Skip to content


The Inspector of Municipal Councils and Local Boards Vs. Alahari Venkatanarasimham and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContract
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1934Mad140; 147Ind.Cas.1052; (1934)66MLJ233
AppellantThe Inspector of Municipal Councils and Local Boards
RespondentAlahari Venkatanarasimham and anr.
Excerpt:
.....i feel is that now when it is all over i can do them (that is the petitioners) no good. as the learned judge himself says, the order which was made could do the petitioner no..........boards in accordance with the provisions of the madras local boards act an officer called the district election officer was in september and october, 1932, engaged in preparing the electoral roll for the kavali taluk. under section 52 of the act one of the qualifications for the right of voting at a taluk board or a district board election is holding land on a written lease or demise under a ryotwari pattadar or inamdar or any tenant under such pattadar or inamdar. the petitioner put in objections before the district election officer that certain persons had been admitted to the electoral roll as lessees under that qualification, who really had not that qualification. such objections may be put in under rule 11 of the rules for the preparation of electoral rolls for local boards,.....
Judgment:

Reilly, J.

1. This is an appeal against an order of Stone, J., dated the 16th November, 1932, which purports to have been made under Section 45 of the Specific Relief Act. The Petitioners before the learned Judge were one A. Venkatanarasimham and one Pera Reddi. On examination of the records it appears that Pera Reddi never attempted to support the application by any affidavit, nor is there anything in the record to show how he was interested in the matter. So far as he was concerned, the application was clearly incompetent. Venkatanarasimham, whom I shall call the Petitioner, intended to stand for an election to the Taluk Board of Kavali and the District Board of Nellore. Under the rules made by the Government for the preparation of electoral rolls for Local Boards in accordance with the provisions of the Madras Local Boards Act an officer called the District Election Officer was in September and October, 1932, engaged in preparing the electoral roll for the Kavali Taluk. Under Section 52 of the Act one of the qualifications for the right of voting at a Taluk Board or a District Board election is holding land on a written lease or demise under a ryotwari pattadar or inamdar or any tenant under such pattadar or inamdar. The Petitioner put in objections before the District Election Officer that certain persons had been admitted to the electoral roll as lessees under that qualification, who really had not that qualification. Such objections may be put in under Rule 11 of the Rules for the Preparation of Electoral Rolls for Local Boards, and those objections under the rules have to be heard and disposed of by the Election Officer. The District Election Officer in this case heard the Petitioner's objections and overruled them. The Petitioner under Rule 12 had then a right of appeal to an appellate authority, and he took advantage of that right and preferred appeals against the orders of the. District Election Officer. Before those appeals had been disposed of or even came on for hearing, the Petitioner took out a notice of motion in this Court for hearing on the 26th October, 1932, praying for an order under Chap. VIII of the Specific Relief Act that 'the Inspector of Municipal Councils and Local Boards be prohibited from interfering with the powers of Election Officers and appellate tribunals therefrom to deal with claims and objections presented before them according to law by his Circular No. 13, dated 2nd January, 1932.' The ground urged by the Petitioner for that motion was that the District Election Officer in disposing of the Petitioner's objections had felt himself bound by that circular and that the Deputy Inspector of Municipal Councils and Local Boards, who was the authority to dispose of the Petitioner's appeals, would also be influenced by that circular, which the Petitioner alleged was ultra vires. The circular was issued by the Inspector of Municipal Councils and Local Boards, who was made Respondent to the Petitioner's application now under appeal, and was issued from his office in Madras on the 2nd January, 1932. It is headed 'Subject: Electoral Rolls--Preparation of--Admissibility of claims received late--Instructions issued,' and runs:

The District Election Officers, Chingleput, Kistna and West Godavari have raised the following question for orders:(1) Whether any inquiry should be held in villages in connection with the plethora of printed and other kind of leases that are being presented to them.

