w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Akhil Bhartiya Upbhokta Congress Bhopal v/s State Of M P


Company & Directors' Information:- AKHIL INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51109JK2000PTC002046

Company & Directors' Information:- AKHIL CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U74900TG2015PTC098902

    Decided On, 26 March 2009

    At, High Court of Madhya Pradesh

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE DIPAK MISRA & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K.S. CHAUHAN

    For the Appearing Parties: R.N. Singh, Santosh Kumar Dwivedi, Vivekanand Avasthy, Advocates.



Judgment Text

(1.) THE petitioner, a consumer society registered under the provisions of the madhya Pradesh Society Registrikaran Adhiniyam, 1973, is engaged in performing certain activities relating to welfare of consumers. Various assertions have been made about the functioning of the society and the significant role played by it in the field of consumer services. It is contended that to subserve the public purpose, the Society through its President has preferred the present Public Interest Litigation challenging the appointment of the respondent No. 4 as a Member of the M. P. State Consumer Disputes Redressal commission under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (for short 'the Act').

(2.) AT the very outset, it is condign to state that though averments and assertions have been put forth with regard to the selection process involved in the selection of the respondent No. 4, yet Mr. Santosh Kumar Dwivedi, learned counsel for the petitioner, after due deliberation on his part, fairly stated that he does not intend to press the said facet and in fact, in the course of hearing, abandoned the same. The learned Counsel, we must candidly state, with all humility at his command addressed us that the society stands on the footing of a relator and assails the appointment of the fourth respondent solely on the parameters of writ of quo warranto as she does not meet the eligibility criteria to hold a public office as provided under Section 16 (1) (b) of the Act.

(3.) IT is contended in the petition that the fourth respondent does not possess the minimum qualification for appointment inasmuch as the criteria provided under Section 16 of the Act are not even remotely satisfied by the said respondent. It is apropos to note here that though specific assertions have not been made Mr. Dwivedi, yet the learned Counsel, placing reliance on the provisions of the Act and the documents brought on record by the respondent nos. 1 and 2 in their counter affidavit, advanced proponements to erect the edifice that the selection and continuance of the respondent No. 4 is bound to founder and collapse as she has been appointed despite lack of requisite qualification.

(4.) MR. R. N. Singh, learned Advocate General for the State, very fairly stated and rightly so, that as there is assertion, though a miminal one, that the respondent No. 4 does not meet the eligibility criteria and the petitioner being a relator and the counter affidavit having been filed justifying the selection, it becomes a warrant to address the issue in question. Ergo, we proceed.

(5.) PRESENTLY, we shall adumbrate the stand put forth in the return filed by the respondent Nos. 1 and 2. It is worth noting that as there has been various allegations and challenge to the manner of selection reply, has been given exhaustively in that regard. As Mr. Dwivedi, learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner, abandoned the said stance there is no justification to refer to the said part of pleadings. What is set forth in the return is that the respondent No. 4 is duly qualified for the post of Member of the State Consumer Redressal commission as she is a post graduate and has sufficient experience to her credit as envisaged under the Act. Certain documents have been brought on record as annexure R-2 series to demonstrate that she is qualified. Thus, the only thing that is required to be dwelled upon is whether the respondent No. 4 is qualified to hold the post or is to be ousted as an usurper to a public office.

(6.) BEFORE we advert to the provisions and the facts pertaining to qualifications and meeting the eligibility criteria, it is appropriate to refer to certain authorities in the field.

(7.) IN G. D. Karkare Vs. T. L. Shevde and others, AIR 1952 Nagpur 330, the Division Bench has expressed the view as under:-

