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M.S.A. Jayaraman Vs. the Revenue Divisional Officer and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1962)2MLJ300
AppellantM.S.A. Jayaraman
RespondentThe Revenue Divisional Officer and ors.
Excerpt:
- - it must be remembered that a no-confidence motion under section 40-a of the act is not the same thing as the removal of the chairman like the one under section 40 (1) of the act. an elected chairman or vice-chairman should always enjoy the confidence of the council over which he has to preside......its chairman on 20th april, 1959. on 30th june, 1961, 13 members of the council gave notice to the revenue divisional officer, namakkal, under sub-clause (2) of section 40-a of the madras district municipalities act of their intention to move a motion expressing want of confidence in the chairman. annexed to the notice was a copy of the motion sought to be moved. it also contained four items of complaint against the chairman. the papers were duly presented to the revenue divisional officer, who issued notice, convening a meeting of the council for 26th july, 1961 to consider the motion of no-confidence against its chairman. the notice only intimated the fact that a meeting was convened for the purpose of the consideration of the no-confidence motion. it specified the date, time and place.....
Judgment:

S. Ramachandra Iyer, C.J.

1. This appeal which is directed against the Judgment of Veeraswami, J., arises out of an application filed under Article 226 of the Constitution for the issue of a writ of mandamus to the State Government restraining and prohibiting it from removing the appellant from his office as Chairman of Rasipuram Municipal Council. This Municipal Council consisted of twenty members. The appellant was elected as its Chairman on 20th April, 1959. On 30th June, 1961, 13 members of the Council gave notice to the Revenue Divisional Officer, Namakkal, under Sub-clause (2) of Section 40-A of the Madras District Municipalities Act of their intention to move a motion expressing want of confidence in the Chairman. Annexed to the notice was a copy of the motion sought to be moved. It also contained four items of complaint against the Chairman. The papers were duly presented to the Revenue Divisional Officer, who issued notice, convening a meeting of the Council for 26th July, 1961 to consider the motion of no-confidence against its Chairman. The notice only intimated the fact that a meeting was convened for the purpose of the consideration of the no-confidence motion. It specified the date, time and place of the meeting. Neither a copy of the proposed resolution nor a copy of the four charges contained in the notice lodged with the Revenue Divisional Officer, was sent along with the notice or at any time previous to the meeting. The meeting of the Municipal Council held on 27th June, 1961, was presided by the Revenue Divisional Officer. He read to the meeting the resolution. One of the members present objected that the meeting had not been properly convened as the motion intended to be moved had not been communicated to the members and that the name of the person who intended to make the motion was not also specified in the notice sent to them. This objection was overruled and the resolution was duly proposed, seconded and adopted without any discussion. The appellant thereupon applied to this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution to prohibit the respondent from removing him from his office in pursuance of the resolution. Veeraswami, J., who was of opinion that it was not obligatory on the Revenue Divisional Officer to communicate a copy of the motion or the charges contained therein to the Councillors dismissed the petition. Hence this appeal.

2. The sole question for consideration in this appeal is whether on the terms of Section 40-A of the District Municipalities Act, it was necessary for the Revenue Divisional Officer convening the meeting for the purpose of moving a no-confidence motion against the Chairman, to supply the members of the Council with copies of the motion or of the charges that might be annexed thereto. It must be remembered that a no-confidence motion under Section 40-A of the Act is not the same thing as the removal of the Chairman like the one under Section 40 (1) of the Act. Section 40 (1) confers a power on the State Government to remove a Chairman or Vice-Chairman whether he has got the confidence of the Council or not. Sub-clause (2) of that section provides that the State Government shall, when they propose to take action under Sub-section (1) give the Chairman or Vice-Chairman concerned an opportunity for explanation. The action of the Government being one in the nature of a punishment the statute provides for principles of natural justice being observed before such punishment is imposed.

