(1.) The Appellants were opposite parties Nos. 1 to 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 16 and 20 before the trial court. The Commissioners of the Municipality of Bhatpara were opposite party No. 16, the State of West Bengal was the opposite party No. 20 and the other opposite parties Appellants were, the ratepayers. The Petitioners before the trial court, who are Respondents Nos. 1 to 5 in this appeal, challenged the authority of opposite parties Nos. '1 to 15, before the trial court, to function as Commissioners of the Bhatpara Municipality. The case with which the Petitioners, before the trial court, came to Court was as stated hereunder.
(2.) The opposite parties Nos. 1 to 15 were elected Commissioners of the Bhatpara Municipality at a general election, held on March 20, 1955, under the provisions of the Bengal Municipal Act, 1932. The first meeting of the said Commissioners was held on May 21, 1955. On June 13, 1958, the District Magistrate fixed March 22, 1959, as the date for holding the next general election. Before the election could be held, on the application of the some of the rate-payers of the Municipality, a Rule was issued by this Court, being Civil. Rule No. 369 of 1959, for quashing the electoral rolls of the Municipality, on the ground of alleged irregularity in their preparation.
(3.) On March 18, 1959, on the application of certain persons, there was another Rule issued by this Court, being Civil Rule No. 825 of 1959, and in that Rule there was an interim injunction made on the State of West Bengal restraining it from publishing the result of the forthcoming election of the Bhatpara Municipality in the Calcutta Gazette. The election of the Commissioners of the Municipality took place on March 22, 1959, in which the opposite parties Nos. 1. to 15, before the trial court, came out successful. On September 14, 1959.. Civil Rule No. 369 of 1959 was made absolute by Sinha, J. and Civil Rule No. 825 of 1959 was discharged. The result was that the electoral rolls of Bhatpara Municipality being quashed, the election that had taken place on March 22, 1959, became bad and of no effect. Thereafter there was some correspondence exchanged between the District Magistrate and the Chairman of the Municipality, between September 18 and December 1, 1959, which goes to show that some persons were of the opinion that the old Commissioners of the Municipality were continuing or must be deemed to be continuing in office and accordingly an ordinary meeting of the Commissioners of the Municipality was held on December 30, 1959. On January 4, I960, one of the Commissioners, elected in the 1955 election, wrote a letter to the Chairman of the Municipality to the effect that the terms of the office of the Commissioners elected in 1955 had expired and they could no longer function as such. The question whether the Commissioners elected in 1955 could any further function. thus became important and required an authoritative decision.;