" (7) Before we consider ground Nos. 2, 3 and 4, it is necessary to consider the nature of the writ of 'quo warranto'. We cannot do better than quote from the judgment of Lord Reading, C. J. in REX vs. SPEYER, (1915) 1 KB 595 :-"in early times the writ of quo warranto was in the nature of a writ of right for the King against any subject who claimed or usurped any office, franchise, or liberty to inquire by what authority he supported his claim in order to determine the right: Blackstone's commentaries, 8th Edn. , Vol. 3, p. 262. It was a civil writ at the suit of the Crown : REX Vs. MARSDEN, (1765) 3 Bur 1812. Originally the writ had to be returned before the King's Justices at westminster, but afterwards only before the justices in lyre by virtue of the statutes or Quo Warranto, 6 Edw. 1, (Statute of gloucester) and 18 Edw. 1, Statute 2. " "the writ of quo warranto, however, fell into disuse and led to the substitution of proceedings by way of information in the nature of quo warranto. Whatever the immediate cause of the change or whenever the immediate cause of the change or whenever it was brought about is not ascertainable: Tancred on Quo Warranto, p. 2; but the practice of filing information by the Attorney General in lieu of these writs is very ancient: 'darley Vs. QUEEN', (1846)12 Ci and F 520 at p. 537. At a later period the King's coroner commenced the practice of exhibiting information of quo warranto at the instance of private persons, but this power of the King's coroner was much restrained by the Statute 4 and 5 Will. and Mar. c. 18, which was passed to prevent malicious information at the suit of private persons being filed by the King's coroner. In REX Vs. HERTFORD CORPORATION, 1 Ld. Raym. 426, it was decided that information in the nature of quo warranto were within the purview of this statute, and thereafter the King's coroner did not file informations without the order of the Court. Subsequently, the Statute of 9 anne, c. 20, was passed to render informations in the nature of quo warranto more speedy and effectual and for the more easy trial of the rights of offices and franchises in corporation and boroughs. Since that time there has been a tendency of the Court to grant or refuse informations to private prosecutors according to the facts and circumstances of the case, and hence it is that it becomes so difficult to reconcile many of the decisions, as was pointed out by lord Brougham in 'darbey Vs. THE QUEEN', (1846) 12 CI and F 420 = 8 ER 1513. " it is necessary to add that since the decision in REX Vs. SPEYER', (1916) 1 KB 595 (supra), the remedy against usurpation of office has been further simplified in England. Under Section 9 of the administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1938 (1-2 Geo. VI, Ch. 63) informations in the nature of 'quo warranto' have been abolished. The High Court now grants an injunction restraining any person from acting in an office in which he is not entitled to act.

(8) In DAIDEY Vs. THE QUEEN, (1846) 12 CI and F 520 at. 537:8 er, the Judges were summoned to the House of Lords to give their opinion. The House of Lords accepted the opinion given by Tindall, cj. The conclusion of Tindall, C. J. , is expressed in the following words:-"after the consideration of all the cases and dictation on this subject, the result appears to be that this proceeding by information in the nature of quo warranto will lie for usurping any office, whether created by charter alone or by the Crown, with the consent of Parliament, provided the office be of a public nature, and a substantive office, not merely the function or employment of a deputy or servant held at the will and pleasure of others. " so what the Court has to consider in an application for a writ of 'quo warranto' is whether there has been usurpation of an office of a public nature and an office substantive in character, i. e. ,an office independent of title. If the office be of a very small nature like that of petitioner, as in Anonymous', 94 ER190, the Court may refuse to grant the information. "

(8.) IN University of Mysore and another Vs. CD. Govinda Rao and another, AIR 1965 SC 491, their Lordships have ruled thus:-

"6. The judgment of the High Court does not indicate that the attention of the High Court was drawn to the technical nature of' the writ of quo warranto which was claimed by the respondent in the present proceedings, and the conditions which had to be satisfied before a writ could issue in such proceedings. 7. As Halsbury has observed:-"an information in the nature of a quo warranto took the place of the obsolete writ of quo warranto which lay against a person who claimed or usurped an office, franchise, or liberty, to enquire by what authority he supported his claim, in order that the right to the office or franchise might be determined. " broadly stated, the quo warranto proceeding affords a judicial enquiry in which any person holding an independent substantive public office, or franchise, or liberty, is called upon to show by what right he holds the said office, franchise or liberty; if the inquiry leads to the finding that the holder of the office has no valid title to it, the issue of the writ of quo warranto ousts him from that office. In other words, the procedure of quo warranto confers jurisdiction and authority on the judiciary to control executive action in the matter of making appointments to public offices against the relevant statutory provisions; it also protects a citizen from being deprived of public office to which he may have a right. It would thus be seen that if these proceedings are adopted subject to the conditions recognised in that behalf, they tend to protect the public from usurpers of public office; in some cases, persons not entitled to public office may be allowed to occupy them and to continue to hold them as a result of the connivance of the executive or with its active help, and in such cases, if the jurisdiction of the Courts to issue writ of quo warranto is properly invoked, the usurper can be ousted and the person entitled to the post allowed to occupy it. It is thus clear that before a citizen can claim a writ of quo warranto, he must satisfy the Court, inter alia, that the office in question is a public office and is held by usurper without legal authority, and that necessarily leads to the enquiry as to whether the appointment of the said alleged usurper has been made in accordance with law or not. "

