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K.A. Mathialagan Vs. P. Srinivasan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petn. Nos. 3137 and 3445 of 1972
Judge
Reported inAIR1973Mad371
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 174, 174(1), 174(2), 175(2), 179, 181(1), 189(1), 196(3), 212 and 226; Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Rules - Rules 2, 13, 22, 53, 55 and 344
AppellantK.A. Mathialagan
RespondentP. Srinivasan and ors.
Cases ReferredM. S. M. Sharma v. Shree Krishna Sinha
Excerpt:
constitutional law--prorogation of assembly does not mean its dissolution--effect is only to interrupt its proceedings.;constitution of india (1950)--article 175(2)--agenda of session fixed by message of governor when assembly is re-summoned--subject not in agenda cannot be taken up for discussion--censure motion against ministry--not in agenda--cannot be allowed to be discussed by speaker--contrary to rule 21(2) of tamil nadu legislative assembly rules.;motion for removal of speaker--validly pending--speaker cannot preside over session through he is present--motion carried with deputy speaker presiding over deliberations--valid.;the prorogation of the assembly does not mean its dissolution. the house remains the same; only its sessions are interrupted by prorogation of the.....1. in these two writ petitions the petitioner is seeking a writ of mandamus for a direction to the respondents 1 to 5 not to interfere in any manner with his right to continue to function as speaker of the tamil nadu legislative assembly and also for a preventive injunction restraining the first respondent, the deputy speaker of the assembly, from functioning as speaker thereto, and by way of a consequential relief asks for the quashing of the notification published in the tamil nadu government gazette extraordinary no. 403 dated 2-12-1972 in memo no. 22223/72-1 t. n. l.(b) legislative assembly iii no. 676(a) of 1972, notifying the petitioner as having been removed from the office of the speaker of the tamil nadu legislative assembly.2. before the relevant facts as reflected in the.....
Judgment:
1. In these two writ petitions the petitioner is seeking a writ of Mandamus for a direction to the respondents 1 to 5 not to interfere in any manner with his right to continue to function as Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and also for a preventive injunction restraining the first respondent, the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, from functioning as Speaker thereto, and by way of a consequential relief asks for the quashing of the notification published in the Tamil Nadu Government Gazette Extraordinary No. 403 dated 2-12-1972 in Memo No. 22223/72-1 T. N. L.(B) Legislative Assembly III No. 676(a) of 1972, notifying the petitioner as having been removed from the Office of the Speaker of the Tamil Nadu legislative Assembly.

2. Before the relevant facts as reflected in the affidavits filed by the parties are dealt with, certain events anterior to the controversial date, when the petitioner claims that his right to occupy the seat as Speaker of the Assembly has been taken away, have to be noticed. During the General Elections in 1971 the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam as a party was returned to power with a strength of 185 in the House of the Tamil Nadu Assembly as against the total strength of 235. The petitioner was one of the officers of the State Legislature chosen by the Assembly of the State to be the Speaker thereto and the first respondent as the Deputy Speaker thereof. In October, 1972, due to a rift in the party, some members including Sri M. G. Ramachandran, left the Party and formed a new party known as Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party. As early as 30-10-1972, two members of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party gave notice of removal of the Speaker soon after the rift as above in the party. On 13-11-1972, the Assembly met in its usual session with the petitioner in the Chair as its Speaker. There were inter alia two motions which were to be discussed on that day. One such motion was a no confidence motion against the Government and the other for the removal of the Speaker himself. But the petitioner as such Speaker adjourned the Assembly to 5-12-1972. On the same day it appears that 183 members belonging to different political parties requested by means of a signed petition that the Speaker should resign at once since he had already lost the confidence of the majority of the Assembly. By then the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party was of the confirmed view that the speaker was actively participating with Sri. M. G. Ramachandran, who for all practical purposes left the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party by then. In view of the pendency of the several important legislative business including financial matters, the Governor, exercising his powers under Art. 174(2) of the Constitution of India, prorogued the Assembly on 14-11-1972, obviously for the purpose of enabling him to issue an urgent Ordinance.

