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JAI PRAKASH versus D.M./CILLECTOR, CHANDAULI AND OTHERS

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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Jai Prakash v. D.M./Cillector, Chandauli And Others - WRIT - C No. 38205 of 2003 [2003] RD-AH 340 (22 September 2003)

 

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HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE OF ALLAHABAD

A.F.R.

COURT NO.34

"RESERVED"

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 38205 of 2003

Jai Prakash ......... Petitioner

Versus

District Magistrate, Chandauli & Ors.

......... Respondents

Hon. Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.

Hon. R.C. Pandey, J.

(By Hon' Dr. B.S. Chauhan,J.)

This writ petition has been filed challenging the order dated 13.08.2003 passed by respondent no.2 declaring that no-confidence motion against the Respondent No.3 - Block Pramukh, Kshetra Panchayat Dhanapur, District Chandauli could not be carried out.

Facts and circumstances giving rise to this case are that the election of Pramukh of Kshetra Panchayat Dhanapur, District Chandauli was held in March, 2001. Notice of no-confidence motion was signed by 57 members out of total 77 elected members and was presented before the District Collector, Chandauli on 14.07.2003. The notice was issued to all the members by the District Collector on 28.7.2003 for holding a meeting for considering the no-confidence motion on 13.08.2003 at 10.00 a.m. The Sub Divisional Officer, Sakaldeeha, respondent no.2 was appointed as the Presiding Officer. Meeting was held on 13th August, 2003. After debate the motion was put to vote. The meeting was attended by 41 members, out of which 37 elected members participated in the voting  and 34 out of them voted in favour of the motion. The Presiding Officer - respondent no.2 declared that meeting failed to carry out the motion as 2/3rd of the total elected members had not voted in its favour. Hence this petition.

Shri V. Singh, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner has submitted that the decision taken by respondent no.2 is illegal, perverse and in contravention of the provisions of Section 15 (11) of the Uttar Pradesh Kshetra Panchayats and Zila Panchayats Adhiniyam, 1961, hereinafter called the ''Act 1961' and Rule 9 of the Kshetra Samiti Conduct Rules, 1962, hereinafter called the ''Rules 1962'. The combined reading of both provide that business of Kshetra Samiti could be carried out by at least half of the total number of members and any other ordinary business may be carried out by 1/3rd  of the such members, therefore, declaring the result of the no-confidence motion on the basis that 2/3rd of the total members have not voted in favour of the motion, is liable to be quashed.

On the other hand, learned Standing Counsel, Shri C.K. Rai and Shri N.K. Pandey, learned counsel appearing for respondent no.3 have vehemently opposed the submission made by Shri V. Singh, learned counsel for the petitioner, submitting that the provisions of Rule 9 of the Rules 1962, is made applicable when ordinary business of the Samiti is conducted and not applicable when the no-confidence motion against the Block Pramukh is entertained. More so, the provisions of the Act have been amended from time to time and 2/3rd of total number of the members is required to carry out the no-confidence motion. The Rules cannot override the Statutory provisions of the Act and, therefore, the petition is liable to be rejected.

We have considered the rival submissions made by the learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.  

Section 15 (11) of the Act 1961 required that to carry out a motion, the support of more than half of the total number of the members of the Kshetra Panchayats was required. The Act was amended vide U.P. Act No. 9 of 1994 providing that motion can be carried out with the support of more than ½ of the  of the total number of elected members of the Kshetra Samiti. Again, vide Act No. 20 of 1998, the provisions of Section 15 (11) were amended and the words "more than half" were substituted by the words "not less than 2/3rd". Thus, the provision, as it exists today, read as under:-

"If the motion is carried with support of not less than 2/3rd of the total number of elected members of the Kshetra Panchayat for the time being.........."

Thus, it is evident that for carrying out the motion of no-confidence, support of 2/3rd of the total elected members is required and not that of present and voted. The object and reasons of Act No. 20 of 1998 may also throw light on this aspect and the same read as under:-

"Statement of Objects and Reasons.- After considering the recommendations of the Sub-Committee of the Council of Ministers constituted to suggest amendments in Panchayat laws in Uttar Pradesh, it has been decided to amend Sections 15 and 28 of the Uttar Pradesh Kshetra Panchayats and Zila panchayats Adhiniyam, 1961 to provide for-

(1) carrying the motion of no-confidence against a Pramukh or Up-Pramukh or as the case may be, against an Adhyaksha or Upadhyaksha with the support of not less than two third of the total members for the time being of a Kshetra Panchayat or Zila Panchayat as the case may be, instead of with the support of more than half of the total members;

.... ....... ....."

