Decided on February 20,1979



Birendra Prasad Sinha, J. - (1.)By this application under Articles 226 and 227 of the Conslitution of India, the entire election of Dandari Grain Panchayat in the district of Begusarai has been challenged. Respondents 1 to 10 were elected to various offices of the Gram Panhayat on 28-5-1978.
(2.)The only point, which has been urged by Mr. K. P. Verma, learned counsel : ap-pearing on behalf of the petitioners, is that Rule 31 of the Bihar Panchayat Election Rules. 1959, (hereinafter to be referred to as 'the Rules') is ultra vires Article 14 of the Constitution and any election held on the basis of the polling stations selected under Rule 31 must be held to be illegal and without jurisdiction. Tt has been stated that for four wards of the Panchayat only two booths were selected and no opportunity was given to the voters and the candidates to file any objection in the matter of selection of bootlis.
(3.)Rule 31 of the Rules reads as under :--"(1) The Election Officer, and not an officer to whom he delegates his powers under Clause (g) of Rule 2 shall select one or more polling stations, as may be considered by him. for each Panchayat and shall obtain the approval of the District Magistrate thereon. Once approved, the polling stations shall not be changed. The Election Officer shall publish the list of the polling station on his own notice board as also on that of the panchayat at least two weeks before the. date of actual poll. 2. The Election Officer shall, in writing appoint a Presiding Officer and such number of Polling Officers to assist the Presiding Officer as he thinks necessary." According to this, the Subdivisional Officer, who is the Election Officer under the Rules and not his delegate, is required to select one or more polling stations as may be considered necessary by him. The list is thereafter sent to the District Magistrate for approval. After it is approved by the District Magistrate it becomes final and is finally published on the notice board of the Flection Officer and the Panchayat. The conteniion of Mr. Verma is that in a democratic State wherever right of a voter is affected, he should be given an opportunity of raising an objection. In support of his argument learned counsel relied upon a Bench decision of this Court in Uma-kant Singh v. Binda Choudhury (1965 BLJR 344) : (AIR 1965 Pat 459). In that case the question was whether Rule 3 of the Bihar Panchayat Samities and Zilla Parishad (Elections, Co-options and Election Petitions) Rules, 1963. was constitutionally valid. According to the Rules, the whole and sole basis of a person being elector for the purposes of the said election was the list of Secretaries obtained by the Returning Officer from the Assistant Registrar, Co-operative Societies. No procedure was prescribed for filing of any objection before any authority for the purpose of challenging the correctness of the list supplied by the Assistant Registrar, in respect of which various kinds of disputes could and did crop up. The disputes could be whether a particular Co-perative Society and its Secretary were included in the list or not; whether the person as the Secretary of the particular Co-operative Society was the Secretary or not or whether somebody else was its Secretary. No manner and forum were prescribed for the raising of any kind of dispute, which was bound to creep in in regard to the list of electors. Relying upon a decision of the Supreme Court in the case of the Chief Com-misioner of Ajmer v. Radhey Shyarn Dani (AJR 1957 SC 304) it was argued that Rule 3 of the Rules was defective and invalid. In the case of the Chief Commissioner of Ajmer (Supra) the Supreme Court held that it was the essence of the elections that proper electoral rolls should be maintained and in order that a proper electoral roll should be maintained it is necessary that after the preparation of the electoral roll opportunity should be given to the parties concerned to scruticise whether the persons enrolled as electors pos-sensed the requisite qualifications. Unless that was done the obligafion cast upon the authorities was not discharged and the elections held an such imperfect electoral rolls were invalid.

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