The petitioner apprehending inconvenience filed on 16-11-1972 W. P. No. 2968 of 1972 challenging the order of prorogation on the ground of lack of good faith. Two other members of the Assembly thereafter joined the petitioner in such common cause and questioned the right of the Governor to prorogue the Assembly. After the prorogation, on 16-11-1972, Sri N. Veerasami and a few others gave notice of resolution for the removal of the speaker to the Secretary of the Legislative Assembly, which was admittedly received by the petitioner. Whilst this was the position, the Governor on 28-11-1972, in exercise of his powers under Article 174 of the Constitution summoned the Assembly to meet on 2-12-1972. On 29-11-1972, the Governor sent a message to the Assembly under Art. 175(2) listing the business to be transacted by the Assembly and requiring the Assembly inter alia to consider with all convenient dispatch any other business for which notice had been given under the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Rules. I have already referred to one such notice of resolution for the removal of the Speaker given by some members on 16-11-1972. The writ petitions filed by the petitioner and some of the other members of the Assembly came up for hearing before a Full Bench of this Court and judgment was reserved thereon on 30-11-1972. As the Assembly was summoned by the Governor on 2-12-1972, the matter was set for being spoken to and in the presence of all parties the learned Judges of the Full Bench made it clear that the reservation of the judgment in the earlier Full Bench case did not preclude the Assembly from meeting on 2-12-1972, but such proceedings would however be subject to the result of the judgment in that case. The Full Bench subsequently dismissed the writ petitions.

On 2-12-1972, a notice of censure motion was given as against the Ministry. An attempt was made by the leader of the House to dispense with the question hour, but he could not succeed. At about 12 o'clock on 2-12-1972, when the petitioner announced that the question hour was over, the petitioner's case is that he permitted Sri M. G. Ramachandran to speak on the censure motion which was admittedly not a motion included in the message sent by the Governor ad which could not have been included as the notice was itself given only in the morning of 2-12-1972. The case of the contesting respondents however is that at 12 noon, when the question hour was over, Sri. N. Veeraswami stood up and wanted that his motion for the removal of the Speaker be taken up as such a motion came within the purview of item 8 in the message sent by the Governor as above. As by then the House was aware that nearly 183 members of the Assembly were not in favor of the Speaker occupying the office, the leader of the House moved a resolution in accordance with Art. 181 to the effect that the Deputy Speaker should preside over the House as the House has taken up the resolution for the removal of the Speaker from his office and the same and under consideration. At the behest of the leader of the House, the Deputy Speaker, who has been made a party to these proceedings but who has not chosen to file a counter affidavit but raised a privilege in himself not to be subjected to the jurisdiction of this Court, occupied the Chair and obtained a mandate from the House enabling him to occupy it.

It was at this stage that the leader of the House moved another motion under Rule 344 of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Rules, for the suspension of the latter part of Rule 53, namely, the circulation of the resolution of removal of the Speaker by the Secretary to all the members of the Assembly, together with an intimation about the date appointed for its discussion. It is claimed that this resolution was also carried by an overwhelming majority. Thereafter the Deputy Speaker sought the leave of the House to move the resolution for the removal of the Speaker given notice of by Thiru Veerasami and others and obtained the leave of the House of consider the same. It is said that Thiru Veerasami spoke on the resolution. After this speech it s claimed that no member stood up or requested the Deputy Speaker to permit him to speak on the motion, nor did the petitioner or any of the members of the Opposition Parties seek the leave of the Deputy Speaker to speak on the motion of Thiru Veeraswami. It was in such situation that the motion was put to vote and was carried by a voice vote. The result was that the resolution for the removal of the Speaker which was taken up for consideration and which was ultimately moved and discussed on the floor of the House as a resolution to remove the speaker was accepted by the Assembly and the Speaker is said to have been removed from his office.

