Ganesh Sukhdeo Gurule vs Tahsildar Sinnar on 10 December, 2018

                                                                    1

                                                        REPORTABLE

                   
                IN  
                   THE
                       
                        SUPREME
                                
                                 
                                COURT
                                      
                                         
                                      OF INDIA



                  
                 CIVIL
                       
                        APPELLATE
                                  
                                  JURISDICTION


                
               CIVIL
                     
                      
                     APPEAL
                            
                             
                            NO.11916
                                     
                                        
                                      Of 2018 



GANESH SUKHDEO GURULE                          ...APPELLANT(S) 

                              VERSUS

TAHSILDAR SINNAR  ORS.                        ...RESPONDENT(S)




                          
                         J  
                           U  
                             D  
                               G  
                                 M  
                                   E  
                                     N T


 
ASHOK
      
      BHUSHAN,J.

This   appeal   has   been   filed   against   the   judgment

dated 22.11.2018 of the High Court of Bombay dismissing

the writ petition filed by the appellant. 

2. We have heard learned counsel for the appellant as

well   as   the   counsel   for   the   respondent   No.4   who   has

appeared on caveat. The interest of respondent No.4 and

other   private   respondents   being   common   we   have   not

issued notice to other respondents.

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3. The brief facts of the case necessary for deciding

the appeal are:

On   07.09.2018,   respondents   moved   a   no­confidence

motion   against   the   appellant.   Tahsildar   issued   notice

dated   07.09.2018   convening   special   meeting   of   Gram

Panchayat for consideration of no­confidence motion on

14.09.2018.   On   14.09.2018   out   of   nine   members   of   the

Gram Panchayat   only eight members were present in the

meeting. Six members voted in favour of the motion and

two members were opposed to it. One of the members who

voted   in   favour   of   no­confidence   motion   was   not

qualified to vote, namely,  Smt. Sushila Prakash Darade

who had not filed her caste certificate after election,

hence, she was disqualified to continue to be a member

or to vote in any meeting. A Dispute Application under

35(3­B)   of   the   Maharashtra   Gram   Panchayat   Rules,   1958

challenging the no­confidence motion passed was filed.

The   Addl.   Collector,   Nasik   passed   an   order   dated

16.10.2018   approving   the   special   meeting   dated

14.09.2018   holding   that   no­confidence   motion   was
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validly   passed.   Against   the   order   passed   by   the   Addl.

Collector,   a   writ   petition   was   filed   by   the   appellant

which   has   been   dismissed   by   the   High   Court   by   the

impugned   judgment.     Aggrieved   by   the   judgment   of   the

High Court this appeal has been filed.

4. Learned   counsel   for   the   appellant   submits   that

total   members   of   Gram   Panchayat   being   nine   and   one

member   being   disqualified   to   vote   the   two­third

majority   has   to   be   computed   on   the   basis   of   eight

members which comes to 5.33 and there being only five

valid votes in favour of   no­confidence motion, motion

cannot   be   held   to   be   passed.   One   of   the   members   who

voted   in   favour   of   no­confidence   motion   i.e.   Smt.

Sushila   Prakash   Darade   being   disqualified   to   sit   and

vote   cannot   be   counted   in   favour   of   no­confidence

motion,   two­third   majority   being   5.33,   at   least   six

votes   were   required   for   passing   the   no­confidence

motion.   It   is   submitted   that   caste   certificate   being

not submitted by Smt. Sushila Prakash Darade within six

months   as   required   by   law   she   automatically   became

disqualified   to   sit   or   vote   in   the   meeting   of   Gram
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Panchayat.

5. The   submissions   made   by   the   counsel   of   the

appellant   were   refuted   by   the   counsel   for   the

respondent. It is submitted that there being only eight

members   present   and   one   being   disqualified,   two­third

majority   shall   be   computed   from   seven   and   five   votes

caste in favour of the no­confidence motion, the motion

shall be treated to be validly passed. It is contended

that   provision   of   Section   35(3)   of   the   Maharashtra

Village   Panchayats   Act,   1959   has   to   be   read   to   mean

that   majority   of   not   less   than   two­third   of   total

number of members present and voting, thus, there being

only 8 members present, majority is to be computed from

7   excluding   one   disqualified   member.   He   submits   that

motion of no­confidence was validly passed against the

appellant and rightly upheld by the High Court.

