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Dasu Reddiar Vs. the Inspector of Panchayats (Collector of Chingleput), Madras and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElection
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. No. 942 of 1965 and W.A. No. 102 of 1965 and C.M.P. No. 4892 of 1965
Judge
Reported inAIR1966Mad147
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226
AppellantDasu Reddiar
RespondentThe Inspector of Panchayats (Collector of Chingleput), Madras and ors.
Cases ReferredSuryanarayanamurti v. State of Andhra Pradesh
Excerpt:
madras panchayats act (xxxv of 1958), section 34(3)--scope and effect--appointment of temporary president pending reconstitution--power of inspector of panchayats--filling up of casual and ordinary vacancies--all contingencies covered--vacancy--meaning of--functions of temporary president--summoning of meeting for co-option--rules explained ; elections to a panchayat were held and certain persons were elected from the respective (sic). therefore, the revenue divisional officer, chingleput (the second respondent) to whom the powers of the inspector of panchayats had been delegated for particular purposes under t he madras panchayats act (xxxv of 1958), appointed the third respondent herein to discharge the functions of the president. according to the third respondent, there was a meeting..... (1) the point that presents itself before the full bench is whether a temporary president can be appointed pending the election of a village panchayat. this question has been referred to the full bench as the soundness of the decision in addl. dist. panchayat officer v. venkatarama iyer, 1960-2 mad lj 75 was challenged before the division bench before which it came first for hearing. before we deal with this problem in the light of the statutory provisions we will do well to state the material facts which lie in a narrow compass.(2) elections to nerukunam panchayat were held on 30-1-1965 and nine persons were elected to that panchayat from three wards. immediately thereafter i.e. on 1-2-1965 the revenue divisional officer, to whom the powers of the inspector are delegated for particular.....
Judgment:
(1) The point that presents itself before the Full Bench is whether a temporary President can be appointed pending the election of a village panchayat. This question has been referred to the Full Bench as the soundness of the decision in Addl. Dist. Panchayat Officer v. Venkatarama Iyer, 1960-2 Mad LJ 75 was challenged before the Division Bench before which it came first for hearing. Before we deal with this problem in the light of the statutory provisions we will do well to state the material facts which lie in a narrow compass.

(2) Elections to Nerukunam Panchayat were held on 30-1-1965 and nine persons were elected to that panchayat from three wards. Immediately thereafter i.e. on 1-2-1965 the Revenue Divisional Officer, to whom the powers of the Inspector are delegated for particular purposes, appointed one N. R. Krishnaswami, who is the third respondent herein, to discharge the functions of the president. Allegedly there was a meeting of this panchayat under the presidentship of this Krishnaswami, and his wife, the eleventh respondent, was co-opted as a member of the panchayat. According to the third respondent's version there was a meeting of the panchayat after notice to all the members and the 11th respondent was co-opted at that meeting. But, as the proper procedure was not followed, another meeting was summoned on 24-2-1965 at which again the 11th respondent was co-opted unanimously by the members present.The petitioner does not accept the truth of this version. It is his case that there was really no meeting either on the 17th or the 24th, that in fact he and four other members of the panchayat were awaiting at the Panchayat office to attend the meeting, but none of the other members and the temporary President turned up at the Panchayat Office and that the resolution co-opting the 11th respondent must have been recorded somewhere else fraudulently by the 3rd respondent in collusion with the other three members.

(3) It is to impugn this co-option that the aid of this court is sought under Art. 226 of the Constitution. The co-option the challenges mainly on the objections that it was not competent for the Revenue Divisional Officer to appoint the third respondent to discharge the duties of a President in a matter like the present one, that the notices alleged to have been issued by the third respondent for the meetings of the 17th and 24th were defective in that Rule 7 framed under Notification No. 47 was not complied with and that there was really no meeting of the panchayat on the 24th as alleged by the third respondent and his followers.

(4) At this stage, we will turn to S. 34(3) of Madras Act XXXV of 1958 the proper interpretation of which furnishes an answer to the question raised by the writ petition.

