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



N.P. Nathwani V/S The Commissioner of Police


    Miscellaneous Petition No. 1227 of 1975

    Decided On, 15 December 1975

    At, High Court of Judicature at Bombay

    By, THE HONORABLE CHIEF JUSTICE: R.M. KANTAWALA AND THE HONORABLE JUSTICE: V.D. TULZAPURKAR

   



Judgment Text

1. This petition relates to a very important question regarding basic human natural rights to hold a peaceful assembly of some lawyers who are invited by individual invitations to discuss civil liberties and the rule of law while the proclamation of emergency is in operation. On December 3, 1971 the President of India in exercise of the powers conferred upon under Article 352(1) of the Constitution of India by a proclamation of emergency declared that a grave emergency existed whereby the security of India was threatened by external aggression. While this proclamation of emergency was in operation, on June 25, 1975 by another proclamation of emergency issued under Article 352(1) of the Constitution the President of India declared that a grave emergency existed whereby the security of India was threatened by internal disturbance. After the proclamation of emergency declared by reason of danger to internal security, on June 27, 1975, the Commissioner of Police, Greater Bombay by his order issued under Section 37(5) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951, (Bombay Act XXII of 1951) prohibited any assembly of five or more than five persons and any procession of any persons for a period of one week as specified in the order and he considered it necessary for the preservation of public order to prohibit any assembly of five or more than five persons and any procession of any persons in the area of Greater Bombay. Such orders were continued from time to time every week by the Commissioner of Police, Greater Bombay. The last of such orders was issued by the Commissioner of Police for the duration of one week on October 1, 1975 and prohibition of assembly and procession was imposed for the period October 3, 1975 to October 10, 1975. On October 9, 1975 the Government of Maharashtra accorded sanction for ex-lending the period of prohibitory orders issued under Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951 for a further period of one month with effect from October 10, 1975. In view of the said order, the order dated October 1, 1975 was continued by the Commissioner of Police, Greater Bombay, for a period of one month up to November 9, 1975 and during the pendency of this petition it was further continued for a period of one month upto December 9, 1975. By an order dated December 8, 1975 the Commissioner of Police continued the said order under Section 37(3) for a period of one month upto January 8, 1976. While these orders were in operation, the Government of Maharashtra by its order dated October 14, 1975 in exercise of the powers conferred by Rule 69 read with Rule 1A of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules 1971 for the purpose of securing the maintenance of public order and internal security prohibited the holding of any public meeting inter alia in Greater Bombay, where any matter relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency declared under the proclamation of emergency issued under Article 352(1) of the Constitution on June 25, 1975 is to be or likely to be discussed or referred to or is discussed or referred to, by any speaker or other person taking part hi the public meeting, except after obtaining the prior permission of the Commissioner of Police, Bombay so far as the area of Greater Bombay was concerned.

2. The petitioners, who are the convener and office bearers of the Bombay Committee of Lawyers for Civil Liberties were desirous of holding a meeting of lawyers of Greater Bombay to discuss the civil liberties and the rule of law. This Committee is restricted to lawyers and is formed for preservation and promotion of Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law. According to the petitioners the proposed meeting was to be strictly a private meeting and restricted only to lawyer invitees. A private indoor meeting was fixed to be held at Jinnah Hall, V.P. Road, Bombay-4, on Saturday, October 18, 1975. The said meeting was proposed to be addressed amongst others by Mr. M.C. Chagla, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Mr. J.C. Shah, former Chief Justice of India and the petitioner No. 1, a former Judge of this High Court. The idea underlying the proposed meeting was to discuss in a constructive manner the question of Civil Liberty and the Rule of Law under the Constitution. Most of the cards that were issued by way of individual invitation to a specified number of lawyers had the words endorsed thereon in hand-writing "PRIVATE MEETING: NON-TRANSFERABLE." About 500 invitations were distributed to lawyers and further invitations were proposed to be distributed to lawyers. The petitioners were of the view that permission of the Commissioner of Police was not necessary for holding such a meeting. However, as the Committee believed in the Rule of Law, a request was made without prejudice to its contention, to grant permission, if necessary, for holding this meeting. Such request was made by a letter dated October 10, 1975, addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Greater Bombay. The Commissioner of Police by his letter dated October 13, 1975 stated that the request for holding the proposed meeting on October 18, 1975 could not be granted. It is the order refusing to grant permission by the Commissioner of Police that is being challenged in this petition on the grounds which will be adverted to a little later.

3. After the draft petition was prepared the petitioners were informed on October 15, 1975 about the order" issued by the Government of Maharashtra under Rule 69 of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules 1971 above referred to. On the same date the petitioners through their attorneys called upon the Commissioner of Police to cancel the earlier order refusing permission. The Commissioner of Police by his letter dated October 18, 1975 informed the attorneys of the petitioners that the previous application of the petitioners for permission to hold a meeting was rightly rejected and he further added that in view of the order issued by the Government of Maharashtra on October 14, 1975 he regretted his inability to grant such permission.

4. This petition was presented to Bhatt J. on October 17, 1975. The learned Judge admitted the petition but felt that as an important question was involved relating to freedom of speech, meetings and Civil Liberty, appropriate directions be taken from me for having the matter placed before a Bench of two or more Judges and for passing such interim orders as may be necessary. Accordingly the petition came up for interim orders before a Division Bench of which I was a member. As there was no time left for the respondents to make affidavits in reply and as the issues involved in the petition were of vital importance, time as desired by the respondents was given for making affidavits in reply.

5. Substantially on merits of this petition two affidavits in reply are filed on behalf of the respondents. The Commissioner of Police by his affidavit has inter alia contended that the proposed meeting was not a private meeting as alleged by the petitioners. He has further said in the affidavit that under, the pretext of holding a meeting to discuss Civil Liberties and the Rule of" Law the petitioners and the said Committee desired to hold the proposed meeting with a view to disturb public order and internal security. He also stated in his affidavit that the persons proposed to be invited to address the said meeting were public figures and the confidential report on the proposed speakers clearly established that they indulged in speeches and remarks which would clearly affect public order and internal security. He further added that from the previous meetings held it was clear that the modus operandi was to hold such meetings and make highly provocative speeches and then not only convert such meetings into public meetings although supposed to be "closed doors" meetings. Be also added that he was reasonably and bona fide satisfied that at the said meeting not only the existing emergency declared under the proclamation of emergency issued under Article 352(1) of the Constitution on June 25, 1975 was likely to be discussed and referred to but the said speaker and the other speakers would make speeches and remarks relating to or arising out of or connected with the said existing emergency and that the same would be discussed and referred to. He also added that he was satisfied that the said speakers would once again make speeches of the kind disclosed in the confidential reports and that such speeches would affect and/or disturb the public order and internal security of India. Mr. Sahasrabhojane, Joint Secretary in the Home Department (Special), Government of Maharashtra, has in his affidavit narrated the circumstances as a result of which the said order dated October 14, 1975 was issued under Rule 69, He has pointed out that in Bombay and at various places City of Poona, City of Nagpur, City of Sholapur and City of Kolhapur, public meetings were held with or without necessary permission under the ordinary law of the land; that from the reports received of such meetings, it was found that speeches were delivered at such meetings where at public or the portion of the public or class of public attended; that at some of the meetings speeches were delivered criticising the emergency declared on June 25, 1975. According to him, criticising the emergency would tantamount to supporting internal disturbance. He has also stated that the order dated October 14, 1975 was passed, because on the basis of the material before it, the Government was satisfied that to secure maintenance of internal security and public order, it was necessary to prohibit meetings in the areas specified in the said order, where any matter relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency declared under the proclamation of emergency issued under Article 352(7) of the Constitution of India on June 25, 1975 was to be or likely to be discussed or referred to or is discussed or referred to by any speaker or other persons taking part in the public meeting. He added that in arriving at the said decision, the Government relied upon the material before it and that the said material showed that there was a concerted attempt to hold such meetings, where emergency and matters connected therewith would be discussed in Bombay and various places mentioned in the said order so that there would be disturbance of public order and internal security. He has added that discussion of emergency at a public meeting per se in a given case as in the meeting proposed to be held by the petitioners, can affect the maintenance of internal security and public order.

6. The petitioners in this petition are challenging the validity of the various orders from time to time issued by the Commissioner of Police under Section 37(5) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951 and the order of the Commissioner of Police, Bombay, refusing to grant permission to the petitioners to hold the proposed meeting. They are also challenging the validity of the order dated October 14, 1975 issued under the said Rule 69 and the refusal of the Commissioner of Police to grant permission to hold the meeting by reason of the said order. The said orders issued under Section 37(5) and Rule 69 are for the sake of brevity hereinafter referred to as the impugned orders.

7. The contention on behalf of the petitioners is that the impugned orders, which are made in exercise of delegated powers conferred by Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951 and Rule 69 of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules, 1971, are ultra vires the provisions of the said section and the Rule under which they are purported to be made. It was urged on behalf of the petitioners that the Bombay Police Act, 1951 was a pre-emergency statute and that in construing such a statute, object should be to make it constitutional; that construction of a pre-emergency statute is not altered by subsequent declaration of emergency; that Section 37(3) does not empower the Commissioner of Police to issue orders there under simply because he thinks it expedient or desirable. It was submitted that powers under Section 37(3) can only be exercised by the Commissioner of Police when necessity dictates that issuance of such an order prohibiting any assembly or procession is required for preservation of public order; that every such order issued there under is intended to be a temporary order till such necessity continues. It was said that the impugned orders under Section 37(3) apply to all assemblies regardless of the nature or character, that is, whether they were public or private; that they prohibited all assemblies irrespective of the purpose for which they were called; that they applied to all assemblies irrespective of the location of the assembly or procession in Greater Bombay. The contention was that there was no valid order issued under Section 37(3) which made it necessary for the petitioners to apply for permission of the Commissioner of Police to hold the proposed meeting, because it was urged that any order purporting to be passed Under Section 37(3) if applied to all assemblies -without referring to nature or purpose or location of the assembly, was ex facie bad. It was said that apart from such an order there was no other law which obliged the Committee to seek any permission from the Commissioner of Police or any other authority to hold the proposed meeting. Secondly, it was contended that even if the orders issued by the Commissioner of Police under Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951 are valid, the Commissioner of Police has not judicially applied his mind in considering the application made by the petitioners for permission; that he has been guilty of legal mala fide in refusing to grant such permission to hold the proposed meeting. It was urged that in the guise of exercise of powers under Section 37(3) public deception should not be allowed to be practised. It was said that a certain class of lawyers would be permitted and was in fact permitted to hold a meeting and not the other class of lawyers even though that other class of lawyers without jeopardizing public order wanted to express their views in a law abiding manner. It was said that the Commissioner of Police in refusing to grant permission overlooked the fact that the proposed meeting was not open to all, but it was open to such of the lawyers to whom individual invitations were extended. The validity of the order dated October 14, 1975 issued under Rule 69 was challenged on the ground that as that Rule clothed the appropriate authority with power for maintenance of public order and internal security, any discussion with reference to emergency, and much less any matter relating to or arising out of or connected therewith, cannot automatically mean and result in disruption 5f public order and/or internal security; that the impugned order dated October 14, 1975 was bad and ultra vires Rule 69 because thereby even a public meeting for applauding emergency was prohibited; that the order per se went beyond the scope of Rule 69. It was urged that even criticism of emergency is a peaceful, legitimate and law-abiding manner was prohibited; that honest persons with intellectual integrity are thereby debarred from holding a meeting merely because there was a possibility of discussion or reference to emergency or matters relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency; that by the impugned order a blanket ban is imposed on all public meetings where either the emergency or any matter relating to, or arising out of or connected with the emergency is likely to be discussed or referred to. It was said that the underlying assumption that any discussion or reference to the above subjects will be destructive of public order or prejudicial to internal security, is arbitrary and unjustified. It was said that in issuing the said order the mind of the authority m is simply applied to political purposes and not to the objects referred to in Rule 69. Lastly it was submitted that even if the order dated October 14, 1975 issued under Rule 69 is a good and valid order, the refusal to grant permission to hold the proposed meeting is arbitrary and capricious for more than one reasons. It was said that the impugned order dated October 14, 1975 did not apply to the proposed meeting as it was a private meeting while the impugned order was only applicable to a public meeting. It was also said that it was not permissible, to the appropriate authority even to prevent an elementary right of a citizen to raise a dissenting voice even in a matter relating to existing emergency or in a matter relating to or arising out of or connected therewith.

8. On behalf of the respondents two preliminary contentions were urged. It was urged by Mr. Singhvi on behalf of the Commissioner of Police that the proposed meeting was to be held on October 18, 1975 for which permission was asked for from the Commissioner of Police; that on the date when the petition was heard, that date had passed and the refusal related to the holding of the proposed meeting on October 18, 1975. He submitted that as this petition was heard after that date, it will not be open to this Court to grant any relief to the petitioners even if any of the contentions is justified because the date of the proposed meeting had passed and the relief cannot be granted, in respect of the meeting proposed to be held on the date to which it was adjourned.

9. On behalf of the State Government Mr. Chagla urged a preliminary contention as regards the maintainability of the petition. He submitted that in view of the suspension of the provisions of Article 19 of the Constitution by virtue of the declaration of emergency by the President, the petitioners were not entitled to any relief, because the right claimed by the petitioners in the petition is the same as guaranteed by Article 19. He submitted that even if there is any right dehors Article 19 of the Constitution, the same gets merged with the right under Article 19 that even a right independent of Article 19 cannot be enforced if the same is identical with or similar to the one guaranteed by Article 19. He submitted that if the only right which an executive action affects is the one guaranteed by Article 19 or a right same as or similar to the one guaranteed by Article 19 then such an executive action cannot be challenged during emergency even if the same is without authority of law. As regards the impugned order dated October 14, 1975 issued under Rule 69 he submitted that it is a piece of delegated legislation and hence cannot be tested on the touch stone of Article 19 and cannot be challenged as violative of any of the rights guaranteed under Article 19 in view of declaration of the proclamation of emergency. In the alternative, he submitted that even if the order dated October 14, 1975 is regarded as an executive order, the issuance of the various orders by the Commissioner of Police under Section 37(1) and the refusal to grant permission to hold the meeting by the Commissioner of Police both by reason of the said orders as well as by reason of the order dated October 14, 1975 have the necessary authority of law, because Rule 69 permits issuance of the order dated October 14, 1975; that Section 37(3) permits issuance of orders by the Commissioner of Police from time to time inter alia banning assemblies of five or more than five persons; that conditions precedent to the exercise of the power imposed respectively by Rule 69 and Section 37(1) were fulfilled but error, if any, has crept in the exercise of that power; that Rule 69 and Section 37(5) do not lay down any restrictions or conditions in the exercise of the power conferred respectively by such rule and section since the power gets vested on the fulfilment of the conditions: precedent imposed respectively by such rule and section.

10. On the merits of the matters in controversy it was urged on behalf of the respondents that if the dominant purpose of the impugned orders is to maintain public order or internal security it was open to the Commissioner of Police to prohibit all assemblies and processions including those which are entirely peaceful irrespective of the fact that they are likely to affect adversely preservation of public order and internal security or not. In the alter native, it was submitted that the impugned orders should be so construed that they applied only to such assemblies and processions as were likely to affect adversely preservation of public order or maintenance of internal security even though by the words used in the order a near blanket ban was imposed upon all assemblies and processions including those which were entirely peaceful. It was urged that having regard to the language of Section 37(3) it was open to the Commissioner of Police to pass an order to the effect that no assembly or procession would be allowed without a specific permission from the Commissioner of Police. It was said that in view of the orders issued by the Commissioner of Police from time to time under Section 37(3), he was fully justified in refusing to grant the permission sought by the petitioners. In the alternative it was submitted that even if the impugned orders issued under Section 37(3) were invalid, then the refusal to grant permission to the petitioners by itself was an independent separate prohibition in holding the proposed meeting in view of the provisions of Section 37(3). It was also submitted that issuance of the impugned order dated October 14, 1975 was fully justified having regard to the provisions of Rule 69 and the Commissioner of Police was justified in refusing to grant the permission sought by or on behalf of the petitioners. It was said that the proposed meeting was not a private meeting, but it was a public meeting where matters relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency were likely to be discussed and/or referred to; that the subject to be discussed at the said meeting was of public importance; that the persons were invited to attend the said meeting not by reason of any relationship but they were invited by reason of the fact that they belonged to a particular class being a section of the public. It was said that despite fact that on most of the cards the words "Private meeting-non-transferable" were written, still holding of such a meeting was not permissible in view of the said order dated October 14, 1975 and the Commissioner of Police was fully justified in refusing to grant, the permission sought.

11. Dealing with the two preliminary contentions, it may be stated at the outset that we are surprised that the counsel for respondent No. 1 has urged such a preliminary contention ignoring altogether what had happened at the time when additional time was granted to the respondents to make an affidavit or affidavits in reply. After the petition was admitted on October 17, 1975 by Bhatt J., an application was made to the Division Bench consisting of my brother Naik J. and myself on that very date for interim relief. At the hearing on that date Mr. Desai who appeared on behalf of the respondents submitted that granting of any interim relief would be tantamount to the final disposal of the petition and it would not be proper for the Court to hear the application for interim relief without sufficient time being given, to the respondents to make an affidavit or affidavits in reply. As the proposed meeting was to be held on October 18, 1975 the counsel for the petitioners stated that at the proposed meeting no speech would be delivered by anybody but a decision would be taken as regards the date and time Do which the meeting would be adjourned. On that date, realising the seriousness of the matters in controversy Mr. Desai on behalf of the respondents stated that the respondents would file their affidavits in reply on or before October 20, 1975. Mr. Desai was good enough to state on that date that if upon final hearing of the petition the petitioners were able to satisfy the Court that they were entitled to any relief from this Court, then the respondents would not object to such a relief being granted in respect of the date to which the said meeting was adjourned. In view of this clear statement by the counsel for the respondents, in my opinion, the preliminary contention urged by Mr. Singhvi is clearly unsustainable. In fact, it is not tenable. It should not be overlooked that nowhere in the affidavit in reply filed by the Commissioner of Police he has urged such a contention. In fact, there is nothing in any of the affidavits filed on behalf of the respondents to show that the situation in Greater Bombay where the proposed meeting is adjourned to be held has so materially or radically altered from that prevailing on October 17, 1975 that the Court would be justified in refusing to grant any relief if otherwise the petitioners would be entitled thereto. In view of these facts the preliminary contention urged by Mr. Singhvi stands rejected.

12. That takes me to the preliminary contention urged by Mr. Chagla on behalf of the State of Maharashtra. Part III of the Constitution of India deals with fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens and persons in this country. Article 19 deals with right to freedom of citizens of India. Clauses (a) to (g) of Sub-article (1) of that Article enumerates the rights to freedom such as, freedom of speech and expression; to assemble peaceably and without arms; to form associations or unions; to move freely throughout the territory of India; to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; to acquire, hold and dispose of property and to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. The other sub-articles permit the State to make laws, impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by Sub-article (1) only to the extent and in the manner provided in these sub-articles. Article 13(2) provides that "the State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void." Thus the ordinary effect of Article 19 read with Article 13(2) is that in normal times any law enacted by the State in contravention of the provisions of Article 19 shall to the extent of the contravention be void. Part XVIII of the Constitution deals with emergency provisions. They inter alia, provide for proclamation of emergency and the effect of such proclamation. Article 358 inter alia provides that while a proclamation of emergency is in operation, nothing in Article 19 shall restrict the power of the State as defined in Part III to make any law or to take any executive action which the State would but for the provisions contained in that Part be Competent to make or to take, but any law so made shall, to the extent of the in competency, case to have effect as soon as the proclamation ceases to operate, except as respects things done or omitted to be done before the law so ceases to have effect. A plain reading of the language of this Article clearly indicates that thereby Article 19 is not abrogated from the Constitution while a proclamation of emergency is in operation. It on the other hand emphasises that the normal fetter which exists upon the power of the State to make any law or take executive action is lifted only during the period when proclamation of emergency is in operation. Ordinarily the combined effect of Article 19 read with Article 13(2) will be to render a legislation inconsistent with or in contravention of Article 19 void, but during the proclamation of emergency such capacity of Article 19 to render a legislation inconsistent therewith void, is suspended or taken away. In other words, the fetter which normally exists in view of the provisions of Article 19 is lifted while the proclamation of emergency is in operation. The marginal note to this Article uses the expression "Suspension of provisions of Article 19 during emergencies". This expression does not connote that Article 19 is abrogated from the Constitution while proclamation of emergency is in operation. On the contrary, it suggests that notwithstanding the provisions of Article 19 the State will be at liberty to make any law or to take any executive action which may be inconsistent with the provisions of Article 19 during the emergency. By the suspension of the provisions of Article 19 as mentioned in the marginal note to Article 358, the normal fetter under Article 19 is lifted while the proclamation of emergency is in operation and the State will be at liberty to make any law or to take any executive action in contravention therewith. The capacity of Article 19 to render such legislation or executive action void is suspended during the time the proclamation of emergency is in operation.

13. Our attention was invited to several decisions of the Supreme Court where observations have been made to the effect that the provisions of Article 19 are suspended during the time the proclamation of emergency is in operation. Reference was made to the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Makhan Singh v. State of Punjab : 1964CriLJ217 . The main judgment in this case was delivered by Gajendragadkar J. on behalf of himself and Sarkar, Wanchoo, Hidayatullah, K.C. Das Gupta and Shah JJ. The effect of Articles 358 and 359 has been considered in this decision. It is observed that "as soon as a proclamation of emergency has been issued under Article 352 and so long as it lasts, Article 19 is suspended and the power of the legislatures as well as the executive is to that extent made wider. The suspension of Article 19 during the pendency of the proclamation of emergency removes the fetters created on the legislative arid executive powers by Article 19 and if the legislatures make laws or the. executive commits acts which are inconsistent with the rights guaranteed by Article 19, their validity is not open to challenge either during the continuance of the emergency or even thereafter". Thus what is meant by the marginal note "suspension of Article 19" and its effect has been clearly explained in these observations. By that expression is meant removal of the fetters created on the legislative and executive powers by Article 19 and during the continuance of emergency the validity of any law or executive action will not be open to challenge on the ground of contravention of Article 19. The same thing is clarified a little later where it is said "In other words, the suspension of Article 19 is complete during the period in question and legislative and executive action which contravenes Article 19 cannot be questioned even after the emergency is over". These observations of Gajendragadkar J. clearly show that by the marginal note "suspension of Article 19" is meant removal of fetters upon the powers of the Legislature to make any law inconsistent with Article 19 or upon the powers of an executive to take action inconsistent therewith. Strong reliance was, however, placed upon the observations of Subba Rao J. at page 407 where he considered the combined effect of Articles 358 and 359. He inter alia observed suspension of a remedy cannot abrogate the right itself. Indeed, a comparative study of Articles 358 and 359 of the Constitution indicates that it could not have been the intention of the makers of the Constitution, for Article 358 expressly suspends the right whereas Article 359 suspends the remedy". It is on these observations that great emphasis is laid by Mr. Chagla. By the expression "Suspension of Article 19" what is meant is an unfettered power of the Legislature to make any law or of the executive to take any action in contravention of the provisions of Article 19 and nothing in Article 19 will be available to affect the validity of such legislation or executive action.

