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G. Ramasundaram and ors. Vs. the Inspector of Panchayats (District Collector) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectElection
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1968)1MLJ318
AppellantG. Ramasundaram and ors.
RespondentThe Inspector of Panchayats (District Collector) and ors.
Cases ReferredD.S. Garewal v. State of Punjab
Excerpt:
- - we have had some interesting arguments from mr. there is no dispute that the first four stages are adequately and clearly provided for in the act itself. (2) once it is established that it has sovereign powers within a certain sphere, it must follow as a corollary that it is free to legislate within that sphere in any way which appears to it to be the best way to give effect to its intention and policy in making a particular law, and that it may utlise any outside agency to any extent it finds necessary for doing things which it is unable to do itself or finds it inconvenient to do. therefore, there are only two main checks in this country on the power of the legislature to delegate, these being its good sense and the principle that it should not cross the line beyond which.....m. natesan, j.1. these petitions under article 226 of the constitution raise a common question, the validity of the rules relating to the mariner arid method of election of members to the village panchayats under the madras panchayats act, 1958, she contention being that the rules arc void for the reasons that there has been excessive delegation of essential legislative functions to the executive. the facts in writ petition no. 596 of 1965, typical of the petitions may be briefly set out. this relates to hanumanthapatti village panchayat in periakulam taluk, madurai district. there had been an election to the panchayat under the madras act xxv of 1958 (hereinafter referred, to as the act) in 1959. the election which has given raise to the present petition was held on 2nd february, 1965,.....
Judgment:

M. Natesan, J.

1. These petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution raise a common question, the validity of the rules relating to the mariner arid method of election of members to the village panchayats under the Madras Panchayats Act, 1958, she contention being that the rules arc void for the reasons that there has been excessive delegation of essential legislative functions to the Executive. The facts in Writ Petition No. 596 of 1965, typical of the petitions may be briefly set out. This relates to Hanumanthapatti village panchayat in Periakulam Taluk, Madurai district. There had been an election to the Panchayat under the Madras Act XXV of 1958 (hereinafter referred, to as the Act) in 1959. The election which has given raise to the present petition was held on 2nd February, 1965, and under the provisions of the Act the election authority declared respondents 4 to 16 in the writ petition as duly elected members of the panchayat. The petition has been preferred by a voter of the panchayat questioning the declaration of the election, of respondents 4 to 16 as the duly elected members of the panchayat inter alia on the ground that the Act itself has made no provisions for the elaborate procedure required for holding elections, and for deciding election disputes. It is contended, that the manner and method, of election of members of a panchayat should be provided only by the Legislature and its delegation without laying down any policy or standard for guidance is unconstitutional. As the panchayat under the Act has been given vast powers in local administration, including powers to raise finance by taxation, it is submitted that the panchayat which has not been validly constituted should not be permitted to function. We have had some interesting arguments from Mr. K.K. Venugopal learned Counsel for the petitioner, as to the various featurs of an election, the several methods by which representatives could be chosen and the wide variation in the methods, differing from each other not merely on details but also in matters of policy and principles. It was submitted that the methods of election and the choosing of representatives will have to vary according to the composition of the electorate, the position and powers of the representatives and the stage to which the electorate as advanced in the matter of its civic and political consciousness. It is unnecessary to detail them, as ultimately to a question from us as to which of the provisions of the rules are sought to be invalidated learned Counsel stated that Rules 11 and 13 of the rules entitled : The Conduct of Election of Members of the Village Panchayats Rules, 1964, have to be struck down. The learned Advocate-General appearing on behalf of the State submitted that there was no excessive delegation of legislative powers in this case and that the rules have been validly and legally made and only carried out the policy and guidance provided by the Act itself.

2. The present Panchayat Act, Madras Act, XXXV of 1958 comes in substitution of the Madras Village Panchayat Act of 1950 (Madras Act X of 1950). Article 40 of the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution provides for the State taking steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers, and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-Government. The legislative power is found under item 5 of List II of the Seventh Schedule:

Local Government, that is to say, the constitution and powers of municipal corporations, improvement trusts, district boards, mining settlement authorities and other local authorities for the purpose of local self-Government or village administration.