"34(1) When the office of President is vacant, the vice-president shall exercise the functions of the president until a new president is declared elected and assumes office.

(2) If the President has been continuously absent from jurisdiction for more than 30 days or is incapacitated, his functions during such absence or incapacity shall, except in such circumstances as may be prescribed, devolve on the vice-president;

(3) When the office of president is vacant or the president has been continuously absent from jurisdiction for more than thirty days or is incapacitated and there is either a vacancy in the office of vice-president or the vice-president has been continuously absent from jurisdiction for more than 30 days or is incapacitated, the functions of the president shall devolve on a member of the panchayat appointed by the Inspector in this behalf, and if no member of the Panchayat is available for such appointment, on such person as may be appointed by the Inspector in this behalf.

The member of the Panchayat or the person so appointed (who shall be styled the temporary president) shall perform the functions of the President subject to such restrictions and conditions as may be prescribed, until a new president or vice-president is declared elected and assumes office, or either the president or the vice-president returns to jurisdiction or recovers from his incapacity, as the case may be".

We are not very much concerned with sub-sections (4) and (5) in this enquiry. Now the question posed is whether sub-section (3) empowers the Inspector or his delegate to appoint either a member or an outsider to perform the functions of the President.

(5) Sri Vedantachari, the learned counsel for the appellant, submits that S. 34(3) is unavailable to the Inspector in a situation like the present as that could be invoked only in cases of casual vacancies. He maintains that this provision does not govern a case where a panchayat is non-existent and yet to be reconstituted. It is said that only when a panchayat is functioning and a casual vacancy arises that resort could be had to this section. As justifying this contention learned counsel relies upon sub-section (1) which talks of a Vice-President exercising the functions of the president when the office of the president is vacant. He urges that it is only in cases of a panchayat actually functioning that the situation contemplated by this sub-section can arise, viz., the office of the President being vacant but that of the vice-President filled. Could there be a president while the office of the President remains unfilled awaiting the reconstitution of the panchayat? He says that the whole scheme of this section is that the Inspector should be clothed with the authority to appoint a temporary president only in cases of casual vacancies or in cases of the President or the Vice President being incapacitated for reasons enumerated therein. It is inapplicable to the interregnum between the election of the members and that of the vice-President after the general election to the Panchayat.

(6) At the first flush this argument appears to be very impressive, but a deeper consideration will lead to its rejection.

(7) It should be remembered that sub-section (3) commences with the words, "when the office of president is vacant." Indisputably the word vacancy covers both ordinary as well as casual vacancy. But the contention of Sri Vedantachari is whatever might be the general import of the expression "when the office of president is vacant", the context in which it occurs compels us to confine it only to a casual vacancy. Otherwise, according to learned counsel, all the contingencies contemplated by that section would be unmeaning. We are not disposed to accede to this proposition.

(8) It is true that all the possible contingencies are within the contemplation of the section. But it does not follow that the case of ordinary vacancy is excluded from the purview of this section. Merely because provision was made for the appointment of a temporary President in the context of a casual vacancy or of the incapacity of the President or Vice-President to exercise his functions it does not mean that ordinary vacancies are beyond the pale of this section. If as conceded--and it cannot be seriously disputed the word "vacancy" is wide enough to cover casual as also ordinary vacancies, is there justifiable reason to cut down the content of that expression? In our opinion, far from there being any reason in favour of such a suggestion, the reasons are overwhelmingly in favour of our giving it a natural, plain and grammatical meaning. It is the golden rule of construction of statutes that the words of a statute must prima facie be given their ordinary meaning. As stated in Maxwell on the Interpretation of Statutes, page 7:

"Where, in construing general words the meaning of which is not entirely plain, there are adequate reasons for doubting whether the legislature could have been intending so wide an interpretation as would disregard fundamental principles, then we may be justified in adopting a narrower construction. At the same time, if the choice is between two interpretations, the narrower of which would fail to achieve the manifest purpose of the legislation, we should avoid a construction which would reduce the legislation to futility and should rather accept the bolder construction based on the view that Parliament would legislate only for the purpose of bringing about an effective result."