3. Under Section 4D-A of the Act, no question of punishment at all arises. An elected Chairman or Vice-Chairman should always enjoy the confidence of the Council over which he has to preside. It is not obligatory on the part of the Council to give reasons if they feel they have no confidence in their Chairman. Section 40-A which deals with a motion of no-confidence, prescribes the procedure for the same. Sub-clause (2) to that section states:

Written notice of intention to make the motion in such form as may be fixed by the State Government signed by such number of the Councillors as shall constitute not less than one half of the sanctioned strength of the Council together with a copy of the motion which is proposed to be made shall be delivered by any two Councillors signing the notice in person together with to the Revenue Divisional Officer.

Sub-section (3) which we shall reproduce in extenso states:

The Revenue Divisional Officer shall then convene a meeting for the consideration of the motion to be held at the municipal office at a time appointed by him which shall not be later than 30 days from the date on which the notice under Sub-section (2) was delivered to him.

4. It will be observed that there is a significant omission in the sub-section of any reference to copy of the motion which is proposed to be moved; therefore the statute while it prescribes a copy of the motion to be sent to the Revenue Divisional Officer, does not require- that formality when that officer in turn sends the notice. As Veeraswami, J., observes the words ' for the consideration of the motion ' in Sub-section (3) has no relevance to the particular duty which this provision casts upon the Revenue Divisional Officer. These words merely describe the purpose for which the meeting is held. In my opinion, once the Revenue Divisional Officer gives notice convening the meeting, fixing the time and place at which it should take place he would have done everything that is required of him by Sub-section (3).

5. Section 40-A refers in three places about the actual terms of the motion. In Sub-section (2) there is specific reference to a copy of the motion which is proposed to be delivered to the Revenue Divisional Officer. By Sub-section (7) the Revenue Divisional Officer is required to read to the Council the motion for consideration of which, it has been convened. Sub-section (11) prescribes that a copy of the minutes of the meeting together with a copy of the motion and the result of the voting thereon shall forthwith be forwarded to the State Government by the Revenue Divisional Officer. Significantly enough there is no reference to any copy of the motion being sent along with the notice under Sub-section (3). On the terms of the section which prescribe the procedure for the 'no confidence motion ' it is clear that it is not obligatory on the Revenue Divisional Officer giving notice of the meeting for the passing of no confidence resolution against the Chairman, to annex to that notice a copy of the resolution sought to be moved or the charges against the Chairman which it might contain.

6. Mr. V.V. Raghavan appearing for the appellant invites our attention to Articles 94 and 179 of the Constitution which prescribe the procedure for the removal of the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the Parliament and of the State Legislative Assemblies, from their offices. We do not consider that these provisions would afford any useful analogy for the construction to be put on Section 40-A of the Madras District Municipalities Act which is a self-contained provision on the subject dealt with. Learned Counsel next referred to Section 152 of the Madras Village Panchayats Act (XXXV of 1958) which enacts the procedure to be observed while passing a motion of no-confidence against the President or Vice-President of the Panchayat. Sub-section (3) provides specifically that a copy of the statement of the charges along with the notice of the meeting shall be caused to be delivered to the President or Vice-President concerned by the Tashildar, and the President or Vice-President shall be required to give a statement in reply to the charges within a week of the receipt of the notice by the President or Vice-President. No debate is permitted at the meeting. A similar provision is made under Section 153 in regard to a no-confidence motion against the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Panchayat Union Council. But we do not see how the plain terms of Section 40-A of the District Municipalities Act can be interpreted by the terms of another statutes. The procedure prescribed for motions of no-confidence are different under the two status. Under the District Municipalities Act the motion as made, is open for debate and there is no provision for submitting any explanation by the Chairman or Vice-Chairman concerned. The procedure under the District Municipalities Act in regard to such motions being different from that prescribed under the Madras Village Panchayats Act, 1958, the provisions of the latter enactment cannot be relied on as a statutory interpretation of the provisions of the earlier enactment. We, therefore, agree with Veeraswami, J., that there was no illegality in the notice issued by the Revenue Divisional Officer under the provisions of Section 40-A (3) of the Madras District Municipalities Act and that no case has been made out for the issue of a writ of mandamus. The appeal fails and is dismissed with costs.


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