1. This is an appeal by Mr. Narendra Nath Mitter against the judgment of my learned brother Mr. Justice Chaudhuri. The matter arose in connection with the candidature of Mr. Narendra Nath Mitter for the forthcoming Municipal Election in Calcutta. This gentleman was a candidate for the Corporation, and he sent in certain documents to the Chairman of the Corporation in connection with his nomination. An objection was taken to these documents as not constituting a valid nomination.
2. The Chairman decided in favour of Mr. Narendra Nath Mitter. A Rule was obtained under Section 45 of the Specific Relief Act and, upon the hearing of, that Rule the learned Judge made it absolute with the result that he overruled the decision at which the Chairman of the Corporation had arrived.
3. Now, the rule which relates to this matter is one of the rules relating to the conduct of elections which were made in pursuance of the Calcutta Municipal Act of 1899. This is Rule 2 and it runs as follows:
Every person who is a candidate for election shall send to the Chairman, not less than fourteen days before the day fixed for the election, a nomination paper containing:
(a) his name and description and a statement of his place of abode,
(b) the name of the ward or wards for which he purposes to stand,
(c) the signature of two voters other than the candidate in each such ward who respectively propose and second his candidature, and
(d) the signature of eighteen voters other than the candidate in each such ward who approve his nomination.
4. The candidate in this case, Mr. Narendra Nath Mitter, sent in four documents, The first was a letter signed by himself and addressed to the Chairman of the Corporation of Calcutta in these words: ' Dear Sir,
5. I beg to send you herewith my nomination-paper for election as Municipal Commissioner for Ward No. 6 at the ensuing General Election. The nomination-paper is duly proposed, seconded and approved.
(Sd.) Narendra Nath Mitter,
Hony. Presidency Magistrate,
Landlord and Banker, Hindu,
6. Attached to that letter by means of a clip, as we were informed, were three forms of a nomination-paper. These three forms, it appears, were gummed together. The first one is as follows:
I hereby propose Babu Narendra Nath Mitter, wrongly put down as Nagendra Nath Mitter in the Election Roll, of premises No. 84, Muktaram Babu Street, who is recorded as voter No. 1553 of Ward No. 6, as a candidate for election as Commissioner of Ward No. 6.
7. Then the name of the proposer is written and his number as voter and that of his ward, and, then the name of the seconder is written, Atal Coomar Sen, with his number as voter and the number of the ward. Underneath there are the names of the 18 approvers with their numbers as voters, and the number of the ward opposite to their names. The name of Atal Coomar Sen appeals as approver as well as seconder, and the Chairman of the Corporation has found that No. 15, the name of which is Sew Kissen Srikissen, is that of a firm, and the signature is not the signature of an individual.
8. The second nomination paper is in the same form as that which I have read, but it does not contain the names of the proposer and the seconder, nor does it contain the name of the candidate. That form is signed by 14 people, the name of Atal Coomar Sen again appearing as an approver.
9. The third document is another similar nomination form, and that again does not contain the names of the proposer and the seconder, nor does it contain the name of the candidate.
10. Now, the first objection which is taken to these documents being a valid nomination was that the nomination-paper did not contain the description of the candidate.
11. The answer which was given to that objection was, that it was true that the actual form of the nomination-paper did not contain the description of the candidate, but the description of the candidate appeared fully from the letter which had been attached to the nomination paper and that the letter and the three nomination forms ought to be taken together as one nomination-paper, and. that consequently the nomination-paper did contain the description of the candidate.
12. In my judgment that contention is not sound, and I think that the first objection which is raised to these documents being a valid nomination-paper, viz., that the nomination-paper does not contain the description of the candidate, is a good objection. I think it is clear that what is contemplated by the rules is that a nomination-paper should be self-contained and complete and that the nomination-paper which is presented by the candidate must contain all the matters which are specified in Rule 2, one of them being the description of the candidate We were informed that the forms which were used were supplied by the Corporation: if this be so, I think it is somewhat unfortunate that the forms do not contain a space which is allocated to the description of the candidate. There is a space allocated to his name and there is also a space allocated to his place of residence, but there is no space allocated to his description, as is the case in the forms which are prescribed under the Municipal Corporation Act in England: in those forms there is a separate column provided for the description of the candidate.
13. On the facts of this case, in my judgment, the nomination-paper which has been sent to the Chairman of the Corporation does not contain the description of the candidate.
14. The second point which is urged against the validity of this nomination was that the name of the seconder had been included as one of the approvers. I think it is clear from the wording of the rule that if a person signs the nomination paper of a candidate either as proposer or seconder, he cannot also sign it as an approver. Therefore, I agree with the decision of the Chairman of the Corporation when he decided that the signature of Atal Coomar Sen as an approver was not in order.
15. The Chairman of the Corporation has also decided that No. 15 is the name of a firm and not of an individual: and, the learned Advocate-General has quite correctly, if I may say so, admitted that he could not support that as a good signature of an approver on the ground that it is the name of a firm and not the signature of an individual voter. Consequently, if the nomination is to be confined to the first of these three forms, in my judgment it is not a good nomination, for the following reasons:
16. First, that it does not contain the description of the candidate; and, secondly, that it does not contain the names of 18 approvers in addition to the names of the proposer and seconder.