2. Then follow two other questions with which we are not concerned. Then comes paragraph 2 of the circular:

No fresh inquiry in the villages concerned is necessary in respect of belated applications for registering as lessees. Such leases as to whose genuineness there is no question should be simply accepted. Others about which there is ground for suspicion should be returned to the claimants to re-submit them with a certificate from the Village Headman or Karnam concerned stating that the lease is genuine. Where leases are produced along with the certificate (referred to above) they should be accepted.

3. With the rest of the circular we are not concerned; but it may be noted that it was addressed to all District Election Officers and Deputy Inspectors of Local Boards. I understand that the Deputy Inspectors, of whom there were then four, had been empowered to exercise the functions of the appellate authority under Rule 12 of the Rules for the Preparation of Electoral Rolls for Local Boards. Referring to that circular Stone, J. said in his judgment. 'I ... must prohibit its future issue in its present directory form.' With respect I do not understand that statement in the judgment. So far as I understand the matter, there was no question of any future issue of the circular. The circular had already been issued ten months earlier. However, the conclusion of the learned Judge's judgement was 'The application accordingly succeeds'; and on that judgment an order was drawn up and issued from this Court to the following effect:

It is ordered as follows:(1) That the Inspector of Municipal Councils and Local Boards, Mount Road, Madras, the Respondent herein, his servants and agents be restrained by an injunction from interfering in future with the powers of Election Officers and appellate tribunals therefrom to deal with claims and objections presented before them according to law, by his circular No. 13, dated the 2nd day of January, 1932, in its present directory form.

4. Against that order the Inspector has appealed.

5. It is not disputed before us by the learned Advocate-General, who appears for the Inspector, that the District Election Officers in disposing of objections under Rule 11 to entries; in the electoral rolls and the appellate authorities who hear appeals from their decisions are in performing those functions acting judicially. For the Inspector of Municipal Councils and Local Boards or any one else to attempt to interfere with the exercise by those officers of their judicial functions would be obviously and very seriously improper. But before the learned Judge it appears to have been represented for the Inspector that in issuing the circular and in the part of it which I have quoted the Inspector meant only to give advice to District Election Officers and to the appellate authorities; and Stone, J., I understand from his judgment, accepted that explanation. About that all I need say perhaps is that the wording of the Inspector's circular in the paragraph I have quoted, if intended as a vehicle merely of advice, was singularly unhappy, indeed misleading. And I may add that in the Inspector's affidavit, which was filed in the . proceedings before the learned Judge, he said that 'the said circular was in the nature of a general executive direction to District Election Officers and Deputy Inspectors of Local Boards to treat the certificate of a village officer that a lease is genuine as prima facie evidence of the genuineness of a lease'. That appears to go distinctly beyond mere advice. But I am quite ready to accept the assurance of the Inspector that by his circular he had no intention whatever of doing anything so outrageous as to shut out any evidence, which any party interested might wish to lay before the District Election Officers, or to tie the hands of the District Election Officers or the appellate authorities in the exercise of their judicial functions. And we have been informed by the learned Advocate-General that since Stone, J.'s order was made the Inspector has withdrawn the circular in question. In that I may say that in my opinion the Inspector was well advised.

6. However, that does not dispose of the Inspector's appeal against the learned Judge's order. In my opinion, without discussing every possible aspect of the matter, there are at least three reasons why the learned Judge's order could not legally be made. Apart from the question whether future interference with Election Officers and appellate authorities in general in the language used by the order could be regarded as a 'specific act,' from which the Inspector could be directed to forbear within the meaning of Section 45 of the Specific Relief Act, which appears to me very doubtful, it has to be noticed that the jurisdiction of this Court under that section of the Specific Relief Act is confined to acts done or to be done within the limits of the Ordinary Original Civil Jurisdiction of the Court. It appears that the Inspector has his office in Madras, and we may infer that his circular was issued from his office in Madras. But the interference by that circular with the functions of District Election Officers, which the order purported to prohibit, could never take place within the limits of the Ordinary Original Civil Jurisdiction of this Court, because, as is admitted, District Election Officers perform their functions in the mufassal, outside the limits of the Ordinary Original Civil Jurisdiction of this Court; and of the four appellate authorities, the Deputy Inspectors of Municipal Councils and Local Boards, we are informed that three of them exercise their functions in the mufassal. To attempt to prohibit the Inspector from doing anything, to interfere with the functions of the District Election Officers or of those three appellate officers who exercise their functions in the mufassal, however laudable, would obviously be to transgress the jurisdiction given to this Court under Section 45 of the Specific Relief Act.

