U. DOLEY SINGH Vs. CHIEF EXECUTIVE MEMBER
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
U. Doley Singh
Chief Executive Member
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PATHAK, C.J. -
(1.) BY this application under Article 226 of the Constitution of India the petitioner has challenged the order of the Executive Committee of the Khasi Hills District Council, approved by the District Council, by which the petitioner has been removed from the office of Syiem of Langrin Syiemship.
(2.) THIS case has a chequered career. The facts of the case are as follows:-
Petitioner U. Doley Singh was nominated as Syiem of Langrin Syiemship and took over charge of the Syiemship on 2-8-1948. By an application dated 28-3-1955 U. Zibon Roy Myntri and others filed a petition before the Chief Executive Member, District Council, making some allegations of misappropriation of money of the Syiemship against the petitioner. Similarly, one U Ron Singh filed another application on 9-5-1956 bringing in some charges against the petitioner. The Executive Committee of the District Council made an enquiry into those charges levelled against the petitioner through Mr. Pyngrope, the then Assistant Revenue Officer who held an elaborate enquiry into the charges levelled against the petitioner and submitted a report to the executive Committee on 12-6-1957 stating that the allegations made against the petitioner were baseless and maliciously engineered to oust the petitioner from Syiemship. The Secretary, Executive Committee, informed the petitioner on 18-5-1958 that the District Council had decided to hold a referendum to ascertain the views of the people as to whether they wanted the petitioner as the Syiem of the Elaka or not.
The petitioner moved the High Court in Civil Rule No. 14 of 1959 against the order of holding the referendum. But the High Court dismissed the application and, accordingly the referendum was held in Langrin Syiemship on 12-3-1960 and on 16-3-1960 the petitioner was asked to show cause why he should not be removed from the office of Syiem of Langrin Syiemship. The petitioner submitted his explanation on 18-4-1960 and the Executive Committee of the District Council submitted a report on 29-7-1960 to the District Council recommending removal of the petitioner. The District Council endorsed the action of the Executive Committee for removal of the petitioner and the Executive Committee by its Purwana dated 25-8-1960 asked the petitioner to appear before the Executive Committee on 16-9-1960. The petitioner submitted his explanation before the Executive Committee of the District Council on 16-9-1960 and the Executive Member Incharge of Rural Administration, District Council, passed the order on 16-9-1960 removing the petitioner from the office. The petitioner then filed an application before the High Court against that order of removal and the High Court by its order dated 27-4-1961 in Civil Rule No. 131 of 1960 (Assam) quashed the order of removal on the ground of violation of the principles of natural justice, leaving the Executive Committee at liberty to take appropriate measures afresh. Thereafter a referendum was held and in that referendum, it is found from Annexure 'A to the petition, the petitioner got 220 votes whereas 150 votes were against the petitioner. One U Marily Singh Thongai submitted an application on 28-4-1967 for removal of the petitioner before the Executive Committee which rejected the petition by order dated 11-9-1967. Thereafter on 24-2-1969 U Marily Singh Thongai along with others filed another application making some allegations against the petitioner. The petitioner was asked to show cause against that allegation by Memo dated 27-3-1969 and the petitioner filed his explanation on 16-4-1969.
Thereafter the Executive Committee registered a case against the petitioner, and heard him. The Chief Executive Member passed orders for holding a referendum to ascertain the wishes of the people as to whether they wanted the petitioner as the Syiem. Against this order of the Chief Executive Member the petitioner again moved the High Court which rejected the petition. Thereafter on 21-12-1970 the Executive Committee issued a notice for holding a referendum by counting of heads on 21-1-1971 at village Phlangiloin. The petitioner objected to the holding of the referendum at village Phlangiloin and prayed for two other centres for counting of heads. But the Executive Committee rejected his petition without giving him any hearing as alleged. Accordingly the referendum was held on 21-1-1971. Before holding the referendum the Executive Committee prepared a list of voters which was finally accepted. It is found that in the referendum held altogether 493 persons took part in voting out of which 10 were found to have no right of voting, 210 persons voted in favour of the petitioner and 283 persons voted against him. Out of the 210 votes cast in favour of the petitioner, 9 votes were rejected and out of the 283 votes cast against the petitioner, 1 vote was rejected Thus 201 persons voted for the petitioner and 282 persons voted against him. It may be stated here that the electoral roll prepared by the Executive Committee and finally accepted after disposing of the objections, shows the total number of electors as 645. Thereafter a notice was issued to the petitioner to show cause why he should not be removed from the office of Syiemship. The petitioner showed cause and the Executive Committee came to the decision that the petitioner should be removed from his office and the matter was placed before the District Council. The District Council, however, did not accept the recommendation of the Executive Committee and after long deliberation remanded the matter of removal of the petitioner to the Executive Committee for reconsideration in the light of the discussion in the meeting of the District Council. Thereafter the Executive Committee reconsidered the matter and decided removal of the petitioner from the office of Syiemship and submitted the case for approval before the District Council which approved the decision of the Executive Committee removing the petitioner from the office of Syiem of Langrin Syiemship by resolution dated 22-11-1971. In this writ petition the said order of removal dated 22-11-1971 has been challenged.
At this stage it will be convenient to notice the relevant provisions for appointment and removal of a Syiem.
(3.) SECTION 3 of the United Khasi-Jaintia Hills Autonomous District (Appointment and Succession of Chiefs and Headmen) Act, 1959, as amended by the United Khasi-Jaintia Hills Autonomous District (Appointment and Succession of Chiefs and Headmen) (Amendment) Act 1968, reads as follows:-
"3. Nomination and appointment of Chiefs and Headmen:- (1) Subject to the approval of the District Council, the Executive Committee may make Rules governing the nomination and appointment of Chiefs and Headmen: Provided that separate Rules may be made for each Elaka. (2) Pending making of such Rules all nominations and appointment of Chiefs and Headmen shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be in accordance with the existing customs prevailing in the Elaka concerned and duly approved by the Executive Committee, the decision of which is final." ;
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