3. Section 8 of the Panchayat Act provides for the constitution of panchayats for villages and towns and their incorporation. Section 10 provides for the strength of a panchayat, the total number of members of a panchayat to be notified by the Inspector in accordance with such scale as may-be prescribed with reference to population. Section 14 runs thus:

The members of the panchayat shall be elected in such manner as may be prescribed:

Provided that no person shall be eligible to be elected or co-opted under this Act as a member of more than one panchayat.

4. Section 16 provides for division of the panchayat into wards for the purpose of electing members to the panchayat. Section 17 relates to the term of office of the members and provides for the filling up of ordinary and casual vacancies which are denned under Section 2 of the Act. Section 20 provides for preparation and publication of electoral roll and qualification for inclusion therein. It is necessary to set out some of the parts of Section 20 material for our present purpose:

(1) Every person whose name is included in such part of the electoral roll for any Assembly Constituency as relates to the village or town or any portion of the said village or town shall be entitled to be included in the electoral roll for the panchayat and no other person shall be entitled to be included therein.

Explanation....

(2) As soon as may be after the electoral rolls for the Assembly Constituencies which consist of, or comprise, the village or town or any portion of the said village or town have beer, published, revised or amended in pursuance of the Representation of the People Act (XLIII of 1950) any person authorised by the prescribed authority in this behalf shall publish in such manner as the Government may direct, the portions of the said rolls which relate to the village or town or of the alterations therein as the electoral roll for the panchayat or as alteration to such roll as the case may be.

(3) The electoral roll for the panchayat shall be divided into separate parts for each ward.

(4) ....

(5) Every person whose name appears in the electoral roll for the panchayat shall, so long as it remains in force and subject to any revision thereof which might have taken place and subject also to the other provisions of this Act be entitled to vote at an election; and no person whose name does not appear in such roll shall vote at an election.

Explanation....

Section 21 provides for the correction of electoral roll of the panchayat by the prescribed authority, after making enquiry and publishing amendments to the electoral roll for the purpose of bringing it into accord with the electoral roll for the relevant Assembly Constituency. Section 22 relates to qualifications of candidates and enacts that no person shall be qualified for election as a member of a panchayat unless his name appears on the electoral roll of the panchayat. Section 24 deals with disqualifications from voting or being elected in ejection. It runs thus:

Every person convicted an offence punishable under Chapter IX-A of the Indian Penal Code (XLV of 1860) or under any law or rule relating to the infringement of the secrecy of an election shall be disqualified from voting or from being elected in any election to which this Act applies or from holding the office of member of a panchayat or of a panchayat union council for a period of five years from the date of his conviction.

Section 25 deals with disqualifications of candidates and Section 26 with disqualifications of members. Section 178 which empowers the Government to make rules generally to carry out purpose of the Act provides by Sub-section (2)(ii) that in particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the power the Government may make rules as to all matters relating to electoral rolls or elections, not expressly provided for in this Act, including deposits to be made by candidates standing for election and the conditions under which such deposits may be forfeited and the conduct of inquiries and the decision of disputes relating to, electoral rolls or elections.

5. In the rules framed under the power conferred as above stated detailed provisions have been made in regard to the manner and method of holding election, the appointment of the Returning Officer, the duties of the Returning Officer, the appointment of Presiding Officers, the duties of the Presiding Officers, presentation of nominations and procedure to be followed in contested and uncontested elections. Rule 11 provides for arrangements at polling stations. Rule 12 deals with ballot papers and Rule 13 with the issue of ballot papers and voting procedure. Provision is made for recording of votes of blind and infirm electors. Rules are made with reference to spoilt and returned ballot papers, closing of poll and counting of poll, declaration of the results of election, etc. It may be stated that it is not contended that the rules, if otherwise valid, are not exhaustive and did not provide an adequate and efficient machinery for election of the members of a Panchayat. Rules have also been framed for the decision of election disputes. Sub-rule (3) of Rule 1 specifically provides that the election of members shall be by secret ballot.