7. Secondly, no order can be made under that section if the applicant has other specific and adequate legal remedy. The Petitioner, as I understand the position, was aggrieved because his objections to entries in the electoral roll had been overruled by the District Election Officer, and against that grievance the law had provided him with a specific remedy. Mr. Swaminatha Aiyar, who appears for the Petitioner, has suggested before us that that was not the Petitioner's grievance, that his grievance was, not that his objections had been overruled by the District Election Officer, but that the Election Officer had overruled them by reason of, and being influenced by, the Inspector's circular. His grievance, he urges, was against the circular and not against the Election Officer's order, and therefore he came to this Court to relieve him of his grievance against the circular. But that circular touched him, if it touched him at all, only because, as he alleged, it had influenced the Election Officer in his decision. If in spite of that circular the Election Officer had decided to uphold the Petitioner's objections, obviously the Petitioner would have had no grievance at all. It would not have mattered to him if there had been fifty such circulars. Surely the only reasonable view of the position is that the Petitioner's grievance, if he had a grievance, was that a decision had been made against him. If a decision is made against a litigant, his grievance lies in that decision, not in the reasons which may have led the Judge to make that decision. If the law gives him a remedy against his grievance, the remedy is against the decision, not against the eloquence or the arguments of his opponent's counsel, which may have led to that decision, nor against the text-books which the Judge may have consulted, even if they are obsolete and inaccurate. In this case the Petitioner's grievance clearly was that a decision had been given against him by the Election Officer. Against that decision the law had provided him with a specific remedy, a right of appeal, and that right of appeal he had exercised. Mr. Swaminatha Aiyar suggests that on account of this circular, which had been issued by the Inspector, he was afraid that that right of appeal might not be of any use to him: in fact, the Petitioner was quite sure that his appeals were going to be decided against him. But the words of Clause (a) of Section 45 of the Specific Relief Act are 'provided that the applicant has no other specific and adequate legal remedy'. There is nothing about a remedy which the applicant believes will be efficacious or a remedy by which the applicant expects to get what he wants. If the remedy is there, as the right of appeal was there in this case, an application under Section 45 of the Act is barred. The Petitioner's estimate of his chances of getting what he wants by that remedy is wholly irrelevant. In my opinion, the right of appeal, which the Petitioner had against the District Election Officer's order and which indeed he was exercising, was a complete bar to his application to this Court under Section 45 of the Specific Relief Act.

8. Thirdly, no order can be made by the Court under that section unless the remedy given by the order applied for will be complete. It is one of the most curious features of this case that it is admitted on all sides that the remedy given by the order made in this case could not be complete. The learned Judge in his judgment says:

The trouble I feel is that now when it is all over I can do them (that is the Petitioners) no good.

9. By the time the learned Judge made his order on the 16th November, 1932, the Petitioner's appeals to the Deputy Inspector had been disposed of. The Deputy Inspector, so far as those appeals were concerned, could never be affected again by the Inspector's circular. If he ever was affected in disposing of those appeals, that was all over and was past history. As the learned Judge himself says, the order which was made could do the Petitioner no good. Not only would it not be a completely effective remedy, so far as he was concerned: in respect of his grievance it could be of no use to him whatever.

10. For these reasons without discussing other aspects of the case, in my opinion it is clear that the learned Judge's order must be set aside. In my opinion this appeal should be allowed with costs throughout and the order should be set aside, Counsel's fee in this appeal being fixed at Rs. 100.

Burn, J.

11. I agree and have nothing to add.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //