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The Government of Tamil Nadu and ors. Vs. R. Gopalaswamy and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit App. No. 133 of 1973
Judge
Reported inAIR1974Mad157
ActsTamil Nadu Panchayats Act - Sections 149(1)
AppellantThe Government of Tamil Nadu and ors.
RespondentR. Gopalaswamy and anr.
Excerpt:
- - thereafter, after giving notice to the panchayat union council under section 149(1) and being not satisfied with the explanation offered, in exercise of the power conferred under section 149(2) of the act, he authorised the panchayat union commissioner, sivakasi, to perform the duties mentioned and meet the relative expenses. it appears that due to the realignment of political affiliations, 31 councillors opposed the chairman, while 19 supported him, with the result that every resolution brought before the council was defeated. the order of the government, which has been quashed by the learned judge, shows that one of the materials it had before it was a letter of the collector of ramanathapuram, dated 27-2-1973. we find from the order that it was brought to the notice of the..........it said that the collector of ramanathapuram reported that the meetings of the sivakasi panchayat union council scheduled to be held on 1st january, 6th march, 4th may and 3rd june, 1972, were not held as a result the development schemes entrusted to the panchayat union could not be carried out on account of the faction in the council. thereafter, after giving notice to the panchayat union council under section 149(1) and being not satisfied with the explanation offered, in exercise of the power conferred under section 149(2) of the act, he authorised the panchayat union commissioner, sivakasi, to perform the duties mentioned and meet the relative expenses. it appears that due to the realignment of political affiliations, 31 councillors opposed the chairman, while 19 supported him, with.....
Judgment:

K. Veeraswami, C.J.

1. An order of the State Government, G.O. No. Ms. 486 Rural Development and Local Administration dated 16-3-1973, was quashed by Ramaprasada Rao, J., on the view that it was in direct conflict with the proceedings of the Director of Rural Development who is also an inspector for purposes of the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act. That order of the Director was dated 28-1-1973 and it said that the Collector of Ramanathapuram reported that the meetings of the Sivakasi Panchayat Union Council scheduled to be held on 1st January, 6th March, 4th May and 3rd June, 1972, were not held as a result the development schemes entrusted to the Panchayat Union could not be carried out on account of the faction in the Council. Thereafter, after giving notice to the Panchayat Union Council under Section 149(1) and being not satisfied with the explanation offered, in exercise of the power conferred under Section 149(2) of the Act, he authorised the Panchayat Union Commissioner, Sivakasi, to perform the duties mentioned and meet the relative expenses. It appears that due to the realignment of political affiliations, 31 Councillors opposed the Chairman, while 19 supported him, with the result that every resolution brought before the Council was defeated. The order of the Government, which has been quashed by the learned Judge, shows that one of the materials it had before it was a letter of the Collector of Ramanathapuram, dated 27-2-1973. We find from the order that it was brought to the notice of the Government that Sivakasi Panchayat Union Council was not functioning satisfactorily and effectively and the administration of the Panchayat Union Council had been paralysed because of the deadlock in the administration created by the members of the Panchayat Union Council. The order also notices the fact that 34 members of the Council met and passed a resolution supporting the dissolution of the Council with reference to the show-cause notice issued by the Government under Section 155. On a consideration of the entire material, the Government directed that the Sivakasi Panchayat Union Council be dissolved with effect from 17-3-1973 and be reconstituted with effect from 17-6-1973. The consequential notification was accordingly made. Ramaprasada Rao, J., thought that because the ground for making the two orders, one of the Director, Rural Development, and the other of the Government, is identical, there was a conflict, and since the Government order had not even taken notice of the order of the Director of Rural Development the order of the Government should be quashed.

2. We are not able to agree with that view. It is true that the ground for either of the orders is identical. But it does not follow from it that there was any conflict between the two orders. Each of them has been passed in exercise of the power conferred by the appropriate provisions of the Act.

3. Section 149 empowers the Inspector to appoint some person to perform the duties of the Panchayat, if at any time it appears to him that a Panchayat President or Executive authority or a Panchayat Union Council or its Chairman or Commissioner has made default in performing the duty imposed by or under the Act. An Inspector, of course, should make such appointment only after he had fixed a period by an order of his for the performance of such duty and there was still default in the performance of that duty. In the instant case, the order which the Director, in his capacity as Inspector, made was well within the purview of Section 149(2). But it may be noticed that the power of the Inspector is confined only to make an appointment of a person to perform the duty. If a more drastic solution is required in any contingency in addition to the appointment of a person to perform the duty, the Inspector will have power to make any order in that regard. But Section 155 gives the power to the Government to dissolve a Panchayat Union Council in certain circumstances which may be identical with the circumstances which would entitle an Inspector to act under Section 149(2). The only difference between Section 149(1) and Section 155(1) is that the latter provision speaks of 'persistently makes default in performance of duties'. The power of the Government under Section 155 in relation to persistent default in performing duties is not identical with that under Section 149(2) which authorised, as we said, an Inspector to appoint a person to perform the duties. Evidently, Section 155(1) contemplates a case where the persistent default in performing duties on the part of the Union Council calls for not merely the appointment of a person to perform the duties but also the dissolution of the Union Council itself if the facts justified it.

4. In the instant case, the party position in the Council is such that as many as 34 members were opposed to the Chairman and every resolution which was brought before the Council was defeated. In that situation, it is but to be expected that dissolution of the Panchayat Union Council was also called for, because of the deadlock in the administration caused by persistent default made by the Panchayat Union Council. Though the ground for action may be more or less the same in Section 149(1) and (2) and also Section 155(1), except for the difference that in the latter case the default should be persistent, the remedies provided by the two sections are entirely different.

5. It is contended for the first respondent that the effect of the Government order is to remove the Chairman under Section 155(1) a result which could be properly arrived at only by following the provisions relating to a no-confidence motion against the Chairman. We are unable to accept this contention as correct. The intention of the order of the Government under Section 155(1) was not to remove the Chairman, but was to dissolve the Panchayat Union Council. It may be that because of the peculiar provisions, when the Panchayat Union Council, is reconstituted, the Presidents of the Panchayats, would because of their ex-officio position, become automatically members of the reconstituted Council and the reconstituted Council will have to elect a chairman. But it does not follow that when there is a dissolution and by its effect, the Chairman goes out of office, the order of dissolution should be construed also as one of removal of the Chairman. That simply is neither the intention of the order nor the effect of Section 155(1)(a) of the Act. No one would say from the order of dissolution that it was one removing the chairman from the office. If he went out of office, it was not because he was removed by any no-confidence motion brought against him under the Rules, but because the Panchayat Union Council itself was dissolved.

6. We are told that of late this peculiar device has been adopted by the Panchayat Union Councils to get rid of unwanted Chairman by a devious process and that therefore we should not lend support to this. We are afraid that it is not for the Court to meet the situation but it is for the Legislature. We can only look into the provisions of the Act and interpret their language.

7. In that view of the matter, we allow the appeal with costs against the first respondent. Counsel's fee Rs. 100.

8. Appeal allowed.


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