04 May 2121

While computing the period of limitation, the first day shall be excluded - Bombay High Court

Case : Sanjay Nathalal Gohil v. Ajay Bhaskar Ahire & Ors. Writ Petition No. 1365 of 2019 With Civil Application No. 6643 of 2020

Court : Bombay High Court

Bench : Justice N. J. Jamadar

Decided on : 04 May 2121

Relevant Statutes

 

Article 226 of the Constitution of India

Sections 7, 8, 9, 9A & 51-1B of the Maharashtra Municipal Council, Nagar Panchayats and Industrial Township Act,1965 as amended by Ordinance 2018

Sections 3 & 10 of the Maharashtra General Clauses Act, 1904

Brief Facts and Procedural History

1. The petitioner had contested the election. On 28th November 2016, he was declared elected for the post of the President of Municipal Council. While submitting the nomination form, the petitioner had furnished a true copy of the application preferred by him to the Scrutiny Committee for the issue of validity certificate and an undertaking that he would submit the validity certificate within a period of six months from the date he was declared elected.

2. As the Caste Scrutiny Committee did not expeditiously determine the petitioner’s claim, the petitioner was required to move High Court two times by filing Writ Petitions. The High Court disposed of the petitions and directed the Caste Scrutiny Committee to take decision on the proposal of the petitioner within a period of six months thereof and also directed the Collector, not to take any adverse action against the petitioner on the ground of his failure to submit validation certificate.

3. Eventually, the Caste Scrutiny Committee validated the petitioner’s claim. The petitioner submitted his validity certificate on 29th November 2017.

4. Thereafter, Respondent No. 1, lodged a dispute with the Collector, contending that the petitioner did not submit the validity certificate within the stipulated period from the date of declaration of results and, thus, the election of the petitioner to the post of the President stood terminated retrospectively. The Collector by order terminated the Petitioner.

The Issues of the Case

Whether the submission of the validity certificate on 29th November 2017 is within twelve months of the declaration of the result as stipulated under Section 51-1B of the Maharashtra Municipal Council, Nagar Panchayats and Industrial Township Act, 1965 as amended by Ordinance 2018?

Whether Section 9 of the Maharashtra Municipal Council, Nagar Panchayats and Industrial Township Act,1965 as amended by Ordinance 2018 saves the disqualification of a person who has already filed Caste Validity Certificate?

The Observations of the Court

1. Pertaining to first issue the Honourable Bombay High Court in the case of Jagdish Ramchandra Samanpelliwar vs State of Maharashtra and others, 2019 (3) Mh.L.J. 694 observed that “the date on which the election results have been declared can never be construed to mean that the said day is to be reckoned. It hardly requires any debate that when the results of the elections are declared on 14-12-2017, that day cannot be included in the 30 days period, lest it would mean that by the time the results are declared, one day already stands deducted from the limitation period of 30 days”.

2. By relying on the cases Jagdish Ramchandra Samanpelliwar vs State of Maharashtra and others, 2019 (3) Mh.L.J. 694 and State of Himachal Pradesh and another vs Himachal Techno Engineers and another, (2010) 12 SCC 210 the Honourable Bombay High Court obtained that the period in the instant case is required to be reckoned to have commenced on 29th November 2016 and the twelve months period expired on the corresponding date in the twelfth month i.e. 29th November 2017.

3. Pertaining to the second issue: From the phraseology of section 9 of the Maharashtra Municipal Council, Nagar Panchayats and Industrial Township Act,1965 as amended by Ordinance 2018, it becomes abundantly clear to the court that its avowed object was to provide, by a deeming provision, that the person who had obtained the validity certificate prior to the commencement of the Ordinance 2018, is insulated from the consequences of disqualification, provided he submits the validity certificate within a period of 15 days thereof.

4. The Honourable Bombay High Court noted that the “absurd and anomalous consequences can only be avoided by construing section 9 in such a fashion that the benefit of saving from disqualification is extended to even those persons who have submitted the validity certificates even before the commencement of the said Ordinance, provided the Election Commission has not intervened by holding the election or declaring programme for holding an election, in the intervening period of the date of expiry of twelve months and the commencement of the said Ordinance”.

The Decision Held by the Court

The Honourable Bombay High Court held that, on facts, submission of the validity certificate by the petitioner on 29th November 2017 was within 12 months of the declaration of results. And even otherwise, the disqualification incurred by the petitioner is saved by Section 9 of the Maharashtra Municipal Council, Nagar Panchayats and Industrial Township Act,1965 as amended by Ordinance 2018.

 The petition stands allowed.

The impugned order passed by the Collector, Jalgaon stands quashed and set aside. Rule made absolute in aforesaid terms.

No costs. In view of the disposal of writ petition, Civil Application also stands disposed of.

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