3. The above sequence of events are not accepted by the petitioner. According to him, there was no valid notice of motion for his removal on the date when the Assembly met, which could be tabled for consideration by it. His case is that he allowed a no confidence motion against the Ministry, given notice of by Thiru M. G. Ramachandran and others, to be discussed, as, according to him, they sought leave under Rule 55 to move the same. As already stated, the censure motion was given notice of only on 2-12-1972. This was not one of these motions which could be taken up for consideration as it did not squarely and patently come within any one or the other of the subjects of discussion itemized by the Governor in his message. Nevertheless the petitioner allowed the belated censure motion moved by Thiru M. G. Ramachandran and is said to have obtained the leave of the House to move the same and permitted the mover to speak thereon. There was pandemonium at that stage and it was only during such a confusion that Thiru Veerasami referred to a Memorandum sent to the Speaker as having been given by 184 members and his own resolution for the removal of the Speaker and wanted that it should be given preference and that the said resolution for the removal of the Speaker should be set for consideration forthwith.

The petitioner's case is that the 3rd respondent (leader of the House) interrupted and claimed that the Ministry was not afraid of the censure motion, but in view of the fact that a majority of the members were for the resignation of the Speaker as also a specific motion for his removal was under consideration, the petitioner should not occupy the Chair and the Deputy Speaker should be placed therein. There was an uproar and loud protest when the Deputy Speaker occupied the Chair and stared contemporaneously along with him and when factually Thiru M. G. Ramachandran was on his legs and was speaking on the censure motion. His case is that the Deputy Speaker strategically occupied the Chair without lawful authority and the subsequent resolution allowed to be moved by him to dispense with a part of R. 53 would be tantamount to a parallel proceeding undertaken by the Deputy Speaker when the Speaker was lawfully functioning and occupying the Chair as an officer for the State Assembly. The petitioner would complain that during the tense situation as above there was nothing but uproar and pandemonium inside the Assembly and no one including the Secretary of the Legislative Assembly would listen to the directions of the petitioner.

According to the petitioner, it was all a pre-arranged scheme by the members of the Ruling party and the motion for his removal was not even put to vote as is normal. His case is that on 2-12-1972, after having been apprised of the proposed resolution for his removal from the office he had convened the Business Advisory Committee to meet at 1-30 p. m. on that date so as to fix a date for discussion on the resolution for his removal. It is said that the petitioner continued to occupy the Chair and was functioning as Speaker and he directed the expunging of the various proceedings illegally conducted by respondents 1 to 3. Lastly the petitioner's case is that as nothing but pandemonium prevailed inside the House he had to adjourn it to Monday 4-12-1972 and retire from the Assembly along with Thiru M. G. Ramachandran and others. The petitioner sets up a conspiracy between respondents 1 to 3 and is emphatic that there were two parallel proceedings inside the Assembly and that whilst he was functioning as Speaker the first respondent as Deputy Speaker could not constitutionally functions as the Officer in charge of the Assembly as if a vacancy or absenteeism has occurred in that office. The petitioner having learned that resolution for his removal which was under consideration ripened into a discussion and that he was ultimately removed resulting in the Gazette Extraordinary dated 2-12-1972 being issued confirming such removal, has come up to this Court with these writ petitions challenging the entire proceedings, the conduct thereof and the resultant decisions arrived at therein as being irregular and illegal and constitutionally ineffective and therefore prays for the rules under Art. 226 as already stated.