We are not persuaded that the language of S. 34 or the context in which it occurs warrants the adoption of a narrow interpretation. The words of the section are plain and there are no justifiable reasons for departing from the salutary rule of construction. We therefore feel on a careful consideration the section can reasonably be construed as taking in all situations including that bearing an ordinary vacancy.

(9) Further, even if it can bear two interpretations we have to reject the one suggested by Sri Vedantachari in favour of the other for the reason that the latter advances the object for which it was enacted. The construction which Sri Vedantachari invited us to adopt will impair the usefulness of the section and would render it practically futile. The need for the appointment of a temporary president generally arises only in regard to election of president pending the reconstitution of the Panchayat. The appointment of a person to perform the functions of a president is not of frequent occurrence. That being so, could it be posited that the legislature did not contemplate cases of ordinary vacancies? Could it be that the Legislature, while providing for all possible contingencies, failed to provide for cases which frequently arises? We cannot attribute carelessness or inadvertence to the legislature especially in regard to matters of general occurrence. We will presently show that there is no other provision either in the statute or in the rules framed thereunder and how the construction placed by the counsel for the petitioner will lead to extraordinary results in regard to several of the panchayats, members of which are newly elected.

(10) It is true Sri Vedantachari is supported in his submission by a judgment of Balakrishna Aiyar J. in S. Venkatarama Iyer v. Panchayat of Kadayanallur village, W.P. No. 192 of 1959 (Mad) and that of a Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Suryanarayanamurti v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 1957-2 Andh WR 176. In the first case a similar situation arose in that the jurisdiction of the Inspector to appoint a temporary president pending the reconstitution of a village panchayat was put in issue under S. 25(3) which is the ancestor of S. 34(3). The present section is in the same shape except for the difference that one sentence is added to clause (3), viz.,

"And if no member of the panchayat is available for such appointment on such person as may be appointed by the inspector in this behalf."

The real part which the last sentence played in the context of this enquiry will be referred to in its proper place.

(11) The learned Judge opined that S. 25 could not be resorted to by the Inspector in cases or ordinary vacancy of president and that its applicability was limited to a casual vacancy. While conceding that the expression "vacant" was wide enough to comprehend both kinds of vacancies, casual and ordinary, he opined that the context was repugnant to the argument advanced on behalf of the Additional Government Pleader. In his view that provision would govern only a case of a panchayat existing and functioning, but where the President and Vice President have ceased to function for some reason or other. In his opinion sub-sections (1) and (2) of S. 25 manifestly assumed the prior existence of a panchayat and what sub-section (3) did was to combine the situations provided for by both the sub-section in relation to the office of the President and of the Vice-President and that being so it was unlikely that provision would have been inserted in such context for the election of the President. The learned Judge says:

"The history of the Act is also against this contention of the learned Additional Government Pleader. Section 21 of the Act as it was passed in 1950 made clear provision for the manner in which the President and the Vice-President of the panchayat were to be elected. Section 25 of the Act now stands in the same shape as it stood in 1950. Having made clear provision in S. 21 for the election of a president it is hardly likely that further provisions in that regard would have been made in so oblique and indirect manner in S.

25. Section 21 was amended in 1957. But, by some curious mischance or omission necessary provision was not made in the rules for the election of a President. A lacuna has thus come into being."

Now, has any provision been made for the election of the President after new elections to the panchayat apart from the rule extracted herein and S. 25? It is convenient to read here the relevant rules.

"2. The election of the President or Vice-President of a Panchayat shall be held in the office of the Panchayat where there is one, and in case there is no such office in a conspicuous place in the village, by the members at a meeting thereof specially convened for the purpose.

3(1) Such meeting be convened as soon as possible after the occurrence of the vacancy.