14. Reference was also made to the observations of the Supreme Court in the case of Ananda v. Chief Secy., Govt. of Madras : 1966CriLJ586 where at page 660 it is stated:

...In this connection, we ought to add that the challenge to the Ordinance, rule or order made there under cannot also be raised on the ground of the contravention of Article 19, because as soon as a Proclamation of Emergency is issued by the President, under Article 358 the provisions of Article 19 are automatically suspended.
The expression "the provisions of Article 19 are automatically suspended" is used in the light of a contention whether the provisions of Article 19 can be availed of with a view to invalidate legislations which may be inconsistent therewith while a proclamation of emergency is in operation. There is nothing in this case to indicate that once the proclamation of emergency is declared Article 19 is removed from the Constitution. The only effect of the provisions of Article 358 is to remove the fetter which otherwise Article 19 read with Article 13(2) would have imposed.

15. It was then urged by Mr. Chagla that during the time the proclamation of emergency is in operation, an executive action even without authority of law cannot be challenged. Support for this proposition was sought to be derived from the decision of the Supreme Court in Bam Jawaya v. State of Punjab : [1955]2SCR225 which was later on explained by the Supreme Court in the case of State of' M.P. v. Bharat Singh [1967] A.I.R. S.C. 1170. If regard be had to the decision of the Supreme Court in Bharat Singh's case it is quite clear that the contention urged by Mr. Chagla is clearly unsustainable. Reliance was placed upon, the observations of Mukherjea C.J. in Bam Jawaya's case to the following effect (p. 554) :

...They do not mean,... that it is only when the Parliament or the State Legislature has legislated on certain items appertaining to their respective lists, that the Union or the State executive, as the case may be, can proceed to function in respect to them.

On the other hand, the language of Article 162 clearly indicates that the powers of the State executive do extend to matters upon which the State Legislature is competent to legislate and are not confined to matters over which legislation has been passed already.

How these observations are to be read and understood is clearly explained in Bharat Singh's case by Shah J. as under (p. 1174) :

...These observations must be read in the light of the facts of the case. The executive action which was upheld in that case was, it is true, not supported by legislation, but it did not operate to the prejudice of any citizen. In the State of Punjab prior to 1950 the text books used in recognized schools were prepared by private publishers and they were submitted for approval of the Government. In 1950 the State Government published text books in certain subjects, and in other subjects the State Government approved text books submitted by publishers and authors. In 1952 a notification was issued by the Government inviting only 'authors and others' to submit text books for approval by the Government, under agreements with the authors and others the copyright in the text books vested absolutely in the State and the authors and others received royalty on the sale of those text books. The petitioners-a firm carrying on the business of preparing, printing, publishing and selling text books-then moved this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution praying for writs of mandamus directing the Punjab Government to withdraw the notifications of 1950 and 1952 on the ground that they contravened the fundamental rights of the petitioners guaranteed under the Constitution. It was held by this Court that the action of Government did not amount to infraction of the guarantee under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, since no fundamental rights of the petitioners were violated by the notifications and the acts of the executive Government done in furtherance of their policy of nationalisation of text books for students.
It was contended in support of the petition in Bam Jawaya's case that without legislative authority the Government of the State could not enter the business of printing, publishing and selling text books. Dealing with this contention the Supreme Court held (p. 1174):

...by the action of the Government no rights of the petitioners were infringed, since a mere chance or prospect of having particular customers cannot be said to be a right to property or to any interest or undertaking. It is clear that the State of Punjab had done no act which infringed a right of any citizen: the State had merely entered upon a trading venture. By entering into competition with the citizens, it did not infringe their rights. Viewed in the light of these facts the observations relied upon do not support the contention that the State or its officers may in exercise of executive authority infringe the rights of the citizens merely because the Legislature of the State has the power to legislate in regard to the subject on which the executive order is issued.
Actually the ratio of the decision of the Supreme Court in Bharat Singh's case shows as stated at page 1173 that all executive action which operates to the prejudice of any person must have the authority of law to support it, and the terms of Article 358 do not detract from that rule. Article 358 expressly authorises the State to take legislative or executive action provided such action was competent for the State to make or take, but for the provisions contained in Part III of the Constitution. Article 358 does not purport to invest the State with arbitrary authority to take action to the prejudice of citizens and others; it merely provides that so long as the proclamation of emergency subsists laws may be enacted and executive action may be taken in pursuance of lawful authority, which if the provisions of Article 19 were operative would have been invalid. A little later it is pointed out '' Every act done by the Government or by its officers must, if it is to operate to the prejudice of any person, be supported by some legislative authority."

16. The same view is reiterated by the Supreme Court in the case of Dist, Collector, Hyderabad v. Ibrahim & Co : [1970]3SCR498 . It is there observed (p. 1278) :

On the issue of the proclamation of emergency the State is, for the duration of the emergency, competent to enact legislation, notwithstanding that it Impairs the freedoms guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution. The State is also competent to take executive action which the State would, but for the provisions contained in Article 19 of the Constitution, be competent to take. The impugned order in this case was issued while the proclamation of emergency was in operation. The respondents could not challenge the validity of any law enacted by the State Legislature so long as the proclamation of emergency was in operation on the ground that it impaired the freedoms guaranteed by Article 19. They could not also challenge any executive action which, but for the provisions contained in Article 19, the State was competent to take.
A little later it is stated:

...Executive action of the State Government which is otherwise invalid is not immune from attack, merely because a proclamation of emergency is in operation when it is taken. Since the order of the State Government was plainly contrary, to the statutory provisions contained in the Andhra Pradesh Sugar Dealers Licensing Order and the Sugar Control Order, it was not protected under Article 358 of the Constitution.
The decisions of the Supreme Court in Bharat Singh's case and in Ibrahim & Co.'s case above referred to, negative the contention which was sought to be suggested by Mr. Chagla. On the contrary, they clearly lay down that any executive action which is likely to operate prejudicially to the interests of a person must have the sanction or authority of law.

17. An identical contention was urged by Mr. Chagla before a Division Bench of this Court at Nagpur in the case of K.M. Ghatate v. Union of India : [1975] Cri. L.J. 1828. It was urged before the Division Bench by Mr. Chagla that in view of the Presidential Order suspending the right to move any Court for enforcement of the rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 21 and 22 and in view of the suspension of the provisions of Article 19 under Article 358, the petitioners could not challenge their detention on any ground whatsoever. He further contended that a right of a citizen to liberty is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and as that right itself is taken away by virtue of the order issued under Article 359(1), there is no further right to liberty dehors Article 21 of the Constitution and therefore those petitions were not maintainable. These contentions were rejected by the Division Bench of this Court at Nagpur. It is pointed out in this case that it is quite clear that even during the period of emergency absolute immunity cannot be claimed from the process of Court if the order is not supported by any valid legislation or a legal sanction. A little later it is pointed out In our opinion, even in spite of the emergency or the Presidential Order as the rule of law is not suspended, all the executive actions depriving a person of his right to liberty must have an authority of law. The rule of Jaw prevails even during the course of emergency and therefore, every executive action must be supported by legislative authority or a valid legal sanction." Thus it is clear that any executive action which is likely to operate to the prejudice of a citizen is only permissible if it has the sanction or authority of law. Thus it is not possible for us to accept the preliminary contention of Mr. Chagla that in view of the proclamation of emergency being in operation the present petition filed by the petitioners is not maintainable, nor is it possible for us to take the view that even if the impugned refusal by the Commissioner of Police is in contravention of the provisions of Section 37(5) of the ' Bombay Police Act or Rule 69 of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules, it will not be possible for the petitioners to challenge the validity of the impugned action.

18. At the time when the petition was filed, by the order dated October 9, 1975 the earlier order passed by the Commissioner of Police on October 1, 1975 was continued to be in force for the period October 10, 1975 to November 9, 1975. It will be therefore useful to refer to these orders issued under Section 37(5) of the Bombay Police Act. The impugned order dated October 1, 1975 issued under Section 37(5) runs as under;

No. 59/A.P. of 1975,-Whereas it is considered necessary by me for the preservation of the public order to prohibit any assembly of five or more persons and any procession in the area in Greater Bombay hereinafter mentioned:

Now, Therefore, I, Shridhar Vyankatesh Tankhiwale, I.P.S., Commissioner of Police, Greater Bombay, in exercise of the powers conferred upon me by Sub-section (3) of Section 37 of the Bombay Police Act, 1951, (Bombay Act XXII of 1951), prohibit-

(i) any assembly of five or more than five persons, and

(ii) any procession of any persons,

for the period from 00-40 hrs, on Friday, October 3, 1975 to 00-40 hrs. on Friday October 10, 1975, throughout Greater Bombay.

I, further direct that this order shall be published and promulgated in Greater Bombay by affixing copies thereof in conspicuous public places and by proclaiming the same by beat of drums in Greater Bombay.

Note.-The prohibitions contained in this order shall not apply to religious, marriage and funeral processions; to cinema houses when a film is being exhibited therein; to other places at the time when performances of public amusements are held therein and to such other processions and assemblies as may be permitted by the Commissioner of Police, Greater Bombay.

sd. S.V. Tankhiwale,
Commissioner of Police,
Greater Bombay.

Office of the

Commissioner of Police,

Bombay, October 1, 1975.

Later on after receiving the sanction of the State Government this order has been continued for a period of one month successively till today.

19. Section 37 of the Bombay Police Act confers powers upon the Commissioner of Police and the District Magistrate to prohibit certain acts for prevention of disorder. We are concerned in the present case with the provisions of Sub-section (5) which are as under:

37(3) The authority empowered under Sub-section (I) may also by order in writing prohibit any assembly or procession whenever and for so long as it considers such prohibition to be necessary for the preservation of the public order:

Provided that no such prohibition shall remain in force for more than fifteen days without the sanction of the State Government.
20. The authorities referred to in Sub-section (1) of Section 37 are the Commissioner and the District Magistrate in areas under their respective charges. The necessary ingredients of Sub-section (3) are (a) Power to make the order in their respective areas is conferred upon the Commissioner of Police or the District Magistrate; (b) The above specified authority is clothed with a power by an order in writing to prohibit any assembly or procession and (c) Such prohibition of any assembly or procession can be ordered whenever and for so long as it (authority empowered) considers such prohibition to be necessary for the preservation of the public order. By the impugned orders the Commissioner of Police has passed a near blanket order prohibiting any assembly of five or more persons or any procession of any persons in Greater Bombay. The Note to this order enumerates the exemptions, namely, that the prohibitions contained in this order shall not apply (a) to religious, marriage and funeral processions; (b) to cinema houses when a film is being exhibited therein; (c) to other places at the time when performances of public amusements are held therein and (d) to such other processions and assemblies as may be permitted by the Commissioner of Police, Greater Bombay. The effect of this order clearly is to impose prohibition on every assembly of five or more persons in Greater Bombay. Such prohibition is not to apply to those assemblies which are referred to in the aforesaid categories (b), (c) and (d) in the Note. An overall reading of this order will indicate that so far as assemblies of five or more than five persons are concerned, they cannot ordinarily be held except with the previous permission of the Commissioner of Police. The question that arises for consideration in this case is whether a near blanket ban prohibiting all assemblies except with the permission is permissible in view of the powers conferred by Section 37(3). For the purpose of determining this question, the portion of the section stating "whenever and for so long as it considers such prohibition to be necessary for the preservation of the public order" is required to be construed. The effect of this part of the section is that for Greater Bombay it is the Commissioner of Police who is clothed with the power to decide when an order prohibiting any assembly or procession ought to be passed in Greater Bombay. The duration for which such prohibition has to remain in force has also to be decided by him, but the initiation of the order and the durations are not without any restrictions. Under this section it is only permissible to the Commissioner of Police by an order to prohibit any assembly or procession, whenever and for so long as he considers such prohibition to be necessary for the preservation of the public order. The short question to be considered is, is a near blanket ban on all assemblies without the permission of the Commissioner of Police permissible in view of the language of this sub-section By the impugned order every assembly of five or more persons in any part of Greater Bombay is totally banned or prohibited unless it is covered by the exception contained in the Note. Such prohibition can be imposed by order in writing when the authority considers it to be necessary for the preservation of the public order. It is the significance of these words that we have to consider for the purpose of judging the validity of the impugned order. Powers can be exercised under this section only for the preservation of the public order. The expression "public order" connotes a definite legal concept in legal parlance. In the case of Ram Manohar v. State of Bihar : 1966CriLJ608 the Supreme Court had occasion to consider the distinction that exists between (1) Security of State (2) public order and (3) law and order. This was a case of detention under the Defence of India Rules. What is the ambit of an enquiry when a detention order is challenged is considered in this case. It is pointed out that the satisfaction which justifies the order of the Government is a subjective satisfaction. A Court cannot enquire whether grounds existed which would have created that satisfaction on which alone the order could have been made in the mind of a reasonable person. If that is so-and that indeed is what the respondent State contends "it seems to me that when an order is on the face of it not in terms of the rule, a Court cannot equally enter into an investigation whether the order of detention was in fact, that is to say, irrespective of what is stated in it, in terms of the rule. In other words, in such a case the State cannot be heard to say or prove that the order was in fact made, for example, to prevent acts prejudicial to public order which would bring it within the rule though the order does not say so. To allow that to be done would be to uphold a detention without a proper order. The rule does not envisage such a situation". It is further said "If a man can be deprived of his liberty under a rule by the simple process of the making of a certain order, he can only be so deprived if the order is in terms of the rule. Strict compliance with the letter of the rule is the essence of the matter. We are dealing with a statute which drastically interferes with the personal liberty of people, we are dealing with an order behind the face of which a Court is prevented from going. I am not complaining of that. Circumstances may make it necessary. But it would be legitimate to require in such cases strict observance of the rules. If there is any doubt whether the rules have been strictly observed, that doubt must be resolved in favour of the detenu." Later on in this judgment the Supreme Court has considered the meaning of the words "maintenance of public order". The Supreme Court referred to the observations in an earlier decision in the case of Romesh Thappar v. State of Madras : 1950CriLJ1514 to the following effect (p. 757) :

...'Public order' is an. expression of wide connotation and signifies that state of tranquility which prevails among the members of a political society as a result of internal regulations enforced by the Government which they have established it must be taken that 'public safety' is used as a part of the wider concept of public order....
Lastly it is said (p. 758):

'Public order' is synonymous with public safety and tranquility: it is the absence of disorder involving breaches of local significance in contradistinction to national upheavals, such as revolution, civil strife, war, affecting the security of the State.
The Supreme Court then further considered the question "Does the expression 'public order' take in every kind of disorders or only some of them?" According to the Supreme Court, the answer to this serves to distinguish "public order" from "law and order" because the latter undoubtedly takes in all of them. Public order if disturbed, must lead to public disorder. Every breach of the peace does not lead to public disorder. When two drunkards quarrel and fight there is disorder but not public disorder. They can be dealt with under the powers to maintain law and order but cannot be detained on the ground that they were disturbing public order. Suppose that the two fighters were of rival communities and one of them tried to raise communal passions. The problem is still one of law and order but it raises the apprehension of public disorder. Other examples can be imagined. The contravention of law always affects order but before it can be said to affect public order, it must affect the community or the public at large. A mere disturbance of law and order leading to disorder is thus not necessarily sufficient for action under the Defence of India Act but disturbances which subvert the public order are. It is further stated that law and order represents the largest circle within which is the next circle representing public order and the smallest circle represents security of State. It is then easy to see that an act may affect law and order but not public order just as an act may affect public order but not security of the State.

21. The question of difference between maintenance of law and order and its disturbance and maintenance of public order and its disturbance was; also considered by the Supreme Court in the case of Arun Ghosh v. State of W.B : 1970CriLJ1136 . It is there said (p. 1229):

...Public order was said to embrace more of the community than law and order. Public order is the even tempo of the life of the community taking the country as a whole or even a specified locality. Disturbance of public order is to be distinguished from acts directed against individuals which do not disturb the society to the extent of causing a general disturbance of public tranquility. It is the degree of disturbance and its effect upon the life of the community in a locality which determines whether the disturbance amounts only to a breach of law and order.
It means therefore that the question whether a man has only committed a breach of law and order or has acted in a manner likely to cause a disturbance of the public order is a question of degree and the extent of the reach of the act upon the society.

The mere act of speaking ill of Assamese people and the State Government will not necessarily affect public order. As this activity has got little rational connection with public order the detention order is invalid and cannot stand. Whether such an act organised conducted in a particular manner may develop into a problem of public order is a different matter with which the Court is not concerned." See Satya Brata Ghose v. Arif Ali: 1974CriLJ329 .
22. That public order means the even tempo of the life of the community taking within its fold even a specified locality and a substantial section of the society as a whole is also reiterated in the case of Nagen Murmu v. State of W.B : 1973CriLJ667 . This decision therefore also shows the distinction that exists between maintenance of law and order and its disturbance, the maintenance of public order and its disturbance and the maintenance of security of the State. For preservation of public order what is required is that the even tempo of community life in a locality and substantial section of the society ought not to be disturbed.

23. In view of the expression "it considers such prohibition to be necessary for the preservation of the public order" in Section 37(3), it is quite clear that the prohibition imposed by an order under Section 37(3) must not transcend the requirements of necessity. The ban or prohibition must be only on such assemblies or processions as are in any event likely to disturb public order or interfere therewith or have a tendency to do the same. There should be a real, proximate, rational and just connection and nexus between preservation of public order and the order issued by the Commissioner of Police under Section 37(3). It was urged by Mr. Dhanuka on behalf of the Advocate General that there is a strong presumption of regularity of the impugned order and the requisite nexus in view of the recitals made in the order and the statements made in the affidavit in reply and the test of direct and proximate nexus between the specified purposes and the impugned order is not applicable to cases of delegated legislation in view of the scheme of Section 37(3). According to his submission the correct test is, can it be said that the impugned order is wholly unrelated to the specified object? Does the order tend to promote or effectuate or subserve the specified purposes or for the purposes ancillary thereto? The test according to his submission is, whether the Court would consider the impugned order as necessarily unrelated to the specified purposes? While considering such a question he pointed out that the opinion of the State Government and the Commissioner of Police is entitled to due weight; that the subject-matter of the impugned order is such that it has got to be dealt with upon a general basis; that the prohibition or restriction is valid even if in any particular cases, it is found unnecessary to impose the restriction as a matter of fact. On a plain reading of the section it is quite clear that in Greater Bombay the Commissioner of Police before he issues an order under Section 37(3) must consider the prohibition on holding assemblies and processions imposed by him to be necessary for the preservation of the public order. The connection between the prohibition imposed and the object of preservation of public order ought to be real and proximate, not far-fetched or problematical. In order to satisfy the requirements of Section 37(5) the prohibition imposed for preservation of the public order should be one which has a proximate connection or nexus with the public order, but not one far-fetched, hypothetical or problematical or too remote in the chain of relation with the public order. "When the section requires that the Commissioner of Police should consider the prohibition to be necessary for the preservation of the public order, there should be satisfaction of the mind which indicates application of the mind and forming of a conclusion after assessment of the entire matter. He cannot act in a mechanical manner like that of a rubber stamp. The satisfaction must be of a reasonable man. He must apply his mind to the question whether the consequence which he apprehends have a reasonable nexus to the nature of the assembly or procession which he wants to prohibit. If the apprehended consequences are too problematical are too remote, then again the satisfaction would not be real. Such scrutiny is necessary even though the section says that it is for the authority to consider whether a particular prohibition is necessary for preservation of the public order. The section confers a discretion and how such discretion is to be exercised is judicially well settled. While considering similar provisions of the Bombay City Police Act in Emperor v. Bhalchandra Ranadive : (1929)31BOMLR1151 this Court pointed out that public authorities even acting within the defined limits of their powers must not conduct themselves arbitrarily or tyrannically. (Nagar Valab Narsi v. The Municipality of Dhandhuka I.L.R. (1887) 12 Bom. 490. In the case of Duke of Bedford v. Dawson (1875) L.R. 20 Eq. 353 Sir George Jessel M.R. held that the public body are to be the judges subject to this that if they are manifestly abusing their powers, the Court will say that it is not a fair and honest judgment and will not, allow it. In Sharp v. Wakefield [1891] A.C. 173 it was held that (p. 179) :

...'discretion' means when it is said that something is to be done within the discretion of the authorities that that something is to be done according to the rules of reason and justice, not according to private opinion:... according to law, and not humour. It is to be, not arbitrary, vague, and fanciful, but legal and regular. And it must be exercised within the limit, to which an honest man competent to the discharge of his office ought to confine himself....
This principle has been applied by the Supreme Court even in cases where the language adopted indicates a subjective opinion of a much higher degree. In Barium Chemicals Ltd. v. Co. Law Board : [1967]1SCR898 the Supreme Court had occasion to judge the validity of action taken under Section 237 of the Companies Act, Action under that section was permissible if in the opinion of the Central Government there were circumstances justifying the particular action. However, the Supreme Court pointed out (p. 323) :

...Though an order passed in exercise of power under a statute cannot be challenged on the ground of propriety or sufficiency, it is liable to be quashed on the ground of mala fides, dishonesty or corrupt purpose. Even if it is passed in good faith and with the best of intention to further the purpose of the legislation which confers the powers, since the Authority has to act in accordance with and within the limits of that legislation, its order can also be challenged if it is beyond those limits or is passed on grounds extraneous to the legislation or if there are no grounds at all for passing it or if the grounds are such that no one can reasonably arrive at the opinion or satisfaction requisite under the legislation. In any one of these situations it can well be said that the authority did not honestly form its opinion or that in forming it, it did not apply its mind to the relevant facts.
For the purposes of the present case, what we have to consider is whether the Commissioner of Police has acted in accordance with and within the limits of the powers conferred upon him by Section 37(3). If it is shown that he has transgressed those limits, then it can be said that either he did not act honestly or that he did not apply his mind to the relevant facts. If the exercise of the power by the Commissioner of Police is challenged, then it will be necessary for the respondents to show that the exercise of the power was necessary for the preservation of the public order. The Court is thereby not entitled to sit in appeal over the opinion of the Commissioner of Police if there be prima facie evidence on which a reasonable body of persons will hold that it is necessary for preservation of public order to prohibit every assembly and procession. The opinion of the Commissioner of Police that a near blanket ban or prohibition on every assembly of five or more persons and procession is necessary for the preservation of the public order is in appropriate cases not excluded from judicial review.

24. Even if the order issued by the Commissioner of Police is regarded as a piece of subordinate legislation, it must pass the test of reasonableness. Wade in his Book on Administrative Law, third edn., at p. 325 points out:

Just as with other kinds of administrative action, the courts sometimes allow themselves to pass judgment on its merits. In interpreting statutes' it is tempting to make the assumption that Parliament could not have intended powers of delegated legislation to be exercised unreasonably, so that the legality of the regulations becomes dependent upon their content.
In Kruse v. Johnson [1898] 2 Q.B. 91 it was said (p. 99) :

...If, for instance, (by-laws) were found to be partial and unequal in their operation as between different classes; if they were manifestly unjust; if they disclosed bad faith; if they involved such oppressive or gratuitous interference with the rights of those subject to them as could find no justification in, the minds of reasonable men, the Court might well say, 'Parliament never intended to give authority to make such rules; they are unreasonable and ultra vires.' But.. a by-law is not unreasonable merely because particular judges may think that it goes further than is prudent or necessary or convenient....
Bernard Schwartz and H.W.R. Wade in their Book entitled "Legal Control of Government" (Administrative Law in Britain and the United States) have described what is "unfettered discretion" as a contradiction in terms. At page 254 it is stated:

When action taken under such legislation is challenged, government lawyers habitually argue that Parliament has expressly provided that the minister or the planning authority is to be the judge, and that the Act therefore confers unfettered discretion with which the court cannot interfere. It does not seem to be realized that this argument is constitutional blasphemy. Every legal power must have legal limits, otherwise there is dictatorship. In particular, the courts are stringent in requiring that discretion should be exercised in conformity with the general tenor and policy of the statute and for proper purposes, and that it should not be exercised unreasonably. In other words, every discretion is capable of unlawful abuse and to prevent this is a fundamental function of the courts. 'Unfettered discretion' is a contradiction in terms.
In view of these principles which are well-settled, any prohibition as regards assembly or procession imposed by the Commissioner of Police under Section 37(3) has to pass through the test of reasonableness having regard to the necessity of the preservation of the public order. Certain basic features should be borne in mind when the question of reasonable and proximate nexus, subjective satisfaction and extent of judicial review is to be considered. There is no law in India which says "You will not refer to the rule of law and civil liberty". The right of dissent has been judicially recognised even in times of emergency. Chandrachud J. while dealing with the case of detention in Ram Bahadur v. State of Bihar : 1975CriLJ269 points out "Peaceful protests and the voicing of a contrary opinion are powerful wholesome weapons in the democratic repertoire".

