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Mannammal Vs. Sesha Mudaliar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1968)1MLJ94
AppellantMannammal
RespondentSesha Mudaliar and ors.
Cases ReferredS. Pichaimuthuraja v. Kaliaperumal
Excerpt:
- .....was called into question, by an election petition filed by the respondents herein before the election tribunal constituted under the act in the normal course. the petitioner before me raised the question whether such an election petition before the election tribunal constituted under the act is maintainable, as she was a member who was co-opted under section 15(4) of the act and not elected by the citizens of the panchayat. the election tribunal, while considering the question and agreeing with the definition of co-option in the chambers twentieth century dictionary, held that co-option mean election. it therefore held that it had the right to investigate into the merits of the so-called election petition filed before it under notification no. 10 issued in exercise of the powers.....
Judgment:

T. Ramaprasada Rao, J.

1. This civil revision petition raises an interesting question under the Madras Panchayats Act, 1958. The petitioner's election was called into question, by an election petition filed by the respondents herein before the Election Tribunal constituted under the Act in the normal course. The petitioner before me raised the question whether such an election petition before the Election Tribunal constituted under the Act is maintainable, as she was a member who was co-opted under Section 15(4) of the Act and not elected by the citizens of the Panchayat. The Election Tribunal, while considering the question and agreeing with the definition of co-option in the Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary, held that co-option mean election. It therefore held that it had the right to investigate into the merits of the so-called election petition filed before it under Notification No. 10 issued in exercise of the powers under Clause (2) of Sub-section (2) of Section 178 of the Madras Panchayats Act, 1958. Rule (1) of Notification 10 issued in exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-clause (11) of Sub-section 2 of Section 178 provides a forum for the decision of election disputes relating to Panchayats. It states that save as otherwise provided no election held under the Madras Panchayats Act, whether of a member, President or Vice-President of a Panchayat, shall be called in question except by an election petition presented in accordance with the rules framed thereunder. Therefore, it has to be decided in the instance case whether the petitioner, who was co-opted as a lady under Section 15(4) of the Panchayat Act of 1958, should be deemed to have been elected within the meaning of Notification 10 referred to above. It is unnecessary to deal with the fundamentals and the dictionary meaning of the expression, as the matter appears to be covered by authority of this Court reported in S. Pichaimuthuraja v. Kaliaperumal (1966) 1 M.L.J.27, Srinivasan, J., while considering the import of the expression 'co-option' and particularly with reference to co-option of a woman member under Section 15(4) of the Act, observed as follows:

In the matter of co-opting a woman member, no process of election is contemplated under the Act. It may no doubt be that the manner by which co-option could be effected by the Panchayat is that some member of the Panchayat proposes the name and the proposal is put to vote, but that is not an election as contemplated by the Act.

2. As pointed out by Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes, 11th Edition, reliance on Dictionary meaning has to be deprecated and the meanings provided for in dictionaries need not be taken as authoritative, exponents of the meanings of words used in Acts of Parliament.

3. Further, having regard to the context in which the word 'co-option' is used in Section 15(4), I am of the opinion that it cannot be placed in juxtaposition to the word 'election' so that one can be interchanged with the other, under appropriate circumstances. I do not therefore think that the Election Tribunal had any jurisdiction to entertain the application and much less deal with the merits thereon. The order of the Election Tribunal is set aside as having been passed without any jurisdiction thereto. This civil revision petition is allowed with costs.


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