P.S. Kailasam, J.
1. This petition Is filed by a member of the Paranji Panchayat in North Arcot for the issue of a writ of quo warranto directing the 2nd Respondent to show cause under what authority he was performing the functions of the President of the Panchayat.
2. The petitioner was elected as a member of the Paranji Panchayat in March, 1965. In April, 1966 the President of the Panchayat served a notice on the petitioner informing him that he was disqualified to be a member. The petitioner approached the Revenue Divisional Officer and on 10th May, 1966 the Revenue Divisional Officer directed the petitioner to move the concerned authority, if he felt aggrieved about the action of the President. It is stated by the petitioner that the Panchayat to whom he applied restored him and that subsequently he was attending the panchayat meetings and signing the Minutes Book of the Panchayat. While so, a notice dated 17th October, 1966 was served on the petitioner on 21st October, 1966 to attend the meeting to be held on 26th October, 1966 for election of a new President. When the petitioner attempted to take part in the meeting he was informed by the 1st respondent that he was no longer a member and that he should not take part in the proceedings. The meeting went on in the absence of the petitioner and the 2nd respondent was declared elected as President as he secured six votes as against his rival who secured five votes. This petition is filed for the issue of a writ of quo warranto directing the 2nd respondent to show cause on what authority he was holding the office of the President. Section 23 of the Panchayats Act provides that no officer of the State or the Central Government or of a Panchayat or Panchayat Union Council shall be qualified for election as a member or for holding office as a member. Sub-section (2) provides that if any question arises either before or after election whether any person is or is not disqualified under Section 23, the question shall be referred to the Government, whose decision shall be final. In this case it is stated that the petitioner was employed as a Highways coolly at the time of the election and subsequently. It is stated that the petitioner in a statement made by him to the Extension Officer on 16th March, 1966 admitted the allegation. After the notice was served on him on 4th March 1966 he disputed that he was disqualified and took the matter up to the Revenue Divisional Officer. The authority under the Act to decide the question when a dispute arises is only the Government. The Act does not empower either the President or the Panchayat to disqualify a person for any of the reasons stated in Section 23. The petitioner having raised a dispute, the Revenue Divisional Officer is not empowered to decide it. The power of the Government under Section 23 is admittedly not delegated to him. The communication of the Revenue Divisional Officer and the subsequent restoration according to the petitioner are not in accordance with the Act. The dispute whether the petitioner is disqualified or not can only be decided by the Government. The question whether the election held is valid or invalid will depend upon the decision of the Government. If the petitioner is qualified, the meeting held would be invalid. If the petitioner is found to have been disqualified, then the meeting would be valid. The question will depend upon the decision of the Government.
3. The write petition is filed for the issue of a writ of quo warranto. In the circumstances of the case, the petitioner cannot succeed in obtaining a writ of quo warranto. In the interests of justice, the proper direction would be that the dispute that has been raised as to whether the petitioner is disqualified or not will be decided by the Government. After the decision is given, parties are at liberty to take further appropriate action. The petitioner may move the Government for decision as to whether he is disqualified. The petition is ordered accordingly.