25. The importance of a right of dissent is emphasised by Professor Meiklejohn in his book on "Political Freedom" (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948) pages 27-28 as under:

If, then, on any occasion in the United States it is allowable to say that the Constitution is a good document, it is equally allowable, in that situation, to say that the Constitution is a bad document. If a public building may be used in which to say, in time of war, that the war is justified, then the same building may be used in which to say that it is not justified. If it be publicly argued that conscription for armed service is moral and necessary, it may likewise be publicly argued that it is immoral and unnecessary. If it may be said that American political institutions are superior to those of England or Russia or Germany, it may, with equal freedom, be said that those of England or Russia or Germany are superior to ours. These conflicting views may be expressed, must be expressed, not because they are valid, but because they are relevant. If they are responsibly entertained by anyone, we, the voters, need to hear them. When a question of policy is 'before the house', free men choose to meet it not with their eyes shut, but with their eyes open. To be afraid of ideas, any ideas, is to be unfit for self-government. Any such suppression of ideas about the common good, the First Amendment condemns with its absolute disapproval. The freedom of ideas shall not be abridged.
26. In Himat Lal v. Police Commr., Ahmedabad : [1973]2SCR266 it is observed that in India a citizen had, before the Constitution, a right to hold meetings on public streets subject to the control of the appropriate authority regarding the time and place of the meeting and subject to considerations of public order. The right of peaceable assembly has been recognised in every civilised society.

27. Cooley in his Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations points out (p. 349) :

The right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances is one which would seem unnecessary to be expressly provided for in a republican government, since it results from the very nature of its structure and institutions. It is impossible that it could be practically denied until the spirit of liberty had wholly disappeared, and the people had become so servile and debased as to be unfit to exercise any of the privileges of freemen.
28. The right of peaceable assembly is a right cognate to those of free speech and free press and is equally fundamental. See De Jonge v. Oregon (1937) 81 L.ed 278.

29. That the proclamation of emergency was not declared with a view to affect 1 he rights of law-abiding citizens is clear from the broadcast by the Prime Minister soon after the proclamation of emergency was declared on June 25, 1975. In the broadcast she stated "I should like to assure you that the new emergency proclamation will in no way affect the rights of law-abiding citizens"

30. The question then to be considered is whether the prohibition imposed by the various orders issued under Section 37(5) is within the four corners of the powers conferred by that section. It is only in the recitals that the Commissioner of Police has stated that it is considered necessary by him for preservation of the public order to prohibit any assembly of five or more persons or any procession in the area in Greater Bombay, but the operative part of the order shows that every assembly of five or more persons is banned or prohibited irrespective of the fact whether the holding of such assembly is even remotely likely to affect the preservation of the public order or not. In the exceptions which are mentioned in the Note, religious, marriage and funeral processions are exempted, but so far as assemblies are concerned, whether they are likely to affect preservation of the public order or not, they require the prior permission of the Commissioner of Police before they can be held. There is nothing in the operative part of the order to indicate why peaceful assemblies which are not likely to affect preservation of the public order are not allowed to be held except with the prior permission. The question as to the extent of the power which a Commissioner of Police has under Section 37(3) had come up for judicial consideration both before this Court as well as before the Madras High Court. While considering the constitutionality of the provisions of Section 37(3) as violative of Article 19, in Bapurao Dhondiba v. State of Bombay : AIR1956Bom300 the test has been laid down by Chief Justice Chagla in the following words (p. 424) :

...Again, the only test which the Legislature could lay down and which the Legislature has laid down is that only that assembly or that procession should be prohibited where the prohibition was necessary for the preservation of the public order. It is difficult to see how, apart from laying down this test, the Legislature could have given any more details in indicating the nature of the assembly or the procession.
The question of blanket ban on holding assemblies also came up for consideration before the Madras High Court in In re Annadurai : AIR1959Mad63 . Even in that case the constitutionality of the relevant provisions of the Madras City Police Act was considered, but while dealing with the challenge the effect of the right to public meeting has been considered. It was urged by Mr. Raman who appeared for Annadurai, that the Supreme Court has not advocated the absolute prohibition of the right of public meeting or any other fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19, whereas Section 41 of the Madras City Police Act allows the total prohibition of the right of public meeting. That argument was rejected by the Division Bench of the Madras High Court and it was observed that Section 41 in their opinion did no such thing. At page 66 it is observed:

There have been orders of the Commissioner prohibiting only demonstrations in front of the Assembly or in other particular areas. In other words, there has never been a total prohibition (the people and the Government would never have allowed that, and the Court would have issued a writ against it), and partial prohibitions in the whole of Madras City for a time only rarely, and even then there have been several public meetings as for marriages, funerals, sports, religious purposes or those held under statutory or legal authority without any need to take any permission at all. In our opinion, therefore, Section 41 has never, in theory even, allowed total prohibition of the right of public meeting.
These observations of the Madras High Court do suggest that if there was a total prohibition in respect of all assemblies irrespective of the purpose for which they were to be held, then the Court would have issued a writ against them. Having regard to the wording of the order it is quite clear that even an ordinary dinner party where more than five persons are present, a prayer meeting in a church, or a Namaz in a mosque, or a Uthamna ceremony or lecture in a college or university or an annual statutory general meeting of a limited company will not be permitted unless prior permission of the Commissioner of Police has been obtained under the impugned order which has been issued under Section 37(5) of the Act. It is unnecessary to multiply instances of this type. Nothing is indicated either in the order or the affidavits filed on be' half of the respondents to show how a near blanket ban on holding of every assembly of five or more persons has nexus, much less reasonable nexus, with the necessity to preserve the public order. Except for the mechanical reproduction of the language of the section in the preamble, there is nothing in the operative part of the order to indicate that such near total prohibition or blanket ban on every assembly of five or more persons was honestly and genuinely considered by the Commissioner of Police to be necessary for the preservation of the public order in Greater Bombay. If the observations made by the Madras High Court in the above case are carefully scrutinized, there is no doubt that in the opinion of the Court a total prohibition on every meeting was not permissible under the language of the section.

31. Strong reliance was placed by Mr. Chagla upon the decision of the House of Lords in 'McEldowney v. Forde [1969] 2 All E.R. 1039, [1971] A.C. 632. The question that came up for consideration before the House of Lords was whether a regulation made in exercise of the powers conferred by the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act, (Northern Ireland) 1922, was open to challenge on the ground of vagueness or ambiguity. The facts of the case show that under the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act (Northern Ireland) 1922 certain powers were vested in the Minister of Home Affairs These included Section 1(7) : "power... to take all such steps and issue all such orders as may be necessary for preserving the peace and maintaining order according to and in execution of this Act and the regulations contained in the Schedule thereto... Provided that the ordinary course of law and avocations of life and the enjoyment of property shall be interfered with as little as may be permitted by the exigencies of the steps required to be taken under this Act". By Section 1(3) of the Act the Minister was empowered: "to make regulations--(a) for making further provision for the preservation of the peace and the maintenance of order...and any regulations made as afore said shall.., have effect and be enforced in like manner as regulations contained in the Schedule to this Act." A new regulation, regulation 24A was added to the Schedule in 1922; this provided: "Any person who becomes or remains a member of an unlawful association... shall be guilty of an offence against these Regulations..." The regulation also listed certain organisations which were deemed for the purposes of regulation 24A to be "unlawful associations". In 1967 the Minister made a new regulation (the regulation of 1967) under Section 1(3) of the Act. The regulation of 1967 provided: "Regulation 24A...shall have effect as if the following organisation were added to the list of organisations which for the purpose of that Regulation are deemed to be unlawful organisations: 'The organisations at the date of this regulation or at any time thereafter describing themselves as 'Republican Clubs' or any like organisation howsoever described'". On the question whether the regulation of 1967 was ultra vires, by a majority the House of Lords took the view that the regulation of 1967 was not ultra vires the enabling Act, because, the regulation, to be valid, need not be shown to be necessary for preserving the peace and maintaining order nor to comply with the proviso to Section 1(1) since the limitations contained in Section 1(1) on the exercise of the executive powers did not apply to the exercise of the legislative powers under Section 1(3). It was also held that the Courts would not interfere with the exercise of the power to make regulations since there was no question of bad faith and no apparent misconstruction of the enabling Act or failure to comply with any conditions prescribed by the enabling Act for the exercise of the power. In the opinion of the majority decision of the House of Lords the inclusion of "any like organisation howsoever described" in the prescription of "Republican Clubs" did not render the regulations invalid on the basis of (per Lord Hodson and Lord Pearson) its being too vague or (per Lord Guest) its being ambiguous or arbitrary. On the construction of Section 1(1) and Section 1(3) by a, majority, the view taken was that the Courts would not interfere with the exercise of the power to make regulations since there Was no question of failure to comply with any conditions prescribed by the enabling Act for the exercise of the power. It was only dehors the Court of Appeal that by the minority judgment Lord MacDermott C.J. had taken the view that a regulation to be made under Section 1(3) will be a step within the meaning of Section 1 and will therefore require to comply with the test of necessity for preserving the peace and maintaining order. But majority of the House of Lords did not accept that construction. It will be useful in this connection to refer to what Lord Pearce said in his minority judgment. At page 1064 he points out:

It is argued that it is for the Minister alone to decide how he should use his power and that the court should not interfere, however wrong it thinks that decision, unless there is some element of bad" faith. But in my opinion the duty of surveillance entrusted to the courts for the protection of the citizen goes deeper than that. It cannot take the easy course of 'passing by on the other side' when it seems clear to it that the Minister is using a power in a way which Parliament, who gave him that power, did not intend. When there is doubt, of course the courts will not interfere. But if it seems clear on grounds of rationality and common sense that he was exceeding the power with which Parliament was intending to clothe him to further the purposes of the Act, the courts have a duty to interfere. The fact that this is not an easy line to draw is no reason why the courts should give up the task and abandon their duty to protect the citizen.

I accept the observations of Lord MacDermott, C.J., as to the regulation being 'too sweeping and too remote on any rational view.

While dealing with the question of vagueness and ambiguous nature of the regulation of 1967, he points out (p. 1064) :

...A man must not be put in peril on an ambiguity under the criminal law. When the regulation of 1967 was issued the citizen ought to have been able to know whether he could or could not remain a member of his club without being subject to a criminal prosecution. Yet I doubt if one could have said with certainty that any man or woman was safe in remaining a member of any club in Northern Ireland, however named of whatever its activities or objects.
32. If regard be had to the provisions of Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act and the impugned orders made by the Commissioner of Police thereunder, then it is this test laid down by Lord Pearce which is attracted in the present case. It is one of the essential ingredients of Section 37(3) that the Commissioner of Police must consider the extent of prohibition qua an assembly or procession proposed to be imposed by him as having rational and proximate connection or nexus with the necessity for the preservation of the public order. The necessity for preservation of the public order is a sine qua non for imposition of any prohibition as regards any assembly or procession by the Commissioner of Police and as in the present case a near blanket ban, irrespective of a rational and proximate nexus with the necessity for preservation of the public order, has been imposed by prohibiting every assembly of five or more persons and every procession, the reasonable connection or nexus that must exist is missing in the present case. It will not be out of place to refer to the views of eminent jurists on the decision of the House of Lords in the above case of McEldowney v. Forde. Bernard Schwartz and H.W.R. Wade in their Book entitled "Legal Control of Government, Administrative Law in Britain and the United States'', after referring to this case point out (p. 102) :

...The House of Lords by the narrowest majority upheld the conviction. But two of their Lordships, agreeing with the Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, dissented on the ground that the regulation was ultra vires, being both too wide in its effect to fall within the powers granted and too vague in its content to be enforceable. The slightest tilt of the balance of opinion could have turned the decision the other way. It was therefore unfortunate that one of the majority stated that he had been unable to discover any case since 1917 in which a statutory instrument had been challenged, and that it was therefore plain that any challenger had a heavy task. In fact, all books on administrative law discuss numerous cases in which statutory rules and regulations have been challenged, particularly those where the challenge has been successful; and the House of Lords itself had held a statutory instrument to be ultra vires only a month previously. (Hotel and Catering v. Automobile Pty [1969] 1 W.L.R. 697). Had this been understood, the scales might have been tipped in the appellant's favour.
Thus reading the provisions of Section 37(3) and its essential ingredients and the near blanket order prohibiting every assembly of five or more persons and every procession, it is quite apparent that the impugned orders from time to time issued under Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act by the Commissioner of Police are beyond the scope of the powers conferred upon "him by Section 37(3).

33. The alternative contention of Mr. Singhvi was that the order should be so construed that it applies only to such assemblies and processions as are likely to affect adversely the preservation of the public order even though by the words used in the order a blanket ban is imposed upon all assemblies and processions including those which are entirely peaceful and having no nexus with the necessity to preserve public order. Reliance was placed by him upon the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of State of Maharashtra v. B.K. Takkamore : [1967]2SCR583 . This was a case of super session of a Municipality and the principle on which reliance was placed by him was to the following effect:

Where an order is based on several grounds, some of which are irrelevant then if there is nothing to show that the authority would have passed the order on the basis of relevant and existing grounds that order cannot be sustained. Where, however, the court is satisfied that the authority would have passed the order on the basis of the other relevant and existing grounds and the exclusion of irrelevant or non-existing ground, could not have affected the ultimate opinion or decision of the authority, order has to be sustained.
It is difficult to see how this principle has any application to the facts of the present case. We are only concerned in the present case with the proper interpretation of Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act and the extent of the power that has been conferred thereby upon the Commissioner of Police to pass an order in writing prohibiting any assembly or procession. If the impugned orders passed by him exceed the limit of his power under that section, then it will not be permissible to the Court to re-write that order. In fact, it should not be overlooked that under Section 135 of the Bombay Police Act any disobedience of an order lawfully made inter alia under Section 37 is made penal and is an offence punishable with imprisonment and fine. It is not the function of the Court to re-write orders made by the statutory authority merely because upon scrutiny it is found that they transcend the limit of the power conferred upon the authority. It will not therefore be possible for us to construe the impugned orders issued under Section 37(3) as being restricted only to such assemblies and processions as are likely to disturb the preservation of the public order, when in fact a near total prohibition or a near blanket ban on every assembly of five or more persons and every procession is imposed by him.

34. This takes us to the question whether the refusal on the part of the Commissioner of Police to grant permission to the petitioners to hold a meeting by his order dated October 13, 1975 was justified. If the impugned orders from time to time issued under Section 37(3) are ultra vires the provisions of that section, then the refusal to grant permission will equally be open to challenge, because such refusal is by reason of the fact that he has issued different orders at different times prohibiting every assembly of five or more persons. It was, however, urged by Mr. Singhvi that the order refusing to grant permission of the Commissioner of Police by his letter dated October 13, 1975 should be treated as an order in writing within the meaning of Section 37(3) by the Commissioner of Police, In the first place, there is nothing in the affidavit of the Commissioner of Police to indicate that even if the various orders issued by him under Section 37(3) from time to time after the proclamation of emergency are held to be bad, he independently applied his mind to the proposed meeting to be held by the petitioners and was satisfied that in exercise of his power conferred by Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act it was necessary for him to prohibit such a meeting for the preservation of the public order. That such independent mind was applied is not disclosed even by the wording of the order or by any statement contained in the affidavit made by the Commissioner of Police and it will not be permissible to the counsel to contend in the face of these things that the order refusing to grant permission should be treated as an independent order prohibiting a specified meeting, issued in exercise of the power conferred by Section 37(3).

35. Incidentally reference may be made to certain confidential records in respect of which privilege was claimed on behalf of the respondents having regard to the provisions of Section 123 of the Evidence Act read with Section 162. These confidential records as disclosed by the affidavits of the Commissioner of Police and Mr. Sahasrabhojane related to the material that was existing in the Government records as regards the refusal to grant permission to hold the proposed meeting applied for by the petitioners and the material on the basis of which the impugned order dated October 14, 1975 was issued under Rule 69. In the view that I am persuaded to take about the validity of the orders under Section 37(5), it is unnecessary to express any opinion on the question whether such privilege was rightly claimed on behalf of the respondents or not. Even such a question is not required to be determined in relation to the material on the basis of which the impugned order under Rule 69 was issued.

36. The question then to be considered is, is the refusal to grant permission to "hold the proposed meeting justified by reason of the order dated October 14, 1975 issued under Rule 69. Rule 69 of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules:, 1971 as amended by the Defence of India (Amendment) Rules 1975 is as under:

69. Control of processions, meetings, etc.-(1) The Central Government or the State Government may, for the purpose of securing the defence of India and civil defence, the public safety, the maintenance of public order, internal security, or the efficient conduct of military operations by general or special order prohibit, restrict or impose conditions upon, the holding of or taking part in public processions, meetings or assemblies.

(2) For the purposes of Sub-rule (1), any procession, meeting or assembly which is open to the public or to any class or portion of the public, whether held in a public or a private place and whether admission thereto is restricted by the issue of tickets or otherwise, shall be deemed to be a public procession, meeting or assembly as the case may be.

(3) Any police officer may take such steps and use such force as may be reasonably necessary for securing compliance with any order made under this rule.

(4) If any person contravenes any order made under this rule, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

37. In exercise of the powers conferred by this Rule, on October 14, 1975 the Government of Maharashtra issued the following order:

No. XVII-SB/RAP-0175/1-In exercise of the powers conferred on it by Rule 69 read with Rule 1A of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules, 1971, the Government of Maharashtra, for the purpose of securing the maintenance of public order and internal security, hereby prohibits the holding of any public meeting in any of the areas in the State specified in column (1) of the Schedule hereto appended, where any matte relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency declared under the Proclamation of Emergency issued under Clause (1) of Article 352 of the Constitution of India on the 25th day of June 1975 is to be or likely to be discussed or referred to or is discussed or referred to, by any speaker or other person taking part in the public meeting, except after obtaining the prior permission of an officer specified in column (2) appointed for the area specified against him in the Schedule.

2. The Government of Maharashtra hereby further directs that no person shall take part in any public meeting in respect of which such permission is required and has not been obtained.

3. This Order shall remain in force upto and inclusive of the 31st day of December 1975



38. The validity of this order dated October 14, 1975 has been seriously challenged by the petitioners on various grounds. I do not propose to express any opinion on the contentions urged, because, in my opinion, even if it is assumed that the order dated October 14, 1975 issued under Rule 69 is within the powers of the Government, still that order does not justify the Commissioner of Police, Greater Bombay, in refusing to grant permission to hold the proposed meeting. Under this order it is only the holding of a public meeting in the specified area that is prohibited. The question to be considered is whether the proposed meeting to be held by the petitioners is a public meeting either as commonly understood in law or within the definition given in Rule 69(2). If it is not a public meeting, then a fortiori it is clear that the Commissioner of Police has no power under this order to prohibit such a meeting. Whether the definition of "public meeting" given in Rule 69(2) is exhaustive or not is a question on which there is some difference of opinion, between the counsel appearing for the respondents and the Advocate General, but from whatever points of view the matter is looked at, it is quite clear that the proposed meeting cannot be regarded as a public meeting as understood in law or as defined in Rule 69(2).

39. 0. Hood Phillips in his Book entitled "Constitutional and Administrative Law", Fourth Edition, defines a "public meeting" as under (p. 487) :

A 'public meeting' is a meeting held for the purpose of discussing or expressing views on matters of public interest, and which the public or any section thereof is Invited to attend. A public meeting may be held either on private premises or in a public place.
From this definition given of the expression "public meeting" it is quite clear that the place where a meeting is to be held is not decisive of the question whether it is a public or a private meeting. Under this definition before any meeting can be regarded as a public meeting two essential ingredients must in any event be fulfilled: (1) The object of the meeting must be to discuss or express views on matters of public interest and (2) The public or a section thereof is invited to attend such meeting. Under this definition if any one of these ingredients is lacking, then in common parlance it cannot be said to be a public meeting. Any meeting with the object of affirming faith in Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law will require discussion or expression of views on matters of public interest. The question, however, to be considered is whether at the meeting proposed to be held by the petitioners the public or any section thereof is invited to attend.

40. Even under Rule 69(2) a meeting will be a public meeting if it is open to the public or to any class or portion of the public. The place where such meeting is held is irrelevant, namely, whether it is a public or a private place. Under this definition, admission to such meeting even if restricted either by issue of tickets or otherwise is immaterial. One fetter, however, is common both in common parlance as well as in the definition given in Rule 69(2) and that is, that no meeting can be regarded as a public meeting unless it is open to the public or to any class or portion of the public. If this requirement is not fulfilled and if the meeting is not open to the public or to any class or section or portion of the public, then it will not be possible to label such a meeting as a public meeting. The question to be considered in the present case is whether the meeting proposed to be held by the petitioners is open to the public or to any class or portion of the public. Ordinarily, a meeting will be open to the public or to a section thereof when there is a general invitation to the public at large or to a section thereof to attend such meeting. Invitation to attend a meeting to a specific individual for whom it is intended cannot be equated with an invitation to the public at large or to a section of the public. Even if it is aimed that lawyers as a class can be regarded as a section or a portion of the public, there was no general invitation to lawyers to attend this meeting. Only such lawyer who received an individual invitation in his own name was entitled to attend and this thing is normally implicit when an invitee is invited in his individual name, but it is made more clear by reason of the fact that the invitation is not transferable and such endorsement is made on most of the cards issued by the petitioners and the invitee is required to bring the card with him.

41. Simply because despite such restriction some invitee may surreptitiously transfer the invitation and such transferee whether lawyer or not may attend the meeting, it will not convert the meeting into a public meeting. A man who attends the meeting without invitation and in a wrongful and illegal manner cannot convert the meeting which is called of invitee Lawyers as a meeting open to lawyers at large or to a section of lawyers. Great emphasis was laid by Mr. Singhvi upon the expression in Rule 69(2), "whether admission thereto is restricted by the issue of tickets or otherwise". The argument on behalf of the respondents was that the words "or otherwise" should be interpreted in a wide and extensive manner and should be so interpreted as to be wide enough to have within its scope "personal individual invitation". Ordinarily the word "otherwise" is capable of being interpreted in a comprehensive manner, but it cannot be regarded as wide enough to include within its scope a specific personal Invitation, because such interpretation by itself will be repugnant to the earlier part of the Rule that the meeting "is open to the public or to any class or portion of the public". If the meeting is not open to the public or to any class or portion of the public, then such a meeting cannot be regarded as a public meeting irrespective of the fact whether there is restriction qua admission by issue of tickets or otherwise.