(Underlining is ours)

(9.) IN P. L. Lakhanpal Vs. Ajit Nath Ray, Chief Justice of India, New delhi and others, AIR 1975 Delhi 66, the Full Bench of Delhi High Court has held as under:-

"12. On the other hand, in Janardhan Reddy Vs. State of Hyderabad, 1951 SCR 344 : (AIR 1951 SC 217), it has been observed that the power given to it under Part III of the Constitution is a large one, but it has to be exercised in accordance with well established principles. In T. C. Basappa Vs. T. Nagappa, (1955) 1 SCR 250 : (AIR 1954 SC 440), the same principle has been repeated but it has been clarified that the procedural technicalities of the English law do not apply. These cases help me to re-affirm the view that the scope of the power of the High Court to issue a writ of quo warranto under Article 226 of the Constitution is not wider than it is in england and Courts in this country have followed the principles including the limitations which have been well established in england. In fact, in (1964) 4 SCR 575 : (AIR 1965 SC 491) (supra), the Supreme Court has observed that a writ of quo warranto is a writ of technical nature and has approved the statements made in halsbury's Laws of England in that behalf. "

(10.) IN Prabhudutt Sharma Vs. State of Rajasthan, 1971 Lab. IC 556 (Raj), the High Court of Rajasthan specified the four requisites for a writ of quo warranto, namely : (1) the office must be held under the State or have been created by a statute, (2) it should be an office of a substantive character, (3) its duties must be of a public nature, and (4) it should have been usurped by some person. It has been further held therein that even when these requirements are fulfilled, it is open to the Court to refuse or grant the writ after taking into consideration the circumstances of the case and the consequences which would follow if it is allowed and that it should be in the public interest to grant the writ.

(11.) IN Statesman (Private) Ltd. Vs. H. Deb, AIR 1968 SC 1495, Their lordships have expressed the view that the High Court in a quo warranto proceeding should be slow to pronounce upon the matter unless there is a clear infringement of the law.

(12.) IN B. R. Kapur Vs. State of T. N. , AIR 2001 SC 3435, it has been held that a writ of quo warranto is a writ which lies against the person, who according to the relator is not entitled to hold an office of public nature and is only a usurper of the office. It is the person, against whom the writ of quo warranto is directed, who is required to show, by what authority that person is entitled to hold the office. The challenge can be made on various grounds, including on the grounds that the professor of the office does not fulfill the required qualifications or suffers from any disqualification , which debars the person to hold such office.

(13.) IN High Court of Gujarat Vs. Gujarat Kishan Mazdoor Panchayat, air 2003 SC 1201, S. B. Sinha, J. in his concurring judgment expressed the view as follows:-

"the High Court in exercise of its writ jurisdiction in a matter of this nature is required to determine at the outset as to whether a case has been made out for issuance of a writ of certiorari or a writ of quo warranto. The jurisdiction of the High Court to issue a writ of quo warranto is a limited one. While issuing such a writ, the Court merely makes a public declaration but will not consider the respective impact of the candidates or other factors which may be relevant for issuance of writ of certiorari. [see : R. K. Jain Vs. Union of India and others, reported in (1993) 4 SCC 119 Para 74]. "

(Emphasis supplied)

(14.) IN B. Srinivasa Reddy Vs. Karnataka Urban Water Supply and drainage Board Employees' Assn. , AIR 2006 SC 3106, it has been held that the high Court in its exercise of writ jurisdiction is required to determine, at the outset, as to whether a case has been made out for issuance of writ of quo warranto. The writ of quo warranto does not lie if the alleged violation is not of statutory provisions/rules or if the alleged violation is not of a statutory nature. A writ of quo warranto cannot be issued unless there is a clear violation of law in the appointment.

