1996(4) ALL MR 692
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY (AURANGABAD BENCH)
B.N. DESHMUKH AND V.K. BARDE, JJ.
Pramod Murlidhar Jagtap Vs. The State Of Maharashtra & Ors.
Writ Petition Nos. 5825 of 1995
10th June, 1996
Petitioner Counsel: Shri R.N. DHORDE
Respondent Counsel: Shri V.B. GHATGEShri S.K.BARLOTAShri V.D. HONShri S.A. DESHMUKH & R.S. DESHMUKH
Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis (Delivery of Notice of Resignation) Rules (1965), R.3 - Notice of resignation - Procedure - Acceptance of resignation letters challenged by petition - Notice of resignation by persons without authority - No statement by these persons about authorisation or about signing off letters by petitioners before them, though they claimed to be witnesses to the letters - Held, resignations were not voluntary and hence not effective.
2. These three writ petitions involve common question off law. The petitioners were elected as members of the Zilla Parishad, Aurangabad. The petitioner in Writ Petition No.5825/1995 was elected as Chairman of Building and finance Committee of the Zilla Parishad as far back as in the year 1992. The petitioners in Writ Petition No.5826/1995 were elected as Chairman of Social Welfare Committee; and Agriculture & Animal Husbandary Committee respectively, while petitioner in Writ Petition No.5864/1995 was elected as Vice-president of the Zilla parishad, Aurangabad, and was, therefore, automatically Chairman of Education and Health Committees.
3. On 2-12-1995, a requisition for no confidence motion was submitted against all these petitioners in respect of the posts held by them. On 5-12-1995, the Collector, Aurangabad, issued notices for convening meeting of Zilla parishad on 16-12-1995.
4. On 14-12-1995, Writ Petition No.5728/1995 was filed challenging certain provisions in respect of no confidence in the Maharashtra Zilla Parishad & Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961. Though the said writ petition is admitted, it seems that no interim relief was granted. However, the result of the motion of no confidence which was to be considered in the meeting scheduled on 16-12-95 was directed to be subject to the decision of that writ petition.
5. The meeting of the Zilla Parishad was, thus, fixed to consider the requisitions of no confidence against all these petitioners on 16-12-1995. On that date, an important development seems to have taken place. On 16-12-1995 itself, the resignations as Chairman of the committees as well as Vice-President of the Zilla Parishad by the petitioners were submitted to the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Zilla Parishad at 11.30 a.m. The same were forwarded to the President of the Zilla Parishad for acceptance and on the same date, the President of the Zilla Parishad accepted the resignations of all these petitioners for the respective posts. As the concerned Chairman and the Vice-President have resigned the posts, the meeting was held but the requisition for no confidence motion was not considered and it was announced in the meeting that the motion need not be considered as all these four persons have resigned their respective posts.
7. It was argued before us that the procedure prescribed under the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis (Delivery of Notice of Resignation Rules, 1965, is not followed while accepting the resignation letters and forwarding the same to the President of the Zilla Parishad. It was further contended that the resignations are not voluntary and it seems that the signatures of the concerned petitioners on certain other papers were utilised for writing down the resignations in the prescribed form.
8. The original letters of the resignation were made available to us during the course of arguments. In all these resignation letters, the witnesses as required by the Rules are mentioned. There are two witnesses given - (1) Pandit Mahadu Shinde (2) Gangadhar Sampatrao Sonawane. These are the two persons who are common witnesses to the resignation letters of all the four petitioners. It is also admitted fact that these two witnesses had signed the requisition of no confidence motion submitted against all these four petitioners. It was contended in the normal course of the conduct that if the petitioners had wanted to resign voluntarily, they would not have asked their adversaries to act as witnesses for such resignations as provided under the Rules.
"3. Manner of delivery of notices -
(1) Subject to the provision of sub-rule (2), a notice of resignation -
(a) ... ........ ..............
(b) ... .......... ...... ........
(c) of the office of Vice-President given under sub-section (2) of Section 48 shall be delivered by the Vice-President to the Chief Executive Officer;
(d) .... .......... ......
(h) of the office of the elected Chairman of a Subjects Committee given under Section 86 shall be delivered by the elected Chairman to the Chief Executive Officer.