(a) in the case of the election of the President of a Panchayat by its vice-President, and if there is either a vacancy in the office of the vice-President or he has been continuously absent from jurisdiction for more than 15 days or is incapacitated by the person appointed by the election authority in this behalf; and

(b) in the case of the election of the Vice-President of a Panchayat, by the President of the Panchayat;

(ii) Notice of the day and hour of the meeting shall be given to the members at least five clear days previous to the day of the meeting.

(3) Such meeting shall be presided over-

(a) if held for the election of the President of a panchayat, in cases falling under sub-section (3) of S. 25 of the Act by the person appointed by the election authority to convene the meeting and, in other cases by its vice-President or if such vice-President himself do stand as a candidate at the election, or in his absence by a member of the Panchayat, not intending to stand as a candidate at the election, chosen by the meeting to preside for the occasion; and

(b) If held for the election of the Vice-President of a Panchayat, by the president of the Panchayat or in his absence, by a member thereof not intending to stand as a candidate at the election chosen by the meeting to preside for the occasion".

It is clear that the rules apply to the vacancies falling within the range and sweep of S. 25. Admittedly there is no other provision bearing on the election of the President and Vice-President of the panchayat. If so, the Act has not made any provision for ordinary election of the President and Vice-President. The learned Judge was conscious of this fact but he explains it by saying that:

"by some curious mischance or omission necessary provision was not made in the rules for the election of a President A lacuna has thus come into being."

We fail to discover any basis for this assumption. Sri Vedantachari suggests that at the time when the rules were framed the rule-making authority must have been aware of the intention of the legislature to bring in a comprehensive legislation sometime later which will provide for elections of president and vice-president after re-elections to the panchayats and so, it was content to make rules relating to casual vacancies or the contingencies envisaged in S. 25.

(12) We are not impressed with this argument. For one thing the legislative measure which amended Act X of 1950 and obtaining at the time the quoted rules were made was introduced in the legislature only in November 1959 and it is too much to contend that nearly two and a half years earlier the rule-making authority anticipated the passing of the Amending Act. Moreover the general elections were coming off in 1958, and one could reasonably think that these rules were made on the eve of the new elections to provide for election of the President and Vice-President. It would have been far from the object of the proper authority to provide only for extraordinary situations and not for ordinary situations.

(13) Further it is worthy of note that no additional provision was made in this behalf in the Amending Act. Sri Vedantachari asks us to assume that by the time the Amending Act was passed the legislature and the rule-making authority forgot bout the lack of provision in the rules in this regard and every one concerned overlooked this matter.

(14) We are not disposed to indulge in farfetched guesses and to ascribe inadvertence and incomprehension either to the legislature or to the rule-making authority. We must take it that the legislature and the rule-making authority understood the need for provision for election of president after fresh elections to the panchayat and made the Rule 2 in that form being satisfied that S. 25(3) takes in all situations. Of course if an ordinary vacancy does not fall within the ambit of the section on a plain reading of it and such an intendment cannot be gathered from the language it is a different matter.

(15) If the view of the learned Judge were accepted there would have been a stalemate in respect of most of the panchayats the members of which were newly elected. The President and Vice-President will not be validly elected though the elections to the panchayat were completed. We do not see any reason why the construction of the Statute which will result in such a position should be adopted especially when it is opposed to the plain and grammatical meaning of the words used in the statute. Moreover all the panchayats in the State would have been left without any one to administer them in the interregnum between the reconstitution of the panchayat and the election of the president. It is true that anticipatory elections are provided for in the Act, but the Act contemplates election after the expiry of the term of the President and Vice-President under S. 10 and S. 17(2) proviso respectively. Surely it would have been far from the intention of the legislature and the rule-making authority to bring about such a result by omitting ordinary elections from the purview of S. 25 of the old Act which is the predecessor of S. 34 of the present Act. As we have already stated under Act X of 1950 either as it originally stood or as subsequently amended there was no provision for the appointment of a temporary president. So apart from the stalemate in relation to elections the panchayat in the State would have been left without any one to administer them in the interregnum between the reconstitution of the panchayat and the election of the president. Such a situation also could not have been envisaged by the legislature.