(15.) KEEPING the aforesaid principles in view, it is to be tested whether the respondent No. 4 satisfies the eligibility criteria to entitle her to be in the office or not. Section 16 of the Act deals with the composition of the State commission. The relevant part of the said provision reads as under:-

"16. Composition of the State Commission.- (1) Each State Commission shall consist of- (a) a person who is or has been a Judge of a High Court, appointed by the State Government, who shall be its President: provided that no appointment under this clause shall be made except after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court; (b) not less than two, and not more than such number of members, as may be prescribed, and one of whom shall be a woman, who shall have the following qualifications, namely:- (i) be not less than thirty-five years of age; (ii) possess a Bachelor's Degree from a recognised university; and (iii) be persons of ability, integrity and standing, and have adequate knowledge and experience of at least ten years in dealing with problems relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public affairs or administration: provided that not more than fifty per cent of the members shall be from amongst persons having a judicial background; explanation :- For the purposes of this clause, the expression "persons having a judicial background" shall mean persons having knowledge and experience for at least a period of ten years as a presiding Officer of at the district level or any Tribunal at equivalent level: provided further that a person shall be disqualified for appointment as a member, if he- (a) has been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for an offence which, in the opinion of the State Government, involves moral turpitude; or (b) is an undischarged insolvent; or (c) is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a Competent Court; or (d) has been removed or dismissed from the service of the government or a body corporate owned or controlled by the Government; or (e) has, in the opinion of the State Government, such financial or other interest, as its likely to affect prejudicially the discharge by him of his functions as a member; or (f) has such other disqualifications as may be prescribed by the State Government. "

(16.) IT is submitted by the learned Counsel for the petitioner that the fourth respondent does not possess adequate knowledge and experience for at least a period of ten years in dealing with problems relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public affairs or administration. It is contended by him that the stand taken in the return to the effect that she is a post graduate and in view of the resume submitted by the said respondent, she is qualified is founded on a fallacious perception. On a perusal of the resume contained in Annexure R-2 which has been filed in support of the stand that the fourth respondent meets the eligibility criteria as provided under the Act, it is noticeable that she is a post graduate in Western History. The work experience shows that she had worked for 14 years as an executive at Informatics Computer systems, Bhopal, taught students of Advanced Diploma and Honours Diploma courses, taught Computer Science to the students of St. Joseph's Convent, bhopal and Carmel Convent, Bhopal for 3 years, was the Branch Manager of the bhopal Branch of ICS before resigning due to personal reasons in October, 2000. The extra-curricular activities which have been stated in the resume are that she had been associated with several NGO's and other voluntary organizations working in the field of education and women empowerment and consumer/investor protection, involved in educating consumers about their rights and responsibilities, relief admissible under the various laws and the procedure for filing complaints for simple, inexpensive and speedy redressal of their grievances. It is worth-noting that Annexure R-2 has gone undisputed. Thus, the question that is to be considered is whether the work experience and the extra-curricular activities do meet the requirement as engrafted under section 16 (1) (b) (iii) of the Act. The submission of Mr. Dwivedi, learned counsel for the petitioner, is that the respondent No. 4 does not have adequate knowledge and experience of 10 years in dealing with the problems relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industries, public affairs or administration and all these requirements are to be read in a conjunctive manner. Alternatively, a selectee or the holder of an office must have 10 years experience either in public affairs or public administration, if he or she does not have any other qualification.

(17.) PER contra, the submission of Mr. R. N. Singh, learned Advocate general for the State, is that if an interpretation is placed that a candidate must have knowledge and experience in all the fields, it would lead to an absurd result and that is also not the intendment of the Legislature. It is his further contention that the law does not require impossible things to happen and what is urged by the learned Counsel for the petitioner is in the realm of impossibility. It is propounded by Mr. Singh that each part of the requirement, as the provision reads, is mutually exclusive. Resisting the alternative submission of the learned counsel for the petitioner that public affairs or public administration should mean public affairs or public administration, the learned Advocate General urged that such a construction is not in consonance with the basic intention of the provision and if the provision is appreciated appositely, it would convey administration in any field and has nothing to do with public affairs because the purpose of this Act is quite different.