4. Mr. N. C. Raghavachari counsel for the petitioner, raised several contentions which we desire to catalogue for purpose of convenience. He would say that there was at no time any vacancy in the office of the Speaker nor was there a physical absence of the Speaker from the sitting of the Assembly on 2-12-1972, that the resolution for the removal of the Speaker from his office could be deemed for any purpose to be under consideration only when the prescribed rules of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly framed under clause(1) of Art. 208 of the Constitution of India are complied with; that in particular there has not been a strict or substantive compliance of the rules in Chapter IX of the assembly rules which provides for resolution for the removal of the Speaker or Deputy Speaker; that in the absence of a date and time being fixed by him in consultation with the Leader of the House for the discussion of such a notice of resolution, the resolution moved by Thiru N. Veerasami and others cannot be said to be a valid resolution at all for the removal of the petitioner from his office, nor could it be said that such a resolution was under consideration at any time on 2-12-1972. His second contention is, if an Assembly is prorogued at the mandate of the Governor and if he resummons the same in exercise of his powers under Art. 174(1) and since a message under Art. 175(2) within such a session is a special one and the Speaker as the supreme authority entitled to preside over such a session has the sole and exclusive right to transact the business as mandated in the message, to commence the same as he desires and to conclude it as he wishes, and if once the Speaker in such a Session commences business in a manner deemed fit by him, no other member of the Assembly including the Leader of the House has the right to intercept the conduct and flow of such proceedings, that in the context when the speaker allowed Thiru M. G. Ramachandran to move the subject on the censure motion against the Ministry, and pegging into such a process either at the instance of the Leader of the House or any other member of the House is illegal and in consequence the resultant decisions taken by such an intercepted but illegal activity is also void and has to be corrected by judicial process.

Furthering his contention it was urged that every act of the Deputy Speaker, commencing from the moment when he purported to occupy the Speaker's chair as if there was a vacancy or absenteeism for the purpose of conducting that day's proceedings, including the allowance of the resolution for the removal of the Speaker, securing the leave of the House for its consideration and ultimately securing a resolution from the House to remove the Speaker, are all in the hotchpot of illegality and therefore null and void. Thus highlighted it is said that the entire proceedings are not protected under Art. 212 of the Constitution or from judicial scrutiny by virtue of a due process taken and initiated by the aggrieved party under the normal rule of law. Learned counsel for the petitioner further said that item 8 of the message sent by the Governor itemizing the subjects to be discussed on 2-12-1972 could not include the motion for removal of the Speaker and for a greater reason it could not engulf a motion which requires a date to be fixed in accordance with Chapter IX of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly rules. It is for the Speaker to control the business to be undertaken by the House and he cannot be persuaded to take up the agenda in accordance with the wish of the House, may it be at the instance of the majority members assembled in the House. According to the petitioner, there was no valid notice of motion for his removal, and even if there was one, it lapsed by efflux of time. In any event, the non-observance of the prescription in R. 53 of the Legislative Assembly Rules would amount to a violation of the intention of Art. 179(c) read with the proviso thereto. It was also said that the expression 'the then members of the Assembly' in Art. 179(c) has a special signification and that a resolution of far-seeking importance ought to have been accepted by a majority of all the members of the House whether present or not. Lastly it was said that the Speaker was not allowed to speak and take part in the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly while the resolution for his removal from office was considered by it.

5. Countering these contentions Mr. M. K. Nambiyar, appearing for the contesting respondents, after tracing the powers, privileges and immunities of the Legislature and referring to the specific powers of the Governor in the matter of prorogation and summoning of the Assemblies, forcibly contended that every contention of the petitioner in so far as it has an impact on the proceedings inside the Assembly, is beyond the judicial review and Art. 212 of the Constitution places such subjects beyond the pale of questionability by any authority including a Court on the basis of any alleged irregularity of procedure therein. He would state that the office of Speaker is a creature of the Assembly and as all questions in the Assembly have to be decided by a majority and as in a democratic process the rule of majority has to prevail on any subject, and if the mandate of the House is that the Speaker was no longer acceptable to them and cannot hold the office, and as the office itself is held during the pleasure of such majority, the petitioner cannot even be said to be an aggrieved or affected person who can agitate the same under Art. 226 of the Constitution. On the merits, it was said that there was a valid resolution which could be taken up by the Assembly after being summoned at the behest of the Governor and such a valid resolution for the removal of the Speaker was considered after securing the leave of the House and on such consideration the resolution to remove the speaker was made at the instance of the majority of the members present in the Assembly that the majority of all the them members of the Assembly, referred to in Art. 179(c), obviously would refer to those members present in the Assembly when the resolution is discussed.