(2) Every such notice -
(a) shall be in Form I, and
(b) shall be delivered -
(i) by registered post with acknowledgment due or
(ii) personally or
(iii) through any person duly authorised in writing in this behalf by the person who gives notice.
(3) The authority to which such notice is delivered, shall forthwith -
(a) acknowledge receipt of the same and
(b) issue a receipt in Form II in token of having received notice."
Rule 3 has made a special provision in respect of the scope and it is provided under Rule 3 that the letter of resignation must be delivered either personally or by registered post with acknowledgement due or through any authorised person to the competent authority mentioned in Sub-rule (1). The manner in which the notice is to be delivered is not only enumerated in Sub-rule (2) of Rule 3 but further re-emphasised by mentioning specially in Sub-rule (3)) enumerating the scope within which the competent authority has to act.
10. In all these petitions, it is admitted position that the notice of resignation was not delivered by any of the petitioners. The notice was delivered by either Pandit Mahadu Shinde or Gangadhar Sampatrao Sonawane. None of the petitioners had authorised in writing to do so to either Shri Pandit Mahadu Shinde or to Shri Gangadhar Sampatrao Sonawane.
11. The affidavit is filed by the competent authority who had accepted the notice of resignation and in one of the letters, it is admitted that the resignation letters were not submitted to him by the petitioners nor any authorisation in writing given by any of the petitioners was produced before him either by Shri Pandit Mahadu Shinde or by Shri Gangadhar Sampatrao Sonawane. There are also affidavits filed by Shri Pandit Mahadu Shinde and Shri Gangadhar Sampatrao Sonawane. Though they claim to be the witnesses to the resignation letters but in their affidavits, nowhere they have stated that they were authorised in writing by any of the petitioners to forward the resignation letters to the competent authority.
12. Reading the affidavits-in-reply filed by Pandit Mahadu Shinde and Gangadhar Sampatrao Sonawane, they have not categorically stated anywhere that the resignation letters were signed by the respective persons before them. Some attempt was made to indicate that the signatures must have been placed by the petitioners in presence of these two witnesses.
13. It is very difficult to accept the voluntariness of the resignations. The resignation is a voluntary act. The person responsible and who desires to resign, the voluntariness must follow not only by signing the resignation letter as per the prescribed form but the voluntariness is further carried in respect of delivery of resignation letter to the competent authority. Even assuming that the concerned petitioners have signed these resignation letters, before delivery of the same, they could change their mind and withdraw the resignations. The voluntariness, therefore, is not sufficient to be expressed only qua signing the resignation letters, but it must be apparent even thereafter till its delivery and acceptance by the competent authority..
14. We are, therefore, unable to appreciate as to how the Deputy Chief Executive Officer could have accepted such resignation letters and forwarded the same for consideration to the President of the Zilla Parishad. The notice of delivery of resignation is in violation of the provisions of the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis (Delivery of Notice of Resignation) Rules, 1965. The intention of the framers of the Rules is absolutely clear. The mode and method of delivery is not only enumerated in Rule 3, but more emphasised thereafter while making the provision in respect of the scope and it is further reiterated that the letter of resignation must be delivered either personally or by registered post with acknowledgement due or through any authorised person to the competent authority mentioned in Sub-rule (1)). The so called resignations can not be regarded as voluntary resignations submitted by the petitioners under the Rules. In view of this, the orders accepting the resignations by the President on 16-12-1995 are set aside. The petitioners to continue in the said posts as if they have not resigned on 16-12-1995.
15. Thereafter, on 22-12-1995, the Collector had issued notices and convened the meeting on 8-1-1996 for electing Chairman and Vice-President in place of all the petitioners. That meeting was held on 8-1-1996. This Court had directed not to declare the result of the said meeting in respect of the election to the posts of Vice-President and Chairman in place of the petitioners. Such meeting was held and the election had taken place but the result is not declared. The persons who had contested the election in the meeting held on 8-1-1996 are party respondents to these petitioners.
16. In our opinion, the resignations are violative of the provisions of the Rules of 1965. In view of the directions given by us in these petitions directing the respective petitioners to continue in the said posts as if they had not resigned on 16-12-1995, the proceedings of the election held in the meeting on 8-1-1996 to elect Vice-President and Chairman of different Committees are hereby quashed. The result need not be declared.