Decided on February 08,1963



- (1.) This is an application under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, challenging the legality of an order passed by the Principal District Munsif, Sompeta, on 11th June, 1960 whereby he allowed the Election Petition and set aside the election of the President and declared that the respondent is duly elected as President. The facts relevant for the purpose of appreciating the contention raised in this petition are that, the election of the President of Deva Naltada Panchayat was to take place on 28th October, 1959 ; a meeting was duly called for the purpose. The Extension Officer, Sompeta, conducted the election. The said panchayat consists of only five members. ' In that election, Tumbala Musalamma the lady member of the Panchayat proposed the name of Chinatatayya. This proposal was seconded by "another member, Pyla Kamayya. Immediately after that, Jami Ganapathirao proposed the name of the petitioner which was seconded by the same lady member, Tumbala Musalamma. The Election Officer, who conducted the election, adopted a peculiar'procedure in utter disregard of the rules and declared the petitioner as elected. He invalidated the vote of Musalamma because she had, in his opinion, wrongly seconded the name of the petitioner although she had previously proposed the name of the respondent. After excluding her, he also excluded the votes of the candidates who were contesting the election and inasmuch as the remaining two members were either proposer or the seconder of the two candidates he declared that both the candidates have equal votes. He, therefore, proceeded to cast a lot and as the fortune favoured the petitioner he was declared as elected President of the said Panchayat. Dissatisfied with that result, the respondent filed an Election Petition before the learned District Munsif, Sompeta. The learned District Munsif allowed the Election Petition, set aside the election of the petitioner and declared the respondent as duly elected. In this petition under Article 227 of the Constitution, it is this view of the learned District Munsif which is questioned before me.
(2.) The main contention of the learned Advocate for the petitioner is that, the Election Tribunal was wrong in declaring the nomination; of petitioner as invalid. His submission is that, under rule 3 of the Rules relating to the Conduct of Election of President or Vice-President under the Madras Village Panchayats Act, a candidate for the office of the President or Vice-President shall be proposed by one member and seconded by another. There is no restriction that a member can, however, propose or second only one candidate. He concedes that, under the general law of elections, an elector is not competent to propose or second more than the number of the candidates required to be elected. His contention, however, is that, if that rule is imported and applied in case of every minor panchayat where only five members constitute the village panchayat, it will be impossible to validly nominate more than one candidate. He, therefore, wants me to interpret rule 3, to say that a member can propose or second any number of candidates as he or she desires. I find sufficient strength in this contention. Rule 3 does not import the principle underlying rule 5 of the Rules for Conduct of Election of members. to panchayat. That rule is in the following terms : "(5) Where a person has signed, whether as proposer or seconder, a large number of nomination papers than there are vacancies to be filled, those of the papers so signed which have been first received upto the number of vacancies to be filled shall be deemed to be valid."
(3.) It is not denied that there is any such rule as far'as the election of the President of a Panchayat is concerned. If the principle underlying the rule is pressed to service, even in the case of an election of the President of a minor Panchayat, a peculiar situation would arise. As there are only five members, if a candidate's name is to be proposed, one proposer and the other seconder would validate the nomination of that candidate. When once these three members are out of the picture, the remaining two cannot propose and second between themselves anyone as candidate. It is assumed for this purpose that the candidate whose nomination is already made would not be inclined to propose or second the name of any other candidate. The situation which would be created would be that in any case only one candidate can be validly nominated, a situation which I do not think was intended even by the framers of the rules. That probably explains the reason why the principles underlying rule 5 of the Conduct of Election Rules, which relates to General Elections, does not find place in the rules for the election of the President.;

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