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M. Vijiaraghavalu Pillai Vs. P. theagaroya Chetti and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1915)ILR38Mad581
AppellantM. Vijiaraghavalu Pillai
RespondentP. theagaroya Chetti and anr.
Cases ReferredHigh Court. In Radolf Stallmann v. Emperor I.L.R.
Excerpt:
.....rules framed under, not a court under charter act (24 & 25 vict., c. 104), section 15 - jurisdiction--the indian high courts act (24 & 25 vict., c. 104), section 15. - - 'in the opinion of their lordships the tenth section places the right of appointing a member of the committee in the civil court not as a matter of ordinary civil jurisdiction, but because the officer who constitutes the civil court is sure to be one of weight and authority, and with the best means of knowing the movements of local opinion and feeling, and one can hardly imagine a case in which it would be more desirable that the discretion should be exercised by a person acquainted with the district and with all the surroundings......the right of appointing a member of the committee in the civil court not as a matter of ordinary civil jurisdiction, but because the officer who constitutes the civil court is sure to be one of weight and authority, and with the best means of knowing the movements of local opinion and feeling, and one can hardly imagine a case in which it would be more desirable that the discretion should be exercised by a person acquainted with the district and with all the surroundings.' we are of opinion that similar considerations are responsible for the local government vesting in the presidency magistrate the discretion to pronounce an opinion on the competency or otherwise of a candidate for election. we may also, in this connection refer to rule 11 of the rules framed under the district.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. These are petitions to revise the order of the Presidency Magistrate, Georgetown. Two applications were made to him by the counter-petitioners to declare that the inclusion of the petitioner as a candidate for Municipal election by the President of the Corporation was illegal, under Rule 5 of the rules framed by the Government in pursuance of the powers given to them by Section 413 of Act III of 1904. The Magistrate allowed the applications. Against that order these petitions have been filed. The learned Judge who admitted the petitions expressed doubts regarding the powers of the High Court to revise the order of the Magistrate, We therefore called upon the petitioner's vakil to argue that preliminary point Mr. T. Ethiraja Mudaliyar, who appeared for the petitioner, conceded that the petition did not lie under Section 439, Criminal Procedure Code. He however contended that under the Charter Act, the High Court was competent to revise the order. Section 15 says that the High Court shall have superintendence over all Courts which may be subject to its appellate jurisdiction. Is a Magistrate giving his decision under the rules framed by the Government in this behalf 'a Court' subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the High Court? No procedure is prescribed by the rules; and although the Magistrate is competent to take evidence in the case, it is not suggested that this is in pursuance of any statutory obligation to do so, The contention of the learned vakil for the petitioner is that the Magistrate is ordinarily subject to the control of the High Court, and any power given to him by the Local Government must be considered to have been conferred on him in his capacity as a Magistrate subject to the supervising power of the High Court. It seams to us that this contention is untenable. It was held in Minakshi v. Subramanya I.L.R. (1888) Mad. (P.C.), by the Judicial Committee, that the expression 'civil court' in Section 10 of Act XX of 1863 does not import that the presiding officer is subject to the appellate authority of the High Court, They say: 'In the opinion of their Lordships the tenth section places the right of appointing a member of the committee in the Civil Court not as a matter of ordinary civil jurisdiction, but because the officer who constitutes the civil court is sure to be one of weight and authority, and with the best means of knowing the movements of local opinion and feeling, and one can hardly imagine a case in which it would be more desirable that the discretion should be exercised by a person acquainted with the district and with all the surroundings.' We are of opinion that similar considerations are responsible for the local Government vesting in the Presidency Magistrate the discretion to pronounce an opinion on the competency or otherwise of a candidate for election. We may also, in this connection refer to Rule 11 of the rules framed under the District Municipalities Act. The local Government has empowered Collectors to exercise the functions which the Presidency Magistrates in the town of Madras exercise under the rule in question. It has never been suggested that a Collector's decision can be revised by the High Court.

2. The learned vakil for petitioner draws our attention to Vasudeva Aiyar v. The Devesthanam Committee of Negapatam (1905) 25 M.L.J. 536, which holds that the High Court has power to hear a revision petition under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure against an order passed under Section 10 of Act XX of 1863. We are informed that decision is under appeal to His Majesty in Council and apart from this we do not think the decision has any direct bearing upon the matter we have to decide. Mr. Ethiraja Mudaliyar cited Swami Chetti v. Corporation of Madras : (1912)23MLJ591 , to show that the Magistrate acting under Section 172 of the City Municipal Act is subject to the jurisdiction of the High Court. The reason of that decision, we take to be this. If the Magistrate had acted legally, he should have referred the matter to the High Court. By not so doing, he has illegally exercised jurisdiction to decide the matter himself, and has prevented the High Court from exercising its jurisdiction in the matter. The learned Judge was therefore justified in that case in taking cognisance of the case in revision. The mere fact that Sections 172 and 176 of the City Municipal Act put the Presidency Magistrate under the control of the High Court in certain cases is not an argument for the position that in framing rules under Section 413, the local Government invested the Magistrate with powers to ho exercised subject to the superintendence of the High Court.

3. A reference may be made to the functions of the Court as pointed out in Blackstone, pages 22 and 23. Fry, L.J., in 3 Royal Aquarium and Summer and Winter Garden Society v. Parkinson (1892) 1 Q.B. 431, makes some general observations regarding the functions of a Court of Law. Applying the tests mentioned by the Lord Justice, the Magistrate acting under the rules could not be regarded as a Court of Law. In 9 Halsbury, page 9, it is said: 'Many bodies are not Courts, although they have to decide questions, and in so doing have to act judicially, in the sense that the proceedings must be conducted with fairness and impartiality.' To the same effect is the conclusion to which Subramania Ayyar, J., came in Manavala Goundan v. Kumarappa Reddyy I.L.R. (1907) Mad. 326 regarding the competency of the High Court to revise the orders of the District Registrars under Section 622 of the old Code of Civil Procedure. We are therefore of opinion that the Presidency Magistrate in this particular instance is not a Court subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the High Court. He is in the position of a referee between the President and the candidate. The rule declares his decision to be final, as in the case of the Collector under the District Municipalities Act. Balaji Sakharam v. Merwanji Nowroji I.L.R. (1897) Bom. 279, may also be cited in this connection. It was held in that case that a District Judge acting under Section 23 of the Bombay District Municipal Act was not subject to the revisional jurisdiction of the High Court. In Radolf Stallmann v. Emperor I.L.R. (1911) Cal. 547, the learned Judges decided that the High Court had no jurisdiction under the Charter Act to revise the proceedings of the Presidency Magistrate acting under Sections 3 and 4 of the Extradition Act (XV of 1903). These authorities show that when quasi-judicial functions are delegated to an officer whose decisions are ordinarily subject to the revisional powers of the High Court, he is not with reference to the delegated power necessarily subject to its appellate or revisional authority.

4. We are constrained to hold that the High Court has no power to revise the orders passed by the Magistrate in these cases.

5. We dismiss the petitions.


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