(18.) REGARD being had to the aforesaid stance and counter stand, we think it appropriate to refer to the statement of objects and reasons. It reads as under:-

"statement of objects and reasons.- The Consumer Protection bill, 1986 seeks to provide for better protection of the interests of consumers and for the purpose, to make provision for the establishment of Consumer Councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumer disputes and for matter connected therewith. 2. It seeks, inter alia, to promote and protect the rights of consumers such as- (a) the right to be protected against marketing of goods which are hazardous to life and property; (b) the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices; (c) the right to be assured, wherever possible, access to an authority of goods at competitive prices; (d) the right to be heard and to be assured that consumers interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums; (e) the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and (f) right to consumer education. 3. These objects are sought to be promoted and protected by the consumer Protection Council to be established at the Central and State level. 4. To provide speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes, a quasi-judicial machinery is sought to be set up at the district, State and Central levels. These quasi-judicial bodies will observe the principles of natural justice and have been empowered to give relief of a specific nature and to award, wherever appropriate, compensation to consumers. Penalties for non-compliance of the orders given by the quasi-judicial bodies have also been provided. 5. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objects. "

(19.) ON a perusal of the same, it is evincible that the Act was brought into force to promote and protect the rights of consumers in various terms. It was avowed purpose to meet certain deficiencies. To fulfill the purpose of the Act, the Legislature has established various forums, viz. , District Forum, State commission and National Commission. The District Forum is established under section 9 of the Act and State Commission is composed under Section 16 of the act. We have referred to the objects and reasons only to understand the basic purpose of the Act. In this regard, it would not be inapposite to refer to certain citations in the field.

(20.) IN Lt. Col. Prithi Pal Singh Bedi Vs. Union of India and others, AIR 1982 SC 1413, the Apex Court has expressed the view as follows :-

"the dominant purpose in construing a statute is to ascertain the intention of the Parliament. One of the well recognized canons of construction is that the Legislature speaks its mind by use of correct expression and unless there is any ambiguity in the language of the provision the Court should adopt literal construction if it does not lead to an absurdity. The first question to be posed is whether there is any ambiguity in the language used in Rule 40. If there is none, it would mean the language used, speaks the mind of Parliament and there is no need to look somewhere else to discover the intention or meaning. If the literal construction leads to an absurdity, external aids to construction can be resorted to. To ascertain the literal meaning it is equally necessary first to ascertain the juxtaposition in which the rules is placed, the purpose for which it is enacted and the object which it is required to subserve and the authority by which the rule is framed. This necessitates examination of the broad features of the Act. "

(21.) IN this regard, we may refer with profit to the decision rendered in reserve Bank of India Vs. Peerless General Finance and Investment Co. Ltd. and others, (1987) 1 SCC 424, wherein it has been held as follows:-

"interpretation must depend on the text and the context. They are the bases of interpretation. One may well say if the text is the texture, context is what gives the colour. Neither can be ignored. Both are important. That interpretation is best which makes the textual interpretation match the contextual. A statute is best interpreted when we know why it was enacted. With this knowledge, the statute must be read, first as a whole and then section by section, clause by clause, phrase by phrase and word by word. If a statute is looked at, in the context of its enactment, with the glasses of the statute-maker, provided by such context, its schemes, the sections, clauses, phrases and words may take colour and appear different than when the statute is looked at without the glasses provided by discover what each section, each clause, each phrase and each word is meant and designed to say as to fit into the scheme of the entire Act. No part of a statute and no word of a statute can be construed in isolation. Statutes have to be construed so that every word has a place and everything is in its place. . . . . . "

(22.) THE 1986 Act is a social benefit oriented legislation. In Lucknow development Authority Vs. M. K. Gupta, (1994) 1 SCC 243, the Apex Court has expressed thus:-

"2. . . . . To begin with the preamble of the Act, which can afford useful assistance to ascertain the legislative intention, it was enacted, 'to provide for the protection of the interest of consumers'. Use of the word 'protection' furnishes key to the minds of makers of the Act. Various definitions and provisions which elaborately attempt to achieve this objective have to be construed in this light without departing from the settled view that a preamble cannot control otherwise plain meaning of a provision. In fact, the law meets long felt necessity of protecting the common man from such wrongs for which the remedy under ordinary law for various reasons has become illusory. Various legislations and regulations permitting the State to intervene and protect interest of the consumers have become a haven for unscrupulous ones as the enforcement machinery either does not move or it moves ineffectively, inefficiently and for reasons which are not necessary to be stated. The importance of the Act lies in promoting welfare of the society by enabling the consumer to participate directly in the market economy. It attempts to remove the helplessness of a consumer which he faces against powerful business, described as, 'a network of rackets' or a society in which, 'producers have secured power' to 'rob the rest' and the might of public bodies which are degenerating into storehouses of inaction where papers do not move from one desk to another as a matter of duty and responsibility but for extraneous consideration leaving the common man helpless, bewildered and shocked. The malady is becoming so rampant, widespread and deep that the society instead of bothering, complaining and fighting against it, is accepting it as part of life. The enactment in these unbelievable yet harsh realities appears to be a silver lining, which may in course of time succeed in checking the rot. . . . . "