6. The attack of Mr. K.K. Venugopal on the validity of the rules may be summarised thus. An election consists of seven stages : (1) prescribing qualifications for a votor; (ii) delimitation of wards or constituencies; (iii) preparation of electoral rolls; (iv) qualifications and disqualifications of candidates; (v) manner or method of election; (vi) machinery for the conduct of election; and (vii) machinery for the disposal of election disputes. There is no dispute that the first four stages are adequately and clearly provided for in the Act itself. The lacuna in the Act comes in, according to learned Counsel, with reference to the manner and method of election, Section 14 simply stating that the members of the panchayat shall be elected in the manner to be prescribed. The argument is elaborated as follows; an election it is submitted could be direct or indirect and expression of the choice of his candidate by an elector may be either by public voting or by secret voting. Representation to an elective body could be by proportionate representation, by single non-transferable vote, by limited vote and so on. It is submitted that by Section 178 of the Act, it is left to the Executive to decide whether the voting is to be by public or by secret ballot, whether the election is to be direct or indirect and whether the representation is to be by single non-transferable vote or by proportionate representation or by other process. These are matters, it is submitted, which could not be left to the Executive having to be the subject of policy decisions. But as found in the text-book, the Substance of Politics by Appadorai referred to by learned Counsel, only Senates of France and South Africa are indirectly elected bodies. All others are directly elected. Indirect election involves an intermediate electorate body between the primary -voters and the selected representatives. The primary voters select the intermediate voters who form the electoral college and this electoral college chooses the elected representatives. There maybe a policy in the matter of deciding which system of election is to be adopted for any particular elective body. It is needless for us here to discuss the merits of indirect and direct elections. In our view, there is ample indication in the Act itself that what is contemplated for the panchayats is direct election; Section 20 provides for the preparation of electoral roll for the Panchayat and every person whose name appears in the electoral roll of the panchayat is entitled to vote at an election to the, panchayat. If there is to be an intermediate body and the election is to be indirect, it cannot be said that every person whose name is found in the electoral roll is voting for the election of a panchayat member. The electoral roll in such a case would contain only primary voters and not voters at election for the panchayat. But the electoral roll that is prepared under Section 20 is the electoral roll for the panchayat as is clear from Section 20 itself.

7. The next point made by learned Counsel as involving a question of policy is as to the method of voting - Secret voting or public voting. It is stated that, though the Act refers to voting at an election, there is no indication in the Act that, it should be by secret ballot. This has been left to the Executive to decide. No doubt the, Act does not specifically say that the voting will be secret. But one cannot overlook that, as noticed in. The Substance of Politics by Appadorai, vote by ballot (or some form of secret voting) is now the universal practice. It is found in that text-book at page 465 that though the case for public voting is in theory unassailable, public voting has disappeared in modern States, because its working revealed a serious practical defect and the possibility of coercion of the voter. That apart, a reference to Section 24 of the Panchayat Act itself shows that the Act recognises secrecy of election. Under Section 24 every person convicted of an offence punishable under any law or rule relating to the infringement of secrecy of an election get disqualified from voting or from being elected in any election under the Panchayat Act or from holding the office of member of a Panchayat. The various theories of adequate representation, proportional representation achieved by single transferable vote or by list system, cumulative vote are all special modes of representation, and it is cot the case of the petitioners that any such special modes have been provided for under the rules. As stated at the outset, the attack on the rules was confined to Rules 11 and 13, evidently on the basis that these ensured direct election and secret voting. Rule 11 deals with arrangements at a polling station. It inter alia ensures that the voting shall be secret and Clause (1) of the rules reads:

There shall be a polling station for each ward. Each polling station shall contain one or more voting compartments in which electors can record their votes screened from observation.

8. The other provisions of the rule relate to the Returning Officer providing at each polling station, the necessary number of ballot boxes, copies of electoral rolls etc. Provision is made that the ballor box shall be so constructed that ballot papers can be introduced therein but cannot be withdrawn therefrom, without the box being unlocked. There are other details for the proper conduct of election. Rule 13 provides for the Issue of ballot papers, identification of the voter and the voting procedure. Each voter is to be given only one ballot paper. The method in which ballot paper is to be marked is set out. This rule also seeks to assure secrecy of voting. But when secret ballot is universally accepted, and direct election is the rule rather than the exception, no specific direction in that regard would be necessary. We are unable to see any policy decisions requiring guidance of the Legislature, being left to the Executive under the impugned Rules 11 and 13.