6.Learned   counsel   for   the   parties   relied   on   few

judgments which shall be referred to while considering

the submissions.

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7. Section   35   of   the   Maharashtra   Village   Panchayats

Act   deals   with   motion   of   no­confidence.   Section   35(1)

and   Section   35(3)   which   are   relevant   for   the   present

case are as follows:

“35.   Motion   of   no   confidence. ­ (1) A
motion   of   no   confidence   may   be   moved   by   not
less   than [one  third] of   the  total  number  of
the   members   who   are   for   the   time   being
entitled   to   sit   and   vote   at   any   meeting   of
the panchayat against   the Sarpanchor   the Upa­
Sarpanch after   giving   such   notice   thereof   to
the   Tahsildar   as   may   be   prescribed. [Such
notice once given shall not be withdrawn.

Xxx xxx xxx

(3) If the motion is carried by  a majority of
not less than two­third of the total number of
the   members  who   are   for   the   time   being
entitled   to   sit   and   vote   at   any   meeting   of
the panchayat or the Upa­Sarpanch, as the case
may   be, [shall   forthwith   stop   exercising   all
the powers and perform all the functions and
duties   of   the   office   and   thereupon   such
powers,   functions   and   duties   shall   vest   in
the Upa­Sarpanch in case the motion is carried
out   against   the Sarpanch;   and   in   case   the
motion   is   carried   out   against   both
the Sarpanch and Upa­Sarpanch,   in   such
officer,   not   below   the   rank   of   Extension
Officer,   as   may   be   authorised   by   the   Block
Development Officer, till the dispute, if any,
referred   to   under   sub­section   (3B)   is
decided:”
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8. The   main   issue   which   arises   for   consideration   is

that   what   shall   be   two­third   majority   for   holding   the

no­confidence   motion   to   be   passed   in   the   Panchayat   in

the   facts   of   the   present   case.   Admittedly   there   are

nine   members   in   the   Village   Panchayat.   Out   of   nine

members   in   the   meeting   held   on   14.09.2018,   eight

members were present. Out of eight members present, one

member   was   disqualified   to   sit   and   vote   by   virtue   of

she   having   not   submitted   her   caste   certificate   after

the election. She was one out of six members who have

voted   in   favour   of     no­confidence   motion.   There   are

five valid votes in favour of   no­confidence motion as

two   against   it.   The   statute   provides   for   special

majority   for   passing   a   motion.   The  Shackleton  on   the

“Law and Practice of Meetings” in paragraph 7.32 while

dealing with special majority states:

“In   cases   where   special   majorities   are
prescribed,   the   provisions   of   the   relevant
statute   or   rules   or   rules   must   be   carefully
observed.   Thus,   where   under   an   old   Act   a
motion   was   to   be   “determined   by   a   majority
consisting of two­thirds of the votes of the
ratepayers present” at a meeting, and 37 were
present, the votes of 20 ratepayers in favour
of the motion (the remainder abstaining) were
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deemed to be insufficient to comply with the
statute.”

9. In  the present  case statute, Section  35(3)  refers

to   majority   as   “a   majority   of   not   not   less   than   two­

third   of   the   total   number   of   the   members   who   are   for

the time being entitled to sit and vote at any meeting

of   the   Panchayat”.   The   above   expression   clearly

indicates the majority of not less than   two­third of

the “total number of the members who are for the time

being entitled to sit and vote”. The key words in the

expression   are   members   who   are   for   the   time   being

entitled to sit and vote at a meeting in the Panchayat.

The computation of majority thus refers to “entitlement

to   sit   and   vote   at   any   meeting”.   Thus,   the   number   of

members who are entitled to sit and vote in a meeting

have   to   be   taken   into   consideration   for   computing   the

majority.   Total   number   of   members   being   nine   and   one

member   being   disqualified   to   sit   and   vote,   the

computation   of   majority   has   to   be   on   the   basis   of

number   eight,     two­third   of   the   number   eight   will   be

5.33.   The   Submission   of   the   respondent   is   that   the
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two­third   majority   has   to   be   computed   out   of   the

members   present   and   voting   i.e.   seven   excluding   one

member   who   was   unqualified   to   vote   and   five   is   more

than  two­third of seven, the majority has been rightly

passed.   The   interpretation   put   by   the   learned   counsel

for   the   respondent   cannot   be   accepted   in   view   of   the

clear   language   of   statute.   The   crucial   words   in   the

statute   are   members   “who   are   for   the   time   being

entitled   to   sit   and   vote”.   This,   expression   cannot   be

treated   to   be   expression  members   present   and   voting.