(16) Sri Vedantachari could not draw our attention to any other provision in the Act authorising the Inspector to appoint a temporary president. Such a situation could not have been envisaged by the legislature.

(17) We next proceed to deal with the question whether the Panchayat does not exist merely because the President and Vice-President are not elected. Section 4(3) which is the predecessor of S. 8(3) makes every panchayat a body corporate by the name of the village or town specified in the notification issued under S. 3. It will have perpetual succession and a common seal, and subject to any restriction or qualification imposed by or under this Act or any other law, shall be vested with the capacity of suing or being sued in its corporate name of acquiring, holding and transferring property, moveable or immoveable, of entering into contracts and of doing all things necessary, proper or expedient for the purposes for which it is constituted. A panchayat constituted for each village is a body corporate having perpetual succession. So a panchayat is to continue as a body corporate in spite of vacancies in the office of the President or Vice-President. Even when one set of members retire by efflux of time the panchayat as such is not dissolved but only new members get in consequent upon new elections. Therefore, we cannot subscribe to the view that the Panchayat is non-existing and non-functioning merely because the office of President and Vice-President are unfilled. Moreover, S. 20 of Act X of 1950 corresponds to S. 20 of the present Act and it postulates that there shall be a President and a Vice-President for every Panchayat which implies the existence of the panchayat. These circumstances negative the theory that a Panchayat will have no legal existence pending the election of the President. For all these reasons we disagree with the view expressed in W.P. 192 of 1959 (Mad).

(18) It is not necessary for us to deal separately with the reasons given in 1957-2 Andh WR 176, for the reasons adduced by us in dealing with the judgment in W.P. No. 192 of 1959 (Mad). Balakrishna Aiyar J. relied upon this decision in support of his conclusion. Suffice it to say that we express our respectful dissent from 1957-2 Andh W.R. 176. The judgment of Balakrishna Iyer J. was reversed by a Division Bench of this court consisting of Rajamannar C. J. and Basheer Ahmed Sayeed J. in 1960-2 Mad LJ 75, the soundness of which was questioned, as mentioned earlier, by learned counsel for the petitioner. The Division Bench expressed the opinion that S. 25(3), ancestor of S. 34(3) of the present Acts, comprehended several possible contingencies, viz, that neither a President nor a vice-President is available, to discharge the functions of the president. It dealt with every class of contingency in which neither the President nor the Vice-President was available and one of the reasons for the President not being available was when the office was vacant. In coming to the conclusion, the learned Judges relied on the other sections of the enactment which point to the conclusion that S. 25(3) was intended to include all vacancies. They were also of opinion that sub-section (3) was not a mere combination of the situation within the meaning of sub-sections (2) and (3) but wider than that. They were disinclined to agree with the opinion expressed in 1957-2 Andh W.R. 176, which took the view that the language of the several provisions mentioned in S. 25(3) of that Act which is the same as interpreted by Balakrishna Iyer J. clearly postulates the existence of the panchayat with a President and Vice-President and vacancies occurring in both offices and that the Inspector could not appoint a temporary president in cases where it would be inappropriate to say that there was a vacancy in the office of the President pending the reconstitution of the Panchayat.

(19) We are in entire agreement with the principles underlying 1960-2 Mad LJ 75. We feel that the rule stated therein is correct, if we may say so with respect, and the decision does not require reconsideration. The doctrine of 1960-2 Mad LJ 75 applies with full vigour to the present case as the language of S. 34 is in pari materia with S. 25(3) of Act X of 1950 except for the small difference which in our opinion brings out in bolder relief the intention of the legislature, by the addition of the clause referred to above, viz., "If no member of the Panchayat is available for such appointment, on such person as may be appointed by the Inspector in this behalf". This clause a fortiori establishes that S. 34(3) covers cases of ordinary vacancies. It contemplates a situation where the members of the panchayat are not yet elected and negatives the theory that it is only in cases, where all the members of the Panchayat are elected and the President and Vice-President are elected, but a casual vacancy arises for one reason or another. The fact that under the new rules provision is made appointing some one by the election authority to convene a meeting for the election of the President and Vice-President under a panchayat does not made any difference in the interpretation of S. 34(3) corresponding to S. 25(3) of the old Act. We would refer to some of these rules in another context.