42. Such is the normal significance of a public meeting is borne out by judicial decisions. In Emperor v. Shankar Papayya: (1943)45BOMLR310 what is meant by a public assembly is discussed as under:

...The expression 'public assembly' seems to be used in contra-distinction to private assembly, and in my view an assembly, to be a public assembly, must be qualified both as to its purpose, and as to its composition. To my mind a public assembly is one the object of which is the furtherance of some public purpose, and the constitution of which involves the admission of members of the public, whether conditionally or unconditionally.
Thus it is very clear from these observations that mere furtherance of a public purpose by itself is not sufficient to convert a, meeting into a public meeting. The aspect of the constitution of the meeting is equally relevant and the constitution of the meeting must involve admission of members of the public, whether conditionally or unconditionally. When a meeting is only open to an individual who is specifically invited, it cannot be regarded as open to members of the public or a section thereof.

43. Reliance was, however, placed by Mr. Singhvi upon the decision of the Supreme Court in A.T.I, Research Asscn. v. State of Bombay : (1960)IILLJ720SC . The question that arose for consideration before the Supreme Court was, what are the exact tests for determining whether an activity is an industry? and whether activity of the Ahmedabad Textile Industry's Research Association was an industry? This question had arisen in the context of the question whether a dispute between such an association and its employees could be referred for adjudication under the Industrial Disputes Act. Reliance was placed by Mr. Singhvi upon the following observations (p. 487):

...It will thus be clear that in effect the association has been established to carry on. research with respect to textile industry jointly for the benefit of its members; but for this, each member-mill might have had to establish its own research apartment, which would be a part of its activity. Can it be said under these circumstances that this is an undertaking which is purely of educational character and therefore covered by the Australian case mentioned above? We are of opinion, considering the objects and the Rules and Regulations of the appellant-association, that it answers the tests laid down in State of Bombay v. Hospital Mazdoor Sabha : (1960)ILLJ251SC and must be held to be an undertaking within the meaning of Section 2(j). It is an activity systematically undertaken; its object is to render material services to a part of the community (namely, member-milk)- the material services being the discovery of processes of manufacture etc. with a view to secure greater efficiency, rationalisation and reduction of costs of the member-mills;...its object clearly is to render material service to a part of the community by discovery of processes of manufacture etc. with a view to secure greater efficiency, rationalisation and reduction of costs.
The argument of Mr. Singhvi was that even though the association was to consist of member-mills, still its activity was regarded as rendition of material services to a part of the community by discovery of processes of manufacture etc. It is difficult to understand how such a stray observation while considering the question whether the activity of an association was an industry within the meaning of the Industrial Disputes Act, can throw any light on the question whether a particular meeting or assembly can be regarded as a public meeting or assembly. It is one of the essential ingredients of a public meeting that a fortiori it must be open to the public or to a class or section of the public. If such an ingredient is lacking in any meeting or assembly then it will not be permissible to label such a meeting or assembly as a public meeting or assembly. When such is the case, what is the manner of admitting people to such meeting is entirely irrelevant.

44. Reference was also made by Mr. Singhvi to the decision of the House of Lords in Oppenheim v. Tobacco Securities Trust Co. Ltd. [1951] A.C. 297. The question that arose for consideration before the House of Lords was whether a particular settlement or trust was a charitable trust or settlement. In that case, by a settlement trustees were directed to apply certain income in providing for the education of children of employees or former employees of a British limited company or any of its subsidiary or allied companies. The employees so indicated numbered over 1,10,000. It was held (per Lord Simonds, Lord Normand, Lord Oaksey and Lord Morton of Henryton, Lord MacDermott dissenting) that, though the group of persons indicated was numerous, the nexus between them was employment by particular employers, and accordingly the trust did not satisfy the test of public benefit requisite to establish it as charitable. How this decision is helpful to Mr. Singhvi, it is difficult for me to understand. The number of beneficiaries even though large will not by itself be sufficient to convert a trust into a public charitable trust. The element of reservation of benefit to the public or to a section of the public is essential and unless that element is present in a trust it cannot be regarded as a public charitable trust. In the present case it is quite apparent that lawyers as a class are not invited. Only such lawyer who has received an invitation in his individual name is entitled to attend the proposed meeting. When such is the position, it is difficult to understand how can such a meeting be regarded as open to the public or a class or section of the public. If this elementary ingredient is lacking then the petitioners are right in contending that the meeting proposed to be held by them is only a private indoor meeting. The order dated October 14, 1975 issued under Rule 69 only prohibits a public meeting and its provisions cannot be attracted to a private indoor meeting. Therefore, the refusal by the Commissioner to grant permission to hold the meeting by reason of the order dated October 14, 1975 is clearly unjustified.

V.D. Tulzapurkar, J.

45. I agree. I would however like to deal with some of the principal points arising in the matter in my own way.

46. The facts giving rise to this petition lie in a narrow compass and may briefly be stated thus: The petitioners, who are Advocates by profession and office bearers of the Bombay Committee of Lawyers formed for the preservation and promotion of 'Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law' were desirous of holding a meeting of lawyers of Greater Bombay to discuss in a constructive manner the question of 'Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law under the Constitution'; the said meeting which was going to be strictly a private indoor meeting restricted only to lawyer-invitees was proposed to be held at 3.00 p.m. on October 18, 1975 at Jinnah Hall, Bombay and the same was to be addressed amongst others by Shri M.C. Chagla a former Chief Justice of Bombay, Shri J.C. Shah "a former Chief Justice of India and petitioner No. 1 a former Judge of this Court. Since the petitioners believe in the rule of law and out of greater caution permission to hold the proposed meeting (without prejudice to the contention that no such permission was necessary) was sought by the petitioners from respondent No. 1 (Commissioner of Police for Greater Bombay) but relying upon his own general orders issued from time to time under Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951 (prohibiting all assemblies throughout Greater Bombay except with his permission) as also relying upon the general order dated October 14, 1975 issued by respondent No. 2 (State of Maharashtra) under Rule 69 read with Rule 1A of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules, 1971 (prohibiting holding of or taking part in all public meetings where the Emergency declared on June 25, 1975 is to be or is likely to be discussed or referred to except after obtaining prior permission of the concerned officer) respondent No. 1 by his letters dated October 13, 1975 and October 18, 1975 refused such permission. The petitioners have approached this Court to challenge the aforesaid action on the part of respondent No. 1 and while doing so they have challenged the legality and/or validity of: (a) the general orders issued from time to time by respondent No. 1 prohibiting any assembly of five or more persons in the area of Greater Bombay under Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951, which orders have been and are in operation from June 26, 1975 up to January 8, 1976 (marked exh. D collectively in the case); (b) the refusal of respondent No. 1 dated October 13, 1975 to grant permission to hold the proposed meeting in view of the aforesaid general orders issued under Section 37(3) of that Act; (c) the general order dated October 14, 1975 issued by respondent No. 2 under Rule 69 read with Rule 1A of Defence and Internal Security of India Rules, 1971 and (d) the refusal of respondent No. 1 dated October 18, 1975 to grant permission to hold the aforesaid proposed meeting in view of respondent No. 2'si general order Dated October 14, 1975.

47. The challenge to the general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time under Section 37(3), being item (a) above, is principally on the ground that the said orders (all of which are in identical terms) amount to a blanket ban on all assemblies regardless of their nature or character, regardless of the purposes for which they may be called or regardless of their location within Greater Bombay and as such they are outside the power conferred on respondent No. 1 in that behalf and therefore ultra vires Section 37(3); in other words, the contention is that the exercise of the power by respondent No. 1 under Section VC is subject to a condition precedent specified in the section and on a true construction of these orders on the face of them respondent No. 1 could not be said to have been satisfied about the existence of the condition precedent and as such these general orders are liable to be struck down. As regards item (b) above, the said refusal to grant permission on the part of respondent No. 1 is challenged on the ground that if the general orders issued by respondent No. 1 under Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act are bad in law, no permission would be required to hold the proposed meeting and along with the general orders this refusal must also fall to the ground. Alternatively it is contended that assuming that the general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time under Section 37(3) are valid, even then the said refusal should be struck down on the ground of irrational and partisan exercise of discretion vested in him- irrational exercise inasmuch as there was no material before him to come to the conclusion that the proposed meeting was in any manner likely to disturb the public order and partisan exercise inasmuch as permission was granted by him to certain lawyers to hold a Lawyers' Conference in Bombay which was held under Government patronage in September 1975. As regards item (c) above, the challenge to the legality and/or validity of the general order dated October 14, 1975 is based on the ground that the said general order is ultra vires Rule 69 read with Rule 1A and therefore void. The contention is that no order can be passed under Rule 69 read with Rule 1A except for one or more of the purposes specified in that Rule (viz. securing the defence of India and civil defence, internal security, public safety, maintenance of public order or efficient conduct of military operations) and in this case the impugned order has no rational connection or nexus with nor is the order in any way related to the above purposes; in other words, the conditions precedent required by Rule 69 read with Rule 1A are absent. It is also contended that in issuing this general order the State Government has misdirected itself in law and the same is manifestly unreasonable and too wide to be authorised by the parent Act or parent Rule. In any case, it is contended that the said general order has been issued mala fide and/or on extraneous and non-germane considerations, with a view to stifle and choke the expression of any view not palatable to the Government, As regards item (d) above, a three-fold contention is raised; first that if the impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 is for any of the aforesaid reasons bad in law, the refusal must fall with it to the ground; secondly assuming that the impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 is valid, the order refusing permission for the proposed meeting is of no avail, inasmuch as, the impugned order is in terms applicable only to public meetings and the proposed meeting is clearly a private indoor meeting; and thirdly assuming the proposed meeting is a public meeting and hence is covered by the said general order dated October 14, 1975, it is contended that there was no material before respondent No. 1 on the basis of which he could have come to the conclusion that the proposed meeting was likely to affect the internal security in any manner or disturb the public order in any way and hence the exercise of discretion by respondent No. 1 has been improper and irrational.

48. On behalf of the respondents each one of the grounds on the basis of which the general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time under Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act as well as the general order dated October 14, 1975 issued by respondent No. 2 have been challenged is disputed and denied. It has been contended that the general orders of respondent No. 1 issued from time to time under Section 37(5) have been properly issued by him after he had satisfied himself that an occasion to exercise the power under that section had arisen and that the condition precedent for the exercise of the power under that section had been fulfilled. It is pointed out that each one of the said general orders contains a recital to the effect: "it is considered necessary by the 1st respondent for the preservation of the public order to prohibit any assembly of five or more persons in the area in Greater Bombay" and as such the condition precedent for the exercise of the power must be taken to have been fulfilled unless the petitioners are able to establish that the said recital is inaccurate which has not been done. It is further contended that once respondent No. 1 is and can be said to have been satisfied about the necessity to prohibit assemblies or processions for the preservation of the public order, the jurisdiction to act under that section arises and then the section confers upon him the power to prohibit all (ft any assembly and all or any procession, the ambit of power being of widest amplitude and therefore even if the said general orders of respondent No. 1 under Section 37(3) are regarded as imposing a total ban or blanket ban on all assemblies, it cannot affect the validity or legality of the orders. Thus the general orders cannot be said to be outside Section 37(3) and are not liable to be struck down. As regards general order dated October 14, 1975 issued by respondent No. 2, it is emphatically disputed that the said order is ultra vires Rule 69 read with Rule 1A and it is further disputed that the said order has no rational connection or nexus with any of the purposes mentioned in Rule 69 read with Rule 1A. It is pointed out that the impugned order dated October 14, 1975 itself recites that the Government of Maharashtra was issuing the said order for the purpose of "securing the maintenance of public order and internal security" and that there were materials before the State Government in the form of Reports of several public meetings held in various parts, of the State including important cities at which the Emergency declared on June 25, 1975 had been vehemently criticized on the basis of which the State Government could honestly come to the conclusion that the issuance of such general order was necessary for the purpose of securing the maintenance of public order and internal security. It is further contended that the said order is a piece of subordinate legislation-a measure enacted by respondent No. 2 in the exercise of delegated statutory powers-and as such the Court cannot enquire into whether the legislative facts on the basis of which such subordinate legislation has been undertaken actually existed or not. Moreover, the impugned order cannot be regarded as being wholly unrelated to the purposes mentioned in Rule 69 read with Rule 1A but is capable of being related to those purposes and as such is a valid order and there is no question of the State Government having misdirected itself in law while issuing the said order or the said order being unreasonable or too wide to be authorised by the parent Act or the parent Rule. It is denied that the said order has been issued mala fide said or on extraneous and non-germane considerations or for the purpose of stifling the expression of views unpalatable to Government as alleged. Since all the general orders issued by respondent No. 1 under Section 37(3) as well as the general order dated October 14, 1975 issued by respondent No. 2 are valid in law, there is no question of respondent No. l's refusal to grant permission to hold the proposed meeting either under letter dated October 13, 1975 or under letter dated October 18, 1975 falling to the ground. On merits, the refusal to grant permission to the proposed meeting is sought to be justified on the basis that respondent No. 1 had enough material in the form of Confidential Reports on the proposed speakers, which, according to him, clearly established that those speakers "indulge in speeches and remarks which will clearly affect the public order and internal security" and as such the permission sought could not be granted. It may be stated that when the petitioners called for the particulars of these Confidential Reports on the proposed speakers and their speeches and remarks, a privilege has been claimed under Section 123 of the Evidence Act that these reports comprised unpublished official records relating to the affairs of the State and their disclosures would not be in public interest. It is also contended that the proposed meeting though styled as 'a private indoor meeting' is really a public meeting within the meaning of Rule 69 and therefore since holding of such meeting was going to result in disturbance and was going to affect the public order and internal security the permission was rightly refused in view of the general order dated October 14, 1975. So far as Section 37(3) is concerned, it is claimed that respondent No. 1 is empowered there under to prohibit even a private assembly or meeting and as such the refusal in the light of the general orders of respondent No. 1 was also justified.

49. In addition to the aforesaid contentions asserting the validity of the impugned general orders as well as the impugned refusal, a preliminary objection to the maintainability of the petition has also been raised on behalf of the respondents and the non-maintainability of the petition is pressed into service on the basis of the proclamations of emergency issued by the President of India respectively on December 3, 1972 and June 25, 1975 under Article 352 of the Constitution and the Presidential Order issued on June 27, 1975 under the provisions of Article 359(7) of the Constitution. In substance the contention is that in view of the suspension of Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution under the aforesaid proclamations of Emergency and the Presidential Order dated June 27, 1975 the petitioners have no locus to approach this Court for the reliefs sought.

50. Before dealing with the question pertaining to the validity or otherwise of the. impugned general orders and the impugned refusal I would first like to deal with the question of maintainability of the petition which has been raised as and by way of preliminary objection on behalf of the respondents. In support of his preliminary objection to the maintainability of the petition, Mr. Chagla on behalf of respondent No. 2 pointed out that there are two proclamations of Emergency issued by the President of India respectively on December 3, 1971 and June 25, 1975 under Article 352(1) of the Constitution which are currently in operation and by virtue of Article 358, Article 19 and its provisions get automatically suspended and in view of the Presidential Order dated June 27, 1975 which is a general blanket order read with Article 359(1A) of the Constitution, Article 21 is also suspended and according to him, in view of the suspension of these Articles, particularly the former during the Emergency, the petitioners are not entitled to any relief for the reasons that: (a) the right claimed by the petitioners is the same as guaranteed by Article 19; (b) even if there is any right dehors Article 19 the same gets merged with the right under Article 19; (c) even a right independent of Article 19 cannot be enforced if the same is identical with or similar to the one guaranteed by Article 19 and (d) if the only right which the executive action affects is the one guaranteed under Article 19 or affects a right same as or similar to the one guaranteed by Article 19 then such an executive action cannot be challenged during the Emergency even if the same is without the authority of law. It is obvious that the aforesaid submissions of Mr. Chagla must depend upon what is the true effect of the declarations of Emergency by the President under Article 352(1) vis-a-vis Article 19 or the provisions thereof in the light of Article 358 of the Constitution. Article 358 of the Constitution runs thus:

358. Suspension of provisions of Article 19 during emergencies. While a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, nothing in Article 19 shall restrict the power of the State as defined in Part III to make any law or to take any executive action which the state would but for the provisions contained in that Part be competent to make or to take, but any law so made shall, to the extent of in competency, cease to have the effect as soon as the Proclamation ceases to operate, except as respects things done or omitted to be done before the law so ceases to have effect.
Relying on the marginal note to the above Article as also relying on certain observations made by the Supreme Court in some of its decisions, Mr. Chagla contended that the position is clear that during the operation of Emergency declared by the President under Article 352, Article 19 of the Constitution and the provisions thereof get automatically suspended in the sense that none of the rights specified therein remains on the Statute book during the Emergency. He urged that the suspension of the provisions of Article 19 contemplated by Article 358 has the effect of all the rights under Article 19 getting completely abrogated or repealed as it were during the Emergency and if that were so, the petitioners cannot claim the reliefs sought by them in this petition, for, in substance the petitioners are doing nothing but seeking to enforce a right to assemble peaceably under Article 19(1)(b) of the Constitution or at the highest a right which is identical or similar to the one guaranteed by Article 19(1)(b). In support of his contention that the provisions of Article 19 get automatically suspended in the sense in which he has indicated he strongly relied upon certain observations of the Supreme Court in Makhan Singh v. State of Punjab : 1964CriLJ217 and Ananda v. Chief Secy., Govt. of Madras : 1966CriLJ586 . He pointed out that in the former case the Supreme Court, though it was principally concerned with the question of proper construction of Article 359(1), actually compared and contrasted the provisions of Articles 358 and 359 for the purpose of properly construing the latter Article and while doing so the Court indicated some important distinctions between the provisions of Article 358 and Article 359(7) and in that context he relied upon the following observations made by Gajendragadkar J. (as he then was) in para. 9 of the judgment (p. 393) :

Article 359, on the other hand, does not purport expressly to suspend any of the fundamental rights. It authorises the President to issue an order declaring that the right to move any court for the enforcement of such of the rights in Part III as may be mentioned in the order and all proceedings in any court for the enforcement of the rights so mentioned shall remain suspended for the period during which proclamation is in force or for such shorter period as may be specified in the order. What the Presidential Order purports to do by virtue of the power conferred on the President by Article 359(1) is to bar the remedy of the citizens to move any court for the enforcement of the specified rights. The right are not expressly suspended, but the citizen is deprived of his right to move any court for their enforcement. That is one important distinction, between the provisions of Article 358 and Article 359(1).
Mr. Chagla also relied upon the following observations (the underlined portion in particular) of Subba Rao J. (as he then was) in that very case in para, 56 of the judgment (p. 407) :

...It is contended that when remedy is suspended in respect of infringement of Article 22, the right thereunder also falls with it. It is said that right and remedy are reciprocal; and if there cannot be a right without a remedy, there cannot also be a remedy without a right. (After quoting a passage from Salmond on Jurisprudence the learned Judge has proceeded to observe thus:)

I understand this passage to mean that a right pertains to the substantive law and the remedy, to procedural law: that where a right is provided by a statute, a remedy, though not expressly provided for, may necessarily be implied. But the converse, though obtained in primitive law, cannot be invoked in modern time. To put it in other words, the suspension of a remedy cannot abrogate the right itself. Indeed, a comparative study of Articles 358 and 359 of the Constitution indicates that it could not have been the intention of the makers of the Constitution, for Article 358 expressly suspends the right whereas Article 359 suspends the remedy.

In Ananda's case the Supreme Court has again made observations in para. 5 of its judgment to the effect that as soon as the Proclamation of Emergency is issued by the President under Article 358, "the provisions of Article 19 are automatically suspended." Relying upon these observations Mr. Chagla urged that if the rights under Article 19 are thus taken away during the Emergency, the petitioners would not be entitled to maintain the petition for claiming the reliefs which they have claimed herein. It is not possible to accept the aforesaid submission of Mr. Chagla for the simple reason that the same is not warranted by the operative part of Article 358. All that the operative part of Article v says is that while a proclamation of Emergency is in operation nothing in Article 19 shall restrict the power of the State to make any law or to take any Executive action which the State would but for the provisions contained in Part III be competent to make or to take, In normal circumstances when no emergency is in operation neither the Parliament nor any State Legislature can having regard to Article 13(2) read with Article 19 make any law which takes away or abridges the rights guaranteed by Article 19 and any law made in contravention of this fetter would to the extent of contravention be void and all that Article 358 provides is that while Emergency is in operation such a fetter will not operate upon either the Parliament or any State Legislature. This, in-my view, is the true effect of the operative part of Article 358 so far as the State's legislative action is concerned. It is true that the marginal note speaks of "Suspension of the provisions of Article 19 during Emergency" but the marginal note cannot either control or enlarge the operative part of the article and the suspension spoken of by the marginal note must mean that during the operation of Emergency the provisions of Article 19 are suspended only for the purpose of removing the fetter, which would otherwise be there on the Parliament or a State Legislature under Article 13(2) read with Article 19 of the Constitution. It is only in this sense that there is a suspension of the provisions of Article 19 during the Emergency. There is no question of there being suspension of the provisions of Article 19 or the rights thereunder in the sense that the said rights under Article 19 get totally abrogated or repealed or removed as it were from the Statute book. In my view, this aspect of Article 358 has been clearly indicated by Gajendragadkar J, (as he then was) in Makhan Singh's case itself. In para. 8 of the judgment this is what the learned Judge has observed (p. 392) :

...It would be noticed that as soon as a Proclamation of Emergency has been issued under Article 352 and so long as it lasts, Article 19 is suspended and the power of the legislatures as well as the executive is to that extent made wider. The suspension of Article 19 during the pendency of the proclamation of emergency removes the fetters created on the legislative and executive powers by Article 19 and if the legislatures make laws or the executive commits acts which are inconsistent with the rights guaranteed by Article 19, their validity is not open to challenge either during the continuance of the emergency or even thereafter.
It will thus appear clear that in that very case on which reliance has been placed by Mr. Chagla the Supreme Court has brought out the aspect very clearly that the suspension of Article 19 during the operation of Emergency merely removes the fetters created on the legislative and executive powers by Article 19 and nothing more. As stated earlier, the operative part of Article 358 clearly indicates the sense in which and the purpose for which the suspension of the provisions of Article 19 takes effect. It is true that in the above case while pointing out the distinction between Article 358 and Article 359(1) the Court has observed that the effect of the Presidential Order under Article 359(1) is merely to bar the remedy of a citizen to move any Court for enforcement of citizen's right and the rights themselves are not expressly suspended and that is one of the important distinctions between the provisions of Articles 358 and 359(1) and it is also true that the observations to the same effect have been made by Subba Rao J. in para. 5(5 of the judgment, but that is far from saying that there is suspension of the rights under Article 19 during the pendency of Emergency in the sense that the said rights are as it were completely abrogated, repealed or removed from the Statute book. The suspension of rights guaranteed by Article 19 contemplated by Article 358 is only for the purpose of removing the fetters created on the legislative and executive powers by that article read with Article 13(2) of the Constitution. In my view, therefore, the observations in Makhan Singh's case as well those in Anmda's case on which reliance has been placed by Mr. Chagla will have to be understood in the manner indicated above.