The   submission   of   the   respondent   that   for   computation

of majority number of seven members should be treated,

cannot be accepted.

10. The   next   submission   pressed   by   the   respondent   is

that   for   applying   the   principle   of   rounding   off   5.33

votes have to be rounded as to five. Thus, five votes

are   sufficient   to   accept   majority   for   the   purpose   of

passing no­confidence motion. Whether 5.33 votes can be

rounded up into 5 votes or requirement is at lest six

votes is the real issue. When there are  clear words in

the   statute   i.e.   “not   less   two­third   of   the   total
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number   of   members”   applying   the   principle   of   rounding

off, 5.33 vote cannot be treated as 5. Vote of a person

cannot be expressed in fraction. When computation of a

majority   comes   with   fraction   of   a   vote   that   fraction

has to be treated as one vote, because votes cannot be

expressed   in   fraction.   The   principle   that   figure   less

than .5 is to be ignored and figure more than .5 shall

be treated as one, is  not  applicable in the statutory

scheme   as   delineated   by   Section   35.   Provision   of

Section 35(1) which provides for requirement for moving

motion   of   no­confidence   by   not   less   than   one­third   of

the   total   number   of   the   members   who   are   for   the   time

being   entitled   to   sit   and   vote   at   any   meeting   of   the

Panchayat,   is   the   same   expression   as   used   in   sub­

section   (3).   Obviously,   requirement   of   not   less   than

one­third   number   for   moving   motion   has   to   be   computed

from   total   number   of   the   members   who   are   entitled   to

sit   and   vote.   Thus,   the   same   expression   having   been

used   in   sub­section   (3)   of   Section   35   both   the

expressions   have   to   be   given   the   same   meaning.   Thus,

one­third   of   total   number   of   members   who   are   entitled
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to sit and vote have to be determined on the strength

of members entitled to vote at a particular time. The

same   meaning   has   also   to   be   applied   while   computing

two­third majority.

11. Learned   counsel   for   the   appellant   has   placed

reliance on two judgments, one, of this Court in  State

of U.P. and another vs. Pawan Kumar Tiwari and others,

(2005)   2   SCC   10.   In   the   above   case,   this   Court   was

considering   applicability   of   percentage   of   reservation

in the context of U.P. Public Services (Reservation for

Scheduled   Casts,   Scheduled   Tribes   and   Other   Backward

Classes)   Act,   1994.   The   percentage   prescribed   for   the

reservation   category   in   the   State   of   U.P.   noticed   in

paragraph   2   of   the   judgment.   Respondent   belonging   to

general category was at the top of the waiting list. He

filed   a   writ   petition   directing   the   State   to   issue   a

letter of appointment to the respondent. The High Court

held   that   50   %   of   general   category   which   was   46.50

ought   to   have   been   treated   as   47.   The   High   Court   had

allowed   the   writ   petition   and   held   the   respondent
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entitled   for   appointment   as   47th   general   category

candidate. The appeal filed by the State was dismissed

by this Court. Paragraph 2,6 and 7 of the judgment are

as follows:

“2.   The   percentages   of   reservation,   as
applicable   and   as   was   actually   applied,   are
set out in the following table:


        Category     Percentage       Percentage      Number
                    (prescribed)      worked out     of posts
                                          to         reserved

         General          50%            46.50          46
      Scheduled           21%            19.53          20
         Castes
          Other           27%            25.11          26
       Backward
        Classes
      Scheduled           2%             1.86            1
         Tribes


6.   The   High   Court   has   found   mainly   two
faults with the process adopted by the State
Government. First, the figure of 46.50 should
have been rounded off to 47 and not to 46; and
secondly, in the category of freedom fighters
and   ex­servicemen,   total   3   posts   have   been
earmarked   as   horizontally   reserved   by
inserting such reservation into general quota
of   46   posts   which   had   the   effect   of   pushing
out   of   selection   zone   three   candidates   from
merit list of general category. 

