Venkatasubba Rao, J.
1. A candidate had to be elected to represent Nadandla Circle on the Narasaraopet Taluk Board. In respect of that single vacancy, there were three candidates for election, the plaintiff and the 2nd defendant being two of them. The election was to be held on the 13th August, 1928, and the nomination papers were to be presented on the 17th July between 5 and 6 p.m. The President of the Taluk Board rejected the nomination of the plaintiff as invalid, who, thereupon, has instituted the present suit to obtain a declaration that he was validly nominated and an injunction restraining the former from holding the election.
2. There were ten nomination papers and four out of them are material to the present enquiry. They are the following:
Serial Time of Candidate Proposer. SeconderNo. presentation.2 5-4 p.m. 2nd Deft. S. Subbiah D. Sriramulu5 5-6 p.m. Plaintiff D. Sriramulu P. Tirupathi-rayudu.6 5-6 p.m. Plaintiff G. Amariah S. Subbiah10 5-59 p.m. Plaintiff G. Amariah K. Venkiah
3. This table shows that the plaintiff's name was proposed by Sriramulu in Paper No. 5, but that same person had, as seconder, also subscribed the earlier Paper No. 2 relating to the 2nd defendant. Again, Subbiah who seconded the nomination of the plaintiff in Paper No. 6 had as proposer subscribed the 2nd defendant's paper, that being the nomination received earlier by the President. Under the Rules for the Conduct of Elections, Nomination Papers Nos. 5 and 6 were rejected by the President as invalid. So far, his decision is correct and cannot be questioned. I reproduce below the relevant rules.
2. (1) The nomination of every candidate shall be made by means of a nomination paper in Form No. 1, which shall, on application, be supplied free by the President to any elector whose name is on the electoral roll for the circle or ward.
(2) Every nomination paper shall be subscribed by two such electors as proposer and seconder and the candidate shall subscribe a declaration on it expressing his willingness to stand for election.
3. (a) The same elector may subscribe as many nomination papers as there are vacancies to be filled but no more. Each candidate shall be nominated by a separate nomination paper.
(b) Where a person has subscribed whether as proposer or seconder a larger number of nomination papers than there are vacancies to be filled those of the papers so subscribed which have been first received up to the number of vacancies to be filled shall be deemed to be valid.
(c) The rejection of a nomination paper of any candidate on the ground of any irregularity in respect thereof shall not affect the validity of the nomination of the candidate if the candidate has been duly nominated by means of another nomination paper in respect of which no irregularity has been committed.
4. The President also rejected the nomination paper No. 10 on the ground that the moment Amariah subscribed Paper No. 6 his right became completely exhausted and that he had no further right to sign his name on any subsequent nomination paper. The District Munsif held that the President's view was wrong but the District Judge reversed the decision of the Munsif. In my opinion, the ruling of the President cannot be supported. The effect of the rules quoted above is, to enact that no voter shall be at liberty to nominate more candidates than there are vacancies; for example, if there are three vacancies and five candidates, each voter may validly nominate three of the aspirants and the reason is plain; he may want all the three to succeed and in his conduct in nominating as many as three, there is no possible inconsistency. What is sought to be prevented by the rules is, that no voter shall nominate a larger number of candidates than there are vacancies. Why should a voter be forbidden to subscribe more than one nomination paper in favour of the same candidate? Take another instance. Supposing there are three vacancies; it is not suggested that a voter may not sign three papers proposing or seconding the same candidate. If that can be validly done when there are three vacancies, why must a different rule be observed when there is a single vacancy? In this case, Amariah, it must be noted, proposed the plaintiff and not a different candidate in Paper No. 6. In other words, the papers subscribed by Amariah are undoubtedly more in number than there are vacancies; but, what really matters is, there was but one vacancy and he put forward but one candidate. I am of the opinion that the rules must be reasonably construed, for, the view contended for by the respondent leads to an absurdity.
5. The language of these rules is borrowed from certain English enactments and it is noteworthy that there is not a single reported case on the point. That shows beyond a doubt that such a meaning as is urged for the respondent has never before been contended for. In short, Rule 3(a) means--the same elector may nominate as proposer or seconder only as many candidates as there are vacancies but no more... Rule 3(b) is a corollary of Rule 3(a). It means--no elector can validly nominate more candidates than there are vacancies. If these rules are read in that sense, they give rise to no difficulty. That is their natural, proper and reasonable interpretation.
6. Another point has been taken by the respondent. He contends that the plaintiff has no right of suit. This point is covered by authority, see Sarvothama Rao v. Chairman, Municipal Council, Saidapet : AIR1923Mad475 . Both the Lower Courts have rightly rejected this contention. The respondent's earned Counsel refers to Rule 33 which reads thus:
If any difficulty arises as to the holding of any election under these rules, the Local Government; may by order do anything not inconsistent with these rules which appears to them to be necessary for the proper holding of the election.
7. I fail to see how this takes away the right of action which the plaintiff undoubtedly possesses. The Local Government has not made any order under this rule and the plaintiff's right of suit subsists.
8. In the result, I reverse the decision of the Lower Appellate Court and restore that of the District Munsif with costs throughout to be paid by the 2nd defendant.