51. There is: another aspect of the matter which, supports the view which I am taking on the proper construction of Article 358 and that aspect emerges from the recent insertion of new Articles (1A) in Article 359 by the Constitution (38th Amendment) Act, 1975. By introduction of new Article (1A). in Article 359 of the Constitution the same effect, which is available qua Article 19 under Article 358, is sought to be achieved qua the other rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution as maybe specified in the Presidential Order issued under Article 359. The language of new Article (1A) introduced by 38th Amendment so far as is material for our purposes is almost identical with the language obtaining in Article 358, If the true effect of Article 358 is as contended for by Mr. Chagla, namely there is suspension of the provisions of Article 19 or the rights thereunder in the sense that the said rights are completely abrogated or repealed or removed as it were from the statute book during the Emergency, then the same effect would follow qua such of the rights in Part III as may be specified by the President in his Presidential Order issued tinder Article 359(1), that is to say, as and when the President issues his order during the operation of Emergency mentioning any of the rights conferred by Part III, then, those rights also during the time the Presidential Order is in operation must be taken to be completely abrogated or repealed or removed from the statute book. In such an event, there would be no necessity to retain the provision of Article 359(1) under which the President has been empowered by an order to declare that the right to move any Court for enforcement of such of the rights conferred by Part III as may be mentioned in the order and all proceedings pending in any Court for enforcement of the rights so mentioned shall remain suspended for the period during which the Proclamation is in force or for such shorter period as may be specified in the order, for, if the rights themselves are not in existence as a result of being suspended under Article 359(1A) there would be no occasion to suspend the right to move for enforcement of those rights; specified in the Presidential Order, The fact that even after insertion of new Article (1A) in Article 359 Article 359(1) is 'retained on the statute book goes to show that there is no suspension of the rights guaranteed by Article 19 under Article v or of any of the other rights specified in the Presidential Order during the Emergency under Article 359(1A) in the sense that those rights get completely abrogated or repealed or removed as it were from the statute book.

52. There is yet another aspect of the matter which seems to run counter to Mr. Chaarla's submission and it is this that if Mr. Chagla were right that upon declaration of Emergency all the rights under Article 19 get automatically abrogated or repealed under Article 358 in the sense that they are no longer in existence or available to any one during the operation of Emergency, then, I really fail to understand as to why the provisions of Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act or of Rule 69 of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules are being invoked by respondent No. 1 and respondent No. 2 for banning all assemblies of five or more persons in Greater Bombay and for banning all public debate on Emergency in all Municipal and Cantonment areas of the State of Maharashtra. It is not possible to say that these provisions have been resorted to out of greater caution notwithstanding the position that no right under Article 19(1)(b) is in existence or available during the emergency, On the proper interpretation of Article 358 therefore it is not possible to accept the submission of Mr. Chagla and as I have indicated above, the true effect of Article 358 in so far as legislative action is concerned is that the fetters which would otherwise operate on the Parliament or a State Legislature to make laws in contravention of the mandate of Article 13(2) read with Article 19 get removed and no thing more. In other words, during the emergency the Parliament or any State Legislature can make laws abridging or taking away any of the rights guaranteed under Article 19, but without any such law or laws being made it is not possible to accept the contention that upon mere declaration of emergency the rights under Article 19 get automatically abrogated or repealed under Article 358.

53. Coming to the State's power to take executive action I may state that the true effect of Article 358 vis-a-vis any executive action that may be taken in derogation of the rights under Article 19 during the emergency has been the subject of the Supreme Court decisions in which the position is clarified that after the declaration of Emergency the protection of Article 358 is available only if such executive action has the sanction or authority of a valid law behind it. Mr. Chagla has undoubtedly contended that in view of suspension of the provisions of Article 19 under Article 358 if any executive action is taken which affects a right under Article 19 or a right same as or similar to the one guaranteed by Article 19, such executive action cannot be challenged during emergency even if the same is without the authority of law and in support of this contention strong reliance has been placed upon the decision of the Supreme Court in Bam Jaway a v. State of Punjab : [1955]2SCR225 . It is really not necessary for me to go into the facts of this particular case and the propositions enunciated therein for the simple reason that this decision has been clearly explained by the Supreme Court in its subsequent decision in the case of State of M.P. v. Bharat Singh A.I.R. [1967] S.C. 1170. The observations of Chief Justice Mukherjea in Ram Jawaya's case which are relied upon by Mr. Chagla have been explained by Shah J. in Bharat Singh's case as having been made in the context of distribution of powers between the Centre and State and the order in that case not having operated to the prejudice of any citizen. It would be necessary to deal with Bharat Singh's case in some detail, inasmuch as, Mr. Justice Shah (as he then was) has categorically taken the view that in respect of acts done to the prejudice of the respondent after declaration of emergency on October 20, 1962 under Article 352 of the Constitution no immunity from the process of the Court could be claimed under Article 358 of the Constitution since the order was not supported by any valid legislation. In that case an order imposing certain restrictions on movements and actions of the respondent (Thakur Bharat Singh) issued under Section 3(1)(b) of Madhya Pradesh Public Security Act, 1959 was challenged on the grounds, inter alia, that Sections 3 and 6 and the other provisions of the Act which authorised imposition of such restrictions were ultra vires in that they" infringed the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under Article 19(7)(b) and (e) of the Constitution. On behalf of the State it was contended that so long as the state of Emergency declared on October 20, 1962 by the President under Article 352 was not withdrawn or revoked the respondent could not move the High Court by a petition under Article 226 on the plea that by the impugned order his fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution was infringed. This contention was repelled on the ground that the Act was a pre-Emergency measure and if it was void when enacted as being in derogation of the fundamental rights the same could not be revived after the proclamation of Emergency was made by the President. The Court observed that Article 358 which suspends the provisions of Article 19 during the Emergency declared by the President under Article 352 is in terms prospective and that the said Article cannot operate to validate the legislative provision which was invalid because of the constitutional inhibition before the proclamation of Emergency, On behalf of the State, however, a further contention was urged-and this is relevant for our present purpose-that Article 358 protected the action, both legislative and executive, taken after the proclamation of Emergency and therefore any executive action by the Officer of the State or by the State will not be liable to be challenged on the ground that it infringed the fundamental freedom under Article 19. The Supreme Court rejected this contention in these words (p. 1173) :

...In our judgment, this argument involves a grave fallacy. All executive action which operates to the prejudice of any person must have the authority of law to support it, and the terms of Article 358 do not detract from that rule. Article 358 expressly authorises the State to take legislative or executive action provided such action was competent for the State to make or take, but for the provisions contained in Part III of the Constitution. Article 358 does not purport to invest the State with arbitrary authority to take action to the prejudice of citizens and others: it merely provides that so long as the proclamation of emergency subsists laws may be enacted, and executive action may be taken in pursuance of lawful authority, which if the provisions of Article 19 were operative would have been invalid.
After referring to the fact that our federal structure is founded on certain fundamental principles, such as sovereignty of people with limited Government authority, distribution of powers between the three arras of the State, each having some check, direct or indirect, on the other and the rule of law which includes judicial review of arbitrary executive action, the Court has further observed thus (p. 1173):

...We have adopted under our Constitution not the continental system but the British system under which the rule of law prevails. Every Act done by the Government or by its officers must, if it is to operate to the prejudice of any person, be supported by some legislative authority.
Ultimately the Court struck down the impugned order issued under Section 3(1)(b) of the M.P. Public Security Act, 1959 which put restrictions on movements and actions of the respondent. It will be significant to note that though the legislative provision being a pre-Emergency provision was held not to have been revived by the Emergency, the executive action on the part of the State was sought to be justified on the ground that Article 358 afforded protection to such executive action during Emergency when the provisions of Article 19 remain suspended. Even so, the Supreme Court took the view that any executive action taken by the Government or by its officers, if it is to operate to the prejudice of any person, must be supported by a legislative authority and if the same had not the support of valid law the same was liable to be struck down at the instance of aggrieved party. Mr. Chagla attempted to suggest that even after suspension of Article 19 during Emergency, there was Article 21 in operation under which personal liberty of the respondent could be said to be still enforceable 'and the observations of Mr. Justice Shah to the effect that executive action should have some legislative authority behind it could be explained on the basis that notwithstanding the suspension of Article 19 Article 21 was available to the respondent. I must, however, observe that there is no reference whatever to Article 21 in the entire judgment and perhaps that Article was not in the mind of either the parties or their counsel or the Court when the matter was disposed of and the observations must be read in the context of Article 19 by reference to which the matter was argued and decided. I may further point out that the same approach has been indicated by Shah J. in a subsequent case in Dist. Collector Hyderabad v. Ibrahim & Co.: [1970]3SCR498 . The following portion of the head-note makes the point clear:

...But the executive order immune from attack under Article 358 is only that order which the State was competent, but for the provisions contained in Article 19, to make Executive action of the State Government which is otherwise invalid is not immune from attack, merely because a proclamation of emergency is in operation when it is taken.
In view of these authorities of the Supreme Court it seems to me clear that after the declarations of Emergency-the one on December 3, 1972 and the other on June 25, 1975-art. 358 merely removed the fetters on the powers of either the Parliament or a State Legislature to make any law abridging or taking away the rights guaranteed by Article 19 but in the absence of any such law having been made any executive action that may be taken to the prejudice of any person will require sanction of some valid law and if there be no valid law to support the executive action the same can be challenged by the person aggrieved thereby. Since in the instant case the executive action of respondent No. 1 in refusing to grant permission to the petitioners for holding the proposed meeting prejudicially affects the petitioners, the petitioners will have the locus to approach the Court and call upon the executive to support its action by a valid law. Further more, the petitioners are challenging the impugned general orders-those issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time tinder Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act as also the one issued by respondent No. 2 under Rule 69 read with Rule 1A of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules, 1971- not on the ground that these are violative of Article 19 but on the ground that these are ultra vires being outside the parent Act or parent Rule, which ground is certainly available to them even after the declaration of Emergency. The petitioners, in my view, are, therefore, clearly entitled to maintain the petition seeking the reliefs sought and the preliminary objection against the maintainability of the petition raised on behalf of the respondents must fail.

54. The next question that arises for consideration pertains to legality and/or validity of the general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time under Section 37(5) of the Act and of the general order dated October 14, 1975 issued by respondent No. 2 under Rule 69 read with Rule 1A of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules, 1971. But before I go to the question of legality and/or validity of those impugned general orders I would like to dispose of a small controversy that was raised before us as to whether these impugned general orders are executive orders or partake the nature of subordinate legislation. It was urged by Mr. Dhanuka, who appeared on behalf of the Advocate General of Maharashtra to whom notice under Order XXVII-A of the Civil Procedure Code was issued by this Court, that all these orders (all the impugned general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time as well as the impugned general order issued by respondent No. 2 on October 14, 1975) will have to be regarded as pieces of subordinate legislation enacted by the respective authorities concerned in the exercise of statutory powers conferred on them and these could not be said to be executive orders. As regards the former set of orders (which are produced at exh. D collectively) he pointed out that Section 37(3) under which these orders have been issued by respondent No. 1 occurs in Chapter IV of the Bombay Police Act which has the caption "Police Regulations". Under this Chapter IV which deals with the Police Regulations power has been conferred upon the Commissioner of Police and the District Magistrate in areas under their respective charges to make rules of general applicability on topics specified in several sections comprised in this chapter; for instance, he pointed out that Section 33 confers power upon these authorities to make rules for regulation of traffic and for the preservation of order in public places; Section 35 confers power upon these authorities to make rules prohibiting disposal of the dead except at places set apart, so on and so forth; he also pointed out that the contraventions of such rules or orders to be made or passed by the Commissioner or the District Magistrate have been rendered a penal. In particular he pointed out that Sub-sections (1) and (3) of Section 37 confer power upon the Commissioner of Police to issue orders of general applicability prohibiting certain acts for preservation of public peace, public safety or public order and for prevention of public disorder. All the orders in question which have been issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time in this case under Section 37(3) of the Act are of general applicability, in that these orders seek to prohibit assemblies of five or more persons and any procession of any persons (except those specified) throughout the area of Greater Bombay and for the periods specified in the orders. He also pointed out that any contravention of these orders issued under Section 37(3) has been made penal under Section 135(3) of the said Act. He, therefore, urged that since these impugned orders issued from time to time by respondent No, 1 under Section 37(3) are of general applicability in the sense that these lay down general rules of conduct to be followed by the community at large will have to be regarded as pieces of subordinate legislation enacted in the exercise of statutory powers conferred upon respondent No. 1 under the Bombay Police Act. Similarly he pointed out that the impugned order dated October 14, 1975 issued by respondent No. 2 (State of Maharashtra) under Rule 69 read with Rule 1A of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules, 1971 is of general applicability and lays down a general rule of conduct meant for observance by the community at large during the period it remains in operation and that under sub-r. (4) of Rule 69 the contravention of any order made under Rule 69(1) has been made an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend upto three years or with fine or with both. Having regard to these aspects he contended that both these types of orders with which the Court is concerned in this case, namely (a) the general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time under Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act as well as (b) the general order dated October 14, 1975 issued by respondent No. 2 under Rule 69 read with Rule 1A must be regarded as pieces of subordinate legislation and not executive orders of respondent No. 1 or respondent No. 2. The reason for advancing such a contention before the Court has been that according to Mr. Dhanuka different tests are required to be adopted for the purpose of testing the validity and/or legality of subordinate legislation and executive orders. Mr. Jethmalani conceded that the impugned general orders in this case could be and will have to be regarded as pieces of subordinate legislation, but he strenuously disputed the further contention of Mr. Dhanuka that different tests are required to be applied for testing the validity and or legality of subordinate legislation and executive orders; he submitted that some of the tests are common and are equally applicable for testing the validity of both; in particular he urged that unreasonableness was and is a valid head for invalidating subordinate legislations as well as executive orders. I will deal with the rival contentions on the question as to what should be the proper test or tests for deciding the validity or otherwise of subordinate legislation presently. But at this stage it should be enough if I state that in view of the concession made by Mr. Jethmalani I shall proceed on the basis that all these impugned general orders are in the nature of subordinate legislations.

55. On the question as to what would be the proper test or tests on the basis of which the validity and legality of subordinate legislation could be determined Mr. Dhanuka urged that in cases where the Court is dealing with subordinate legislation the test of direct and proximate nexus between the impugned measure and the purpose or purposes for which the legislative power could be exercised cannot be applied and such pieces of subordinate legislation can be struck down only if it is shown that the same are totally incapable of being related to and not at all germane to the purposes, whereas in the case of executive orders the test of direct and proximate nexus between the impugned order and the purposes for which the order could be passed may be a proper and valid test. In other words, according to Mr. Dhanuka when the Court is dealing with a piece of subordinate legislation the test of direct and proximate nexus cannot be applied or extended to such subordinate legislation for the purpose of testing its validity but the person challenging such subordinate legislation will have to show that the impugned subordinate legislation is wholly unrelated to the purposes for which it could be made; in other words, he contended that the question which the Court will have to consider is: Does the impugned measure tend to promote or effectuate or sub serve the specified purposes or purposes ancillary thereto? and if the question is answered in the affirmative, the impugned subordinate legislation will have to be upheld. In support of his said contention reliance was placed by Mr. Dhanuka upon a decision of this Court in Amichand v. G.B. Kotah (1964) 67 Bom. L.R. 234 a case under Defence of India Rules, 1962 pertaining to Gold Control Rules framed there under as also upon a decision of Gujarat/High Court in Jayantilal v. Union of India : AIR1970Guj108 again a case under the Defence of India Rules and pertaining to the Gold Control Rules framed there under in which the first mentioned Bombay decision was approved. In the first place, I would like to remove some misapprehension which appears to lurk in Mr. Dhanuka's contention, namely that this Court's decision in Amichand's case makes a distinction between the test to be applied while testing the validity of an executive order and the, test to be applied while testing the validity of subordinate piece of legislation. I may point out that Amichand's case was not a case where validity of any executive order was tested at all. It was a pure and simple case o testing the validity of piece of subordinate legislation, namely Gold Control Rules being Rules 126A to 126Z of the Defence of India Rules, 1962 whose validity and virus were challenged and it was in connection with testing the validity of subordinate legislation that the question was considered as to whether a narrower test should be applied or a broader test should be applied. After going through the decision it seems to me clear that in that case while determining the vires of impugned Gold Control Euless framed under the Defence of India Act the narrower test was applied, namely whether the impugned rules were wholly unrelated to the objects or purposes for which these could be made and the impugned rules were upheld as the petitioners failed to show that they were wholly unrelated. But I may observe that having regard to the contents of the impugned rules and having regard to the provision contained in Section 3(2)(xxxiii) of the parent Act, even if the broader test of real, direct and proximate nexus were applied, the impugned rules would have been upheld. I have already stated above that the Bombay decision was approved and followed by Gujarat High Court in Jayantilal's case. In any event, in my view, these two decisions are no authority for the proposition that in every case of subordinate legislation the Court must test its validity by adopting the narrower test.

56. Mr. Singhvi for respondent No. 1 contended that when the Court was concerned with determining the validity or otherwise of subordinate legislation, which might subserve more purposes than one some being specified purposes and others non-specified, the Court should really decide the question by resorting to the method of ascertaining what is the dominant object or purpose for which such subordinate legislation has been made and if such dominant object or purpose is one of the specified ones the measure should be upheld and in this behalf reliance was placed by him upon two decisions of the Supreme Court; one in the case of Partap Singh v. State of Punjab: (1966)ILLJ458SC and the other in the case of State of Maharashtra v. B.K. Takkamore : [1967]2SCR583 . So far as the former decision is concerned, he relied upon the following observations made by the Supreme Court at p. 74 of the report:

...When a power is exercised for a purpose or with an intention beyond the scope of or not justified by the instrument creating the power, in legal parlance it would be a case of a fraud on a power, though no corrupt motive or bargain is imputed. In this sense, if it could be shown that an authority exercising a power has taken into account it may even be bona fide and with the best of intentions-as a relevant factor something which it could not properly take into account in deciding whether or not to exercise the power or the manner or extent to which it should be exercised, the exercise of the power would be bad. Sometimes courts are confronted with cases where the purposes sought to be achieved are mixed, some relevant and some alien to the purpose. The Courts have, on occasions, resolved the difficulty by finding out the dominant purpose which impelled the action and where the power itself is conditioned by a purpose, have proceeded to invalidate the exercise of the power when any irrelevant purpose is proved to have entered the mind of the authority. This is on the principle that if in such a situation the dominant purpose is unlawful then the act itself is unlawful and it is not cured by saying that they had another purpose which was lawful.
So far as the other decision is concerned, it was a case of an order superceding the Nagpur Municipal Corporation and that order was based on two grounds one of which was relevant and the other irrelevant and the Court while upholding the order took the view that the fact that one of the grounds was irrelevant did not affect the order inasmuch as the second ground showed that in the opinion of the State Government that ground was serious enough to warrant action under Section 408(7) of the concerned Act and was sufficient to establish that the Corporation was not competent to perform its duties under the Act. It must be pointed out that both these decisions were really concerned with the validity or otherwise of executive or administrative orders and not subordinate legislation and it is quite possible to adopt the method of ascertainment as to what is the dominant object or purpose for which such orders are made and to uphold them having regard to the dominant object falling within the ambit of the power authorising issuance of such orders. It is extremely doubtful whether such a method of ascertaining the dominant object or purpose will be applicable to cases of subordinate legislation, for, once such subordinate legislation is shown to have rational nexus with any one of the specified purposes for which it could be made the same will have to be upheld and if not it will have to be struck down. In any case I am certain that this principle of dominant object or purpose can never be applied to cases of subordinate legislation whose breach has been made penal. Since in the instant case all the impugned general orders which are in the nature of subordinate legislation are such that their contravention has been made penal, it will not be possible to adopt this principle of dominant object or purpose and such test in the instant case would be utterly irrelevant.

57. On the other hand, Mr. Jethmalani pointed out that in Jayantilal Amratlal v. F.N. Rana : [1964]5SCR294 the Supreme Court has pointed out that it is very difficult to formulate exhaustive definition of what 'executive function' means and implies and how our Constitution has not made any absolute or rigid division of the functions between the three agencies of the State and how sometimes to the executive functions of legislative and judicial character are often entrusted. In particular, he invited our attention to para. 11 of the judgment in that case. After referring to certain passages in Halsbury's Laws of England and in Wade and Phillips' Constitutional Law, 6th edn. the Court has observed as follows (p. 655) :

...It cannot however be assumed that the legislative functions are exclusively performed by the Legislature, executive functions by the executive and judicial functions by the judiciary alone. The Constitution has not made an absolute or rigid division of functions between the three agencies of the State. To the executive, exercise of functions legislative or judicial are often entrusted. For instance power to frame rules, regulations and notifications which are essentially legislative in character is frequently entrusted to the executive. Similarly judicial authority is also entrusted by legislation to the executive authority: (Harinagar Sugar Mills Ltd v. Shyam Sundar Jhunjhunwala : [1962]2SCR339 ). In the performance of the executive functions, public authorities issue orders which are not far removed from legislation and make decisions affecting the personal and proprietary rights of individuals which are quasi-judicial in character,... In the complexity of problems which modern government have to face and the plethora of parliamentary business to which it inevitably leads, it becomes necessary that the executive should often exercise powers of subordinate legislation: Halsbury's Laws of England, Vol. 7. Article 409. It is indeed possible to characterise with precision that an agency of the State is executive, legislative or judicial, but it cannot be predicated that a particular function exercised by any individual agency is necessarily of the character which the agency bears.
Relying upon the above observations of the Supreme Court and in particular on the observation to the effect: "in performance of the executive functions, public authorities issue orders which are not far removed from legislation and make decisions affecting the personal and proprietary rights of individuals which are quasi-judicial in character" Mr. Jethmalani contended that if while discharging executive function a public authority to whom the statutory power has been entrusted performs some legislative function which function along with executive function forms part of a single action on the part of the executive, it would be difficult to apply different tests for testing the validity and/or legality of such composite single action. But apart from this aspect of the matter Mr. Jethmalani pointed out that even in cases of subordinate legislation with a view to test the validity and/or legality thereof, it is not as if the Courts have been always accepting and/or applying as valid the only test, namely whether the legislation in question is capable of being related to purposes for which it could be made or that such subordinate legislation has been struck down only when it is successfully shown that the same is wholly unrelated to the purposes for which it could be made. He urged that the test of rational or reasonable or real and direct or proximate nexus between the impugned subordinate legislation and the purposes for which the same could be enacted has also been regarded as a valid test for determining the validity and/or legality or otherwise of such legislation and according to him, unreasonableness as a ground for invalidating the subordinate legislation has been recognised in decided cases and by every text book writer on Administrative Law. In this behalf Mr. Jethmalani put forward three propositions; in the first place, he urged that all subordinate legislation framed in such wide or ambiguous language as to take in subject-matter not reasonably relateable to the objects of the parent statute will have to be regarded as ultra vires, even though that language also takes in some subject-matter which is so relateable; secondly the rules or orders partaking the nature of subordinate legislation framed by the Commissioner of Police under the Bombay Police Act or by the State Government under the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules are really bye-laws because the concept of bye-laws is no longer confined to legislation by either Corporations or other authorities discharging municipal functions, and as such the test of reasonableness which is applicable to and applied to bye-laws in many decided cases should be applied to such rules or orders framed by the Commissioner of Police or by the State Government and these could be invalidated on the ground of being unreasonable; and thirdly so far as the general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time under Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act are concerned, the provisions of that Act expressly bring in the requirement of reasonableness as a condition of validity of the rules or orders framed or issued there under There is undoubtedly some force in these submissions put forward by Mr. Jethmalani.