17. The result is that there is really an end of this matter, unless this Court thinks it right that either the second or the third form ought to be taken into consideration, and ought to be treated as part of the nomination paper. In my judgment, neither the second nor the third form ought to be taken as part of the nomination-paper, and the ground of my decision is, that neither the second nor the third form contains the name of the candidate and the name of the proposer or seconder. The intention of the rule is, that a nomination-paper, in order to be valid should, amongst other matters, contain the name of the candidate, and the names of the proposer and seconder and then the names of the approvers. And, to my mind it would not be right for us to say that the second form and the third form should be taken as part of the nomination-paper, merely because the three forms are gummed together and sent to the Chairman at the same time. If we were so to hold, we should be laying the procedure in respect of these elections open to the possibility of considerable abuse, because unless the names of the candidate, his proposer and seconder appear on the paper which the approvers are asked to sign, it might be that signatures of approvers might be obtained by representing that they were giving their approval to a particular candidate, when, as a matter of fact, their signatures were intended to be used for another candidate. I do not say that this was done in this case. I only use that as an illustration for pointing out that it would be impossible for us to hold that the second and third forms ought to be looked upon as part of the nomination-paper simply because they are attached to the first nomination-paper and sent to the Chairman at one and the same time. I do not express any opinion as to whether the second and third forms might have been looked at for the par-pose of seeing whether the nomination is valid, if they had contained the names of the candidate and of his proposer and the seconder. I confine my judgment to the facts of this case and decide that we cannot hold that the second and third forms are part of the nomination paper for the reason that neither of them contained the names of the candidate, the proposer and the seconder.
18. There is one other matter to which I wish to refer before I conclude my judgment. It is said that it was alleged before the Chairman of the Corporation and also before Mr. Justice Chaudhuri that some of the signatures of the approvers, in what I call the second form (which contains the names of the 14 approvers), were intended to be in support of the candidature of some person other than Mr. Narendra Nath Mitter, and the learned Advocate-General applied to the Court that we should admit certain affidavits with regard to that matter, inasmuch as he said that reflection had been cast upon the reputation of his client. It appears that those affidavits had not been used before Mr. Justice Chaudhuri, but that the learned Counsel who was then acting for the appellant (which learned Counsel is not before us to day) decided not to use these affidavits before the learned Judge.
19. Under those circumstances, the respondent objected to their admission on the hearing of the appeal and we declined to admit them.
20. Having regard to the conclusions which I have already expressed in first part of my judgment, it is not necessary for me to come to any decision about this matter; I express no opinion as to whether there is any ground for the suggestion that some of these names were obtained for another candidate or another proposed candidate.
21. In this connection I may draw attention to the fact that, as I read the judgment of Mr. Justice Chaudhuri, the learned Judge gave no definite finding on this point. Therefore, that matter, in my judgment, remains undecided; at any rate, so far as my judgment goes, I express no opinion one way or the other, as for the reasons I have stated it is unnecessary for my judgment.
22. For these reasons, I think that the appeal should be dismissed with costs and the Rule discharged with costs.
23. At the request of the learned Advocate-General to deal with a further point that he urged, I will add this to my judgment. The learned Advocate-General contended that the nomination-paper did contain a description of the candidate because after the address of the candidate appear these words:
Who is recorded as Voter No. 1553 of Ward No. 6.
24. In my judgmeut that by itself is not a 'description' within the meaning of Rule 2 (a). When one refers to the Election Roll, one finds there the name of Nagendra Nath Mitter, which, ought to be Narendra Nath Mitter opposite the No. 1553, and his address No. 84, Muktaram Babu Street. This carries the matter no further than the nomination paper itself. I cannot think that such a reference by itself can be held to be a description of the candidate within the meaning of the rule.
25. Rule 2 of the Election Rules says that a nomination is to be sent to the Chairman. In my opinion, if there be one such paper, it must be complete in itself, which is not the case here, for the description given on an appended letter from the candidate is not sufficient. I see no reason, however, why alternative nomination papers should not be sent to the Chairman, so that if one is held, either in whole or is part, to be invalid, the other may be used. In such case, however, each nomination-paper should be complete in itself. I see also no reason why the candidate should not send in a nomination-paper with names of more that 18 voters as mentioned in the rule, in order to meet the case of possible objections to any of the voters whose names appear upon the paper. In such case, more than one nomination paper may be used, but the papers must be connected (otherwise than as here by mere pinning together). That connection is effected by placing on each paper the name, description and address of the candidate as appearing in the first paper. If one were to hold otherwise, we should open the door to fraud.
26. Here the first paper does not contain a description of the candidate such as is given in the letter appended to the nomination-paper. I agree with the Chairman that a seconder cannot also sign as an approver. The 18 voters in Clause (d) of the rule are clearly 18 voters other than those mentioned in Clause (c). This excludes voter No. 10 on the first mentioned paper. The number of approvers in the first paper is (excluding also, as is admitted, voter No. 15 which is the name of a firm) 16 only. This is insufficient, unless we include voters on the other two papers said to be attached to the first paper. The second paper must be excluded. It is said to include the names of voters who say that they intended to support Babu Promotho Nath Pramanick. But apart from this, that paper is not complete. I think the third sheet ought to be excluded on the same ground, namely, that it is not in itself complete and is not thus connected on its face with the first paper, so as to make it capable of being read with it.
27. It is suggested that some impropriety was committed in putting forward the second paper as to which Mr. Justice Chaudhuri, according to the report read to us, does not seem to have come to any definite finding. It is impossible to accede to the application of the appellant to put in further affidavits for his learned Counsel said at the hearing before Mr. Justice Chaudhuri that he would not give evidence on this point. It is not necessary, however, to go into this matter further, for the appeal fails on the technical ground stated and should be dismissed with costs. I agree that reference to the number of the candidate in the Election Roll is not by itself a sufficient description within the meaning of the rule: though, if it were, the appeal fails on the other grounds stated.