K. Veeraswami, C.J.
1. Erumaipatti Panchayat Union Council consists of 29 members, of whom 25 are members by reason of their being Presidents of Panchayats and the remaining four have been co-opted. This is in accordance with the proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 12 of the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act, 1958. On 5th May, 1966, the State Government by G.O. No. 1154, Rural Development and Local Administration, in purported exercise of their power under Section 155(1)(a), dissolved the Panchayat Union Council with effect from that date and directed that it would be re-constituted in terms of Sub-section (3) of that section with effect from 5th May, 1967. On 13th May, 1967, the Revenue Divisional Officer, who had acted as Special Officer in the interregnum, issued notices for the purpose of electing a Chairman. One of the co-opted members of the erstwhile Panchayat Union Council filed petitions on 25th May, 1967, under Article 226 of the Constitution for prohibition preventing the Revenue Divisional Officer from holding a meeting for the purpose of electing a Chairman and for a direction to the Revenue Divisional Officer that he should permit the erstwhile co-opted members to participate in any meeting for electing a Chairman. The petitions were allowed by Kailasam, J., and W.A. No. 463 of 1969 arises therefrom. In the other appeal W.A. No. 76 of 1972 too, a similar question arises.
2. The question we are called upon t decide is whether the co-opted member8 survive the dissolution of the Panchayat Union Council so that, when it is reconstituted, they continue to be co-opted members. In our opinion, the question does not admit of any answer, but no member of the Panchayat Union| Council will survive the dissolution. As a matter of fact, Sub-section (3) of Section 155 itself is clear on the point. It says that, on the date fixed for dissolution of a Panchayat under Sub-section (1), all its members as well as its President and Vice-President shall forthwith be deemed to have vacated their offices as such. The sub-section does not say that, when the members vacate their offices on dissolution, they continue to be members of the Panchayat Union Council. It is true that the 25 Presidents become members of the re-constituted Panchayat Union Council. That is not because they have not vacated their offices under Sub-section (3) of Section 155 following dissolution of the Panchayats, but because the Act provides that the Panchayat Union Council shall consist of Presidents of Panchayats. It follows therefrom, that, so long as the 25 members continue to be Presidents of Panchayats by virtue of their offices, they are entitled automatically to be members of the reconstituted Panchayat Union Council. In other words, they are ex-officio members. This is to say by virtue of their offices as Presidents of Panchayats, they become members of the Panchayat Union Cbuncil. It cannot be said that they continue to be members of the Panchayat Union Council, notwithstanding the dissolution. Ramaprasada Rao, J., has taken the view that, because the definition of the term 'member' also includes a co-opted member, it follows therefrom that when the Panchayat Union Council was reconstituted the co-opted members should be regarded as members of the Panchayat Union Council. We are unable to accept this view. Only, if and to the extent the co-opted members are entitled to have their status, they will be included in the expression 'members'. Once there is a dissolution, they shall be deemed to have vacated their offices. It means that they are no longer co-opted members, unless they are again co-opted as members of the re-constiuted Panchayat Union Council by virtue of their being ex officio members. On that view, the appeals are allowed. No costs.