9. Learned Counsel refers to provisions of the Representation of People Acts (XLIII of 1950 and XLIII of 1951), and points out that these Acts specifically provided not only for the secrecy of ballot but also for representatives to be chosen by direct election. Section 7 of Act XLIII of 1950 is referred, to, which shows that the members of the Legislative Assembly are to be chosen by direct election Article 81 of the Constitution is also referred to where reference is made to direct election by voters of States to the House of People. But as regards secrecy of election, Section 59 of Act XLIII of 1951 only states that at every election where a poll is taken votes shall be given by ballot in such manner as may be prescribed and no votes shall be received by proxy. Section 94 provides under the heading Secrecy of voting not to be infringed that no witness or other person shall be required to state for whom he has voted at an election. Under the headings Maintenance of Secrecy of Voting Section 128 also provides that every officer, clerk, agent or other person who performs any duty in connection with the recording or counting votes at an election shall maintain, and aid in maintaining the secrecy of voting and shall not (except for some purpose authorised by or under any law) communicate to any person any information calculated to violate such secrecy. Secrecy of ballot is taken as axiomatic and as-pointed out in the Substance of Politics by Appadorai, it is of universal practice. It is no doubt true that with reference to Parliamentary elections and elections to State Legislatures the Acts themselves are elaborate. But that is obviously because of the importance and magnitude of the task. Elections to Parliament and to the Legislatures of States are specifically listed under item 72 of List I of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.

10. When any rule is attacked on the ground that the delegation is unconstitutional, what has to be looked for is whether the administrative authority has been supplied with proper guidance in the matter; is there an abdication by the Legislature of its function leaving it to the Executive to frame the rules on its own unguided initiative, with no guidelines indicating the policy or principles? The tests are summed up as follows by Fazl Ali, J., on the Presidential Reference, In re, The Delhi Laws Act, 1912, etc. (1915) S.C.R. 747, : (1951) S.C.J. 527:

(1) The legislature must normally discharge its primary legislative function itself and not through others.

(2) Once it is established that it has sovereign powers within a certain sphere, it must follow as a corollary that it is free to legislate within that sphere in any way which appears to it to be the best way to give effect to its intention and policy in making a particular law, and that it may utlise any outside agency to any extent it finds necessary for doing things which it is unable to do itself or finds it inconvenient to do. In other words, it can do everything which is ancillary to and necessary for the full and effective exercise of its power of legislation.

(3) It cannot abdicate its legislative functions, and therefore while entrusting power to an outside agency, it must see that such agency acts as a subordinate authority and. does not become a parallel Legislature.

(4) The doctrine of separation of powers and the judicial interpretation it has received in America ever since the American Constitution was framed, enables the American Courts to check undue and excessive delegation but the Courts of this country are not committed to that doctrine and cannot apply it in the same way as it has been applied in America. Therefore, there are only two main checks in this country on the power of the Legislature to delegate, these being its good sense and the principle that it should not cross the line beyond which delegation amounts to abdication and self-effacement.

In our opinion, the rules which are challenged in the present case as Unconstitutional on the ground of their being the product of excessive delegation of legislative power would Jail within the second of the above prepositions. Dealing with delegated legislation, Mukherjea, J. (as he then was) observed on the same reference, at page 981:

As said already, it is within powers of Parliament or any competent legislative body when legislating within its legislative field, to confer subordinate administrative an$ legislative powers upon some other authority. The question is : What are the limits within which such conferment or bestowing of powers could be properly made?....

If the Legislature hands over its essential legislative powers to an outside authority, that would;, in my opinion, amount to a virtual abdication of its powers and such an act would be in excess of the limits of permissible delegation.

The essential legislative function consists in the determination or choosing of the legislative policy and of formally enacting that policy into a binding rule of conduct. It is open to the Legislature to formulate the policy as broadly and with as little or as much details as it thinks proper and it may delegate the rest of the legislative work to a subordinate authority who will work out the details within the framework of that policy?

Judged in the light of the above principles, can it be said in this ease that there is no legislative policy or criterion for the administrative authority to follow up in framing the rules? Is it a case where what has been left out for the subordinate body to carry on is the determination of the legislative policy itself? Learned Counsel for the petitioner contends that there are no proper criteria or standards indicated in the Act and uncanalised power has been surrendered to the Executive to determine the manner and mode of election. We do not think that this is a correct view to take of the position. In our view, the legislative, policy is apparent on the face of the enactment itself. We have already discussed when examining the provisions of the Act that it contains indications as to the manner and method of carrying out election, that the election must be direct and voting must be by secret ballot, the two policy matters stressed, by learned Counsel.