He would also state that Rule 53 is subject to Art. 175(2) of the Constitution and that if under the message tabled by the Governor for discussion by the Assembly includes a subject which in turn takes into its fold a notice of motion for the removal of the Speaker, then to that extent the application of Rule 53 and the fixation of a date for discussion of the motion by the Speaker would sink into insignificance and non-adherence to such a rule which is basically and foundationally procedural would not affect the decision taken by the majority of the members in the Assembly on such a subject. In any event it was stated that the House as the ultimate repository of power to frame their rules touching the conduct of the business inside the Assembly, has the power to deviate thereafter and any such deviation could only be characterized as an irregularity which would not in any manner vitiate the proceedings. Factually it was said that the message issued by the Governor was scrutinized by the Speaker himself and should be therefore deemed that the petitioner as Speaker had notice of such resolutions of which notice has been given under the Legislative Assembly Rules. It was said that one such notice of motion which was validly received and which could be discussed in the Assembly on 2-12-1972 was a resolution for the removal of the speaker. He therefore seeks for the discharge of the rule nisi.

6. It is convenient at this stage to refer generally to the powers and privileges of State Assemblies and the characteristics inhered in the office of the speaker chosen by such an Assembly. Article 189(1) enables the House of the Legislature of a State to determine all questions arising before it at any sitting by a majority of votes of the members present and voting, other than the Speaker or a person acting as such. Regarding the Speaker or the person acting for him he shall not vote in the first instance, but shall have and exercise a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes. There is however an exception to this rule which envisages the contingency of a contrary provision in the Constitution itself. Article 208(1) dealing with the general procedure, enables a House of the Legislature to make rules for regulating subject to the provisions of the Constitution, is procedure and the conduct of its business. It is in exercise of such powers that the Tamil Nadu Legislature Assembly Rules have been framed. Article 174 compels the Governor to summon from time to time the House of the Legislature of the State to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit, but the intermittent period not exceeding six months. He has the right to prorogue the House or dissolve the Assembly under Art. 174(2). Under Art. 196(3), a pending Bill in the Legislature of a State shall not lapse by reason of the prorogation of the house. This is a departure from the English convention inasmuch as the prorogation of the House does not affect the business pending before the Legislature at the time of prorogation (Purushothaman v. State of Kerala, ).

"Session" has been defined in the Tamil Nadu Legislature Assembly rules as the period of time between the first meeting of the Assembly upon the summons of the Governor under Art. 174(1) of the Constitution and its prorogation or dissolution under C1.(2) thereof. Rule 13 while stating that the session of the Assembly is terminated by prorogation, also lays down that on the prorogation of a session, all pending notices and businesses shall lapse except bills which have been introduced, and resolutions which have been moved and are pending in the House; provided that fresh notice shall be given for motions in regard to such Bills. Article 178 refers to officers of the State legislature, who are the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker and they are chosen by the Members of the Legislative Assembly itself. The office of Speaker being obviously an office resulting from election or choice, the person so chosen holds the office during the pleasure of the majority. As a Speaker is expected to be a friend of every member and be circumspect in all respect, it is an office of reverence as total impartiality is the basic requisite of the office. The Speaker is undoubtedly a servant of the House, not its Master, and the authority transmitted to him by the House is the authority of the House itself which he exercises in accordance with the mandates, interests and well being of the House. He is always cloistered in the shell of the will of the House. Article 179 provides for vacancy, resignation and removal of a Speaker or Deputy Speaker. A member holding the office as Speaker may be removed from his office by a resolution of the Assembly passed by a majority of all the then members of the Assembly; provided that no resolution for the purpose shall be moved unless at least fourteen days notice has been given of the intention to move the resolution. Such a notice under the rules could be given under Rule 26(2) even when the Assembly is not in session. Article 180 in general provides for the substitution of the Deputy Speaker when a vacancy arises in the office of Speaker. Article 80(2) says that during the absence of the Speaker from any sitting of the Assembly the Deputy Speaker shall act as Speaker. Article 181(1), which is very relevant for our purposes, may be extracted:

"181(1) At any sitting of the Legislative Assembly while any resolution for the removal of the Speaker from his office is under consideration, the Speaker, or while any resolution for the removal of the Deputy Speaker from his office is under consideration, the Deputy Speaker, shall not, though he is present, preside, and the provisions of clause(2) of Art. 180 shall apply in relation to every such sitting as they apply in relation to a sitting from which the Speaker or, as the case may be, the Deputy Speaker, is absent.

