NARAIN SINGH Vs. STATE OF RAJASTHAN
LAWS(RAJ)-1952-11-7
HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN
Decided on November 06,1952

NARAIN SINGH Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF RAJASTHAN Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

CHAUTHMAL VS. THE STATE OF RAJASTHAN [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)THIS is an application by Narain Singh under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India, and arises in the following circumstances: -
(2.)NARAIN Singh was an elected member of the Municipal Board of Kotah. His case is that the Municipal Board was working under the provisions of the U. P. Municipalities Act, as adapted to the former State of Kotah, and he continued to perform his duties as member of that Municipal Board till September, 1952. He goes on to say that for certain reasons, into the details of which we do not think it necessary to enter for present purposes, there has been misunderstanding between the Municipal Board of Kotah and the Government of Rajasthan. It is alleged that the Government of Rajasthan superseded the Municipal Board of Kotah by an order dated the 9th of September, 1952, which was published in the Rajasthan Gazette of 27th September, 1952. The present application was made on the 25th of September, 1952, two days before the publication of the order, as the order reached the Municipal Board of Kotah some time before it was actually published in the Gazette. The main contention on behalf of the applicant is that the order is not in accordance with sec. 203 of the Rajasthan Town Municipalities Act (No. XXIII of 1951), and as such is invalid, and has no force and effect. Therefore, the Municipal Board of Kotah does not stand superseded by that order, and Shri Sunderlal Gour, who has taken over as administrator by virtue of another notification of the same date, has no authority to work as Administrator of the Board.
The application has been opposed on behalf of the two opposite parties. Their reply is that the notifications in question are in full compliance with the provisions of sec. 203, and, therefore, Shri Sunderlal Gour is rightly performing the duties of Administrator of the Municipal Board, Kotah.

We may set out the two notifications in order to understand the arguments addressed to us by learned counsel for the parties. They are as follows: - "jaipur, the 9th Sept. , 1952. No. F. 1 (c) (6) L. S. G. A/52. It is hereby notified for general information that since the Municipal Board, Kotah. has exceeded and abused its powers, the Government have, therefore, in exercise of powers conferred under sec. 203 (1) of the Rajasthan T. M. Act, 1951, been pleased to supersede the said Board for a period of 1 year with effect from the date of publication of this notification in the Gazette. No. F. 1 (c) (6) L. S. G. A/52-11. It is further notified that Govt. have, in exercise of powers conferred under sec. 203 (2) (b) of the Rajasthan T. M. Act, 1951, been pleased to appoint Shri Sunderlal Gour, District Re-settlement and Employment Officer, Jaipur, as the Administrator of the Municipal Board, Kotah, who will exercise all powers and duties of the said Board. " The second notification is obviously a corollary to the first. What we have, therefore, to see is whether the first notification is justified under the terms of sec. 203 of the Rajasthan Town Municipalities Act. We may set out sec. 203 (1) also in this connection: - "if, in the opinion of the Government, any municipal board is not competent to perform, or persistently makes default in the performance of, the duties imposed on it by or under this Act or otherwise by law, or exceeds or abuses its powers, the Government may, by an order published, with the reasons for making it, in the Rajasthan Gazette, declare the municipal board to be incompetent or in default, or to have exceeded or abused its powers, as the case may be, and may dissolve such municipal board or supersede it for a period to be specified in the order. "

Learned counsel for the applicant contends that a careful examination of sec. 203 (1) shows that there are certain conditions which are pre-requisite to the order of supersession. These conditions have been laid down by another Bench of this Court at Jodhpur, to which one of us was a party, in Chauthmal Beeyani vs. The Rajasthan State and others (1) (1952 R. L. W. 446.) (D. B. Civil Misc. (writ) Petition No. 35 of 1952) (2) in these terms : - "first of all the Government has to form an opinion that the municipal board is not competent to perform, or persistently makes default in the performance of, the duties imposed on it by or under the Act or otherwise by law, or exceeds or abuses its powers. On coming to this opinion, the Government has to declare the municipal board to be incompetent or in default, or to have exceeded or abused its powers, as the case may be, by an order to be published in the Rajasthan Gazette, and the reasons for such declaration have to be given in the Gazette, and thereafter the Board can be dissolved or superseded. "