11. Further, it is not as if for the first time the Panchayat Act has been enacted and elections to panchayats provided for. The present Act, Madras Act XXXV of 1958, is no doubt wider in scope and envisages a comprehensive programme of measures designed to promote rural employment to improve rural living conditions, national extension service, scheme of community development, etc. It provides for the formation of union of panchayats and constituting panchayat Union councils. But so far as the village panchayats are concerned, the present Act replaces the earlier Madras Village Panchayat Act (X of 1950). In the former Act may be seen provisions corresponding to the provisions of the present Act in relation to the constitution of panchayats, strength of panchayats, election of members, division of panchayats into wards and preparation and publication of electoral roll and qualifications for inclusion therein. Under the transitional provisions set out in Schedule IV of the present Act, members of the Panchayat holding office under the old Act are to be deemed to be the elected members of the panchayats under the new Act. Corresponding to the present Section 178, rule-making power was given under Section 112 in the Act of 1950 and was worded similarly. Pursuant to the said rule-making power, rules almost identical with the present rules for the conduct of elections and enquiry into election disputes were framed. In Velcyutha Mudaliar v. D.M. of Vridhachalam (1955) 1 M.L.J. 201, the validity of the rules for the decision of election disputes under the rule-making power of the Panchayat Act of 1950 was challenged as unconstitutional on the ground of excessive delegation. Rajagopala Ayyangar, J. after examining the legislative practice in this regard in this country, observed thus atpage205:

There is thus a body of legislative practice, which is sufficient to sustain the validity of this rule-making power. The juridical basis upon which legislative practice is relied upon to sustain the validity of a law is that the content of legislative power granted by the Constitution should be measured by the manner in which the same has beer, utilised before the Constitution. In, other words, the entry in the legislative list conferring upon the Legislature a power in relation to a subject would include, in the light of the legislative practice, a right to legislate in the manner in which it was hitherto fore done.

The learned Judge upheld the validity of the delegation and the constitutionality of the rules. We have been supplied with a list of local Acts, and Rules relating to Local Bodies in several States showing that the power conferred on. the Government is one which has been traditionally exercised by the Executive and is considered to be of subsidiary nature. The Madras Local Boards Act of 1920 under which an elected District Board was constituted left the manner and method of elections to rules to be framed under the Act. Similarly the Madras City Municipal Corporation Act, 1919 enabled by Section 59 the Government to make rules regulating the procedure with, regard to elections and provide for all matters not expressly provided in the Act relating to elections of the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor, Councillors or Aldermen, including deposits to be made by candidates standing for election as Councillors, and the conditions, under which such deposit may be forfeited. The Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, 1888 enabled the Corporation to make Rules for the conduct of elections and providing inter alia for the manner in which Votes are to be given. The Bombay Local Boards Act of 1923 by Section 133, enabled the State Government by notification; in the Official Gazette from, time to time to make rules consistent with the Act determining the mode in which and the places at which and the authorities, if any, under whose supervision elections of members of the Local Boards shall be held and the manner In which votes thereat shall be recorded and how and by whom the results of such elections shall be declared: The Bombay Village Panchayats Act, 1933, enabled the State Government under Section 108, by notification in the Official Gazette to make Rules prescribing the manner in which the election of members shall be held. The Bengal Municipal Act, 1844, enabled the local Government with respect to each Municipality to lay down such rules not inconsistent with the Act as it shall think fit inter alia for the qualifications required to entitle any person to vote for a candidate for election and in respect of the mode of election and the authority who shall decide disputes thereunder. Section 63-A of the Government of India Act, 1919 provides that the Council of State shall consist of not more than sixty members nominated or elected in accordance with rules made under the Act, of whom not more than twenty shall be official members. Section 63-B provided that Legislative Assembly shall consist of members nominated or elected in accordance with the rules made under the Act. Section 72-A of the Act, by Sub-section (4)(c), contains provision for making rules under the Act as to the qualification of electors, the constitution of constituencies and the method of election for Governor legislative councils including the number of members to be elected, by communal and other electorates and any matters. Incidental or ancillary thereto and Sub-section (4)(e) provides for rules being made for the final decision of doubts or disputes as to the validity of any election. Under the Government of India Act, 1935, Section 61 provided that the composition of the Chamber or Chambers of the Legislature of a province shall be such as is specified in relation to that province in the Fifth Schedule to the Act. Rule 20(iii) of Schedule 5 of the Act provided inter alia for the Governor-General to make rules with respect to the conduct of elections including the application to elections of the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, and rules to regulate election, where certain of the seats to be filled are reserved for members of the scheduled classes, or in the case of Bombay for Marathas, or where certain of the seats allotted to any community must be held by a woman or by a specified type of landholder. Sub-rule (vi) of rule 20 provided also for framing rules for the decision of doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with elections. With reference to Rule 20(iii) it must be noticed that there is specific reference to consideration of the principle of proportional representation.