The statement of object and reasons also reveal that Legislature intended that a Pramukh can be removed only with the support of not less than 2/3rd of the elected members.

If the averment made by Shri V. Singh is accepted, the word "total" is rendered nugatory.

In Shyam Kishori Devi Vs. Patna Municipal Corporation, AIR  1966 SC 1678, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held as under:-

"It is well known rule of construction that a Court must construe a section, unless it is impossible to do so, to make it workable rather than to make it unworkable. In the words of Lord Bramwell, the words of a statute never should in interpretation be added to or subtracted from, without almost a necessity."

No word can be rendered ineffective or purposeless.  Courts are required to carry out the legislative  intent  fully   and  completely.  While construing  a provision, full effect is  to be given  to  the language used  therein,  giving reference  to the context and other provisions of the Statute.  By construction, a provision should not be reduced  as  a "dead letter"  or  "useless lumber.    An  interpretation   which  renders  a provision  an  exercise  in futility,  should  be avoided,  otherwise  it would mean that  enacting such a provision in legislation was " an exercise  in futility" and the product came as a "purposeless   piece"   of    legislation   and provision  had  been enacted without any  purpose and entire exercise to enact such a provision was "most unwarranted  besides  being  uncharitable."  (Vide   Sri Ram Ram Narain  Medhi Vs.  State  of  Bombay,  AIR   1959  SC  459;   R.G. Jacob Vs. Republic of India, AIR  1963 SC 550; Patel  Chunibhai Dejibhai Vs.  Narayanrao K.  Jambekar & Anr., AIR 1965 SC 1457; Anandji Haridas & Co. Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Engineering Mazdoor Sangh & Anr., AIR  1975 SC 946; The Commissioner of Sales Tax, U.P. Vs. M/s. Madanlal Dan & Sons, Bareilly, AIR 1977 SC 523; M/s. Annapurna Biscuit Manufacturing Co., Kanpur Vs. Commissioner of Sales Tax, U.P. Lucknow, AIR 1981 SC 1656; Vazir Sultan Tobacco Co. Ltd. Vs.  Commissioner of Income-tax, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, AIR 1981 SC 2105; M.V.   Elisabeth  & ors.  Vs.   Harwan Investment  & Trading Pvt.  Ltd., AIR 1993  SC 1014;  Institute of Chartered Accountants of India Vs.   Price Water-house & Anr., (1997) 6 SCC 312;  Sultana  Begum  Vs.   Prem  Chand Jain, AIR 1997 SC 1006;  State  of  Bihar  Vs.  Bihar Distillery  Ltd.   & ors., AIR 1997  SC 1511;  South    Central Railway    Employees Co-operative  Credit  Society  Employees'  Union,  Secunderabad  Vs.   Registrar   of   Co-operative Societies  & ors., (1998) 2 SCC 580;   Subash Chander Sharma  Vs.   State  of  Punjab  &  ors.,  AIR  1999 SC 2076;  Bharathidasan  University  & Anr.  Vs.    All  India   Council  for  Technical Education  &  ors.,  AIR  2001 SC 2861;   and  Mor Modern Co-operative  Transport Society Ltd.   Vs.  Financial  Commissioner & Secretary to Govt.   of Haryana & Anr., AIR  2002 SC 2513).

If the provisions of Section 15 (11) is not given literal interpretation, the word not less than and 2/3rd of total members shall become redundant or surplusage.  

Basic  rule  of  interpretation  requires that legislative  intent must be assessed in  its proper perspective and from the words used in the Statute and  considering the context in which the provision   has  been   enacted.   (Vide  Chandra Prakash Tiwari  & ors.  Vs.  Shakuntala Shukla  & ors., AIR  2002 SC 2322).

