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A. Palaniandi Vs. G.N. Ramaswami Chettiar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1967)2MLJ403
AppellantA. Palaniandi
RespondentG.N. Ramaswami Chettiar and ors.
Excerpt:
- .....while the 1st respondent's group co-opted one sundarambal. the petitioner submits that the letter of resignation is false and pressess that a writ of mandamus to the 1st respondent be issued directing him to forbear from preventing the petitioner from functioning as a member of the panchayat.3. the 1st respondent, ramaswami chettiar, in his counter-affidavit denied the allegation that the petitioner was forcibly taken from the village on 3rd march, 1965. according to him, the petitioner actually appeared before the sub-divisional magistrate, usilampatti on 12th april, 1965, and presented an application stating that the 1st respondent's party was making it difficult for the petitioner to live in the village. the 1st respondent further stated that on 22nd may, 1965, he received a.....
Judgment:
ORDER

P.S. Kailasam, J.

1. This petition is filed by a member of Vadagupatti Panchayat in Madurai District for the issue of a writ of mandamus to the President of the Panchayat to forbear from preventing the Petitioner from functioning as a member of the Vadagupatti Panchayat in Periyakulam Taluk, Madurai district.

2. The petitioner was elected to the Vadagupatti Panchayat as a member unopposed from Ward No. 5 on 2nd February, 1965. The petitioner belonged to the group of Balakrishnan Chettiar, one of the two groups which contested for the election of the President. The leader of the other group, Sri G.N. Ramaswami Chettiar it is stated came in a car at 7-30 A.M. on 3rd March, 1965, and representing to the petitioner that he was wanted by the Block Development Officer took him away in the car. It is the petitioner's case that he was taken from place to place without his consent under threat and was brought back to the village on 19th April, 1965, and was forced to vote in the election in which the 1st respondent was elected as the President. During the petitioner's absence his wife complained to the police on 5th March, 1965, and again on 22nd March, 1965. Finding that the police did not take any action, she gave a private complaint on 26th March, 1965 to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Usilampatti. A notice was issued on 15th May, 1965, intimating that a meeting would be held on 24th May, 1965, for the purpose of co-opting a lady member. The petitioner attended the meeting, but the 1st respondent told the petitioner that the petitioner had tendered his resignation of his membership of the Panchayat and that he could not take part in the meeting. The petitioner protested that he had never resigned his membership. Six members belonging to the petitioner's party requested the 1st respondent to show the resignation letter, but 1st respondent refused. The petitioner and the members belonging to his group organised to separate meeting and co-opted one Pattammal, while the 1st respondent's group co-opted one Sundarambal. The petitioner submits that the letter of resignation is false and pressess that a writ of mandamus to the 1st respondent be issued directing him to forbear from preventing the petitioner from functioning as a member of the Panchayat.

3. The 1st respondent, Ramaswami Chettiar, in his counter-affidavit denied the allegation that the petitioner was forcibly taken from the village on 3rd March, 1965. According to him, the petitioner actually appeared before the Sub-divisional Magistrate, Usilampatti on 12th April, 1965, and presented an application stating that the 1st respondent's party was making it difficult for the petitioner to live in the village. The 1st respondent further stated that on 22nd May, 1965, he received a communication by registered post from the petitioner signed by him setting out that he was resigning his membership in the Panchayat, as it interfered very much with his normal work. The 1st respondent stated that he accepted the resignation and made a communication to the officials. As the petitioner had resigned, when he presented himself on 24th May,1965, to take part in the meeting, the 1st respondent brought to the petitioner's notice that he had resigned. The 1st respondent submitted that he had no reason to suspect the genuineness of the letter, as it was in consonance with the statement filed by the petitioner before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.

4. The question for consideration is whether in the circumstances stated above a writ of mandamus should issue. Section 178(2)(v) of the Panchayat Act empowers the Government to make rules as to the resignations of Chairman, vice-Chairman and members of the Panchayat Union Councils and of the Presidents vice-Presidents and members of panchayats, and the dates on which such resignations shall take effect. Notification 15 made under the above rule provides that any member of a Panchayat may resign his office by giving notice in writing to the President and such resignation shall take effect from the date on which it is received by the President. There is no provision for accepting the resignation and as the rules stands the moment the resignation is received by the President it takes effect. While provisions are made in the Panchayat Act providing for determination of election disputes and for settling disputes as to disqualifications under Sections 22, 24, 25 and 26, there is no procedure for settling a dispute as to whether the resignation sent by a member is genuine and whether it had taken effect. Certain powers enabling the authorities to cancel or modify resolutions passed by a Panchayat are given. But there is no provision in the Act or in the rules made thereunder empowering the authorities to decide the question about the genuineness of a resignation letter. The rule which provides that a notice of resignation shall take effect from the date on which it is received by the president could only refer to genuine notice of resignation. If the resignation letter is fictitious, or fraudulent, it is no resignation letter at all and the resignation cannot take effect. Instances have come to the notice of this Court where a president attempts to get rid of an inconvenient member by adopting the course of getting a forged resignation and accepting it. There is also instances in which a member sends a resignation letter and later on changes his mind and disputes the genuineness of his letter. It is necessary that provision is made under the Act and the rules to decide such disputes. In the absence of such machinery the question arises whether this Court should interfere in writ proceedings. It cannot be disputed that this Court has the power to go into the facts and if necessary take evidence and determine the question. But normally it is not desirable that contested facts should be adjudicated upon in writ proceedings. When the facts are clear and the conclusion is irresistible the Court may grant a writ (vide Writ Petition No. 1979 of 1966), but normally it would be reluctant to embark upon a detailed enquiry into the facts of the case. In circumstances similar to the present case a Bench of this Court in Writ Petition No. 2287 of 1965 taking into consideration the nature of the dispute declined to exercise its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and probe into questions of fact. It was pointed out that the jurisdiction of the civil Court was not barred to the petitioner for obtaining relief under the circumstances. As the facts are in dispute and the question whether the resignation letter is genuine or not is in controversy, I am of the view that the question cannot be satisfactorily decided in writ proceedings. In dismissing the writ petition it may be mentioned that it is desirable that provision is made in the Act and the rules for deciding disputes about the resignation of members of the panchayat.

5. In the result the Writ Petition is dismissed, but there will be no order as to costs.


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