7. We do not find fault with any of the two
reasonings adopted by the High Court. The rule
of   rounding   off   based   on   logic   and   common
sense   is:   if   part   is   one­half   or   more,   its
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value shall be increased to one and if part is
less   than   half   then   its   value   shall   be
ignored. 46.50 should have been rounded off to
47   and   not   to   46   as   has   been   done.   If   47
candidates   would   have   been   considered   for
selection in general category, the respondent
was   sure   to   find   a   place   in   the   list   of
selected   meritorious   candidates   and   hence
entitled to appointment. ”

12. The judgment of this Court in the above case was on

rounding off the vacancies. The reserved post being 50%

of the total number of posts reservation in no manner

can exceed 50%. In the facts of aforesaid case, there

were   total   93   posts,   47   was     treated   more   than   50%.

Hence,   the   post   for   general   category   which   was   46.50

was   rounded   off   to   47   by   the   High   Court   which   was

approved   by   this   Court.   The   said   case   related   to

computation of vacancies for particular category as per

1994   Act   which   principle   cannot   be   applied   in

computation   of   a   special   majority   as   required   by   the

statute in question.

13. Another judgment is a Full Bench judgment in Jayram

vs.   Secretary,   U.D.D.   Mumbai,   2010   (3)   MH.   LJ   465,
13

which is relied by learned counsel for the respondent,

by   referring   to   the   judgment   of   this   Court   in  Pawan

Kumar   Tiwari   (supra)  the   Full   Bench   of   Bombay   High

Court   held   that   there   is   no   justification   that

fraction below 0.5 be ignored in allotting the seats to

registered or recognised parties on the basis of groups

as per statutory scheme delineated by Bombay Provincial

Municipal   Corporations   Act,   1949.   Referring   to   the

judgment of this Court in Pawan Kumar Tiwari (supra) in

paragraph 31, the Full Bench of Bombay High Court has

rightly   held   that   rounding   off   was   not   the   ratio   or

principle on which Pawan Kumar Tiwari case was decided.

Paragraph 31 of the judgment is quoted below:

“31. Mr.   Anturkar,   learned   Counsel
vehementaly   contended   that   rule   of   rounding
off is now well recognised and is based upon
the logic and common sense. For this he relied
upon   State   of   U.P.   vs.   Pawan   Kumar   Tiwari,
(2005)   2   SCC   10.   In   that   case,   93   posts   of
Civil Judges, J.D. were advertised and 50% of
the   posts   were   reserved   for   different
categories   and   50%   were   for   the   general   or
open   category.   In   view   of   this   percentage
46.50   seats   would   be   available   for   reserved
category   and   46.50   for   general   category.   The
State   Government   rounded   off   the   number   of
posts available for general category at 46 and
for   the   reserved   category   at   47.   The   High
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Court   found   fault   with   the   process   and   held
that the number of posts available for general
category could not be rounded off at 46, but
should   have   been   rounded   off   at   47.   The
Supreme   Court   dismissed   the   appeal   of   the
State   Government   and   held   that   if   the   seats
for   reserved   category   are   fixed   at   47,   it
would cross the limit of 50% and therefore it
could   not   be   upheld   and   as   such   number   of
posts available for reserved category could be
fixed   at   46   and   that   for   general   category
should have been fixed at 47. Their Lordships
observed as follows in para 9:­

“9.   There   is   yet   another   reason   why   the
judgment   of   the   High   Court   has   to   be
maintained.   The   total   number   of   vacancies
was   93.   Consequent   upon   the   allocation   of
reservation   and   calculation   done   by   the
appellants,   the   number   of   reserved   seats
would be 47, leaving only 46 available for
general   category   candidates.   Meaning
thereby,   the   reservation   would   exceed   50%
which would be unconstitutional. The total
number   of   reserved   seats   could   not   have
been more than 46 out of 93. ”

In   fact,   in   this   case,   both   the   groups
had   46.5   and   if   the   same   formula   would   be
applied, then in each case .50 could have been
rounded off to 1 and each of the group would
be   entitled   to   47   seats.   In   that   case,   the
total number would become 94, while the total
vacancies   available   were   only   93.   Thus,
rounding off is not the ratio or principle on
which   that   case   was   decided.   It   was   decided
mainly on the question as to whether reserved
categories may get seats more than 50% quota.