There are, thus, three conditions which have to be fulfilled before a Municipal Board can be legally dissolved or superseded. In the first place, the Government have to come to an opinion that the Board was not competent to perform its duties etc. etc. Having come to that opinion, the Government has, in the second place, to declare by an order published in the Rajasthan Gazette that the Municipal Board concerned is incompetent or in default or to have exceeded or abused its powers. Thirdly, the order published in the Gazette has to contain the reasons for the Government's opinion and declaration. Learned counsel for the applicant does not seriously contend that the first two conditions have not been complied with. At one stage it was suggested that as the notification did not contain the words "in the opinion of the Government", it was not even certain that the Government had formed any opinion with respect to this Municipal Board. In the written statement, however, it has been definitely stated on behalf of the Government that the material was considered by the Government, and the conclusion, which was published in the Gazette, was arrived at by the Government. The fact that the words 'in the opinion of the Government" do not appear in the notification does not, in our opinion, make much difference in this case, for the form, in which the notification appears, shows that it must be the opinion of the Government and of none else that the Municipal Board, Kotah, had exceeded and abused its powers. So the first two conditions, namely, the Government's forming its opinion and making a declaration, as required by sec. 203, have been complied with in this case. But the third condition, namely, that the order published in the Gazette should contain reasons for the opinion, at which the Government had arrived and the declaration, which the Government makes, has not been complied with.

It is urged on behalf of the State that the reasons have been given in the notification. These reasons are said to be contained in the words, "the Municipal Board, Kotah, has exceeded and abused its powers. " We cannot accept this contention. As we have already pointed out, sec. 203 requires the Government to declare the Municipal Board to be incompetent or in default, or to have exceeded or abused its powers. These words are only in compliance with that provision. Over and above this declaration, the reasons for making the declaration have also to be given, and these reasons are not the mere repetition of the words in the section. What the law expects is that the Government should briefly set out the, charges against the Municipal Board and their satisfaction as to those charges of mal-administration and so on having been proved. This has not been done in this case, and to that extent the notification of 9th September, 1952, superseding the Municipal Board of Kotah is not in conformity with the provisions of sec. 203 (1 ).

The next question that arises is about the effect of non-compliance with the provisions of sec. 203 (1 ). We are of opinion that the dissolution or supersession of a Municipal Board for mal-administration and so on is a very serious matter. The Legislature obviously intended that the executive, when it decides to supersede or dissolve a Board, should justify its action by giving reasons in the order of dissolution or supersession, so that the public of the place may know why and how their chosen representatives have been found wanting in the discharge of their duties. Supersession or dissolution also casts a slur on the members of the Board, and is a sort of penal action against them. In these circumstances, it seems to us essential that the Government should strictly carry out the intention of the Legislature as enshrined in sec. 203 (1 ). Where, as in this case, it fails to do so, the consequence, in our opinion, is that the desired result, namely the supersession or dissolution, does not take effect. We are, therefore, of opinion that this notification superseding the Board, being not in strict conformity with sec. 203 (1) of the Rajasthan Town Municipalities Act (No. XXIII of 1951), is invalid, and cannot have the effect of superseding the Municipal Board of Kotah. As a corollary, therefore, the appointment of Shri Sunderlal Gour as Administrator under sec. 203 (2) (b) of the Act is also invalid.

We, therefore, allow this application, and direct the State Government not to put into force its notification dated 9th September, 1952, superseding the Municipal Board of Kotah. We also order that the appointment of Shri Sunderlal Gour as Administrator of the Board is invalid, and prohibit him from acting as such. The applicant will get his costs of this application from the State, which we assess at Rs. 50/ -. .



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