In the present case, the impugned order was passed with such criminal haste that the Government forgot to enquire the stage at which the investigation into the charges levelled against the petitioner was going on. This fact is not denied by the Government that soon after the impugned order was passed the Anti-Corruption Department submitted a final report in the matter which clearly showed that no case was made out against the petitioner. If the Government had taken care in this matter before taking such a drastic step, then perhaps it might have come to the conclusion that such an order, as was passed by it, was unwarranted at that stage. These facts leave no room for doubt that the Government did not act bonafide and it was obviously a case of political vendetta. A person who was permitted for a period of three and a half years to function as a Pradhan even after the allegations levelled against him were found to be prima facie correct by the Deputy District Development Officer could not have caused any damage to his office if he were further allowed to function in his office for a few days more till the Government were satisfied about the stage of preliminary enquiry conducted by the Collector and the result of the investigation carried on by the Anti-corruption Department which, I presume, must have by then reached its final stages. The investigation department during the pendency of this petition submitted its final resport in the court of Sessions at Jodhpur, but soon after it was presented in the court the same was withdrawn on a plea that the department wanted to have a further probe in the matter. There is nothing illegal in withdrawing 'he final report from the court for making further investigation in the matter, but when I view this action of the Government in the setting of the circumstances of the present case, the inference about the malafide use of the power by the Government is further strengthened. It appears that a formidable hand in the machinery of the Government was working against the petitioner. From the totality of the circumstances placed on the record, there is no escape from conclusion that the power under Sub-section (2) of Section 40 of the Act was misused by the Government with a malafide intention to humiliate the petitioner.
28. For the reasons mentioned above, the writ petition is allowed. The order dated 15th of March, 1972, passed by the Government to the extent to which it relates to the suspension of the petitioner during the pendency of the enquiry is set aside. The Government if it chooses to do so may proceed with the enquiry into the charges levelled against the petitioner in pursuance of the charge sheet served on the petitioner under Rule 4 of the said rules.
29. The petitioner shall get his costs from the Government. The hearing fee shall be assessed at Rs. 500/-.