Decided on December 31,1971



Sambasiv Rao, J. - (1.)The Chairman of the Kavali Municipality has moved this Court with a petition under Article 226 to issue a mandamus declaring that the notice dated 22-11-1971 issued under Sec. 46 (3) and (5) of Andhra Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1965 (Act No.6 of 65) (hereinafter called the Act) proposing to convene a meeting of the Municipal Council, Kavali at 11 a.m. on 26-11-1971, is illegal, void and inoperative and to restrain the Revenue Divisional Officer, Kavali from taking any further steps in pursuance of the said notice The basic facts of the matter are not in dispute. Fifteen Councillors of the Municipality gave a notice to the Revenue Divisional Officer, Kavali dated 15-10-71 expressing their intention to move a motion of no-confidence in the petitioner. Two of them personally delivered the notice to the officer. On this requisition the officer called for a meeting of the municipal council for 6-11-1971 at 11 a.m. to consider the motion, by his notice dr. 18-10-71. A councillor filed W.P. No. 4523/71 in this Court seeking stay of the consideration of the motion on the ground that four councillors had been kidnapped. On 5_11_1971 this Court passed a conditional ordei in W.P.M.P. No. 7120/71 filed with the writ petition, directing the meeting to go on and that the said meeting should consider the motion of no-confidence if the four allegedly kidnapped councillors were present at the meeting and if they were not so present the meeting should be adjourned. At the appointed time on 6-11-1971, the meeting assembled where the order passed by the Court was brought to the notice of the Revenue Divisional Officer. Thereupon, finding the four municipal councillors did not attend, the officer adjourned the meeting "till further orders as per the directions of the High Court" Ultimately on 18-11-1971 the petitioner in the aforesaid writ petition stated that he did not press the stay petition with the result that the stay was vacated with a direction to the Revenue Divisional Officer to convene a meeting to consider the motion. The said order of the Court reached the officer on 22-11-1971 and on the same day he issued notices to the Councillors intimating that the meeting of the Council will be held on 26-11-1971 at 11 a.m., to consider the motion. Though at the top of the notice both sub-sections (3) and (5) of Sec. 46 of the Act were mentioned, in the body of the notice it was stated that it was issued under sub-section (5) alone. Impugning this notice the present writ petition has bet n brought by the Chairman of the Municipality.
(2.)Though points like sub-section (5) of Sec. 46 has no application to the facts of the case and the inadequacy of three days notice were taken in the writ petition, they are not pressed before us by Sri P. Ramachandra Rao, who appears for the petitioners. The only point pressed before us by the learned counsel is what was mentioned in paragraph 5(iii) of the petition, viz.,
"The proposed meeting ought to have been convened on or before 21-11-1971 , i. e , not later than 15 days from the date of adjourned meeting. By the impugned notice the meeting is proposed to be held on 26-11-1971".

(3.)Proceeding on the premise that it is sub-section (5) of Sec. 46 that governs the case, learned counsel strenuously urges that the date appointed by the Revenue Divisional Officer for the adjourned meeting shall not be later than 15 days from the date fixed for the meeting under sub-section (3). Since the date fixed for the meeting under subsection (3) is 6-11-1971, the adjourned meeting should have been held on or before 21-11-1971. The meeting now called for on 26-11-1971 is, therefore, repugnant to sub-section (5) and is consequently illegal and unenforceable. His submission is that the requirement that the date appointed for the adjourned meeting shall not be later than 15 days from the date fixed for the meeting under sub-section (3) is made in a manditory provision and the Revenue Divisional Officer, who is the first respondent in the writ petition had no alternative but to convene the meeting within 15 days; if he does not do so, hut calls the meeting after the expiry of 15 days the convening of the meeting would be wholly invalidi The provision in this behalf is clear and categorical and does not afford any opportunity for taking more than one view; the intention of the legislature is manifest. When a statutory provision is not ambiguous and is not capable of more than one meaning; the first respondent is bound to act within the frame-work of that provision and cannot contravene it. Whatever may be the justification for the delayed convening of the meeting and whatever be the inconvenience involved, the provision of law, when it is unambiguous, must prevail. So argued the learned Counsel for the petitioner. In support of this rule of construction he puts forward, he relies on Direct United States Cable Co. v, Anglo American Telegraph Co., London and India Docks Co., v. Thames Steam Tug and Lighterage Co., State of Punjab v. Ajaib Singh Collector of Customs v, D. S, & W. Mills Ltd., Rukmaji V, District Collector, Nizimabad and some passages in Maxwell's and Craies's treatises on Interpretation of Statute Law.

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