It is well  recognized canon of interpretation that if the language of a Statute  is unambiguous, there can be no need to interpret it or examine the intent or object of the Act and  the  Courts  must give effect  to  it unless it  leads to an absurdity or injustice.  Ordinary, natural and grammatical meaning should be given when neither the context nor any principle of construction calls for a restrictive or liberal meaning. In such a case it is not at all necessary to look into the legislative intent or the object of the Act. If reading the provision by giving plain grammatical meaning to the words of the Statute, the end result is neither arbitrary, nor irrational nor contrary to the object of the Statute, the Court should give effect to the words used therein because the words declare the intention of the legislature in a best possible way. The Court can, in an exceptional case, reject the word being surplus to make the Statute effective. (Vide Navindchandra Mafatlal, Bombay Vs. Commissioner of Income-tax, Bombay City, AIR  1955 SC 58; Madanlal Fakirchand Dudhediya Vs. Shree Changdeo Sugar Mills Ltd. & ors., AIR  1962 SC 1543;  Bhagwan Das Vs. paras Nath, AIR  1970 SC 971; Abdul Waheed Khan  Vs. Bhawani, AIR 1966 SC 1718;  Central Bureau of Investigation Vs. V.C. Shukla, (1998) 3 SCC 410; Jagdish  CH. Patnaik Vs.   State  of Orissa, (1998) 4 SCC  456; Arul  Nadar  Vs. Authorised Officer, Land Reforms, (1998) 7 SCC 157; and Union of India & ors. Vs. Hansoli Devi (2002) 7 SCC 273).                        

In Dadi Jagannadham Vs. Jammulu Ramulu & ors., (2001) 7 SCC 71, the Hon'ble Supreme Court observed as under:-

"The Court must, as far as possible, adopt a construction which will carry out the obvious intention of the legislature. Undoubtedly, if there is a defect or an omission in the words made by the legislature, the Court would not go to its aid to correct or make up the deficiency. The Court could not add words to a Statute or read words into it which are not there, especially when the literal reading produces an intelligible result. The Court cannot aid the legislatures defeating phrasing of an Act, or add or mend, and, by construction, make up deficiencies which are there."

Similarly, in Siddappa Vasappa Kuri Vs. Special Land Acquisition Officer, AIR  2001 SC 2951, the Apex Court has reiterated the same principle observing that a provision "must revive the only construction it can bear."

Rules of interpretation cannot be invoked when the words in the Statute are unequivocal. "Statute is an edict, the elementary principle to interpret a word in a Statute, held, is to gather the mens or sentenia legis of the Legislature". Where the language is clear, the intention of the legislature is to be gathered from the language used. (Vide Pandian Chemicals Ltd. Vs. Commissioner of Income-tax & ors., (2003) 5 SCC 590; and J.P. Bansal Vs. State of Rajasthan & ors., (2003) 5 SCC 134).

Thus, the provisions of Section 15 (11) of the Act 1961 do not require any interpretation as the language is crystal clear and every word is required to be given effective meaning.

We find no force in the submission made by Shri V. Singh that in a democratic set up like ours, Will of the majority is to be respected and if more than half of the members present and voted are not willing to work with respondent no.3, the motion should have been allowed. In the instant case, only 34 members voted in favour of the Motion, which was not even half of the total number of elected members. It is not permissible for us to read the provision that half or 2/3rd of the present and voting could have served the purpose. Intent of the Legislature is to be respected and words, inserted by the legislature in its wisdom, are required to be given full and effective meaning, even if the Court does not like the result.

In Martin Burn Limited Vs. Corporation of Calcutta, AIR  1966 SC 529, the Hon'ble Supreme Court observed as under:-

"A result flowing from a statutory provision is never an evil. A Court has no power to ignore that provision to relieve what it considers a distress resulting from its operation. A statute must of course be given effect to whether a Court likes the result or not."

In Commissioner of Sales Tax, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow Vs. M/s. Parson Tools and Plants, Kanpur, AIR  1975 SC 1039; and Bhag Mal Vs. Ch. Prabhu Ram & ors., AIR  1985 SC 150, the Hon'ble Apex Court held that while interpreting the provisions, it is not permissible for the Court to supply the omission of by engrafting on it or introducing in it and change the policy of the legislature or defeat its intent as it would amount to legislation by the Court, which is not permissible. If the language of the Statute is plain and unambiguous, the Court has no option but to give effective meaning to every word of it. The provisions require to be given a just and rational meaning in consonance of the legislative intentment.

Therefore, we are of the view that interpretation suggested by Shri V. Singh is not possible to be adopted.