58. I shall now deal with the decided cases on the point as to what should be the proper test or tests for determining the validity and/or legality or otherwise of subordinate legislation, though incidentally I may refer to some decisions which deal with the tests applicable in the case of executive or administrative orders also. In Rex v. Basudeva A.I.R. [1950] F.C. 67 the question that arose before the Court was whether preventive detention provided in Section 3(1)(i) of U.P. Prevention of Black-Marketing (Temporary Powers) Act, 1947 on the ground of a person being habitual offender in black-marketing was a preventive detention connected with the maintenance of the public order and that question arose in view of the fact the legislative measure in question fell within entry No. 1 of List II, Sch. VII of Government of India Act, 1935 read with Section 100 of the Act, which entry read: '' preventive detention for reasons connected with the maintenance of public order". The detention was challenged on behalf of the detenu on the ground that the provisions of law under which he had been detained were void and inoperative as being ultra vires the Provincial Legislature. On behalf of the State Government the Advocate General contended before the Court that habitual black-marketing in essential commodities was bound sooner or later to cause a dislocation of the machinery of controlled distribution which, in turn, might lead to breaches of the peace and that therefore detention with a view to prevent such black-marketing was covered by the entry. This contention was repelled by the Court and Mr. Justice Patanjali Sastri (as he then was) observed thus (p. 68) :

...It is true that black-marketing in essential commodities may at times lead to a disturbance of public order, but so may, for example, the rash driving of an automobile or the sale of adulterated food stuffs. Activities such as these are so remote in the chain of relation to the maintenance of public order that preventive detention on account of them cannot, in our opinion, fall within the purview of Entry 1 of List II, Preventive detention is a serious invasion of personal liberty, and the power to make laws with respect to it is, in the case of Provincial Legislatures, strictly limited by the condition that such detention must be for reasons connected with the maintenance of public order. The connection contemplated must, in our view, be real and proximate, not far-fetched or problematical.

(Italics supplied.)

59. In Barium Chemicals Ltd. v. Co. Law Board : [1967]1SCR898 the majority view in which has now become the law of the land, the Court was considering the validity of an administrative order passed by the Company Law Board under Section 237(b) of the Companies Act, 1956 appointing certain named persons as Inspectors for investigating the affairs of the Company-Barium Chemicals Ltd.- since its incorporation in 1961 and the Court was concerned with the question as to what was the true legal effect of the expression "in the opinion of the Central Government" occurring in Section 237(6) of the Act and how far and to what extent the formation of such opinion by the Central Government was challengeable in a Court of law. Mr. Justice Shelat in the leading judgment observed that the words like "reason to believe" or "in the opinion of" do not always lead to the construction that the process of entertaining "reason to believe" or "the opinion" is an altogether subjective process not lending itself even to a limited scrutiny by the court that such "a reason, to believe" or "opinion" was not formed on relevant facts or within the limits or as Lord Radcliff and Lord Reid called the restraints of the statute as an alternative safeguard to rules of natural justice where the function is administrative. At p. 323 of the report the following general observations have been made by Mr. Justice Shelat which would, in my view, be relevant for our purpose:

...Though an order passed in exercise of power under a statute cannot be challenged on the ground of propriety or sufficiency, it is liable to be quashed on the ground of mala fides, dishonesty or corrupt purpose. Even if it is passed in good faith and with the best of intention to further the purpose of the legislation which confers the powers, since the Authority has to act in accordance with and within the limits of that legislation, its order can also be challenged if it is beyond those limits or is passed on grounds extraneous to the legislation or if there are no grounds at all for passing it or if the grounds are such that no one can reasonably arrive at the opinion or satisfaction requisite under the legislation. In any one of these situations it can well be said that the authority did not honestly form its opinion or that in forming it, it did not apply its mind to the relevant facts.

(italics supplied.)

In my view, the general observations would apply to cases of subordinate legislation and its validity could be determined by considering some of the aspects indicated therein; for instance, even if the subordinate legislation has been enacted in good faith or with the best of intention the authority on whom power has been conferred has to act in accordance with and within the limits of the parent statute and if it goes beyond the limits or enacts for non-specified purposes, then such subordinate legislation will have to be struck down as being outside the parent statute. I may observe that the majority view expressed in Barium Chemicals' case has been approved of and reiterated by that Court in Rohtas Industries Ltd. v. S.D. Agarwal : [1969]3SCR108 .

60. The next two cases to which I would like to refer are cases which in terms deal which pieces of subordinate legislation. The first one is the decision of the Supreme Court in M.A. Rasheed v. State of Kerala : [1975]2SCR93 and the other in 8. I. Syndicate Ltd. v. Union of India : [1975]1SCR956 . In the former case a notification issued by the Government of Kerala under Rule 114(2) of the Defence of India Rules, 1971 prohibiting extraction of fibre from coconut husk by the use of machinery in three out of eleven districts was challenged on the ground that the formation of opinion by the State Government for the purpose of exercising the power under Rule 114(2) was a justiciable issue and that the Court should call for the material on which the opinion had been formed and examine the same to find out whether a reasonable man or authority could have come to the same conclusion that in its opinion for securing the equitable distribution and availability of retted husks at fair prices, a regulation or prohibition of the manufacture of fibre from retted husks by mechanical means was necessary. It is significant to note that it was an Emergency Legislation and though ultimately the Court came to the conclusion that the said notification was valid, inasmuch as, the requisite opinion formed by the State Government was based on. sufficient relevant material and not on any extraneous matter, Mr. Jethmalani pointed out that the head of unreasonableness being a ground for invalidating the impugned notification was adopted and accepted by the Court and in that behalf he particularly relied upon para. 9 of the judgment which runs as follows (p. 2252):

Administrative decisions in exercise of powers even if conferred in subjective terms are to be made in good faith on relevant consideration. The courts inquire whether a reasonable man could have come to the decision in question without misdirecting himself on the law or the facts in a material respect. The standard of reasonableness to which the administrative body is required- to conform may range from the courts' own opinion, of what is reasonable to the criterion of what a reasonable body might have decided. The courts will find out whether conditions precedent to the formation of the opinion have a factual basis.

(italics supplied.)

These observations on which Mr. Jethmalani relied clearly show that the test of reasonableness could be and was adopted by the Court while deciding the validity or otherwise of the impugned notification in that case and what is more it has been stated that the standard of reasonableness to which the administrative body is required to conform may range from the courts' own opinion of what is reasonable to the criterion of what a reasonable body might have decided. In the latter case (S.I. Syndicate Ltd. v. Union of India) the Supreme Court was dealing with a notification issued under Sugar (Control) Order, 1966 where-under ex-factory price of sugar had been fixed. The Court proceeded on the basis that the price fixation was more in the nature of legislative measure even though it may be based upon objective criteria found in a report or other material and therefore the Court was obviously dealing with a piece of subordinate legislation. It is true that the Court ultimately took the view that it had not been shown how the fixation of maximum price by Government for the sugar from 1966 to 1967 was erroneous or unreasonable, but it could not be disputed that the Court proceeded to decide the validity by adopting the test of reasonableness and by accepting the position that unreasonableness was a valid ground for invalidating subordinate legislation. In para. 13 this is what the Court has observed (p. 464) :

The petitioners did not challenge the price fixation on the ground that a quasi-judicial procedure had to be adopted before prices are fixed even if such price fixation affects, as it must, each factory. Price fixation is more in the nature of a legislative measure even though it may be based upon objective criteria found in a report or other material. It could not, therefore, give rise to a complaint that a rule of natural justice has not been followed in fixing the price. Nevertheless, the criterion adopted must be reasonable. Reasonableness, for purposes of judging whether there teas an 'excess of power' or an 'arbitrary' exercise of it, is really the demonstration of a reasonable nexus between the matters which are taken into account in exercising a power and the purposes of exercise of that power. This was made clear by this Court in the two cases cited on behalf of the appellants Shree Meenakshi Mills Ltd. v. Union of India : [1974]2SCR398 . Panipat Sugar Mills v. Union : [1973]2SCR860 .

(italics supplied.)

61. Coming to nearer to a type of order akin to one with which this Court is concerned in this case, Mr. Jethmalani referred to a decision of this Court in Emperor v. Bhalchandra Ranadive : (1929)31BOMLR1151 where the Court was dealing with analogous provision of Bombay City Police Act, 1902. An order issued under Section 23(3) of the Bombay City Police Act, 1902 prohibiting the president, the secretary, the members of the managing committee, and the members of the Girni Kamgar Union from holding, convening or calling together any assembly of mill hands or employees of the textile mills of Bombay for one week from the date of the order was passed by the Commissioner of Police on July 12, 1929 and the question was whether in issuing such order the Commissioner of Police properly exercised his discretion for preservation of the public peace and public safety At page 1164 of the report this Court has made some observations on which Mr. Jethmalani has relied, which run as follows:

...Public authorities even acting within the defined limits of their powers must not conduct themselves arbitrarily or tyrannically." (Nagar Valab Narsi v. The Municipality of Dhandhuka I.L.R. (1887) 12 Bom. 490).
This Court also referred to the case of Sharp v. Wakefield [1891] A.C. 173 where it was held (p. 179) :

...'discretion' means when it is said that something is to be done within the discretion of the authorities that that something is to be done according to the rules ol reason and justice, not according to private opinion:..according to law, and not humour. It is to be, not arbitrary, vague, and fanciful, but legal and regular. And it must be exercised within the limit, to which an honest man competent to the discharge of his office ought to confine himself.
Relying on the first quoted observation Mr. Jethmalani rightly urged that it was necessary that respondent No. 1 in the instant case while issuing the impugned general orders under Section 37(5) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951 ought to have and must be shown to have acted within the defined limits of his power and while so acting in the exercise of such power he should be shown not to have conducted himself arbitrarily or tyrannically.

62. Turning to the Text Book writers on Administrative Law I would first like to refer to a passage which occurs at p. 322 of Prof. H.W.R. Wade's Treatise on Administrative Law, third edn., where the learned author under the caption 'Legal Control of Delegated Legislation' has stated thus:

Control by the courts,-Judicial control of delegated legislation rests on exactly the same foundations as judicial control of administrative powers, the subject of Chapter 3. Any order or regulation which is not authorized by statute (or in a few special cases by the royal prerogative) can have no legal effect, and is therefore ultra vires and void. Delegated legislation in no way partakes of the immunity which Acts of Parliament enjoy from challenge in the courts, for there is a fundamental difference between a sovereign and a subordinate law-making power. Acts of Parliament have sovereign force, but legislation made under delegated power can be valid only if it conforms exactly to the power granted.
At page 325 the learned professor has further stated thus under the heading 'Unreasonableness':

Unreasonableness.-Just as with other kinds of administrative action, the courts sometimes allow themselves to pass judgment on its merits. In interpreting statutes it is tempting to make the assumption that Parliament could not have intended powers of delegated legislation to be exercised unreasonably, so that the legality of the regulations becomes dependent upon their content.

A particular case where the courts have applied this assumption is that of local authorities' by-laws. In the leadings case, where in fact the court upheld a by-law against singing within fifty yards of a dwelling-house, it was said:

If, for instance, (by-laws) were found to be partial and unequal in their operation as between different classes; if they were manifestly unjust; if they disclosed bad faith; if they involved such oppressive or gratuitous interference with the rights of those subject to them as could find no justification in the minds of reasonable men, the Court well say, 'Parliament never intended to give authority to make such rules; they are unreasonable and ultra vires.' But...a by-law is not unreasonable merely because particular judges may think that it goes further than is prudent or necessary or convenient.

Professors Bernard Schwartz and H.W.R. Wade in their book 'Legal Control of Government'-Administrative Law in. Britain and the United States- have this to say (p. 102) :

Judicial review of -rules,-Rule-making is merely one form of administrative action, and it is subject to the normal law of judicial review. The doctrine of ultra vires covers all the defects which may lead to rules and regulations being invalidated in the courts, and accordingly the declaratory judgment is a fully effective remedy-and is the remedy most frequently sought, In particular, a rule may be ultra vires because it is so unreasonable as to be beyond the authority granted by the statute. The by-laws of local authorities, which require ministerial confirmation, are the rules which have most often been subjected to this test. But it applies no less to rules by central government departments. An outstanding example was the purchase tax case, discussed elsewhere, in which the court declared unlawful the regulations made by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise for the making of arbitrary assessments on traders who did not make satisfactory tax returns.

(For the last proposition the case cited is Contra, of Customs and Excise v. Cure & Deeley Ltd. [1962] 1 Q.B. 340).

Again at p. 254 the learned Professors have stated thus:

When action taken under such legislation is challenged, government lawyers habitually argue that Parliament has expressly provided that the minister or the planning authority is to be the judge, and that the Act therefore confers unfettered discretion with which the court cannot interfere. It does not seem to be realized that this argument is constitutional blasphemy. Every legal power must have legal limits, otherwise there is dictatorship. In particular, the courts are stringent in requiring that discretion should be exercised in conformity with the general tenor and policy of the statute and for proper purposes, and that it should not be exercised unreasonably. In other words, every discretion is capable of unlawful abuse and to prevent this is a fundamental function of the courts. 'Unfettered discretion' is a contradiction in terms.
Lastly I would turn to a well-known passage in Judicial Review of Administrative Action by Prof. S.A. de Smith, third edn., at p. 311, which deals with 'subordinate legislation'. The relevant passage runs thus:

It has commonly been assumed that no criterion of reasonableness governs the validity of statutory instruments made by Ministers or Her Majesty in Council. If a statutory instrument or other departmental regulation appears to a court to be outrageous it may be held to be ultra vires, but its invalidity will probably not be attributed to unreasonableness per se. But there is no reason, of principle why a manifestly unreasonable statutory instrument should not be held to be ultra vires on that ground alone, provided that the subject-matter of the grant of power is not so pregnant with 'policy' considerations as to render the application of such a standard inappropriate." (Last sentence is based on the Irish case in McEldowney v. Forde [1969] 2 All. E.R. 1039 , [1971] A.C. 632 s.c.).
The passages which I have quoted above from the learned Text Book writers on Administrative Law make it clear that even when the Court is dealing with a case of subordinate legislation the test of reasonableness is very much relevant and unreasonableness is a valid ground for invalidating such subordinate legislation. In fact, Prof. S.A. de Smith lies stated that there is no reason of principle why a manifestly unreasonable statutory instrument should not be held to be ultra vires on that ground alone, meaning the ground of unreasonableness, subject to proviso which he has Ridded that the subject-matter of the grant of power is not so pregnant with policy considerations as to render the application of such a standard inappropriate and what is the true import of the proviso which the learned professor has added will become clear if Irish decision on which the passage is based is carefully analysed.

63. In the context of what should be the proper test for deciding the question of validity and/or legality or otherwise of subordinate legislation it would be rewarding to refer to two English decisions which were referred to during the course of arguments before us and these decisions are Chester v. Bateson [1920] 1 K.B. 829 and McEldowney v. Forde, The former was relied upon by counsel for the petitioners while the latter was relied upon by counsel for the respondents. In Chester v. Bateson, which -was a case of legislative measure during the First World War, the Court was concerned with Regulation 2A (2) of the Defence of the Realm Regulations which provided that "no person shall, without the consent of the Minister of Munitions take...any proceedings for the purpose of obtaining an order or decree for the recovery of possession of or for the ejectment of a tenant of, any dwelling house" in which a munitions worker was living and which was situate in an area declared by order of the Minister of Munitions to be a "special area" and this Regulation was challenged as being ultra vires the parent Act, that is to say, as not being authorised by Section 1(7) of the Defence of the Realm Consolidation Act, 1914 and therefore invalid. The Court held that the Regulation in question could not be said to be authorised by Section 1(7) of the parent Act and therefore invalid. Darling J. observed that the main question to be decided was whether the occupant was a workman so employed, and the regulation could have been framed so as to make this a good answer to the application for possession, still leaving that question to be decided by a Court of law; but the regulation as framed forbade the owner of the property access to all legal tribunals in regard to that matter and "that such 'extreme disability' of that kind even during the emergency of the First World War could be inflicted by an Act of Parliament and that so grave an invasion of the rights of all subjects was not intended by the Legislature to be accomplished by any subordinate legislation, even if framed by the Minister of Munitions". Avory J. concurring stated as follows:

...In my opinion there is not to be found in the statute anything to authorize or justify a regulation having that result;" (vide p. 836).
He quoted from the dissentient opinion of Lord Shaw of Dunfermline in Rex v. Halliday [1917] A.C. 260 to the following effect :

In so far as the mandate has been exceeded, there lurk the elements of a transition to arbitrary government and therein of grave constitutional and public danger." (vide p. 837).
Sankey J. also concurring observed as follows:

It might have been competent under the words of the statute, although I express no opinion on the point, to make regulations constituting the consent of the Minister of Munitions in a proper case, a condition precedent to the making of an order for the recovery of possession of, or for the ejectment of a tenant of, any dwelling-house or other premises of the character referred to. It was not, however, competent for His Majesty in Council to make a regulation enacting that a man who seeks the assistance of, or the protection of, the King's Courts should be exposed to fine and imprisonment for having done so. It would have been astonishing if Parliament had conferred such a power as that.... I should be slow to hold that Parliament ever conferred such a power unless it expressed It in the clearest possible language, and should never hold that it was given indirectly by ambiguous regulations made in pursuance of any Act. (vide p. 838).
64. The second decision is the Irish case in McEldowney v. Forde in which the House of Lords was concerned with the validity or otherwise of a subordinate legislation in the form of a Regulation of 1967 made by the Minister of Home Affairs in exercise of legislative powers conferred upon him by Section 1(3) of Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act (Northern Ireland), 1922. Under the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act (Northern Ireland), 1922 certain powers were vested in the Minister of Home Affairs, some being conferred under Section 1(7) and some others being conferred under Section 1(5) of the Act. Under Section 1(7) the powers conferred included "power to take all such steps and issue all such orders as may be necessary for preserving the peace and maintaining order according to and in the execution of this Act and the regulations contained in the Schedule," provided that the ordinary course of law and avocations of life and the enjoyment of property shall be interfered with as little as may be permitted by the exigencies of the steps required to be taken under this Act. This provision was regarded as conferring power upon the Minister of Home Affairs to issue executive orders or take executive steps for preserving the peace and maintaining order. By Section 1(5) of the Act the Minister was empowered "to make regulations-(a) for making further provision for the preservation of the peace and maintenance of order...and any regulations made as aforesaid shall...have effect and be enforced in like manner as regulations contained in the Schedule to this Act." It appears that in exercise of the power conferred under Section 1(5) a regulation being Regulation 24A was added to the Schedule in 1922 Act and this Regulation 24A provided: "Any person who becomes or remains a member of an unlawful association or who does any act with a view to promoting or calculated to promote the objects of an unlawful association or seditious conspiracy shall be guilty of an offence against these regulations." This Regulation also laid down certain organisations which were deemed for the purpose of regulation 24A to be "unlawful associations". In 1967 the Minister made a new regulation (being Regulation of 1967) under Section 1(5) of the Act. This Regulation of 1967 provided:

Regulation 24A of the principal regulations shall have effect as if the following organisations were added to the list of organisations which for the purpose of that regulation are deemed to be unlawful associations:

'The organisations at the date of this regulation or at any time thereafter describing themselves as "republican clubs" or any like organisation howsoever described.'

65. It must be observed that the above Regulation was made when the movement for a separate Irish Republic had become very violent.

The question that arose for consideration was whether Regulation of 1967 was ultra vires and it arose in the following circumstances: The appellant was charged in the Magistrate's Court at Magherafelt being a member of a republican club contrary to Regulation 24A of the Regulations made under the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act (Northern Ireland), 1922-43, as amended by Regulation of 1967. At the, hearing the appellant was found by the Magistrate to have been a member on the dates stated in the charge and thereafter a member of Slaughtneil Republican Club, but it was also found that no evidence was given that he or the club were at any time a threat to peace, law and order and that in so far the police were aware there was nothing seditious in its pursuits or those of its members and the Magistrate dismissed the complaint. On appeal the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland by a majority held that the regulation as amended in 1967 was intra vires the principal Act since it was for the Minister of Home Affairs to decide whether a particular organisation should be deemed to be unlawful and the Court therefore in the absence of bad faith could not question what he had done. Accordingly, the case was remitted to the Magistrates to do as to justice might appertain. The appellant appealed to the House of Lords and the majority of the House of Lords comprising Lord Hodson, Lord Guest and Lord Pearson held, firstly that on the true construction of Section 1 of the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act (Northern Ireland), 1922, the making of regulations was a legislative act coming within the provisions of Sub-section (3) and was not an executive act within the meaning of Sub-section (7) and that accordingly the proviso to Sub-section (1) was not applicable to Sub-section (3) and secondly that there was, on the face of the impugned regulation, no apparent misconstruction of the enabling Act or failure to comply with any conditions prescribed by the Act for the exercise of its powers, and that since it was for the Minister, in the absence of bad faith, to determine whether a particular type of organisation from its description was a subversive organisation of a type akin to those previously named in the list of admittedly unlawful organisations, the addition to the list of republican clubs was not ultra vires the Act; nor in the circumstances, did the addition of the words "any like organisations howsoever described" render the regulation too vague and uncertain to be supported. In other words, the majority upheld the regulation of 1967 made by the Minister of Home Affairs which was in the nature of a piece of subordinate legislation. The minority comprising of Lord Pearce and Lord Diplock, however, took the view that the impugned regulation was ultra vires Section 1(5) of the parent Act, inasmuch as, the regulation as it stood was too vague, ambiguous and uncertain to be valid.

66. Naturally Mr. Chagla appearing for the respondents; has strongly pressed into service the majority view which he said is really the decision or opinion of the House of Lords and urged that the Court need not attach weight to the minority view. On the other hand Mr. Jethmalani pointed out that, apart from the fact that the minority view of the two learned Law Lords who struck down the impugned regulation was entitled to great respect had been preferred by learned authors and commentators and as such could very well guide the Court's decision in the instant case, even the learned Law Lords who constituted the majority had accepted the position that unreasonableness was a valid ground for invalidating subordinate legislation and it was only on the construction of the impugned regulation itself that those Law Lords came to the conclusion that the same did not fall outside the parent Act and in support of his said contention he relied upon specific passages from the speeches of each one of the Law Lords who constituted the majority to show that each one of them had expressed himself in favour of unreasonableness being a valid head on the basis of which subordinate legislation could be invalidated. In the speech of Lord Hodson the following passage appearing at p. 1056 was relied upon by him:

The question may be put in this way-Is the whole regulation too vague and so arbitrary as to be wholly unreasonable as if, to take an example from one of the cases, a person were to be proscribed because he had red hair; or is the regulation, as the majority of the court held, a legitimate and valid exercise of the Minister's power confirmed on him by statute?
At p. 1062 Lord Guest has spoken thus:

The final argument for the appellant related to the third category of organisations which it is Said the regulation covered, namely 'or any like organisation howsoever described'. It was submitted that this would cover any club whatever its name and whatever its objects and that such an exercise of the Minister's power was unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious. In my view this argument is not well founded. The regulation first of all embraces republican clubs eo nomine and they are caught by their very description. If they do not bear the name "Republican, it would be a question of interpretation after evidence whether any particular club was covered by the words 'any like organisation howsoever described'. It is indeed not necessary for the purposes of this case where the organisation bore the name 'Republican Club' to examine this question in any great detail. But my provisional view is that the regulation would cover any organisation having similar objects to those of a republican club or of any of the named organisations or of any organisation whose objects included the absorption of Northern, Ireland in the Republic of Ireland.

Having regard to all these matters I cannot say that the class of 'like organisations' is either ambiguous or arbitrary so as to invalidate the regulation.