(20) There are yet other reasons which impel us to hold that S. 34(3) contains a general provision so as to take in all situations including re-constitution of Panchayats. The group of Sections beginning with Ss. 24, 29 and ending with 33 lend deep colour to the view expressed above. Section 29 provides for the election of the President and the Vice-President and S. 30 postulates that the election of the two officers will be from among its members and in accordance with such procedure as may be prescribed. Section 31 lays down the procedure for the fresh election of a President when no President or even a Vice-President had been elected in the previous meeting. Section 32 significantly talks of office of President and Vice-President. This section refers to the cessation of office of the President or Vice-President after efflux of their term of office. Section 33 refers to the functions of the president. Then comes S. 34, which provides for the appointment of a temporary President in any of the contingencies recited therein. In such a situation could it be said that the cessation of office of president and Vice-President by efflux of time was excluded from the scope and ambit of S. 34? In our opinion, it will not be reasonable to hold that such an exclusion could be inferred. For these reasons we are disinclined to accept the theory pronounced by Sri Vedantachari.

(21) Sri Vedantachari next invited us to hold that S. 34 would not govern ordinary vacancies because the expression "fill up" would not have been used in the context of ordinary vacancies. We are not disposed to give any weight to this argument. We are unable to discover any reason why the words "fill up" should be confined to casual vacancies. That apart, throughout the enactment the expression "fill" is used both in the context of a casual vacancy as also an ordinary vacancy. In fairness to Sri Vedantachari it must be mentioned that when his attention was drawn to several sections of the statute which talk of filling the vacancy, both in the context of casual vacancy and ordinary vacancy, he did not persist in that argument.

(22) We are, therefore, unable to agree with the narrow construction propounded by Sri Vedantachari.

(23) The next question to be discussed is whether a member of a panchayat appointed under

S. 34(3) to perform the functions of the President can convene a meeting for the co-option of a member? In this context, it is useful to recollect what paragraph 2 of sub-section (3) says, namely, he shall perform the functions of the President subject to such restrictions and conditions as may be prescribed until a new president or vice-President is declared elected. So, within the limits prescribed by the rules to be framed by the concerned Government the temporary President can exercise the functions of the President. At the time when the co-option is alleged to have taken place there was no prohibition against the Temporary President summoning a meeting for co-option. It was only on the 4th March 1965 that the disability or prohibition against convening a meeting for co-option was added to the list of restrictions and conditions to be imposed on the temporary President. So at the time when the co-option is said to have taken place, the present disability did not exist. That being so, can we not read anything into sub-section (3) as preventing the temporary President from summoning a meeting for co-option prior to the making of the rule imposing a further restriction referred to above?

(24) Sri Vedantachari invites us to hold that it was not within his power to do so because the co-option of a member was a corporate act which could be performed only after the election of the President and Vice-President is completed. To substantiate this proposition he relies on certain passages in Halsbury's Laws of England, 3rd Edn., Vols. 9 and 24. In paragraph 96 of Vol. 9 it is stated: (page 49):

"Where a corporation aggregate has a head, no corporate act, other than the election of a new heard, can be done without the presence of the head; and this is so though no provision is made for it by the charter. The act of the head and a majority of the members is the act of the corporation, and will be good though the others do not agree. So, when the chief office of head consists of more than one individual, no corporate act can be done unless the chief office is completely full."

In paragraph 733 of Vol. 24 it is stated:

"The election of the mayor is the first business transacted at the annual meeting of the council. The council for this purpose consists of the outgoing mayor, the alderman other than the outgoing alderman, and the newly elected councillors."