The Hon'ble Supreme Court in Raees Ahmad Vs. State of U.P., AIR  2000 SC 583, considered a similar controversy while interpreting the analogous provisions of the U.P. Municipalities Act, 1916, which provided that no-confidence motion can be passed by majority of 2/3rd of the "total number" of member of the Municipality. The Court, while interpreting the term "total number", held that it included the nominated members for the reason that nominated members are also part of composition of the Municipality and are referred to in the Statute as nominated members thereof. The Court held as under:-

"For the purpose of finding whether a motion of no-confidence against the President has been carried, what was to be seen is whether it has been passed by ''a majority of 2/3 of the total members of the Municipality'. There can be no doubt, therefore, that on a plain construction of the Statute, the number of nominated members has to be taken into account in determining whether or not a motion of no-confidence against the President has been carried........that nominated members may not vote does not imply that they cease to be members of the Municipality or that their number should be ignored in determining whether President has lost this confidence of 2/3 of the members so calculated."

Therefore, in view of the above, one can reach the inescapable conclusion that for carrying out the no-confidence motion, the support of not less than 2/3rd of the total elected members of the Samiti is required.

In the instant case, admittedly, the elected members are 77 and 2/3rd thereof comes to 52, therefore, no-confidence motion could be carried out by the support of not less than 52 members. In this case, only 37 members had chosen to vote and only 34 members have voted in favour of the motion. Thus, as the motion has not been carried out with the support of not less than 2/3rd majority, no fault can be found with the impugned order passed by the respondent no.2 and the motion has rightly not been carried out or could not be passed.

Thus, in view of above, the petition is liable to be dismissed.

We also find no substance in the next submission canvassed before us on behalf of the petitioner that provisions of Section 15 (11) of the Act 1961 is to be read with Rule 9 of the Rules 1962.

Rule 9 of the Rules 1962, reads as under:-

"(1) No business shall be transacted at the meeting of the Kshetra Samiti unless there be present at least one half of the total number of members for the time being where the business is required under  any provision of the Act or the Rules made or to be transacted by a special resolution and 1/3 of such members in any other case.

(2) If a meeting is adjourned for want of quorum, no quorum shall be necessary for the adjourned meeting but a fresh notice in writing of the meeting shall be given."

The Rule provides for carrying out ordinary business of the Samiti, with  a minimum quorum of its members, the provisions of Rule 9 may not be attracted while carrying out the no-confidence.

Even if such provision is attracted, it can not be given effect to in view of the crystal clear words provided under the provisions of Section 15 (11) of the Act 1961. Provisions of the Rules framed under the Act cannot override/overtake the provisions of the Act. Subordinate legislation cannot take away or curtail the rigour of the provision in the Act. (Vide Myurdhwaj Coop. Group Housing Society Ltd. Vs. Presiding Officer, Delhi Coop. Tribunal & ors., AIR  1998 SC 2410). If the rule override any of the provisions of the Act, it becomes liable to be struck down, being ultra vires of the provisions of the Act. (Vide Prabhu Narain Vs. A.K. Srivastava, AIR  1975 SC 968).

In Avinder Singh Vs. State of Punjab, AIR 1979 SC 371,  the Hon'ble Supreme Court laid down the following tests for valid delegation of legislative powers:-

"(1). the legislature cannot efface itself;

(2) it cannot delegate the plenary or the essential legislative functions;

(3) even if there be delegation, Parliamentary control over delegated legislation should be a living continuity as a Constitutional necessity."

It further observed as under:-

"While what constitutes an essential feature cannot e delineated in detail it certainly cannot include a change of policy. The legislature is the master of legislative policy and if the delegate is free to switch policy it may be usurpation of legislative power itself."

In sum and substance, it is clear that every word of the statutory provision, which is unequivocal, is required to be given effective and grammatical meaning to the full extent and does not require any interpretation not being ambiguous. The legislature it its wisdom had introduced Act No. 20 of 1998 amending the statutory provision of Section 15 (11) of the Act 1961 requiring that in order to carry out the no-confidence motion, 2/3rd of the total number of members are required. So far as the provisions of Rule 9 of the Rules 1962 are concerned, we are very much doubtful regarding the applicability of the said Rule  in no-confidence motion and even if the said provisions are attracted, they cannot be given effect to, being a piece of subordinate legislation, which cannot override the statutory provisions of the Act. In view of the judgment of the Hon'ble Apex Court in Bharathidasan University & Anr. Vs. All India Council for Technical Education & Ors., AIR  2001 SC 2861, the said provisions are required to be ignored being in contravention of the provisions of the Act 1961.

The petition is de-void of any merit. Submissions made by learned counsel for the petitioner are preposterous. It is accordingly dismissed.

September22,2003

AHA


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Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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