G. Ramanujam, J.
1. The petitioner herein was a Village Headman of Mela Adhichamangalam Village, Nannilam taluk. He was appointed as one of the trustees of Sri Hirudaya Kamalanathaswami temple at Valivalam by an order, dated 26th October, 1970 of the Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (Administration) Department, Madras which is 30 miles away from the petitioner's charge village. He was also a trustee of Sri Mariamman Temple of Keeranthangudi of Nannilam taluk. He was also the correspondent of Desigar High School at Valivalam and other institutions such as Students Hostel and Health Centre in that place. The fact that the petitioner was doing honorary work as trustee of the said two temples as also the correspondent of the said institutions was brought to the notice of the Revenue Divisional Officer, Nagapattinam the first respondent herein. The first respondent thereafter called for a report from the Tahsildar as to whether the petitioner had obtained any permission from the Revenue Divisional Officer for doing the honorary works referred to above and whether the duties, which he had undertaken to perform, had affected his duties as Village Headman. The Tahsildar, Nannilam, reported, that there was no material to show that the petitioner had obtained the requisite permission for doing the honorary jobs referred to above, and that his honorary duties as trustees of the two temples and as correspondent of the institutions referred to above had affected his duty as Village Headman and suggested that the petitioner might be directed to give up either the office of the Village Headman or the other honorary offices.
2. The first respondent thereafter framed the following two charges:
(1) That he did not obtain prior permission to become the trustee and then Managing Trustee of Sri Hirudayakamalanathaswamy Devasthanam at Valivalam, Trustee of Sri Mariamman Temple at Keeranthangudi of Nannilam Taluk and correspondent of Desigar High School at Valivalam, Students Hostel at Valivalam and Health Centre at Valivalam.
(2) That he did not disclose that he is the permanent Village Headman in his application to the Assistant Commissioner, Nagapattinam and the Commissioner, Madras for his appointment as Trustee of the above two temples.
The petitioner was directed to show cause why disciplinary proceedings should not be taken against him. The petitioner submitted his explanation on 5th September, 1971 and also asked for a personal hearing. Thereafter, the first respondent came to the provisional conclusion to remove the petitioner from the post of Village Headman and petitioner was asked to show cause against the said provisional conclusion. The petitioner submitted his representation and was again heard. Thereafter, the first respondent held that those two charges were proved, and removed the petitioner from service. As against the order of removal, the petitioner filed an appeal to the District Revenue Officer, the second respondent herein. The second respondent specifically found in his order, dated 15th September, 1972 that the report of the Tahsildar, Nannilam, that the petitioner was more preoccupied with his honorary duties as Managing Trustee etc., as a result of which he could not devote his full attention to his duties as the Village Headman, had no basis that, in fact, the petitioner has been awarded several red entries for good collection work for Fasli years 1364, 1368, 1370, 1372, 1374, 1378, 1379 and 1380, that the petitioner has done consistently good work as a Village Headman in spite of the fact that he was doing honorary work as a trustee of the two temples and the correspondent of a high school, hostel and a health centre and that therefore it should be held that the occupation of the petitioner as a trustee to two temples and as the correspondent of other institutions has not in any way interfered with his work as the Village Headman. Nonetheless, the District Revenue Officer felt that the petitioner should have obtained the permission from the appointing authority before applying for the said honorary posts. In this view, he suspended the petitioner for a period of six months.
3. As against that order, the petitioner has preferred a revision to the Government, the third respondent herein. By a memorandum, dated 17th February, 1973 the Government declined to interfere with the order of the District Revenue Officer on the ground that the revision does not lie. As against the order of the Government, dated 17th February, 1973 the petitioner has , filed this writ petition.
4. It is submitted by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that Rule 3 of the Tamil Nadu Village Officers' Conduct Rules, 1970 - which requires prior permission to be taken from the appointing authority for taking up other part-time work will not apply in the case of the petitioner as he has taken up the part-time honorary work long before the rules came into force on 16th December, 1970 that in any event the honorary work undertaken by the petitioner as the trustee of the temples and the correspondent of certain institutions cannot be taken to be a private trade or employment which is dealt with under Rule 3 and that therefore, Rule 3 cannot be made applicable at all in the petitioner's case. It is not in dispute in this case that the petitioner was appointed as a trustee of the temples and the correspondent of the other institutions long before 16th December, 1970 when the said Rule 3 came into force.
5. The first charge levelled against the petitioner is that he did not obtain prior permission to become a trustee of the temples and the correspondent of the other institutions referred to above. The second charge is that he did not disclose the factum of his being a Village Headman in his application to the Assistant Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board at the time of seeking the appointment. The necessity of prior permission was brought in only on 16th December, 1970 when Rule 3 was introduced. If the petitioner had been appointed as a trustee of the temples as well as the correspondent of the various educational and other institutions, he cannot be found guilty of not getting prior permission as required by Rule 3. At the time of his appointment, Rule 3 was not there and therefore, there was no question of his getting prior permission. Similarly, the petitioner cannot be found guilty of not disclosing the factum of his being a Village Headman at the time of applying for appointment as a trustee. No rule in the Tamil Nadu Village Officers' Conduct Rules, 1970 has been brought to my notice which requires the petitioner to disclose the factum of his being a Village Headman when seeking an appointment to be a trustee. As already stated, the District Revenue Officer held that at the time when the honorary work was done by the petitioner as a trustee of the two temples and also as the correspondent of the other institutions, it did not interfere with his work as a Village Headman. In the face of that finding, the non-disclosure of the fact of his being a Village Headman at the time of his application for the appointment of a trustee for the temple cannot be said to be in contravention of any provision of law statutory or otherwise. In the circumstances, therefore, it is not possible to take the two charges as proved.
6. The District Revenue Officer in his appellate order held both the charges proved as, in his view, prior permission is necessary. There is no question of getting prior permission by the petitioner in view of the fact that the appointments of the petitioner as a Trustee and the Correspondent of other institutions were made long before Rule 3 came into force and the petitioner merely continues in those honorary posts even after Rule 3 came into force. Having regard to the object of Rule 3, it may be that for continuance as a trustee of the temples and as the correspondent of the institutions, formal permission of the department of the appointing authority may be necessary. Perhaps it is for this reason the Government in its revisional order has stated that the petitioner may be asked to apply for the grant of permission to hold various honorary posts in addition to the post of the Village Headman. This direction of the Government was given in paragraph 2 of the impugned memo., but it is not in dispute that the entire paragraph 2 has not been set out in the communication addressed to the petitioner which has been enclosed as an annexure to the affidavit filed in support of this writ petition. Therefore the petitioner was not aware of the direction given by the Government directing him to obtain necessary permission to continue to hold the honorary posts. Having regard to such circumstances, it is even now open to the petitioner to apply for permission to hold the various honorary posts in addition to his post of the Village Headman.
7. But so far as the order of suspension is concerned, it has been passed against the petitioner based on the fact that Rule 3 is applicable to him and that he has failed to get prior permission. As I have expressed that Rule 3 cannot apply to the case of the petitioner, who got himself appointed as a trustee of the temples and the correspondent of the other institutions long before Rule 3 came into force, the order of suspension passed by the District Revenue Officer has to be set aside and it is hereby set aside. The writ petition is, therefore, allowed. There will be no order as to costs.