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A. Ramamurthi Vs. Ootacamund Municipal Council and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElection
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1935Mad48; 153Ind.Cas.257
AppellantA. Ramamurthi
RespondentOotacamund Municipal Council and anr.
Cases ReferredIn S. Sankaranarayana Pillai v. Ahmad Miran Sahib
Excerpt:
- - 5. the case before him however was one in which the election petition itself disclosed no ground on the strength of which, if they were made good, the election could be set aside, and the election commissioner could be deemed to have had jurisdiction only by reason of the erroneous view which he took of the legal effect of what was set forth in the election petition......be briefly stated as follows. a meeting of the municipal council at ootacamund was convened by the vice-chairman on 30th june 1934, at 3-30 p.m. for the purpose of electing a chairman. before the meeting proceeded to its business two councillors presented a written application to the vice chairman who was then presiding in the following terms.we beg to bring to your notice that the notice for to-day's meeting has not been served on two councillor viz., mr. doraiswami naidu and mr. siddiah gowder.any resolution passed at this meeting will therefore be out of order and we request that the meeting may therefore be dissolved.2. though it would appear that what was alleged to be a point of order was raised the vice chairman allowed discussion to go on regarding the point, and about 15 minutes.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Pandrang Row, J.

1. This is a petition for the issue of a Writ of Certiorari in respect of the order of the Election Commissioner, viz., the Subordinate Judge of the Nilgiris dated 10th August 1934 which dismissed the petitioner's application to declare the election of respondent 2 Mr. J.A. Davis as Chairman of the Ootacamund Municipal Council void under the rules framed by the Government for deciding disputes regarding the validity of elections. There can be no doubt that the Election Commissioner, viz., the Subordinate Judge, had jurisdiction to deal with the petition presented to him by the petitioner; in fact he was the only authority who had jurisdiction to decide disputes regarding the validity of the election in question. The petitioner himself invoked that jurisdiction, and it does not lie in his mouth to deny that the Subordinate Judge of Nilgiris had jurisdiction to decide the dispute in question. It is however contended that ho acted in excess of jurisdiction or without jurisdiction because he decided the dispute in a particular way giving particular reasons which according to the petitioner are not valid reasons. The facts of the case may be briefly stated as follows. A meeting of the Municipal Council at Ootacamund was convened by the Vice-Chairman on 30th June 1934, at 3-30 p.m. for the purpose of electing a Chairman. Before the meeting proceeded to its business two councillors presented a written application to the Vice Chairman who was then presiding in the following terms.

We beg to bring to your notice that the notice for to-day's meeting has not been served on two councillor viz., Mr. Doraiswami Naidu and Mr. Siddiah Gowder.

Any resolution passed at this meeting will therefore be out of order and we request that the meeting may therefore be dissolved.

2. Though it would appear that what was alleged to be a point of order was raised the Vice Chairman allowed discussion to go on regarding the point, and about 15 minutes later, when the petitioner came to the place where the meeting was going on, he drew the attention of the Vice Chairman to the fact that no discussion should be allowed but that he should give a ruling on the point of order. Nevertheless the discussion proceeded and finally the Vice Chairman passed the following order, Ex. 1.

Mr. Kuppanna Rao moves a motion for adjourning (sic) the meeting for want of proper notice on two councillors namely, Messrs. Siddiah and Doraiswamy Naidu; seconded by Mr. Mc Leish. I heard Mr. Davis, Mr. Nathan, Mr. Munisamy Pillai and Bamamurti and Kao Sahib Chennu Pillai. I find on record that no proper notice was served on the two councillors. I therefore adjourn the meeting.

3. After the meeting was so adjourned some members of the council including the Vice Chairman and the petitioner left the meeting hall. The others who continued to remain at the place continued the meeting and declared respondent to have been elected as Chairman, there being no other candidate nominated. The Election Commissioner found that there was no proper or valid service of notice on the two councillors in question. As regards the Vice Chairman's adjournment of the meeting the Sub-Judge at first observed that a point of order had been raised, but later on, he expressed the opinion that there was no valid point of order raised before the Vice Chairman and that the Vice Chairman in giving a ruling upon it without any evidence to support it acted without jurisdiction and that the adjournment of the meeting by him was therefore improper and invalid. He found accordingly that the subsequent meeting and the election of respondent 2 as Chairman at that meeting were valid and dismissed the petition before him. There can be no doubt that this Court cannot interfere by issuing a Writ of Certiorari with the order of an Election Commissioner unless that order was passed without jurisdiction or in excess of his jurisdiction. It has been held in Asan Maracair v. Bijili Sahib 1934 Mad. 269, that

the High Court can interfere only if there was a want of jurisdiction at the commencement of the proceedings before the Election Commissioner and that once there was jurisdiction, any error whether of law or fact committed subsequently cannot take away the jurisdiction once obtained.

4. In S. Sankaranarayana Pillai v. Ahmad Miran Sahib 1934 Mad. 357, Bardswell, J, who was a party to the previous decision -was inclined to add a qualification to the former decision to the following effect, viz.,

If in an inquiry, for which there is jurisdiction an error is made which can be regarded as something which wont beyond the jurisdiction of the, Election Commissioner or was done without jurisdiction, and not merely a wrong view of the law then it appears that a Writ can be granted.

5. The case before him however was one in which the election petition itself disclosed no ground on the strength of which, if they were made good, the election could be set aside, and the Election Commissioner could be deemed to have had jurisdiction only by reason of the erroneous view which he took of the legal effect of what was set forth in the election petition. That is not the case hero. It cannot be alleged that there was no jurisdiction at the commence merit of the proceedings. As I have observed already, the only authority who had jurisdiction to decide the validity of the election in this case was the Subordinate Judge of the Nilgiris and it was the petitioner himself who invoked that jurisdiction. There was really no collateral fact which required to be proved before the Subordinate Judge could have jurisdiction in the matter. There was a dispute regarding the validity of the election and there was a petition presented to him to decide the dispute. He undoubtedly had jurisdiction to decide it, and it cannot be pretended that he ceased to have it because he decided the dispute in a particular way. Whether the petition is allowed or dismissed cannot possibly affect the question whether there was jurisdiction or not. It may be that the Subordinate Judge's reasons for coming to the conclusion that the adjournment of the meeting by the Vice Chairman was invalid and improper are not correct. That was however a question which was within his competence to decide and even if his opinion is wrong his order cannot be set aside or quashed in these proceedings. It is unnecessary for me to decide whether as a matter of fact the Vice Chairman's order adjourning the meeting in the circumstances was valid or not. The Election Commissioner had full authority to decide that question and to decide it finally. The correctness of his decision on this point cannot be questioned in proceedings by way of Certiorari.

6. I therefore dismiss the petition with costs of respondent 2. Counsel's fee is fixed at Rs. 150 (one hundred and fifty).

7. Memo of costs will follow.


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