Lord Pearson at p. 1066 has stated thus in his speech:

The ways in which an instrument may be shown to be ultra vires have been discussed in many cases, and I do not find it necessary to enter into such a discussion in this case. I shall assume that the regulation might be shown prima facie to be ultra vires (made otherwise than for the specified purposes) either by internal evidence from the provisions of the regulation itself. eg., if it purported to render all chess clubs unlawful-or by external evidence of the# factual situation existing at the time when the regulation was made.
Relying on the aforesaid passages occurring in the speeches of respective Law Lords who constituted the majority Mr. Jethmalani contended that from these speeches it will appear clear that even the Law Lords who constituted the majority had accepted the position that unreasonableness or vagueness or uncertainty could be a valid ground for invalidating the piece of subordinate legislation but on the construction of the impugned regulation in question each one of them took the view that the regulation fell within the four corners of the parent Act. So far as the view taken by the two Law Lords who constituted the minority is concerned, he pointed out that it was on grounds of unreason-ableness, vagueness and uncertainty that the impugned regulation on its proper construction was struck down as being ultra vires Section 1(5) of the parent Act. Furthermore, from the speech of Lord Hodson it becomes clear that if on the face of subordinate legislation there appears some misconstruction of the enabling Act itself or failure to comply with any conditions prescribed by the Act for the exercise of the power, such subordinate legislation would also be liable to be struck down; in other words, these are additional tests which could be adopted and applied for deciding the validity or otherwise of a piece of subordinate legislation.

67. The aforesaid discussion on decided cases, Indian and English, and the passages quoted above from the well-known text book writers on Administrative Law furnish sufficient guidelines and tests for determining the validity or otherwise of subordinate legislation and it is in the light of the guidelines and tests indicated therein that I will have to consider the question of legality or validity of the impugned general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time under Section 37(5) of the Bombay Police Act as well as the impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 issued by respondent No. 2 under Rule 69 read with Rule 1A of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules, 1971.

68. I shall first deal with the question of legality/validity or otherwise of the impugned general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time under Section 37(5) of the Bombay Police Act and for that purpose it will be necessary to set out the relevant provision of the parent Act, namely Section 37(5) of the Act as also the contents of one of such impugned general orders which can be taken as and by way of a specimen, for, admittedly all the impugned orders passed by respondent No. 1 are in identical terms. Section 37(5) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951 runs thus:

The authority empowered under Sub-section (3) (meaning the Commissioner of Police or the District Magistrate) may also by order in writing prohibit any assembly or procession whenever and for so long as it considers such prohibition to be necessary for the preservation of the public order:

Provided that no such prohibition shall remain in force for more than fifteen days without the sanction of the State Government.
It is in the exercise of the power conferred upon him by the aforesaid provision contained in the parent Act that respondent No. 1 has issued from time to time several general orders prohibiting assemblies and processions as specified in these orders and it is an accepted position that the first of such general orders was issued by him on June 26, 1975, that is, on the day following the declaration of Emergency by the President on June 25, 1975 and the last of such orders has been issued by him on December 8, 1975, which is to remain in operation upto January 8, 1976. All these impugned orders "have been put in and marked exh. D (collectively) on record. In other words, the prohibitions imposed by respondent No. 1 by means of these various orders issued from time to time have been in operation from June 26, 1975 onwards till now and the same are going to remain in operation up to January 8, 1976. It was not disputed that all these orders are in identical terms and as and by way of specimen I would set out the general order dated October 1, 1975 issued by respondent No. 1 which was in operation just before the presentation of the petition to this Court and which by virtue of another order dated October 9, 1975 was kept alive at the date when the petition was presented. It runs thus:

By the Commissioner of Police, Greater Bombay.
Order

No. 59/A.P. of 1975.-WHEREAS it is considered necessary by me for the preservation of the public order to prohibit any assembly of five or more persons and any procession in the area in Greater Bombay hereinafter mentioned;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Shridhar Vyankatesh Tankhiwale, IPS., Commissioner of Police, Greater Bombay, in exercise of the powers conferred upon me by Sub-section (3) of Section 37 of the Bombay Police Act, 1951, (Bombay Act XXII of 1951), prohibit-

(i) any assembly of five or more than five persons, and

(ii) any procession of any persons, for the period from 00-40 hrs. on Friday, October 3, 1975 to 00-40 hrs. on Friday, October 10, 1975, throughout Greater Bombay.

I, further direct that this order shall be published and promulgated in Greater Bombay by affixing copies thereof in conspicuous public places and by proclaiming the same by beat of drums in Greater Bombay.

Note.-The prohibitions contained in this order shall not apply to religious, marriage and funeral processions; to cinema houses when a film is being exhibited therein; to other places at the time when performances of public amusements are held therein and to such other processions and assemblies as may be permitted by the Commissioner of Police, Greater Bombay.



69. I shall deal with the contents of these general orders, specimen whereof has been quoted above, in great detail a little later, but suffice it to say at this stage that by these impugned general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time prohibition has been imposed by him upon (a) all assemblies of five or more persons excepting the assemblies in cinema houses when film is being exhibited therein and assemblies in other places at the time when performances of public amusements are held therein and (b) any procession of any persons excepting religious, marriage and funeral processions. The note further provides that the prohibitions contained in the order shall not apply to "other processions and assemblies as may be permitted by the Commissioner of Police." In the instant case, I am not concerned with the prohibition touching processions but these general orders are required to be considered in so far as they relate to the prohibition of assemblies of five or more persons and the real question that arises for consideration is: "Whether all these impugned general orders fall outside Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act and are therefore ultra vires or not?

70. In the context of Section 37(5) the questions that will have to be considered are: what is the true ambit of the power conferred upon the Commissioner of Police by this provision, whether the exercise of the power by the Commissioner thereunder is subject to any condition precedent, whether the impugned general orders could be said to have been issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time after having arrived at the requisite satisfaction about the existence of such condition precedent and whether the impugned general orders are within the four corners of the said pro vision or outside the said provision? On a plain reading of the provision contained in Section 37(5) it appears to me clear that the said provision does contain a condition precedent which must be satisfied before the power thereunder can be exercised by the Commissioner of Police. In my view, the words 'whenever and for so long as it (authority) considers such prohibition to be necessary for the preservation of the public order' are the key words of the section and these words indicate that the very jurisdiction to make an order thereunder depends upon whether the prohibition is necessary to preserve the public order or not. The key words in the section clearly indicate that an order thereunder should be made only when the Commissioner of Police is satisfied that such prohibition is necessary for the preservation of the public order and the power arises no sooner such necessity to preserve the public order arises and the power lasts only so long as such necessity lasts. In other words, the condition precedent is that the Commissioner of Police must consider such prohibition to be necessary for the preservation of the public order. It is undoubtedly true that it is for the Commissioner to decide and to get satisfied about the fact that such a condition precedent exists or is fulfilled but the satisfaction must be to the effect that there is a necessity to preserve the public order. It would be significant to note that the expression 'necessary' has been used and not 'desirable' or 'expedient' and as such the concept of necessity and not desirability or expediency that must be present to the mind of the authority; in other words, what the section requires is that the Commissioner of Police must consider such prohibition to be necessary and not desirable or expedient. It is true that the section uses the words 'any assembly or procession' which would ordinarily mean 'any or all assemblies or any or all processions'. Unquestionably, therefore, the ambit of the power is -very wide in that the Commissioner of Police may prohibit all assemblies or all processions but such prohibition must be considered by him to be necessary for the preservation of the public order and unless it could be said that the Commissioner of Police has applied his mind to the facts of the situation and arrived at the satisfaction, that such banning of all assemblies and processions was necessary for the preservation of the public order, it would not be open to him to impose such a total ban. In other words, the language clearly indicates that the exercise of the power conferred upon the authority is conditioned by the existence of necessity of the prohibition for the preservation of the public order. I may point out that this aspect of the matter has been dwelt upon by this Court in the case of Bapurao Dhondiba v. State of Bombay : AIR1956Bom300 . It is true that in this case the question that arose for consideration before the Court was whether Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act, 1951 was itself ultra vires Article 19 of the Constitution or not but while refuting the contention that no kind of limitation was placed upon the powers of the Commissioner of Police acting under this provision, this Court pointed out that one of the principal limitations that was placed by the section upon the power of the Commissioner was the one which went to the root of the jurisdiction of the Commissioner's power. At page 421 of the report the Court has observed thus:

...In putting forward this argument what is overlooked is that the very jurisdiction to make an order, the very basis of the order, is the preservation of the public order. An order made under Section 37(3) cannot continue and should not continue for more than even one minute beyond the time that is necessary for its continuation, for the purpose of preservation of public order. The key words of Section 37(3) and the words emphasised by the Legislature are that the order should be made whenever the authority considers such prohibition to be necessary for the preservation of the public order and only for so long as it considers such prohibition to be necessary for the preservation of the public order.
I must mention that by construing the provision contained in Section 37(5) as incorporating a limitation on the Commissioner's power in the manner indicated above that the constitutional validity of the provision vis-a-vis Article 19 of the Constitution has been upheld by the Court and the construction of Section 37(3) of the 1951 enactment must remain the same and cannot change in 1975 because of the declaration of emergency. It would, therefore, 'be clear that the exercise of the power by the Commissioner of Police under this provision is clearly conditioned by the existence of necessity of the prohibition for the preservation of the public order. What is public order has been clearly explained by the Supreme Court in several decisions. In. Ram Manohar v. State of Bihar : 1966CriLJ608 Hidayatullah J. (as he then was) has explained the three concepts of 'law and order', 'public order' and 'security of State' in terms of three concentric circles-law and order representing the largest circle within which is the nest circle representing public order and the smallest circle representing the security of State; that a prejudicial act may affect law and order but not public order and that public order would not be breached unless there is public disorder on a large scale (vide paras. 61 and 52 of the judgment), In Arun Ghosh v. State of W.B : 1970CriLJ1136 public order has been explained as meaning the even tempo of the life of the community taking the country as a whole or even a specified locality and it has been observed that disturbance of public order is to be distinguished from acts directed against individuals which do not disturb the society to the extent of causing a general disturbance of public tranquillity and that it is the degree of disturbance and its effects upon the life of the community in a locality which determines whether the disturbance amounts only to a breach of law and order. The question that would arise for consideration in this case is whether the impugned general orders that were issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time, a specimen of which has been set out above, could be said to have been issued by him after proper application of mind to the facts of the case and after satisfying himself about the existence of condition precedent viz. that the prohibition of the type imposed on all assemblies was necessary for the preservation of the even tempo of the life of the community 'throughout Greater Bombay.

71. It was urged by Mr. Chagla that the question whether the condition precedent existed in the case or not was a matter for subjective satisfaction of the Commissioner of Police and once the Commissioner of Police was satisfied having regard to the situation obtaining in Greater Bombay that for the preservation of the public order in Greater Bombay it was necessary to resort to the aforesaid provision, then, the jurisdiction to exercise the power could be said to have arisen to him and in the instant case the impugned general orders contained a recital to the effect that it was considered necessary by the Commissioner of Police for the preservation of the public order to prohibit all assemblies of five or more persons (except those specifically exempted) in Greater Bombay and the petitioners have no where shown nor have they brought out any material to show that such recital was inaccurate or false and he urged that in fact no specific plea has been put forward by the petitioners to the effect that assuming that the Commissioner of Police had the power to ban all meetings or assemblies, the factual situation was not there enabling the Commissioner of Police to resort to Section 37(5) and as such the impugned general orders issued by respondent No. 1 cannot be challenged by the petitioners on the ground that they were outside the purview of Section 37(5) or ultra vires the said provision. It is not possible to accept this latter submission of Mr. Chagla, for, after raising the plea that the impugned general orders issued by respondent No. 1 are ultra vires Section 37(5) in the petition itself, the petitioners have clarified the said plea in para. 11 of their affidavit in rejoinder. The deponent of the said affidavit has stated thus:

...I say and submit that the gravamen of the charge of the Petitioners as laid in the Petition is that the impugned orders passed by the 1st respondent have been passed without application of mind, are perverse, mala fide ultra vires and without any material to support the same. I accordingly say and submit that it is incumbent upon the 1st respondent to satisfy this Hon'ble Court that the alleged satisfaction of the 1st respondent was based upon material on which a reasonable man would arrive at that conclusion and it is not enough for the 1st respondent merely to reiterate that he arrived at his satisfaction upon some material without disclosing the same to this Hon'ble Court. I say and submit that in the absence of such material or circumstances being disclosed to this Hon'ble Court, this Hon'ble Court is entitled to come to the conclusion that there was in fact no material or circumstances which could form the basis for the conclusion to which the 1st respondent arrived at.
It is, therefore, clear that it is not as if that no plea has been raised by the petitioners that the factual situation was not there which enabled the Commissioner of Police to resort to Section 37(5) for imposing the ban of the kind done. As regards the recital to be found in all these impugned general orders, on which reliance has been placed on behalf of the respondents, it is a well-settled position in law that such recital cannot be regarded as conclusive of the matter and right from the decision of the Federal Court in Emperor v. Sibnath Banerjee it has been decided that the presence of a recital in the order will place a difficult burden on the person challenging the order to produce admissible evidence sufficient to establish even a prima facie case that the recital is not accurate but if that person is able to show prima facie that such recital is inaccurate, then the burden will shift to the authority to show that there was in fact material on the basis of which the authority could arrive at the requisite satisfaction and it cannot be disputed that the inaccuracy of such a recital may prima facie be established either intrinsically from the contents of the order itself or by some extrinsic material which the person challenging the order may have in his possession and the petitioners in the instant case are seeking to establish not only the inaccuracy of the relevant recital in all these impugned orders but also the contention that all the impugned general orders of respondent No. 1 themselves are ultra vires for want of existence of the condition precedent in. the former manner. I may point out that in Irish case of McEldowney v. Forde while dealing with the question of vires of the Minister's Regulation Lord Pearson, who comprised the majority, has observed thus (p. 1066) :

The ways in which an instrument may be shown to be ultra vires have been discussed in many cases, and I do not find it necessary to enter into such a discussion in this case. I shall assume that the regulation might be shown prima facie to be ultra vires (made otherwise than for the specified purposes) either by internal evidence from the provisions of the regulation itself e.g., if it purported to render all chess clubs unlawful-or by external evidence of the factual situation existing at the time when the regulation was made.
It is in the former manner indicated above by Lord Pearson that the petitioners are seeking to establish that all the impugned general orders of respondent No. 1 are outside the parent Act and therefore ultra vires. In the face of the specific plea raised that there was in fact no material before him on which respondent No. 1 could arrive at the requisite satisfaction for the imposition of a near total ban on all assemblies it was for respondent No. 1 to place the material before the Court which has not been done and since no material has been shown to the Court an inference can be drawn that in fact no such material existed. But apart from this aspect, a reasonable doubt about the accuracy of the relevant recital occurring in the preamble part of the impugned general orders arises from the very nature of the ban imposed by the operative part of these orders which gives no indication whatsoever as to why the ban includes within its sweep numerous assemblies which will have not even a remote connection with the problem of preservation of the public order and hence something more that the mere recital should have been placed before the Court by respondent No. 1. Since the petitioners are seeking to establish their contention that all the impugned general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time are outside Section 37(5) of the parent Act from the intrinsic evidence available from the contents of the orders themselves including the relevant recital, the issue will have to be approached from that angle.

72. Dealing with the contents of the impugned general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time, a specimen whereof has been reproduced above, two or three aspects emerge very clearly on the face of those orders. In the first place, the orders have been passed banning two things: (i) any assembly of five or more persons and (ii) any procession of any persons; secondly so far as assemblies of five or more persons are concerned, the ban is almost a blanket ban on all assemblies, inasmuch as, only assemblies in cinema houses when a film is being exhibited therein and assemblies at other places at the time when performances of public amusements are held therein have been excepted, while in regard to processions three types of processions-religious, marriage and funeral have been excepted p thirdly it is provided in the note that the prohibitions imposed by the orders will not cover such other processions and assemblies as may be permitted by the Commissioner of Police; the last provision, in my view, reemphasises the aspect that the ban on assemblies is otherwise total. On proper construction of the impugned general orders therefore it is quite clear to me that except for the specified assemblies in cinema houses and at other places of public amusements, the ban imposed is almost a total or blanket ban on all assemblies of five or more persons throughout Greater Bombay, or to put it more correctly, these orders impose a near total ban on all assemblies of five or more persons throughout Greater Bombay. In other words, numerous types of assemblies will come within the mischief of the ban which by no stretch of imagination can be regarded as assemblies having any remote connection with the preservation of the public order but even so respondent No. 1 has thought fit to ban all assemblies of five or more persons irrespective of the nature or character of such assemblies, irrespective of the purpose or purposes for which these may be called and irrespective of their location within Greater Bombay and the question is whether for the imposition of such a near total ban the condition precedent of Section 37(5) could be said to have been fulfilled or satisfied. I want to deal with the draconian nature of this ban imposed by respondent No. 1 but before I do so it would be proper to deal with the contention of Mr. Singhvi that the authority which is clothed with a power to take swift action in emergent situations cannot stop to think whether by its order or orders innocent activities would be affected or not and Section 37(3) is one such provision intended to meet emergencies and therefore even if any order issued thereunder were to take within its sweep a few innocent assemblies the order could not be regarded as being outside the purview of the parent provision and in support of this contention Mr. Singhvi relied upon three decisions; one being Bapurao Dhondiba v. State of Bombay and the other being a Madras decision In re Annadurai : AIR1959Mad63 and the third being a Supreme Court decision in Babulal Parate v. State of Maharashtra : 1961CriLJ16 .

73. In the first case (Bapurao Dhondiba's case) the principal question decided was about the constitutional validity of Section 37(3) which was challenged vis-a-vis Article 19 of the Constitution on various grounds but all the grounds of attack were negatived and the provision was held to be valid; further so far as the particular order issued by the Commissioner in that case was concerned the same was challenged only on two grounds, which I may point out, were entirely different and had nothing to do with the grounds on which the impugned orders in the instant case are being challenged before us (vide p. 425 of the report) and as such the decision cannot, assist Mr. Singhvi very much. However, Mr. Singhvi relied upon it only to bring out the aspects that Section 37(3) is intended to meet emergent situations where swift action would be of the essence of the matter and that it is the Commissioner of Police who is to decide and determine whether an order under Section 37(3) should be issued or not and that it cannot be anybody else's satisfaction or judgment. There is no quarrel with these aspects of the provision contained in Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act.

74. The Madras decision in In re Annadurai is also a case where the vires of analogous provision contained in Section 41 of the Madras City Police Act which empowered the Commissioner of Police, Madras to issue an order prohibiting assemblies and processions was challenged on the ground that the said section was violative of Article 19 of the Constitution and the challenge failed; it must also be pointed out that though a specific question was raised whether the particular order of the Commissioner of Police dated December 31, 1957 was violative of or outside the, purview of Section 41 of the Madras City Police Act that question was not decided by the Court but was expressly left open for being decided by the trial Court. In other words, the position that obtained in the Bombay decision also obtained in the Madras decision. However, strong reliance was placed by both Mr. Singhvi and Mr. Chagla upon that part of the judgment where the Court has upheld the validity of the impugned order passed by the Commissioner of Police in that case even when it took within its sweep innocent meetings of petitioners' political party and the observations made by the Court in that behalf in para. 12 of its judgment. It appears that two political parties, namely Dravida Kazhagam and Tamil Nad Socialist Party had carried on some agitation causing some disturbance and some anxiety to the City Police, but by reason of the Police Commissioner's order which was of a general nature the prohibition imposed thereunder also affected the petitioner's party viz. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam which was forced to apply for a licence if it was to hold a public meeting and a contention on behalf of the petitioners was raised by their advocate Mr. Raman to this effect that the order of the Commissioner passed on December 31, 1957 extending his previous order under Section 41 because of the activities of the Dravida Kazhagam and the Tamil Nad Socialist Party was illegal as it was sought to be applied not only to the Dravida Kazhagam and the Tamil Nad Socialist Party people but also to people totally unconnected with them, that is, to members of the D.M.K. which he claimed was antagonistic and opposed to the activities of the Dravida Kazhagam and the Tamil Nad Socialist Party and its 18 points charter and believed in nonviolence and high standards of conduct. The contention precisely was that an order intending to meet the situation created by the Dravida Kazhagam and the Tamil Nad Socialist Party had been applied to D.M.K. which was forced to apply for a licence if it was to hold a public meeting and therefore the impugned general order of the Commissioner of Police was bad in law and void. This contention was repelled by the Madras High Court by making the following observations (p. 67):

But this kind of situation is by no means unusual, still less will it make the application of the same rule illegal. It is not so much the Dravida Kazhagam and the Tamil Nad Socialist Party which worried the Commissioner, but, the hooligan elements exploiting the situation and likely to cause disturbances. When a state of disturbance exists, all are caught in it, good and bad, law-abiding citizens and hooligans alike, just as when an epidemic, like cholera, is on, even people observing all sanitary rules are not immune, and, just as when a curfew is imposed it is clamped on law-abiding citizens also. It is inevitable that in such a situation caused by others the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam also should be caught in the net of the general order dated 31-12-1957. (para. 12)
Relying on these observations it was strongly urged by Mr. Singhvi and Mr. Chagla that the position in the instant case was exactly the same, namely that in the total ban that has been imposed by respondent No. 1 under his impugned general orders some innocent assemblies could be said to have been caught, but that could not be the reason why the order should be held to be bad as not falling within the scope of purview of Section 37(5). Now the basic fallacy involved in this type of argument is the assumption made that the impugned order in the Madras case was identically or similarly worded as are the impugned general orders issued by respondent No. 1 in the instant case before us; secondly mixing of innocent assemblies with offending assemblies (meaning those which are likely to disturb the public order) might be such that the totality of prohibition becomes manifestly unreasonable or absurd and hence the impugned order will have to be regarded as outside the scope of the parent provision and therefore ultra vires (vide Irish decision in McEldowney v. Forde where a view has been expressed that if a regulation purported to render all chess clubs unlawful it will be prima facie ultra vires). In my view, the Madras decision is clearly distinguishable from the facts which are obtaining in the instant case. Unfortunately in the entire judgment the particular order issued by the Commissioner of Police, Madras has nowhere been reproduced though its substance has been indicated at two or three places, but from the judgment it appears clear that the particular order passed by the Commissioner of Police on December 31, 1937 undoubtedly banned all meetings in the city but by that order itself several exceptions had been carved out to which the prohibition was not to apply. Principally the exceptions were of two types: (a) exception was made in respect of certain specified categories of meetings which could be held without licence and (b) exception was also made in respect of meetings for which licence was given by the Assistant Commissioner of Police etc. On a careful analysis of the facts which have been set out in paras. 1 and 13 of the judgment it will appear clear that as many as nine types of meetings had been expressly exempted from the prohibition that was imposed by the general order and the exemptions were: (1) marriages, (2) funerals, (3) religious assemblies-being assemblies which were not likely to be participated in by hooligans, (4) statutory meeting's, (5) meetings under express legal authority-both of which were also not likely to cause disturbance or likely to be participated in by hooligans, (6) meetings sanctioned by a special licence by the Commissioner or the Assistant Commissioner of Police, (7) assemblies in which the Governor of Madras would be participating, (8) assemblies in which the Ministers of the Union Government would be participating, (9) assemblies in which the Ministers of the State Government were to participate-this latter class being considered to be meetings in which the Police will be making the necessary band bust so that there will be no chance of disturbance. It will thus appear clear that though the impugned order was of general nature banning so to say all meetings in the city, as many as nine types of innocent meetings had been expressly excluded from the operation of the ban and it was in the context of such a general order passed by the Commissioner of Police, Madras that the High Court took the view that the particular order could not be held to be invalid simply because the petitioners' political party was also brought within the purview of the order and was forced to apply for a licence to hold a public meeting. In other words, it is quite clear that the order in that case read as a whole did not really amount to a total ban or a near-total ban of the type imposed by respondent No. 1 in the instant case before us. The Madras decision, therefore, is clearly distinguishable on facts. As I have stated above, it would be a question of construction and effect of each and every order which may come before the Court and it is quite possible that mixing of innocent assemblies with the offending assemblies might be such that totality of prohibition may become manifestly unreasonable or absurd in which case the impugned order will have to be struck down as being outside the purview of the parent statute.