12. In In re The Delhi Laws Act, 1912, efc. : [1951]2SCR747 , Mahajan, J. (as he then was), while considering the argument that legislative practice in India since a long time had been such as would validate statutes designed on the model of the three statutes under reference to the Supreme Court, quotes with approval the following passage from. U.S. v. Curliss Wright 199 U.S. 304:

Uniform, long continued and undisputed legislative practice resting on an admissible view of the constitution goes a long way to the direction of proving the presence of unassailable grounds for the constitutionality of the practice.

However, the learned Judge held that there was no evidence in that particular case of uniform, long continued and undisputed legislative practice for validating statutes which has been drafted on lines similar to the statutes in question.

13. In our opinion, apart from the legislative, practice that has been shown of leaving the manner and method of election to the rules, the normal manner and method of election for self-governing units in the democratic set-up is practically well-settled. The election Rules of the Madras Panchayat Act of 1950 as well as the rules for election to local bodies have been there. If there is to be no departure from the method of holding elections and getting elected representatives till then followed, the rule-making authority has the established canons of election procedure for guidance. There is no unchartered sea for it to plough its way. Here we would like to draw attention to Rule 20(iii) of Schedule 5 to Government of India Act where a special provision was found necessary for the application to ejection of the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. When there is in existence a policy regarding the manner and mode of elections to local bodies, the underlying policy of the new enactment providing for similar elections must be held to be apparent. In Bhatnagars & Co. Ltd. v. The Union of India : 1983ECR1607D(SC) , Gajendragadkar, J., (as he there was) while examining the question whether guidance was afforded to the delegate in bringing into operation the material provisions of the Act by laying d own principles in that behalf observed at page 718:

Turning to the impugned Sections of the present Act, it is necessary to remember that the present Act purports to continue for a limited period powers to prohibit or control imports and exports which had already been enacted by the Defence of India Act and the Rules framed thereunder. In other words, this Act does not purport to enact the material provisions for the first time but it purports to continue the previously existing provisions in that behalf and so it would be legitimate so consider the preamble of the predecessor Act and relevant provisions in it to find out whether the Legislature has laid down clearly the policy underlying that Act and has enunciated principles for the guidance of those to whom authority to implement the Act has been delegated.

Incidentally we may also observe that in Pannalal Binjraj v. The Union of India : [1957]1SCR233 where the vires of Section 5(7-A) of the Income Tax Act were put in issue before, this Court, the challenge was repelled and during the course of the judgment-delivered on 21st December, 1956, the previous history of the earlier Income Tax Act was taken into account to decide what policy could be said to underlie the provisions of the impugned section.

14. We refer to this passage, that to find out whether the Executive had a policy or guidance in that matter, reference may be made to prior legislations. The Election Rules made under the Panchayat Act, 1950, and published in the Gazette had effect as if enacted in the Act. As already stated the relevant sections of the present Act and rules are more or less identical with the corresponding sections and Rules of 1950 Act. There being available guidance and established practice, it cannot be said that by providing for rules to be made by the Executive the Legislature has abdicated its function. No change in the traditional or conventional policy is contemplated in the Act. A policy may be particularised in as few or as many words as the Legislature thinks proper and it is enough if an intelligent guidance could be found in the enactment by the subordinate authorities, having regard to the prior law on the same subject. As observed by Mukherjea, J., (as he then was) in In re The Delhi Laws Act, 1912 etc. (1951) S.C.R. 747, 984 : (1951) S.C.J. 527:

The Court can interfere if no policy is discernible at all or the delegation is of such an indefinite character as to amount to abdication but as the discretion vests with the Legislature in determining whether there is necessity for delegation or not the exercise of such discretion is not to be disturbed by the Court except in clear cases of abuse.

