1. This case arises out of an election dispute in the Municipality of Srirangam. The petitioner in this Court Mr. R.V. Palanisami Pillai obtained 37 votes and the respondent Mr. Srinivasarangachariar 14 votes at a poll for filling up the vacancy of Councillor held on 29th September, 1923. The respondent filed an election petition contending inter alia that the petitioner's name had been wrongly entered in the electoral roll and therefore he was disqualified under Section 48(1), Madras Act V of 1920. ' No person shall be qualified for election as a Councillor unless the name of such person appears on the electoral roll....' The Subordinate Judge of Trichinopoly enquired into the petition and found that, although the petitioner's name had not been clearly entered in the preliminary roll, the matter had been taken before the revising authority and his claim for registration had been admitted, Exs. D, DI. But the revising authority under Rule 7 of the Rules for the Preparation of Electoral Rolls shall be the Chairman and two unofficial gentlemen nominated by the Collector and such authority shall sit in open Court. The order admitting the claim (Ex. DI) is signed by the Chairman and one unofficial gentleman. Therefore the learned Subordinate Judge has held that the revision was ultra vires, and has accordingly unseated the petitioner Mr.Palanisami Pillai as being an unqualified candidate. The petitioner does not now traverse this finding on its merits, but contends that the Judge inquiring into the dispute cannot go behind the electoral roll which is final. He relies upon Rule 8(e) of the Rules for the Preparation of Electoral Rolls. 'No failure to observe the dates prescribed in these rules or to observe other directions regarding the preparation of the electoral roll shall entitle any one to question the validity and conclusiveness of the registers in election proceedings.' As observed in his Order of Reference by Wallace J, who originally heard this civil revision petition, this rule would settle the question were there no ambiguity as to the meaning of the word ' preparation ' which is sometimes in these rules themselves used to include revision, and sometimes to describe the preliminary stage before revision. Thus when the Act itself (V of 1920) Section 44(1) enjoins that 'The Chairman shall annually prepare and publish an electoral roll,' both ' preparation and revision ' are obviously included in the term ' prepare.' So too in rules ' preparation, claims and objections, revising authority and final publication' all fall under the main heading 'Rules for the Preparation of Electoral Rolls in Municipalities ' and ' preparation ' in this main heading must be used in a comprehensive sense. The sub-head ' preparation,' in Rules 1 to 3, is in the restricted sense and refers entirely to the preparation of the preliminary roll. Compare Rule 3(b). Next come claims and objections and revising authority still under the main general heading of 'preparation.' Then under the sub-head ' final publication' comes the rule in question 8 (e) ' failure to observe directions regarding the preparation of the electoral roll shall not entitle any one to question the collusiveness of the register.' Taken by itself this must mean the general preparation and publication, for there could obviously be no sense in giving special finality to the preliminary preparation of the roll, the revision of which is expressly provided for. But in 8 (f) ' the preparation, revision and publication of the electoral roll may take place on such dates, etc.,' preparation is undoubtedly used as meaning preliminary preparation. While in 8 (g) ' None of the officers entrusted with the preparation of the rolls shall be held legally liable for their completeness of accuracy' the word 'preparation ' must again refer to the whole process, for it would be absurd to relieve from liability the officers who make the preliminary preparation but to deny the same relief to those engaged in the revision and publication. It must be taken therefore that 'preparation' is used both in a general and in a restricted sense in different portions of the same rules and we find that in Rule 8 (e) 'preparation' is in the general sense and includes the action of the revising authority.
2. It was further contended on behalf of the respondent that election proceedings in Rule 8(e) is not intended to include an inquiry into an election dispute. No such distinction is to be found in the Act or Rules, and the word 'proceedings' is of the widest import and may well include an inquiry into an election dispute. The rules for decision of disputes are drawn up by virtue of the authority conveyed by Section 303(2)(b) 'he may make rules with reference to all matters relating to elections,' and an inquiry held under rules must be regarded as an election proceeding.
3. Accordingly the validity and collusiveness of the register cannot be questioned in these proceedings, and the petitioner Mr. R.V. Palanisami Pillai must be held to have been duly elected. The Civil Revision Petition is allowed with costs throughout.