(2) The Speaker shall have the right to speak in, and otherwise to take part in the proceedings of, the Legislative Assembly while any resolution for his removal from office is under consideration in the Assembly and shall, notwithstanding anything in Article 189, be entitled to vote only in the first instance on such resolution or on any other matter during such proceedings but not in the case of an equality of votes."

Article 194(3) provides for two parts. The first part enables the House of the Legislature to make a law defining its powers, privileges and immunities and the second part says that until such a law is passed, such powers, privileges and immunities shall be those of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom at the commencement of the Constitution. Article 212 says that the validity of any proceedings in the Legislature of a State shall not be questioned on the ground of any irregularity of procedure. Sub-clause(2) of the said Art. 212 provides that no officer or member of the Legislature of a State in whom powers are vested by or under the Constitution for regulating procedure or the conduct of the business, or for maintaining order, in the Legislature shall be subject to the jurisdiction of any Court in respect of the exercise by him of those powers. The force of the language in Art. 212 shall be considered later. Chapter IX of the Rules refers to resolution for the removal of the Speaker or Deputy Speaker and the procedure to be adopted to achieve such an object. Under Rule 52 a resolution of the kind as above may be moved in accordance with Art. 179(c) of the Constitution with the leave of the House; provided that no resolution for the purpose shall be moved unless at least 14 days notice has been given to the Secretary of the intention to move the resolution.

7. Rule 53 which looms large in this case may be extracted-

"On receipt of notice of such a resolution the Speaker shall, in consultation with the Leader of the House, appoint a date for its discussion. The Secretary shall cause the resolution to be circulated to all the members of the Assembly, together with an intimation about the date appointed for its discussion."

8. Rule 54 provides that not less than 35 members should rise when a resolution to remove the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker is read out in the House for the first time and it is only on such rising of members that leave to move the resolution has to be presumed. If there is no such co-ordination the Speaker is bound to inform the member giving notice of the resolution that he has not the leave of the Assembly to move it. A reference may be made to Rule 21 which speaks of 'list of business and papers placed on the table' and Clause(2) therein says that except as provided in the rules, no business not included in the list of business for the day shall be transacted at any sitting except business of a formal or ceremonial nature. Rule 22 provides for question hour, which is the first hour of every sitting unless the House unanimously resolves otherwise. Rule 244 is a non obstante rule which enables any member, with the consent of the Speaker to move that any rule may be suspended in its application to a particular motion before the House and if the motion is carried by three-fourths of the total number of members present and voting at the meeting, the rule in question shall be suspended for the time being. With the above background of the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the rules the relevant contentions of the parties can be weighed.

9. We shall first take up the contention whether there is any specialty in the session of the House of the Legislature of the State summoned by the Governor after prorogation. 'Session' is defined in Rule 2(q) of the Rules. It connotes the actual time between the first meeting of the Assembly and its prorogation or dissolution. It is common knowledge that a session is terminated by prorogation. But on such prorogation all pending notices and businesses excepting Bills which have been introduced and resolutions which have been moved, shall lapse. No doubt, such Bills could be taken up on fresh notice. We have already noticed Art. 196(3), in consonance of which, Rule 13(b) of the Rules has been framed. We have referred to these aspects only to demonstrate that the summoning of the Assembly by the Governor after prorogation by itself does not create the impression that it is a session other than the normal. The observations of the Supreme Court in M. S. M. Sharma v. Shree Krishna Sinha, are apposite in this connection. The Court said-

"The prorogation of the Assembly does not mean its dissolution. The House remains the same; only its sessions are interrupted by prorogation of the House according to the exigencies of


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