Decided on August 01,1997

Shiv Lal Sawant Appellant
S.D.O. Respondents

Referred Judgements :-



M.SRINIVASAN, J. - (1.)THE third respondent was elected as Pradhan of Gram Panchayat Darkoti, Teh. Kotkhai, in the election held on 22.12.1995. The result was declared on the same day. On 5.1.1996 the respondent was administered oath of office by the Chief Minister along with several other Pradhans who were elected in that period in the presence of about 10,000 persons. The said respondent started functioning as Pradhan of the Gram Panchayat. The 1st meeting of the Panchayat was held on 23.1.1996, but a day before that the petitioner herein filed a petition under Section 163 of the H.P. Panchayati Raj Act (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act') before the Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil), Theog. That was taken on file as Case No. 3/1996. The S.D.O. (C) held that the petition was premature as there was no publication of the result in the gazette and Section 163 prescribed that a petition should be filed within 30 days of the publication of the result. That order was challenged by the petitioner before the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla in case No. 8/1996. By order dated 2.4.1997 the Deputy Commissioner confirmed the order of Sub Divisional Officer. Aggrieved thereby the petitioner has preferred this petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.
(2.)SECTION 163(1) of the Act says any elector of a Panchayat may on furnishing the prescribed security in the prescribed manner, present within 30 days of the publication of the result, on one or more of the grounds specified in sub-section (1) of Section 175. The expression 'publication' used in Section 163 has not been defined in the Act; nor there is a definition in the Himachal Pradesh General Clauses Act. The said expression came up for consideration before the Supreme Court in State of Madhya Pradesh and another v. Ram Raghubir Prasad Agarwal and others, AIR 1979 S.C. 888. The question arose under the M.P. Prathamik, Middle School Tatha Madhyamik Shiksha (Pathya Pustakon Sambandhi Vyavastha) Adhiniyam (13 of 1973). Under the relevant provision, the syllabus was to be published by the Government before the prescription of the text books. The contention in that case was that there was no publication of the syllabus as required by the Section and therefore the prescription of the text books was not binding. Dealing with that contention the Supreme Court considered the meaning of the word 'publication'. The following passage in the judgment of the Supreme Court is instructive :
"21. Now we move on to S. 3 to verify what flaws vitiate the laying down of syllabi. In this case if we predicate the existence of syllabus the next ingredient is its publication "in such a manner as may be prescribed". Publication of the syllabus is thus essential under S. 3 and when confronted by this requirement, Sh. A.K. Sen, counsel for the State, sought to construe that expression to mean communication by the Board to the Government or other concerned authorities. To Publish, according to him, is to make known to those concerned. On the contrary, Shri Upadhyaya, counsel for the respondent argued that 'to publish' was more than to communicate to the Government Departments and really meant making known to the community or the concerned section of the community. Contextually speaking, we are satisfied that 'publication' means more than mere communication to concerned officials or Departments. To publish a news item is to make known to people in general; "an advising of the public in general or making known of something to the public for a purpose" (Black's Legal Dictionary, p. 1386). In our view, the purpose of S. 3 animates the meaning of the expression 'publish'. 'Publication' is the act of publishing anything; offering it to public notice, or rendering it accessible to public scrutiny......and advising of the public; a making known of something to them for a purpose." Logomachic exercises need not detain us because the obvious legislative object is to ensure that when the Board lays down the 'syllabi' it must publish 'the same' so that when the stage of prescribing text-books according to such syllabi arrives, both the publishers and the State Government and even the educationists among the public may have some precise conception about the relevant syllabi to enable the Government to decide upon suitable text-books from the private market or compiled under S. 5 by the State Government itself. In our view, therefore, 'publication' to the educational world is the connotation of the expression. Even the student and the teaching community may have to know what the relevant syllabus for a subject is, which means wider publicity than minimal communication to the departmental officialdom."

Thus, the Court opined in that case that publication was to inform the concerned people and in that case the information was to the student and teaching community.

(3.)IN the Act, Section 163(1) alone refers to publication of the result. Section 126 provides that the name of every office-bearer of a Panchayat whether or not chosen by direct election shall be published by the prescribed authority in the manner as may be prescribed. Section 127 provides for oath or affirmation of allegiance. Under sub-section (1) of Section 127, no elected office-bearer of a Panchayat shall enter upon his office, until he has, in the manner prescribed, taken oath or made affirmation of his allegiance in the form specified in Schedule-V. Section 79 of the Act provides that after the declaration of result of election of the elected members of the Panchayat Samiti in the prescribed manner the Deputy Commissioner concerned or any gazetted officer appointed by him shall as soon as possible but not later than one week of such declaration call under his Presidentship a meeting of all elected members for the purpose of oath or affirmation of allegiance under Section 127.

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