1. The petitioner was one of the candidates who intended to contest the election for the office of President when such a vacancy arose in the village panchayat of Rosalpatti, Sattur taluk. What the second respondent who was also contesting in the election did was, he proposed the third respondent. As ill-luck would have it, the third respondent's nomination paper was scrutinised and accepted by the Chief Presiding Officer. But when it came to the turn of the second respondent, his nomination paper and rejected because he already proposed a candidate for the office and according to the Chief Presiding Officer no voter intending to stand for election shall sign a nomination paper as proposer to some other candidate. On this ground, his nomination was rejected. The election went through and the petitioner was returned to the officer. The second respondent who nomination was rejected, as stated above, filed an election petition to the Election Court (District Munsif Court) Sattur, stating that the entire election proceedings were vitiated in that, his nomination paper was rejected without valid authority and therefore the election of the petitioner has to be set aside and a fresh election conducted. The Election Court accepted the contention of the second respondent that his nomination paper ought not to have been rejected as under the rules governing the Tamilnadu Panchayat (Conduct of Election of President of Village Panchayat) Rules 1970, the nomination paper so filed by the second respondent ought not to have been rejected. The Election Court having accepted the contention of the second respondent set aside the election and directed fresh election. It is as against this, the present writ petition has been filed.
2. Learned counsel for the petitioner invited my attention to the rules as above and inter alia to Rule 27 and Rule 7 of the rules. It is not in dispute that Rule 7 which specifically provides for scrutiny of nominations enumerates to grounds under which the Chief Presiding Officer shall reject the nomination of any candidate. One of the two grounds is that the proposer is a person whose name is not registered in the electoral roll of the Panchayat and the second ground is that the candidate is ineligible for election under Ss. 22, 23, 24 and 25 or clauses (a) and (b) of sub-section 1 of Section 30. Besides the two enumerated grounds which would entitle the Chief Presiding Officer to reject the nomination paper, there are no guidelines in the rules themselves for the Chief Election Officer to reject the nomination papers in an election like the one with which we are concerned, Rule 27 referred to by Mr. Krishnamurthi, learned counsel for the petitioner, is for removal of difficulties, if any, by the Government. Rule 27(1) enables the Government to issue general or special direction as may in their opinion be necessary for the purpose of giving due effect to the rules for holding any election under the Act. rule 27(2) says that if any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of these rules or in holding any election, the Government, as occasion may require, may, by order do anything which appears to them necessary for the purpose of removing the difficulty. A copy of every such order shall be laid before each house of the Legislature at its next meeting. It is not disputed that pursuant to Rule 27(1), instructions have been issued to the Returning Officers and Chief Presiding Officers in the matter of election of members and presidents to village Panchayats. Paragraph 55 of such instructions provides that 'a candidate for election of President shall not sign the nomination papers as proposer to some other candidate for election of President....' On the strength of such instructions it is urged that the rejection of the nomination paper of the second respondent by the Chief Presiding Officer was valid and legal. Learned counsel for the respondents however referred to paragraph 67 in the general instructions so issued. One of the directions in the said paragraphs 67 is that the chief Presiding Officer can on objections raised before him against the nomination papers filed and to be scrutinised by him can on his motion reject the nomination on any of the grounds mentioned in Rule 8 of the rules relating to election of members and Rule 7 of the rules relating to election of President and on no other grounds. I have already dealt with the grounds on which the Chief Presiding Officer can reject a nomination paper under the rules and in particular under Rule 7 of the prescribed rules. Rule 7 does not contemplate the rejection of a nomination paper if a candidate for election of President has signed the nomination paper as proposer to some other candidate for election as President. It is at this juncture, the conflict arises between paragraph 55 and paragraph 67 of the instructions. Whereas the former creates an interdict against a candidate for election being a proposer, paragraph 67 states the nomination papers can only be rejected on the grounds enumerated in Rule 7 of the prescribed rules. Undoubtedly paragraph 55 creates a third ground not contemplated in R. 7 of the rules. The question therefore is whether the Chief Presiding Officer who is bound to follow the general instructions has to strictly follow Rule 7 of the rules or paragraph 55 of the general instructions. Obviously a difficulty has arisen in this case. But it is not for this Court to solve the same as under the rules as prescribed, there are only two enumerated grounds and the nomination paper of the second respondent is not in any way hit by the prescription in Rule 7. Having regard, however, the apparent conflict between paragraphs 55 and 67 of the general instructions issued, this is a case in which, though the petitioner cannot succeed straightway under Article 226 of the Constitution, yet certain directions are necessary in the interest of justice so that the petitioner can secure a solution for the difficulty which has arisen.
3. The Election Court was right in holding that the Chief Presiding Officer was wrong in rejecting the nomination paper of the second respondent as the ground of rejection is no contemplated in Rule 7 of the rules. There being no other error of jurisdiction or error apparent, the rule nisi has to be discharged and the writ petition dismissed.
4. I have already stated that the petitioner is entitled to certain directions in the interest of justice. As there is a conflict between paragraphs 55 and 67 of the instructions issued by the Government, apparently under Rule 27 of the rules, it is for the Government to solve the difficulty and remove the same. The petitioner is at liberty to take such steps it he so chooses to move the Government to remove the difficulty which has arisen in the instant case. The petitioner is given a fortnight's time to file an application before the government for the purpose. The re-election ordered by the Election Court shall however by stayed for a period of three months within which it is expected that the Government would solve the problem and remove the difficulty.
5. Order accordingly.