(23.) THE aforesaid facet has been reiterated in Fair Air Engineers Pvt. Ltd. and another Vs. N. K. Modi, (1996) 6 SCC 385.

(24.) KEEPING the aforesaid purpose in view, Section 16 (1) (b) (iii) of the act is to be appreciated. The said provision requires a member to have qualifications which pertain to possessing of adequate knowledge and experience for at least 10 years in dealing with the terms relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industries, public affairs or public administration. The submission of Mr. Dwivedi is that the holder of office should have experience in all the fields does not stand to reason and, in fact, the provision does not so envisage and such a construction should not be placed. The legislature has used a comma (,) after the term economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry and, therefore, it cannot be said that a member should have the qualifications in all the fields.

(25.) IN Whirlpool Corporation Vs. Registrar of Trade Marks, Mumbaiand others, (1998) 8 SCC 1, a two Judge Bench of the Apex Court while dealing with the effect of comma (,) in dictionary clause has expressed the view as under:-

"65. Learned Counsel for the Chinar Trust is trying to give a measure of importance to the punctuation mark "comma", more than it deserves. If "comma" were that important, there, incidentally, is another "comma" before and after the word "high court". This "comma" obviously separates the phrase "before which the proceeding concerned is pending" provision from the word "high Court" with the result that this phrase becomes applicable both to "high Court" and the "registrar". The word "concerned" in this phrase is also of significance inasmuch as the word "tribunal" has been used in different sections in relation to different proceedings. At some places in the Act, all the three words, namely, "registrar", "high Court" and "tribunal" have been used which indicate that if the proceeding under that particular provision is pending before the "registrar" then on account of that proceeding, the Registrar becomes the "tribunal". So also, if the proceeding is pending before the High Court then that proceeding makes the High Court a "tribunal". It is in that sense that the word "proceeding concerned" has to be understood. "

(26.) IN State of Maharashtra and others Vs. Man Adim Jamat Mandal, (2006) 4 SCC ,98, Their Lordships while dealing with the punctuation mark comma (,) held as under:-

"the common pattern found in most of the group entries is that there is a punctuation mark comma (,) between one Entry and another Entry in the group signifying that each one of them is deemed to be a separate Scheduled Tribe by itself. In the present case, Entry 18 of the Schedule clearly signifies that each of the Tribe mentioned therein is deemed to be a separate Tribe by itself and not a sub-Tribe of 'gond'. "

(27.) IN view of the aforesaid pronouncement of law, we have no hesitation in our mind that 'comma' used in the sub-section between the two words has to have its signification and each word has to be treated as separate word and thereby a separate category.

(28.) EMPHASIS has been laid by Mr. Dwivedi that when the term 'or' has been used between 'public affairs or administration' it would mean public affairs or public administration. The word 'or' is normally disjunctive but at times it is read vice versa to give effect to the intention of the Legislature. They have to be understood in the context of their use. When we have already interpreted that by use of the punctuation mark 'comma' every category is separated and there is use of comma before public affairs or administration they have to be read separately and disjunctively. Placing such a construction, in our considered opinion, it does not produce an unintelligible or absurd result. On the contrary, the same is in consonance with the objects and reasons and the scheme of the Act.