The Act also contains a provision for laying of rules before the Legislature. Section 199 of Act XXXV of 1958 runs:

(1) All rules, notifications and orders made or issued under this Act shall be published in the Fort St. George Gazette and unless they are expressed to come into force on a particular day, shall come into force on the day on which they are so published.

(2) Every rule, notification or order made or issued under this Act shall, as soon as possible after it is made or issued, be placed on the table of both Houses of the Legislature, and if, before the expiry of the session in which it is so placed or the next session, both Houses agree in making any modification in any such rule, notification or order, or both Houses agree that the rule, notification or order-should not be made or issued, the rule, notification or order shall, thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect as the case may be, so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule, notification or order.' Section inserted by Madras Act XVIII of 1964).

15. No doubt the procedure for laying provided may not secure that degree of legislative control over the subordinate legislation as may be desired or is available when what is known as the affirmative procedure of laying is followed. The learned Advocate-General drew our attention to the following observations in D.S. Garewal v. State of Punjab : AIR1959SC512 , 518.

At the same time Parliament took care to see that these rules were laid on the table of Parliament for fourteen days before they were to come into force and they were subject to modification whether by way of repeal or amendment on a motion made by Parliament during the session in which they are so laid. This makes it perfectly clear that Parliament has ii no way abdicated its authority, but is keeping strict vigilance and control over its delegate.

In In re, The Delhi Laws Act, 1912, etc. (1951) S.C.J. 527 : : [1951]2SCR747 , 850, Fazl Ali, J., observed:

It may also be stated that in England delegated legislation often requires the regulations or provisions made by the delegate authority to be laid before the Parliament either in draft form or with the condition that they are not to operate till approved by Parliament or with no further direction. The Acts before us are certainly open to the comment that this valuable safeguard, has not beer, observed, but it seems to me that however desirable the adoption of this safeguard and other safeguards which have been suggested from time to time may be, the validity of the Acts which has to be determined on purely legal considerations, cannot be affected by their absence.

Mr. K.K. Venugopal pointed but that the laying procedure provided in this case cannot be quite effective, as the rules made come into effect on the publication in the Gazette. But in our view it is unnecessary to rely upon or to consider the effect of the laying down provision in the matter of the constitutionality of the delegation of the power to make rules. We are satisfied that in the circumstances of this case there has been no such excessive delegation as would require the rules to be struck down.

16. In the result the rules nisi in the several petitions stand discharged. The petitions fail and are dismissed with costs.

17. Writ Petition No. 9221955. - In this writ petition, besides seeking the invalidity of the election on the ground that there has been excessive delegation of power to the executive for framing of election rules, a further point is taken. The petitioner is a candidate for membership in the Vannivalampatti Panchayat in the election held on 28th January, 1965. His case is that at the election a number of persons whose names were not found in the electoral rolls which had been published, were permitted to Vote by the Presiding Officer in spite of his protest being met by the plea that a supplemental list of eligible voters had been prepared and published. The petitioner's case is that he saw such a list of supplemental voters put up on the notice board of the panchayat board only on 29th January, 1965. One of the successful candidates at the election, the 6th respondent in the writ petition, has in his counter affidavit, categorically denied, that the supplemental list was put up only on 29th January, 1965. According to him, it has been published and put up on the notice board of the panchayat on the 26th January, 1965, the last date for filing nominations. Records have since been produced and it is seen therefrom that the supplemental list has been published even on 25th January, 1965. Learned Counsel does not point to us any rule requiring any particular interval between the final publication of electoral rolls and actual election. The electoral rolls that have been adopted at the election has been finalised before the receipt of nomination. We fail to appreciate the tenability of the plea that the petitioner has lost an opportunity canvassing votes himself. Even on the facts this plea is untenable and does not merit consideration. As to the plea of excessive delegation and invalidity of the entire election on that score, we have already considered the matter in the connected Writ Petitions Nos. 396, 596, 600, 608 and 958 of 1965. There has been no such excessive delegation in this case as would invalidate the rules and make void the election.

18. The rule nisi is, therefore, discharged. The writ petition fails and is dismissed with costs.


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