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In Re: V. Chakkarai Chettiar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 430 of 1952
Judge
Reported inAIR1953Mad96; (1952)2MLJ894
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226
AppellantIn Re: V. Chakkarai Chettiar
Advocates:S. Mohan Kumara Mangalam, Adv.
DispositionApplication dismissed
Cases ReferredReg v. Briggs
Excerpt:
.....council - quo-warranto can be filed for protecting fundamental rights - fundamental rights are personal rights - personal rights of petitioner not affected by nomination and he was not entitled to question validity of nomination - application dismissed. - - ' this principle has been very clearly stated by hughes j, in -macabe v. atchison',(1914) 235 us 151 in these words :it is an elementary principle that in order to justify the granting of this extraordinary relief, complainant's need of it and the absence of an adequate remedy at law must clearly appear. it is the fact, clearly established) of injury to the complainant -not to others -which justifies judicial interference. at page 797 of the report remarked :it is a very well known form of process and an effective weapon in..........even for protecting the fundamental rights. the fundamental rights mentioned in chapter iii are rights personal and direct to a citizen and for the protection of such right resort can be had to the writ of quo warranto under article 32 of the constitution. in the same manner the writ in the nature of quo warranto is mentioned in article 226. 'that being so, there is no force in the contention that if the intendment of article 226 is only the protection of the rights guaranteed in chapter iii, there is no point in mentioning quo warranto in that article. hence the line of distinction relied upon by the counsel for the applicant is therefore not available to him. the distinction sought to be made is not a sound one. it must be remembered that the decision of the bench in -- 're p......
Judgment:
ORDER

Chandra Reddi, J.

1. This application is by a member of the Legislative Council to call upon the respondent to show cause why writ in the nature of Quo Warranto should not be issued against him to show by what authority he claims to bo a member of the Madras Legislative Council. Through the medium of this writ, the applicant calls in question the validity of the nomination of the respondent made by His Excellency the Governor of Madras on the 31st March 1952 in G.O. Ms. No. 1005 Public (Elections). The subject matter of these proceedings runs as follows:

'In pursuance of Clauses (3)(e) and (5) of Article 171 of the Constitution of India, I, Sri Prakasa, Governor of Madras, hereby nominate the following persons to be members of the Madras Legislative Council:

1. Sri Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari,

2. Janab Mahammad Usman,

3. Sri Vellapuram Bhashyam Aiyangar,

4. Sri Omandur P. Ramaswami Reddiar.'

2. The applicant urges that this order nominating the respondent is invalid for two reasons: (1) that this is virtually a fraud of the powers conferred by the Constitution on the Governor, because the Governor by nominating the respondent wanted to assist the Congress Legislature Party; and (2) that the Governor could not exercise the power of making the nomination under Article 171, Clauses (3) (e) and (5) of the Constitution except on the advice of the Council of Ministers and having regard to the fact that by the date of the nomination the new ministry was not formed, the Governor could not have had the benefit of the advice of the Council of Ministers.

3. Before I examine the soundness of these contentions, I have first of all to see whether the petitioner has 'locus standi' to maintain this application. Attacking the validity of this very nomination, a petition was filed (-- 'In re P. Ramamoorthi', W. P. No. 244 of 1952 (Mad)) by one Ramamurthi, an elected member of the Legislative Assembly. The grounds of attack on the nomination of the respondent by His Excellency the Governor in that petition are the same as in the present one. A Bench of this court consisting of the Chief Justice and Venkatarama Aiyar J. rejected that petition on the ground that the petitioner therein could not maintain that petition, as there was no infraction of his personal right.

4. Mr. Mohan Kumara Mangalam in support of this petition argues that this decision has no application to this case for the reason that the principles that govern the issue of a writ of certiorari are different from those applicable to a proceeding for information in the nature of a quo warranto. On this basis he seeks to distinguish the decision of the Bench in -- 'W. P. No. 244 of 1952 (Mad)' and urges that information in the nature of Quo warranto can be filed even at the instance of a private relator, who has no interest in the office in respect of which he seeks that relief. According to him, Article 226 enables a citizen of India to ask for the issue of such a writ in order to have the right of a person to an office determined, in the interest of the public, although he has no personal or direct interest in the matter. It is argued by him that if there was no distinction between a writ in the nature of a Quo warranto and other writs mentioned in Article 226, no useful purpose was served by introducing that writ into Article 226, because in no case in which information in the nature of Quo warranto is sought is a relator personally or directly interested. I am not very much impressed with this argument. There may be cases in which an applicant seeking that relief may be interested; but that need not detain me here long. An answer to that contention can be found in the provision of Article 32 of the Constitution Act. Article 32(2) enacts:

'The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari whichever may be appropriate, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by this Part.'