We fail to see what assistance these passages render to the petitioner.

(25) Sri Vedantachari seeks to sustain this argument with reference to Rule 3 of the Madras Panchayats (Election of Presidents and Vice-Presidents) Rules 1961, which says:

"3.(1) Such meetings shall be convened--(a) by the person appointed by the election authority--(i) in the case of an election of a Vice-President of a panchayat to fill an ordinary election of the members to the Panchayat are over;........"

The contention founded on this clause is that since the first act to be performed by the panchayat is the election of the President, the temporary president cannot summon a meeting for co-option of a member. We are not satisfied that the expression "as soon as possible after the ordinary elections" will lend any colour to this submission. It does not say "Immediately after the ordinary elections". The expression "as soon as possible" cannot be equated to "immediately", but only connotes as early as possible and it does not indicate that it should precede every other act or proceeding of the panchayat. Sri Ramanujam seeks to meet this point by arguing on the basis of the definition of "member" contained in S. 2(17).

(26) 'Member' means a member of a panchayat or of a panchayat union council, as the case may be, and includes a co-opted member."

Therefore, the election of the president can follow only after the co-option. The Panchayat is complete only after the co-option and that co-opted member has as much of a right as an elected member. We do not propose to examine the soundness of this argument and consider whether it is inconsistent with the import of S. 10(3), proviso as we can dispose the point on the short ground that the language of R. 3, clause (1) cannot bear that connotation.

(27) We are concerned here with the interpretation of S. 34(3) of the Act, which specifically provides for the appointment of a temporary President who, subject to such restrictions and conditions as may be imposed by the Government, can perform all the functions of the president. Therefore, we have to construe the provisions of S. 34(3) and the language employed therein. The passages relied on do not bear any analogy here. We are unable to find anything in S. 34 or in any other provision which operates as a disability in the way of the temporary President convening a meeting for the purpose of co-option prior to the making of the rule dated 4th March 1965 preventing the temporary President from convening a meeting for co-option. For these reasons, we are not able to give effect to the second contention either.

(28) There remains the question of notice which has to be answered in the light of Rule 7 of the Notification No. 47. Assuming without deciding that there is force in the contention of Sri Vedantachari that before resorting to the contingency contemplated by sub-rule (iii) of Rule 7 viz., issuing by registered post, other methods should be exhausted and that normally there must be personal service, we do not think that any prejudice has been caused to the petitioner in that admittedly he knew that a meeting was to be held on the 24th and also knew the contents of the agenda as could be gathered from paragraphs 3 and 4 of the affidavit. His case is that having come to know that there was going to be a meeting on the 24th and also the items on the agenda he was waiting at the office of the Panchayat, but neither the temporary President nor the other members turned up there. In such a situation it is not necessary for us to go into the soundness of the contention advanced by learned counsel or the correctness of the decision in W.A. No. 25 of 1963 (Mad).

(29) Coming lastly to the complaint of Sri Vedantachari that in fact there was no meeting at all and the third respondent was anxious to have his wife co-opted as a member and fraudulently recorded a resolution somewhere else and not in the office of the panchayat that the 11th respondent was elected, he urges, and not altogether without force, that it is against human conduct for his client and his followers who constituted the majority of the Panchayat to abstain from the meeting when they could be confident of their nominee being co-opted if there was a meeting at the office of the Panchayat. But, we do not propose to express any final opinion on this matter having regard to the fact that the enquiry directed to be held by the Collector is not yet complete. We do not want to say anything at this juncture about the third respondent getting his wife co-opted as a member as that is entirely within the purview of the enquiry of the Revenue Divisional Officer.

(30) No other point was presented in this enquiry. For all these reasons we dismiss the writ petition. But, having regard to the circumstances of the case, we direct the parties to bear their own costs. Additional Government Pleader's fee Rs. 250. No orders are necessary in Writ App. No. 102 of 1965.

(31) Order accordingly.


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