Therefore   the   authority   in   Pawan   Kumar
Tiwari’s case could not be used in support of
the view taken in Vasant Gite.”
15

14. Further, in paragraph 34 Full Bench of Bombay High

Court   itself   held   that   there   is   no   justification   to

ignore fraction below 0.5 in the context of allocation

of   registered   or   recognised   parties   or   groups   who   are

entitled to number of seats. The above judgment of the

Bombay   High   Court   in   no   manner   supports   the   case   of

respondent rather supports the appellant’s contention.

15. Learned   counsel   for   the   appellant   in   so   far   as

disqualification   of   one   of   the   members   who   had   not

filed   her   caste   certificate   relied   on  Anant   vs.   Chief

Election Commissioner, 2017 (1) Mh.L.J. 431, before the

Full Bench the issue was raised as to whether on non­

submission   of   caste   certificate   within   six   months

period   disqualification   is   automatic.   Answering   the

reference   Full   Bench   held   that   the   provision   for

requiring   submission   of   caste   certificate   within   a

period   of   six   months   for   election   is   mandatory   and

disqualification   would   be   automatic.   In   paragraph   100

of the judgment the Full Bench held the following :
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“100.   In   the   result,   we   hold   that   the
time limit of six months prescribed in the two
provisos to Section 9A of the said Act, within
which an elected person is required to produce
the   Validity   Certificate   from   the   Scrutiny
Committee is mandatory. 

Further,   in   terms   of   second   proviso   to
Section   9A   if   a   person   fails   to   produce
Validity   Certificate   within   a   period   of   six
months from the date on which he is elected,
his   election   shall   be   deemed   to   have   been
terminated   retrospectively   and   he   shall   be
disqualified for being a Councillor.

Such   retrospective   termination   of   his
election   and   disqualification   for   being   a
Councillor   would   be   automatic   and   validation
of his caste claim after the stipulated period
would   not   result   in   restoration   of   his
election.

The   questions   raised,   stand   answered
accordingly. ”

16. It is further relevant to note that this Court in

Special   Leave   Petition   (C)Nos.   29874­29875   of   2016

(Shankar   s/o   Raghunath   Devre   (Patil)   vs.   State   of

Maharashtra  Ors.) has approved the view taken by the

Full   Bench   vide   its   judgment   dated   23.08.2018   by

holding   that   the   requirement   of   submitting   caste

certificate is mandatory.

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17. Thus, in so far as vote of one member, Smt. Sushila

Prakash   Darade,   the   same   can   neither   be   computed   for

the no­confidence motion nor is relevant for computing

two­third   majority   as   per   the   statutory   scheme.   The

words ’not less than’ used in Section 35(3) of the Act

has   to   be   given   meaning   and   purpose.   When   majority

comes to 5.33 votes “not less than 5.33 votes” have to

be given meaning, hence, 5.33 can never be rounded off

to 5, fraction has to be treated as one because votes

cannot be treated as fraction. Hence, 5.33 votes to be

read as 6 votes for passing of the motion as mandated

by Section 35(3).

18. We are, thus, of the view that no­confidence motion

was   not   validly   passed   and   the   order   of   the   Addl.

Collector as well as of the High Court are erroneous.

It is held that motion of no­confidence was not passed

against the appellant since it was not passed by less

than two­third of the total number of the members who

were for the time being entitled to sit and vote. The
18

proceedings   dated   14.09.2018,   order   of   the   Addl.

Collector   approving   the   proceedings   as   well   as   the

judgment of the High Court dismissing the writ petition

are set aside. The appeal is allowed accordingly.

…………………….J.

( A.K. SIKRI )

……………………..J.

    ( ASHOK BHUSHAN )

……………………..J.

NEW DELHI,                         ( S. ABDUL NAZEER )
December 10, 2018.

Article source: Supreme Court

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