1. This appeal has arisen out of a suit for setting aside an election held under the Bengal Village Self-Government Act, 1919, and the rules thereunder, in which the defendant was elected as a member, on the ground that he was not eligible to stand as a candidate for election. It may be mentioned that the case now stated in the plaint was not before the election authorities by way of protest against the candidature of the defendant for election; the objection relating to his eligibility was raised for the first time in the suit. The trial Court came to the decision, on an exhaustive review of the provisions of the law and on reference to the decisions of this Court, bearing upon the subject under consideration, that the suit was not maintainable. According to the Munsiff in the trial Court, the legislature has set up a special tribunal to decide the points sought to be raised in the suit, and the suit could not therefore be entertained by a civil Court; it was pointed that the plaintiff had indulged in the luxury of litigation without having taken proper steps before authorities constituted by the Bengal Village Self-Government Act, in proper time. On appeal, the decision of the trial Court was reversed by the learned District Judge of Dacca, who has directed that the plaintiff's suit be heard on the merits. The defendant has appealed to this Court.
2. It appears to us to be clear that the decision of the District Judge cannot be supported, specially in view of a recent decision of this Court in Mabedar Rahaman v. Kanti Chandra Basu 1935 Cal 10, in which provisions contained in the Bengal Local Self-Government Act, and the election rules framed thereunder, which bear close resemblance to the provisions contained in the Bengal Village Self-Government Act, with which we are concerned in the case before us, were fully considered by Nasim Ali, J. We are in entire agreement with that decision. In our judgment, Rules 6, 8, 9 and 38 framed under Section 101, Bengal Village Self-Government Act, barred the jurisdiction of the civil Court to try a question whether a particular person was a qualified voter or not, and consequently whether his election was void on the ground of his not being a qualified voter; as the Circle Officer was the authority or the special tribunal constituted to decide the question of the defendant's elegibility as a voter, a question which was not even raised before the authority constituted by law. Furthermore, as it has been said, there are occasions when expressions used by the legislature in subsequent enactments or amendments of law can be used, for the purpose of interpreting earlier enactments, and in giving effect to the intention of the legislature, express or implied, so far as particular provisions of the law were concerned. Judged from this latter standpoint, the intention of the legislature, as definitely expressed now by an amendment of the law, was clear, that the authorities constituted by the Bengal Village Self-Government Act, were the final authorities in the matter of conducting elections after deciding the eligibility of voters, on objections raised before them, or without objection, as in the case before us; and that its intention was that the provisions contained in the enactment bar the jurisdiction of the civil Court to try the question of eligibility or otherwise of a candidate for election.
3. In view of the conclusion, we have arrived at, mentioned above, the appeal must be allowed, and we direct accordingly. The decision of the Court of appeal below is set aside: and the suit in which the appeal has arisen is dismissed with costs to the defendant throughout, including the costs in this Court. The hearing fee in this appeal is assessed at 2 gold mohurs.