KANHAIYALAL Vs. NARAIN SINGH
HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
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(1.) THIS is a revision petition under section 26 of the M. P. Municipalities Act (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). The general election of the Municipal Council, Vidisha, was held in January 1969. After the election of the Councillors' selection of four councillors by the elected councillors who were 18 in number was held on 20th January 1969. There were in all six candidates, namely Hridaya Mohan Jain, Non-petitioner No. 4, Vishwa Ban- dhu petitioner No. 2, Kanhaiyalal Sharma, petitioner No. 1, Smt. Sheila Nigam non-petitioner No. 2, Smt. Sharda Shole non-petitioner No. 5 and Bhanwarlal non-petitioner No. 3. The selection of the male and female candidates was held Separately and Hridaya Mohan Jain, Kanhaiyalal Sharma and Vishwabandhu were declared selected for the male seats while Smt. Sharda Bai was declared selected for female seat.
(2.) THE non-petitioner No. 1 Narayan Singh filed an election petition challenging the aforesaid selection of the councillors. This petition was allowed by the Additional District Judge, Vidisha. Being aggrieved thereby the petitioners have filed this revision petition.
The main point for consideration in this case is whether the selection of councillors for male and female seats separately was in Order. In this connection it is necessary to refer to section 19 of the Act which reads as under:-
"Section 19. Council to consist of elected and selected Councillors :- (1) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, each Council shall consist of- (a) elected Councillors. (b) Selected Councillors, in number not exceeding one-fourth of the total elected Councillors of whom at least one shall be a woman to be selected by single transferable vote by the elected members of the new Council from amongst persons residing in the Municipality who are electors and not otherwise disqualified to be a Councillor by or under this Act. Provided that if the Council fails to select a woman, the State Government may, by order, direct the Council to select a woman within the period specified therein and on failure of the Council to do so, appoint a woman eligible for selection as a Councillor under the Act to fill the vacancy. (2) The State Government may make rules under this Act regulating- (i) the mode or methods of election of Councillors. (ii) the mode or method of selection by single transferable vote; and (iii) time of selection of Councillors."
3. It is clear from clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 19 that the selected Councillors are to be selected by single transferable vote by the elected members of the new Council, subject to the condition that at least one of them shall be a woman. It is quite clear from the said clause that there is no bar to more than one woman being selected as Councillors. The condition that there should be at least one woman selected Councillor has apparently been laid down to ensure representation for women amongst the selected Councillors. It cannot be construed as derogatory to their general right to be selected as Councillors. On the other hand it is meant to reserve at least one seat for them.
It is obvious that the aforesaid provision contemplates that the women candidates have a right to contest all the seats of the selected Councillors and not only one seat. In construing clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 19 it must be borne in mind that the proviso to the said clause is attracted only if the Council fails to select a woman and not otherwise. It is, therefore, imperative to hold the selection of the Councillors both for men and women candidates alike in the first instance. If amongst the Councillors so selected at least one woman candidate is returned nothing further has to be done and the selection of such Councillors would be perfectly valid. In case not a single woman candidate is returned in the selection so held the proviso to clause (b) would come into operation and the Council will be required to select a woman within the specified period failing which the State Government may appoint a woman eligible for selection as a Councillor.
(3.) THERE was, therefore no justification for treating only one seat as reserved for women candidates and three for male candidates and holding separate selection for men and women candidates. This was clearly regugnant to the aforesaid provisions in as much as the women candidates were denied the right to contest for the general seats open to male candidates. The selection was, therefore, contrary to law and must be set aside.
The learned counsel for the non-applicants referred to rule 51 of the Malhya Pradesh Municipalities (Preparation, Revision and Publication of Electoral Rolls, Election and Selection of Councillors) Rules, 1962. The said Rule is reproduced below for facility of reference:-
"51. Selection of Councillors:- (1) If the number of candidates excepting the seat of woman is equal to or less than the number of vacancies they shall all be declared duly selected. If the number of candidates exceed the number of vacancies the meeting shall proceed to select Councillors by means of the single transferable vote according to the procedure laid down in the Schedule annexed to these Rules. (2) In the case of selection of a woman if the number of women candidates is more than one, such the meeting shall proceed to select a woman Councillor by means of the. single transerable vote according to the procedure laid down in the Schedule."
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