1. The short question that arises for consideration in this appeal against the judgment of Srinivasan J. is whether the meeting held for the purpose for passing a "no confidence" motion against the President of Kodinkadr Panchayat at a place different form the office of the Panchayat would by reason of that circumstance alone, be invalid. The appellant was the president of the said Panchayat. Certain of its members tabled a motion expressing want of confidence in notice under S. 152 of the Panchayats Act fixed the village temple as the venue of the meeting for the purpose. It is not disputed that the Panchayat has got its own office. The meeting of the members of the Panchayat was, however, not held there but at the temple. At the meeting eight out of nine members of the Panchayat were present and the appellant the president of the Panchayat, was also one among the present. The meeting duly passed the resolution expressing want of confidence in the president. The latter applied to this court under Art. 226 of the Constitution to quash the resolution and the notification removing him from the office of the president, on the ground that the meeting at which the resolution was passed was illegal inasmuch as it was held at a place different form the office of the Panchayat.
(2) Section 152(4) of the Act which deals with the place of meeting states that
"the Tahsildar shall after the expiry of the period of notice issued under sub-section (3) convene a meeting for ht e consideration of the motion at the office of the Panchayat at a time appointed by him."
Srinivasan J. was of the opinion that the statutory provisions above mentioned could be regarded only as directory and that when the Tahsildar fixed the place different form the office of the Panchayat for holding the meeting, it was a mere irregularity and the being thus nothing so illegal as to vitiate the proceedings. In that view the learned Judge dismissed the application filed by the appellant.
(3) We are with respect unable to share the view that the provisions of S. 152(4) of the Panchayats Act are not mandatory. The section employs the words. "The Tahsildar shall......................................." which prima facie mean that the intention or the legislature was that the provisions contained therein should be mandatory. The section lays down a wholesome rule that where there is an office for the Panchayat a meeting of the Panchayat, to fix, at his choice, any other place for the meting. To permit a meeting at a different place at the whim of the person convening, would besides being inconvenient to the members, even lead to an abuse of the power.
The learned Additional Government Pleader has invited our attention to the decision of Veeraswami J. in Subbai Goundar v. Nachimuthu Goundar, 1962-1 Mad LJ 307. That case was concerned with the validity of the election of the President of a Panchayat at a meeting held in a place different for the office premises of the Panchayat Rule 2(1) of the rules formed under the madras Village Panchayats Act, 1950 provides for the election of the president etc, and prescribed that such election shall be held in the office of the Panchayat where there is one and in case there is no such office at a conspicuous place in the village. The rule by its very terms permits the holding of the meeting for election of the president at a place different from the office of the Panchayat. That would indicate that the intention on the part of the rule-making authority was that the holding of the meting at a place different from the office of the Panchayat would not be illegal.
Again in W. A. No. 120 of 1963 (Mad) a Bench of this court to which one of us was a party, held that where the was no evidence of the existence of a building occupied by the office of the Panchayat, the meeting held at the village temple as per mamool would not vitiate its proceedings. But the case before us is different. There is an office of the Panchayat where the meeting could be held; it is said that the building is in a dilapidated condition and in unhygenic surroundings. The latter defect is one which could have been remedied. The characterisation of the building as dilapidated is too vague to be accepted. Even otherwise we are of opinion that having regard to the provisions of S. 152(4) of the Act, the meeting convened for the purpose of passing a resolution expressing want of confidence in the president of the Panchayat should be held only at the premises of the Panchayat office. We are no doubt conscious of the fact that in some circumstances it may not be possible to do so. That is a defect which the legislature should remedy.
(4) The appellant participated in the proceedings of the meeting, did not however raise any objection that the meeting was not convened in accordance with the provisions of the statute. Under these circumstances we consider that the appellant should not be allowed to object to it in proceedings under Art. 226 the issue of a writ being purely discretionary. In this view, we affirm the judgment of Srinivasan J. and dismiss the appeal. No costs.