So under Article 32 information in the nature of quo warranto can be filed even for protecting the fundamental rights. The fundamental rights mentioned in Chapter III are rights personal and direct to a citizen and for the protection of such right resort can be had to the writ of quo warranto under Article 32 of the Constitution. In the same manner the Writ in the nature of Quo warranto is mentioned in Article 226. 'That being so, there is no force in the contention that if the intendment of Article 226 is only the protection of the rights guaranteed in Chapter III, there is no point in mentioning Quo warranto in that Article. Hence the line of distinction relied upon by the Counsel for the applicant is therefore not available to him. The distinction sought to be made is not a sound one. It must be remembered that the decision of the Bench in -- 'Re P. Ramamoorthi', WP No. 244 of 1952 (Mad) is not confined to the issue' of a writ of certiorari. There the proposition is stated that the jurisdiction of this court under Article 226 can be invoked only by a person, who has suffered a personal injury. The writ of Quo warranto, being one of the writs mentioned in Article 226 falls, in my opinion, within the purview of the decision of the Bench. I do not propose to go at this stage into the history of this ancient writ which is the foundation of the present day information in the nature of Quo warranto prior to the framing of the Constitution.

5. In this context. I may refer to the observations of the Supreme Court in -- 'Cha-rantit Lal Chowdhury v. Union of India 1951 SCJ 29 :

'It has been held in a number of cases in the United States of America that no one except those whose rights are directly affected by a law can raise the Question of the constitutionality of that law.'

This principle has been very clearly stated by Hughes J, in -- 'Macabe v. Atchison', (1914) 235 US 151 in these words :

'It is an elementary principle that in order to justify the granting of this extraordinary relief, complainant's need of it and the absence of an adequate remedy at law must clearly appear. The complainant cannot succeed because someone else may be hurt. Nor does it make any difference that other persons who may be injured are persons of the same race or occupation. It is the fact, clearly established) of injury to the complainant -- not to others -- which justifies judicial interference.'

6. In -- 'Charanjitlal Chowdhury v. Union of India', 1951 SCJ 29, the validity of the Sholapur Spinning and Weaving Co. (Emergency Provisions) Act passed by Parliament was impugned by a holder of a share in the company by moving for a writ of mandamus and certain other reliefs under Article 32 of the Constitution. The opinion expressed by the Supremo Court was that an individual shareholder was not entitled to challenge the validity of the enactment, which affects the fundamental rights of the company, except to the extent that it constitutes an infraction of his rights.

7. It may not be out of place to quote what Crompton J. said in -- 'Reg v. Briggs', (1864) 11 LT372 that,

'the object of having a relator who has an interest is that a mere man of straw should not be put forward; but surely in such a case as this an owner of property in the town has an interest.'

8. Mr. Mohan Kumara Mangalam invited my attention to some cases as substantiating the proposition that information i.n the nature of Quo warranto can lie at the instance of a private relator, who has no interest therein. I do not think the cases cited by him have much bearing because it has not been decided in any of these cases that a relator need not have any interest in the matter. In fact, one of the cases relied upon by him, viz., -- 'In re Banwarilal Roy', 48 Cal WN 766 contains some observations, which are far from being helpful to him. Das J. at page 797 of the report remarked :

'It is a very well known form of process and an effective weapon in the judicial armoury for the protection of the rights and franchise alike of the Crown and the subjects.'

9. It was next argued by Mr. Mohan Kumara Mangalam that the expression 'and for any other purpose' lends support to his contention that even for the purpose of agitating public questions, the applicant can resort to the process of Quo warranto mentioned in Article 226. I do not think that that expression can be interpreted to mean a purpose other than protection of the legal rights of a person. Courts are only for the purpose of adjudicating upon legal rights of persons and it is not their province to decide questions of academic importance. I think the jurisdiction under Article 226 can be invoked only by or at the instance of a person, who has suffered a legal injury at the hands of the executive Government of the State or some tribunal and the rights under the Article are personal and direct.

10. It was alternatively contended on behalf of the applicant that the nomination of the respondent has affected the personal rights of the applicant. It is argued that the nomination of the respondent being unauthorised and invalid, the respond_ent is in the position of a stranger intruding into the House and as such it affects the personaj rights of the applicant. This point has not been mentioned in the petition. Even otherwise, I do not think there is much substance in this. Assuming that the nomination of the respondent is invalid, it cannot be said that there is any invasion of the personal rights of the applicant. I fail to see how he is aggrieved by this. None of his rights, which are of a legal character, arc affected by the nomination of the respondent herein.

11. So long as the personal rights of the petitioner are not affected and he is not aggrieved by the nomination of the respondent, he is not, in my opinion, entitled to question the validity of the nomination. This obviates the necessity to canvass now whether the nomination is valid or not and to go into the power of His Excellency the Governor to nominate the respondent under the circumstances alleged in the petition.

12. Learned counsel for the petitioner wanted permission to amend this application into one under Article 225 and argue it on that basis. I think it is too late now to grant the request. I do not feel called upon to permit the petitioner to amend the application into one under Article 225 of the Constitution at this stage.

13. In the circumstances, I decline to issue the Writ nisi and the application is dismissed.


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