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T.S. Venkataramana Aiyar and anr. Vs. Kuppuswami Aiyangar and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElection
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1930Mad954; (1930)59MLJ907
AppellantT.S. Venkataramana Aiyar and anr.
RespondentKuppuswami Aiyangar and anr.
Cases ReferredK. R. M. Singaram Chettiar v. K. Srinivasa Aiyangar I.L.R.
Excerpt:
.....the election is bad because it is based on an electoral roll not prepared according to the rules under the act. in the present case, i am informed that the trichengode union was not dissolved for its failure to carry out the provisions of the act in this matter but really for some other delinquency, so that, but for the delinquency in some other directions, the union board would have gone on disregarding the provisions of the act for many years without anybody finding fault with it. but in that act there is no section like section 51(4) of the local boards act. i set aside the order of the district judge holding that the election of the petitioners is perfectly valid and dismiss the 1st respondent's petition in the court below with costs of the petitioners both here and in the court..........an officer immediately to exercise the powers of the board and he was., directed to reconstitute a union board by arranging for elections in respect of such members as have got to be elected and they directed also the taluk board of sankari to nominate the members that have got to be nominated after the elections are over. all this is to be done as soon as possible. accordingly the special officer appointed proceeded with making arrangements for the election of members for the first ward among other elections. in this election the petitioners before me were elected. the respondent before me filed the petition o.p. no. 27 of 1929 for the purpose of setting aside the election on the ground that the electoral roll on the basis of which the election was conducted was the roll prepared for.....
Judgment:

Ramesam, J.

1. This is a revision petition against the order of the District Judge of Salem setting aside the election of the petitioner before me for the first ward of the Union of Tri-chengode in the Salem District. The facts of the case are as follows:-The Madras Government dissolved the Trichengode Union under Section 45 of the Local Boards Act and passed an order that another Board should be re-constituted. They appointed an officer immediately to exercise the powers of the Board and he was., directed to reconstitute a Union Board by arranging for elections in respect of such members as have got to be elected and they directed also the Taluk Board of Sankari to nominate the members that have got to be nominated after the elections are over. All this is to be done as soon as possible. Accordingly the Special Officer appointed proceeded with making arrangements for the election of members for the first ward among other elections. In this election the petitioners before me were elected. The respondent before me filed the petition O.P. No. 27 of 1929 for the purpose of setting aside the election on the ground that the electoral roll on the basis of which the election was conducted was the roll prepared for the year 1923-24 and no other later roll was prepared. It is said that the old electoral roll contains names of persons who are dead and of persons who are unfit to be voters and. does not contain persons who are fit to be voters. It was contended on behalf of the petitioners that that does not matter. Under Section 51(4) an electoral roll published in any year shall remain in force till the publication of a fresh electoral roll. The District Judge disallowed this contention of the petitioners before me holding that Section 51(4) applies only to cases happening in the interval between April and July of any year. The rules prescribed that a tentative list will be published on the 30th April of each year and after hearing objections, if any, the final list should be published on the 1st July. The District Judge thinks that only in the case of elections between the 30th of April and the 1st of July Clause 4 of Section 51 operates and that in all other cases where the rules are broken the election is bad because it is based on an electoral roll not prepared according to the rules under the Act. But if this were the object of the section, Clause 4 of Section 51 would not have been worded in. the very wide language in which it is framed. The learned Advocate-General who appears for the respondent and supports the order of the District Judge does not in fact contend for the very narrow construction of the learned District Judge. He contends that the object is to provide for delays in the preparation of electoral rolls when one is being prepared to carry out the obvious intentions of the; Act, and it does not apply to a case where the directions of the Act are openly disregarded and no efforts are made to prepare electoral rolls for a period of S or 6 years. There, is something to be said in favour of such a construction. At any rate it is reasonable. But where the section is worded in such a way that it gives no scope to make such distinctions, its obvious effect must be carried out. It may be that the legislature never contemplated such flagrant disobedience of the directions of the Act as it has happened in Trichengode. We do not know why they did not contemplate such disobedience. Either the legislative might have thought that some higher authority would have set it right or such instances would not happen. In the present case, I am informed that the Trichengode Union was not dissolved for its failure to carry out the provisions of the Act in this matter but really for some other delinquency, so that, but for the delinquency in some other directions, the Union Board would have gone on disregarding the provisions of the Act for many years without anybody finding fault with it. But we are not concerned with all these things. The Act says that the electoral roll published in any year, shall remain in force till the publication of a fresh electoral roll. If it is intended that such a provision should apply only during the course of the year, there is nothing to prevent the legislature from saying so, that is 'shall remain in force till the termination of that year'. The learned Advocate-General suggested that there may be some delay in the preparation of the roll for the next year. If it is intended that the provision should operate until the termination of the next year, then there is nothing to prevent the legislature from saying so, that is from saying 'shall remain in force till the termination of the next following year'. Once we begin to make distinctions of this kind, we do not know where the line is to be drawn. Until the legislature makes its intention plainer, my plain duty is to give effect to the clause of the Act. Moreover, having regard to Section 45(1) of the Government notification, the policy of the legislature is that no time should be lost in the reconstitution of another Union Board. If one is to wait for a proper electoral roll and then only to proceed with the election of the members of the Board, the Board will not be constituted immediately. Rules relating to the electoral roll say that a tentative list should be published on the 30th of April and the final list on the 1st of July. In the present case the Special Officer was appointed in November, 1928. He has to wait till July, 1929. Then thare are nominations to be made. The constitution of the Board would be delayed much longer than is contemplated by the term 'immediately' in Section 45 or in the G. O Apparently the policy of the Act is that the old electoral roll should continue in order to avoid delays of several kinds, namely, accidental delay for a few months or for a year, delay due to deliberate disobedience to the superior authorities, or gross incompetency on the part of the Union Board, etc. That is the intention of the legislature and there is no use of complaining against it. To proceed upon an antiquated electoral roll is really to deprive several voters of their votes. This may be so or may not be so; it is my duty to give effect to the section. The learned Advocate-General relied on a decision in K. R. M. Singaram Chettiar v. K. Srinivasa Aiyangar I.L.R. (1926) M. 726 : 53 M.L.J. 545.. That' case refers to election of members to a Temple Committee constituted under the Hindu Religious Endowments Act. That Act directs a register to be kept. It appears from the facts of that case that for 8 years no register has been revised and my brothers Kumaraswami Sastriar and Curgenven, JJ., held that the election was not proper. But in that Act there is no section like Section 51(4) of the Local Boards Act. The conclusion in that case can only apply to cases where there is no section. This is clear from the judgment of Curgenven, J., at page 731, where he says:

Unless there is some provision to the contrary, the validity of the election depends upon the regularity of the procedure according to which it is held....

2. Here we have got an express provision that one kind of irregularity however gross will not render an election invalid, namely, the want of a fresh electoral roll. For these reasons, I do not see any reason to limit the operation of Section 51(4) of the Local Boards Act. I set aside the order of the District Judge holding that the election of the petitioners is perfectly valid and dismiss the 1st respondent's petition in the Court below with costs of the petitioners both here and in the Court below. I also set aside the order of the District Judge directing the holding of a fresh election, after the preparation of a new electoral roll.


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