(29.) THE interpretation can be viewed from another angle. Section 16 (1) (b) (iii) is couched in both manner, positive manner as far as qualifications are concerned and in negative manner as far as the disqualification is concerned. In this context, it would not be inapposite to refer to decision rendered in The star Co. Ltd. Vs. The Commissioner of Income-tax (Central) Calcutta, AIR 1970 sc 1559, wherein it has been held as under:-

"since the two parts of condition (2) are alternative, it is unnecessary to consider whether the second part of condition (2) is satisfied in this case. In the view we take, both the conditions, on the satisfaction of which a company may be deemed a company in which the public are substantially interested, are satisfied. "

(30.) IN The Punjab Produce and Trading Co. Ltd. Vs. The Commissioner of Income-tax, West Bengal II Calcutta, AIR 1971 SC 2471, it has been held that if there are two negative conditions and one remains unfulfilled, both are to be fulfilled. In the said case, it is also opined that if there are positive conditions, it has to be treated as alternative terms.

(31.) IN the case at hand, in actuality, it provides certain positive conditions to be satisfied by a candidate to be appointed as a Member. Section 16 (1) (b) (i) and (ii) are similar conditions and the respondent No. 4 satisfies them. As far as sub-section (1) (b) (iii) is concerned they are positive conditions to be acquired as it postulates 'public affairs or administration' and, therefore, they are to be read alternatively thereby disjunctive and separate from each other.

(32.) ONCE we have already held so, it is necessitous to understand what is exactly meant by administration. 'administration' has been defined in Black's law Dictionary as follows:-

"administration:-Management or conduct of an office or employment; the performance of the executive duties of an institution, business, or the like. In public laws, the administration of Government means the practical management and direction of the executive department, or of the public machinery or functions, or of the operations of the various organs or agencies. Direction or oversight of an office, service, employment. Greene Vs. Wheeler, CCA. Wis. , 29 F. 2d 468, 469. The term 'administration' is also conveniently applied to the whole class of the public functionaries, or those on charge of the management of the executive department. "


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>(33.) IN this context, we may profitably produce a paragraph from Ram mohan Rao Vs. Endowments Commissioner in Karnataka, Bangalore and another, AIR 1989 Karnataka 192 :- "20. The expression 'administration' signifies the Government of the day or the machinery of the Government which implements the government policy and the word 'policy' connotes the formation of a general line or course of action - the idea of leadership and the taking of a major decision on a matter of discretion. And administration involves the execution of the policy according to general principles (Garner's Administrative Law). " (34.) IN this context, we may refer with profit to the Constitution Bench decision in State of Kerala Vs. Very Rev. Mother Provincial, AIR 1970 SC 2079, wherein, while dealing with the facet of administration in minority institutions, it has been held thus :- "9. The next part of the right relates to the administration of such institutions. Administration means 'management of the affairs of the institution. This management must be free of control so that the founders or their nominees can mould the institution as they think fit, and in accordance with their ideas of how the interests of the community in general and the institution in particular will be best served. No part of this management can be taken away and vested in another body without an encroachment upon the guaranteed right. " (35.) IN T. M. A. Pai Foundation and others Vs. State of Karnataka and others, AIR 2003 SC 355, it has been held as under:- "article 30 (1) gives religious and linguistic minorities the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. The use of the words "of their choice" indicates that even professional educational institutions would be covered by Article 30. " (36.) IN view of the aforesaid enunciations of law, the term 'administration' is of wide expanse and indubitably includes administration of an institution or organization which basically relates to supervision of the management or performance of the executive duties of institution, business or the like. (37.) IN the case at hand, the petitioner had worked for 14 years as an. executive in Informatics Computer System. The said assertion has not been undisputed. She was also the Branch Manager of the Bhopal Branch of ICS. When there is assertion that she had worked as an executive in Informatics computer System, there can be no scintilla of doubt that she had worked as an executive relating to affairs of the said institution. That apart, as is evincible from the resume, she was associated with several organisations working in the field of education and women and consumer/investor protection. The said aspect has also gone uncontroverted. Thus, she, on the first count meets the eligibility criteria. That part, the second count also goes in her favour. (38.) IN view of the aforesaid analysis and regard being had to the social benefit oriented legislation, the schematic rationalisation and the legislative intendment, it appears necessitous to appoint members from various walks of life which also includes a woman as a Member of the Commission. Keeping in view the concept of quo warranto and its fundamental technical nature and regard being had to the conceptual facet of administration and the resume of the respondent No. 4, we find that she meets the eligibility criteria and cannot be regarded as an usurper of a public office. (39.) EX consequent, there is no substratum in the writ petition and accordingly, it has to pave the path of inevitable dismissal which we direct. However, in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs.
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