Venkataramana Rao, J.
1. The question for decision in this appeal is whether the order of the Collector of Trichinopoly removing the appellant from the office of the Village Munsif of Bikshandar Koil is valid. The relevant facts are few and not in dispute. On 3rd November, 1937 an application was made to the Judge of the Court of Small Causes, Trichinopoly, for a transfer of Suit 1 of 1937 on the file of the Bikshandar Koil Village Court filed by Mookka Nadar against Lakshmayi Ammal. The application for transfer was made by Lakshmayi Ammal and she obtained a stay order on 4th November, 1937 directing the Village Munsif not to proceed with the trial of the suit which was posted for 5th November, 1937. In Spite of the stay order which is alleged to have been communicated to him on the 5th, the appellant went on with the suit and decreed it. Thereupon an application was made for revision of the decree and the learned Judge of the Court of Small Causes, Trichinopoly, set aside the decree of the Village Munsif under Section 73 of the Village Courts Act holding that the appellant in spite of the notice of the stay order went on with the suit and passed the decree. He also came to the conclusion that the Village Munsif was guilty of misconduct and reported the matter to the District Judge of Trichinopoly under Section 74 of the Village Courts Act. On 4th April, 1938 the learned District Judge wrote a letter to. the Collector of Trichinopoly observing that he saw no reason to differ from the Judge of the Court of Small Causes and requesting him to take necessary action against the Village Munsif under Section 8 of the Act. On receipt of that letter the Collector gave notice to the appellant to show cause why he should not be removed for misconduct. Before the Collector the appellant tried to argue that the finding of the Court of Small Causes was wrong. The Collector, having regard to the provisions of Section 8 of the Act, thought that he could not go behind that finding and all that he was required to do under the Act was to assess the punishment and the proper punishment he could award was removal of the appellant from his office. It is against this order that the appellant has preferred this appeal.
2. It Is contended by Mr. Muthukrishna Aiyar on his behalf that the order of the Collector was wrong and that in any event the appellant should have been heard either by the Collector or by the District Judge and an opportunity should have been given to him to vindicate his innocence. Section 8 of the Village Courts Act runs thus:
The Collector of the District may suspend or remove a Village Munsif for incapacity, neglect of duty, misconduct or other just and sufficient cause, and shall do so, on a requisition passed by the District Judge for like cause appearing in the judicial proceedings of a Village Court.
From every order (of suspension or removal) an appeal may be made within three months to the Board of Revenue, if the order was passed by the Collector without orders from the District Judge, or to the High Court, if passed upon such orders. The decision of the Board of Revenue or High Court as the case may be, on all such appeals shall be final.
3. Giving the language of the section its plain and grammatical meaning, the view taken by the Collector is correct. Once the Collector receives a requisition from the District Judge calling upon him to act under the section, the power vested in him under the section is only in regard to the punishment whether in the circumstances of the case he should pass an order of suspension or removal. This view is strengthened by the use of the words 'orders from the District Judge' occurring in the second clause of the section. The use of the word 'may' in regard to an action taken by the Collector himself as contrasted with the use of the word 'shall' in regard to an action taken on a requisition from the District Judge clearly indicates that in the one case he has got a discretion, whereas in the other, he has not. But it seems to us nevertheless that the order of the Collector cannot be sustained. When a report is made by a District Munsif under Section 74 to the District Judge, the Act does not provide what the District Judge should do before making a requisition to the Collector to act under Section 8 of the Act. In the absence of such a procedure, having regard to the nature of the requisition, he must act according to principles of natural justice. They require that no person shall be subject to a final judgment or punishment without an opportunity of being heard unless the Legislature has either expressly or impliedly given authority to act without that necessary preliminary. There is nothing in the provisions of the Act which dispenses with that necessary preliminary. Before the District Judge makes up his mind to send a requisition, it is his duty to give notice to the Village Munsif to show cause why he should not recommend to the Collector that action should be taken against him under Section 8 of the Act and hear him, and if he offers any evidence, receive and consider it. In this case there was no doubt a petition submitted to him by the Village Munsif to the effect that the finding of the Court of Small Causes was not proper. The learned District Judge also says that he considered the grounds alleged in the petition. But that is not enough. Having come to the conclusion that he must take action, he must have given notice to the Village Munsif and called upon him to urge what he could against the finding of the Court of Small Causes. The fact that an appeal is provided against the order of suspension or dismissal shows that there should be a judicial determination of the question of misconduct to which the appellant must be a party. The finding in this case of the Judge of the Court of Small Causes with which the District Judge agreed was arrived at in a proceeding to which the appellant was not a party.
4. We are therefore of the opinion that the order of the Collector must be set aside and that the learned District Judge should be directed to give notice to the Village Munsif, Bikshandar Koil, to show cause why he should not recommend to the Collector to take action against him under Section 8 of the Act. The learned District Judge will hear and examine witnesses whom the appellant, if he thinks necessary, may produce. We accordingly set aside the order of the Collector, send the papers back to him directing him to forward the same to the learned District Judge for necessary action in the light of the observations contained in the judgment; we make no order as to costs.