75. The third decision on which Mr. Singhvi relied is the decision of the Supreme Court in Babulal Palate's case where the validity of an order promulgated by the District Magistrate under Section 144, Criminal Procedure Code was considered by the Court. It appears that the impugned order issued by the District Magistrate under Section 144, Criminal Procedure Code was challenged on the ground that it placed unreasonable restrictions on certain fundamental rights of citizens inasmuch as the only exception made in the order was with respect to funeral processions and religious processions and therefore it would not have been possible to secure the District Magistrate's permission for going out in procession for some other purpose or for assembling for some other purpose in the area to which the order applied. While negativing this argument the Court made certain observations in para. 32 of its judgment on which strong reliance was placed by Mr. Singhvi. The observations run thus (p. 891) :

...So far as the customary religious or funeral processions are concerned, the exemption has been granted in the order itself that if anyone wanted to take out a procession for some other purpose which was lawful it was open to them under Section 144, Sub-section (4) to apply for an alteration of the order and obtain a special exemption, Mere omission of the District Magistrate to make the exemption clause of the order more comprehensive would not, in our opinion, vitiate the order on the ground that it places unreasonable restrictions on certain fundamental rights of citizens.
There are two or three reasons why this decision cannot avail the respondents. In the first place, it was a case dealing with constitutional validity or otherwise of an order promulgated by the District Magistrate under Section 144, Criminal Procedure Code which order as is well-known is of quasi-judicial character. The provisions of Section 144 themselves indicate (Sub-section (2) of Section 144) that an order under this section may, in cases of emergency or in cases where the circumstances do not admit of the serving in due time of a notice upon the person against whom the order is directed, be passed, ex parte. Even the initial resort to Section 144 depends upon some sort of enquiry which the magistrate is required to make and what is more under Sub-section (4) magistrate has been empowered either on his own motion or on the application of any person aggrieved, to rescind or alter any order made under this section by himself or any magistrate subordinate to him or by his predecessor in office and under Sub-section (5) where such an application is received, the magistrate shall afford to the applicant an early opportunity of appearing before him either in person or by pleader and showing cause against the order; and, if the magistrate rejects the application, wholly or in part, he shall record in writing his reason for so doing. In other words, the scheme of Section 144, the constitutional validity of which came up for determination before the Supreme Court in that case, is entirely different from the scheme of Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act. Secondly, as in the two previous decisions on which reliance was placed by Mr. Singhvi, in this case also the Court was principally concerned with the question of deciding the vires and constitutional validity of Section 144 vis-a-vis Article 19 of the Constitution and it was incidentally that the attack against the specific order issued by the District Magistrate under Section 144 came up for consideration on the ground mentioned above. Thirdly, the particular observation on which reliance has been placed by Mr. Singhvi, namely: "Mere omission of the District Magistrate... to make the exemption clause of the order more comprehensive would not, in our opinion, vitiate the order on the ground that it places unreasonable restrictions on certain fundamental rights of citizens" will have to be read in the context of the scheme of Section 144(4), Criminal Procedure Code whereunder a specific right has been given by the Criminal Procedure Code to a person affected by that order to apply to the District Magistrate to have the order rescinded or altered or modified. There is no such provision in the Bombay Police Act to have any order issued by the Commissioner of Police rescinded, modified or altered. In my view, therefore, none of the decision on which reliance has been placed by Mr. Singhvi supports his general submission that in every case where a general order is issued by the Commissioner of Police under Section 37(3), if it takes within its sweep even innocent assemblies, such order will have to be upheld as being within the four corners of Section 37(5). Every order issued by the Commissioner of Police under Section 37(3) will have to be considered on its own merits and it will have to be decided whether the condition precedent mentioned in the section has been satisfied or fulfilled or not and whether the same falls within or outside the parent provision.

76. Coming to the nature of all these impugned general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time under Section 37(3) and the contents thereof (all being identically worded), it will appear clear, as stated earlier, that the prohibition or ban imposed upon assemblies of five or more persons is almost a total ban, or to be precise a near-total ban (the only assemblies excepted being assemblies in cinema houses and assemblies at other places of public amusements). Mr. Palkhiwalla appearing for the petitioners has contended that these impugned general orders apply to all assemblies irrespective of their nature, that is to say, whether they are private or public assemblies; these orders apply to all assemblies wholly irrespective of the purpose or purposes for which these may be called; and these orders apply to all assemblies irrespective of their location within Greater Bombay and he urged that such general orders which impose such a total ban or a near-total ban on all types of assemblies irrespective of their nature or purposes on the face of them will have to be regarded as not satisfying the condition precedent contained in the parent provision viz. Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act. He also submitted that from the manner in which such a total ban or a near-total ban has been imposed by the Commissioner of Police it could be inferred that before exercising the power under Section 37(5) the Commissioner of Police could not have arrived at the required satisfaction, namely that such total prohibition or a near-total prohibition on all the assemblies was necessary for the preservation of the public order in Greater Bombay. These orders, according to him, therefore, clearly disclose non-application of mind notwithstanding the recital to be found in the preamble of each of the orders and therefore these will have to be struck down as being outside the parent provision, viz. Section 37(3). I find considerable force in these submissions of Mr. Palkhiwalla. The absurd consequences to which these draconian pieces of subordinate legislation lead, could very well be illustrated if the same are sought to be applied or worked out in relation to the normal day-to-day pursuits of the citizens residing in this great metropolitan city. Any group of five or more persons cannot go together for shopping in bazar without obtaining the previous permission of the Commissioner; five or more persons cannot assemble for offering 'Namaj' in a mosque without the previous permission of the Commissioner; Sunday prayer meetings in Churches cannot be held without the prior permission of the Commissioner; five or more ladies cannot assemble for listening to 'Hari Kirtan' in temples without the prior permission of the Commissioner; a dinner party of five or more in a hotel cannot be held without the prior permission of the Commissioner; Uthamna ceremony (condolence meeting) cannot be held without the prior permission of the Commissioner; a lecture in a college-hall or at University will not be permissible without the prior permission of the Commissioner. To all these and numerous other type of assemblies the ban is applicable though ordinarily none of such assemblies can even remotely be said to be connected with the problem of preservation of public order. Furthermore, it is claimed by the Commissioner of Police in his affidavit in the present proceedings-and perhaps rightly-that Section 37(3) takes within its scope even private assemblies or private meetings and if that be so, the Commissioner ought to have acted with more care and responsibility before imposing such a near-total ban which would bring within its mischief all types of private assemblies or meetings leading to outrageous results. A family unit of five consisting of husband, wife and three children cannot sit together for a dinner at a table without obtaining the prior permission of the Police Commissioner and a Muslim cannot socially meet his four wives at one time and place without obtaining the prior permission of the Police Commissioner. None of the assemblies or meetings which I have indicated above can normally have any rational connection with the problem of preservation of the public order in this city; even so, respondent No. 1 in the exercise of the power conferred upon him under Section 37(3) has thought fit to issue these general orders imposing a total ban or a near-total ban taking within its sweep all the aforesaid types of innocent assemblies or meetings. Can any reasonable body of persons say that the nexus between such a total ban and the preservation of public order in this city is real and rational? Is not the nexus fanciful and problematic? To my mind, these orders imposing such a total ban or a near-total ban are outrageous, absurd and manifestly unreasonable. From the intrinsic evidence available from the contents thereof it becomes obvious that all these general orders have been passed by respondent No. 1 without having arrived at the required satisfaction that such total or near-total prohibition was necessary for the preservation of the public order in Greater Bombay and the condition precedent to the exercise of the power not having been fulfilled, these orders are liable to be struck down. Moreover, as stated earlier, in spite of specific plea raised by the petitioners respondent No. 1 has failed to produce material before the Court on the basis of which he could be said to have arrived at the requisite satisfaction and as such it can be inferred that in fact he had no material warranting the imposition of such a near-total ban and on this basis also I hold that the condition precedent is not fulfilled and these orders are liable to be struck down.

77. When these absurd effects of these impugned general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time were pointed out to counsel appearing for the respondents, a naive plea was put forward that both in interpretation and enforcement of these orders some reasonableness must be shown and commonsense should be used. The argument was-and this argument with its obvious implication was repeated ad nauseam to the annoyance of the Court-that though the ban imposed by these impugned orders appears to be a total ban or a near-total ban, these orders should be interpreted reasonably as excluding innocent assemblies or meetings, public or private and in any case it was pointed out that no action has been taken by the Commissioner of Police against any such innocent assemblies or meetings, public or private, having been held during the time these orders have been in operation. It is impossible to accept such a plea for the simple reason that all these impugned general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time are in the nature of subordinate legislation the contravention of which has been rendered penal and it is not expected that the citizens of this city should be left to the mercy of the executive or the police in not getting prosecuted for committing such contravention. When subordinate legislation is of a type where its contravention is rendered penal, it will be impossible to accept the plea that some reasonableness should be shown or commonsense should be used while interpreting and enforcing the same. May I take the liberty of saying this-and I will say this only once-that if there was any need to show reasonableness or to use commonsense it was before issuing such orders and more so while supporting them before the Court.

78. At this stage I may also refer to another line of argument that was advanced before the Court by counsel appearing for the respondents. The argument was that after all the Commissioner of Police had to pass an order under Section 37(5) if the situation in the city demanded the issuance of such an order and that the manner in which he had issued these general orders would be the normal way in which the power under Section 37(5) could be exercised, for it is pointed out that while banning all assemblies of five or more persons (except the specified ones) a provision has been made that if anybody wanted to hold any assembly or meeting of five or more persons, public or private, other than the specified exempted assemblies, he could always apply to the Commissioner of Police for permission and upon permission being granted the assembly or meeting could be held and such a provision contained in these orders should be looked upon as a method of regulating the assemblies or meetings and such exercise of power would be within the purview of Section 37(5). It was emphatically urged by Mr. Chagla appearing for respondent No. 2 that some innocent assemblies are bound to fall within the mischief of such an order issued under Section 37(5), otherwise how else could the Commissioner exercise his power effectively? Surely the Commissioner could not, so ran the argument, say that he will ban 'only such assemblies which are likely to disturb the public order'? A short and snap answer to this contention is that it is not the function of this Court to advise the Commissioner of Police how he should exercise his power or how he should word his order under Section 37(5) and if the present incumbent does not know how to issue proper orders under the section, respondent No. 2 should better appoint a more competent officer who would be knowing that job, but surely under the garb of regulating assemblies such outrageous or absurd orders imposing a total ban or a near-total ban on all assemblies irrespective of the purpose or purposes for which these may be called cannot be issued. Nobody has suggested that the Commissioner of Police should word his order saying 'only such assemblies as are likely to disturb the public order' are banned, but there are ways and means in which a proper order can be passed under Section 37(3) which would squarely fall within the four corners of that parent provision. One thing must appear very clear from the order that the authority issuing the same has applied its mind to the relevant facts and has satisfied itself about the existence of necessity to impose prohibition for the preservation of the public order, Having regard to the absurd results which are likely to flow from the impugned general orders as indicated above and the manner in which such draconian orders have been kept in force right from June 26, 1975 till now, I feel constrained to observe that the Commissioner of Police has in the instant case subjected the citizenry of this great Metropolis to the humiliation and indignity of being required to apply for permission for following their innocent occupations and innocuous activities, and this suggests to me that he has displayed an attitude of being more loyal to the King than the King himself; This observation of mine may appear to be rather too strong but I feel there are circumstances and material on record to justify it. The Prime Minister in her speech which was broadcast to the nation in the morning of June 26, 1975 immediately following the declaration of Emergency by the President on the previous night, the text of which has been placed on record as exh. A in the case assured the citizens thus:

I should like to assure you that the new emergency proclamation will in no way affect the rights of law-abiding citizens.
And what one finds in the instant case is interference with the rights of law-abiding citizens of this great Metropolis at the hands of the Commissioner of Police even in matters of their normal day-to-day innocent and innocuous activities-and that too not for a short duration but for a period commencing from June 26, 1975 till to-day.

79. Having regard to the aforesaid discussion, therefore, I am clearly of the view that all these impugned general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time imposing a total or a near total ban on all assemblies of five or more persons throughout Greater Bombay (exh. D colly, in the case) fall outside and are ultra vires the parent provision viz. Section 37(J) of the Bombay Police Act and are, therefore, liable to be struck down.

80. If these general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time (exh. D colly.) are outside the purview of and therefore ultra vires Section 37(3), the refusal on the part respondent No. 1 by his letter dated October l3, 1975 to grant permission to the petitioners to hold their meeting must fall to the ground. A frail attempt was made by Mr. Singhvi to salvage this refusal by contending that this refusal itself should be regarded as one of the orders having been independently issued by the Commissioner of Police under Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act, It is not possible to accept this submission of Mr. Singhvi for more than one reason. In the first place, no such plea has ever been raised by the respondents in any of the affidavits filed on their behalf in this case. On the other hand, the two deponents who have filed their affidavits in reply to the petition have proceeded on the basis that this refusal letter dated October 13, 1975 is referable to the general orders that were issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time under Section 37(3); secondly of the refusal dated October 13, 1975 is carefully scrutinised, it will appear clear that this letter dated October 13, 1975 is by way of a reply to petitioner No. l's letter dated October 10, 1975 wherein permission for holding the proposed meeting, without prejudice to the contention that no such permission was necessary, was sought and all that letter dated October 13, 1975 states is that petitioner No. l's request cannot be granted; there is nothing oil the face of letter dated October 13, 1975 to show that it was intended to be issued as an independent order under Section 37(3) of the Bombay Police Act; and thirdly, which would be the most effective reply, if this refusal is to be regarded as an order made under Section 37(5) then this order has expired within fifteen days from the date of that letter and there has been no extension of the period of the order issued on October 13, 1975. In fact, this aspect emphasises the position that this reply dated October 13, 1975 was not any order as such under Section 37(5) but that it was a reply refusing permission on the strength of the relevant impugned general order issued under Section 37(i) that was then in operation. Since I have come to tie conclusion that the general orders issued by respondent No. 1 from time to time under Section 37(5) of the Bombay Police Act are ultra vires, this refusal dated October 13, 1975 must fall to the ground.

81. The next question that arises for my consideration is whether the impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 issued by respondent No. 2 under Rule 69 read with Rule 1A of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules, 1971 is legal or valid. It is true that Mr. Dhanuka appearing for the learned Advocate General submitted before us that the legality and validity or otherwise of this impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 should not be decided by this Court, for, according to him, the applicability of this impugned general order to the facts of the present case is dependent upon what view the Court takes about the proposed meeting that has been convened by the petitioners, whether the proposed meeting is a public meeting or a private meeting. He urged that if on a consideration of the latter question the Court came to the conclusion that the proposed meeting was a private meeting and not a public meeting, then obviously the impugned order dated October 14, 1975 would not be attracted to the facts of the case and therefore no question of vires thereof would arise. It was because of this position that obtains in the matter that Mr. Dhanuka contended that the question of vires of the impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 should not be gone into or decided by this Court and in support of his contention he placed reliance upon the decision of the Supreme Court in State of Bihar v. R.B.H. R, M, L. Jute Mills : [1960]2SCR331 . In this case the Supreme Court has undoubtedly observed that if the facts admitted or proved do not attract the impugned provisions then there would be no occasion to decide the issue about the vires of the said provisions and that any decision on the said question in such a case would purely be academic. The Supreme Court also observed that Courts are and should be reluctant to decide constitutional points merely as matter of academic importance. It may he pointed out that in that case two contentions were urged on behalf of respondent No. 1 (Rai Bahadur Hurdut Roy Moti Lal Jute Mills) before the Patna High Court that the proviso to Section 14A under which the impugned order was purported to have been passed did not apply to the case of respondent No. 1 and as such the order was not justified by the said proviso and that if it was held that the said proviso justified the impugned order it was ultra vires the State Legislature inasmuch as it violated Article 20(7) and Article 31(2) of the Constitution. The High Court did not consider the first contention raised before it at all but decided the question of vires of the proviso to Section 14A vis-a-vis Article 21 and Article 31(2) of the Constitution and in those circumstances when the matter was carried to the Supreme Court by the State of Bihar the Supreme Court made the above observations on which Mr. Dhanuka has relied. In the instant case, my Lord the Chief Justice has actually gone into the question as to whether the proposed meeting is a public meeting or a private meeting and has decided that the proposed meeting is a private meeting and with respect I am in entire agreement with the view taken by him on that point. Therefore, it is not as if the question of vires of the impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 is being decided by me in any academic manner without deciding the character of the proposed meeting. A decision on the question of vires would become necessary if our view on the question as to whether the proposed meeting is a public meeting or a private meeting is not upheld by the higher Court. Moreover, since the arguments were advanced at great length on the vires of the impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 I feel it will be proper for me to decide that question in the present proceedings.

82. In order to decide the legality/validity or otherwise of the impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 it will be necessary to set out the relevant provisions of Rule 69 read with Rule 1A of the Rules under which the said- impugned general order has been issued by respondent No. 2 as also the contents of the said impugned general order dated October 14, 1975. At the outset reference to the relevant provisions of the Defence and Internal Security of India Act viz. the parent Act would not be out of place. This parent Act (Act No. 42 of 1971) as amended by Act of 1975 Mars put on the statute book with a view to provide for special measures to ensure the public safety and interest, the defence of India and civil defence and internal security and for the trial of certain offences and for matters connected therewith. Chapter II of the parent Act deals with the emergency powers and Section 3 confers power to make rules. Section 3(7) runs thus:

3. Power to make rules, (1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make such rules as appear to it necessary or expedient for securing the defence of India and civil defence, the internal security, public safety, the maintenance of public order or the efficient conduct of military operations, or for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the community.
Without prejudice to the generality of the powers conferred by Sub-section (7) above, Sub-section (2) of Section 3, inter alia, indicates illustratively various topics on which rules could be made by the Central Government and Clause (39) of Sub-section (2) of Section 3 is relevant which indicates that the Central Government may make rules providing for 'prohibiting- or regulating meetings, assemblies, fair and processions'. By virtue of power conferred by Section 3 of this Act the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules, 1971 came to be framed by the Central Government. Rule 1A which was introduced in these rules with effect from July 1, 1975 runs thus:

1A.-Rules to apply also in relation to internal security.-As from the commencement of the Defence of India (Amendment) Rules, 1975, the provisions of these rules shall, so far as may be, apply for the purpose or internal security as they apply for the other purposes of the Act and accordingly those provisions shall be construed, wherever necessary, as including also a reference to internal security.
Then I come to Rule 69 which comes in Part II of the Rules, which has the caption "Public Safety and Order". Rule 69 runs thus:

Control of processions, meetings, etc.- (1) The Central Government or the State Government may, for the purpose of securing the defence of India and civil defence, the public safety, the maintenance of public order or the efficient conduct of military operations by general or special order prohibit, restrict or impose conditions upon, the holding of or taking part in public processions, meetings or assemblies.

(By reason of Rule 1A, which I have already quoted above, the purpose of internal security will be deemed to be included in Rule 69.)

(2) For the purposes of Sub-rule (1), any precession, meeting or assembly which is open to the public or to any class or portion of the public, whether held in a public or a private place and whether admission thereto is restricted by the issue of tickets or otherwise, shall be deemed to be a public procession, meeting or assembly as the case may be.

(3) Any police officer may take such steps and use such force as may be reasonably necessary for securing compliance with any order made under this rule.

(4) If any person contravenes any order made under this rule, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, Or with fine, or with both.

83. It is under these rules viz. Rule 69 read with Rule 1A that the impugned genera] order dated October 14, 1975 has been issued by respondent No. 2 (State of Maharashtra). This order runs as follows:

HOME DEPAKTMENT (SPECIAL)
Sachivalaya, Bombay-400032, dated 14th October 1975.
ORDER
DEFENCE AND INTERNAL SECURITY OF INDIA RULES, 1971.

No. XVII-SB/RAP. 0175/L-In exercise of the powers conferred on it by Rule 69 read with Rule 1A of the Defence and Internal Security of India Rules, 1971, the Government of Maharashtra for the purpose of securing the maintenance of public order and internal security, hereby prohibits the holding of any public meeting in any of the areas in the State specified in column (1) of the Schedule hereto appended, where any matter relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency declared under the Proclamation of Emergency issued under Clause (1) of Article 352 of the Constitution of India on the 25th day of June 1975 is to be or likely to be discussed or referred to, or is discussed or referred to, by any speaker or other person taking part in the public meeting, except after obtaining the prior permission of an officer specified in column (2) appointed for the area specified against him. in the Schedule.

2. The Government of Maharashtra hereby further directs that no person shall take part in any public meeting in respect of which such permission is required and has not been obtained.

3. This Order shall remain in force up to and inclusive of the 31st day of December" 1975.



It is obvious that since this impugned general order is a piece of subordinate legislation enacted by the State of Maharashtra under Rule 69 read with Rule 1A the same in order to be valid must fall within the parent Rule viz. Rule 69 read with Rule 1A. In other words, it must have been issued after requisite satisfaction was arrived at by the State of Maharashtra that the prohibition imposed thereunder was for securing one or more of the purposes mentioned in Rule 69 read with Rule 1A and in particular the two purposes mentioned in the order itself viz. (i) securing the maintenance of public order and (ii) securing internal security. It is obvious that if the impugned general order is shown to have been issued not for subserving one or the other of the said purposes, it would fall outside the purview of the parent Rule. Similarly, if it is shown that in passing this order the State Government has misdirected itself in law or on facts the order is liable to be struck down. Similarly, if on the face of operative part of the order the order is too wide and goes beyond the specified purposes, it will also have to be struck down as being not authorized by the parent Rule and therefore ultra vires that 'Rule. I have only indicated some of the grounds which would be available to the petitioners to challenge the vires of this impugned order.

84. It will, therefore, be necessary to consider the proper scope and effect of the impugned order from the contents thereof. On a fair reading of this impugned order three or four aspects emerge clearly, which could be enumerated thus: In the first place, the order contains a recital to the effect that the Government of Maharashtra has issued this order 'for the purpose of securing the maintenance of public order and internal security'; secondly, it imposes a total and complete ban on the holding of or taking part in any public meeting in any of the areas in the State specified in column (1) of the Schedule; thirdly, such total ban or prohibition of any public meeting is in relation to a meeting where 'any matter relating to or arising out of or connected with' the existing Emergency declared on June 25, 1975 is to be or likely to be discussed or referred to or is discussed or referred to by any speaker or any person taking part in such meeting, and lastly the order provides that no public meeting of the type indicated in the operative part of the order can be held except after obtaining prior permission of the officer specified in column (2) appointed for the area specified against him in the schedule. This is so far as the scope of the impugned order is concerned. So far as the implications or effects of this impugned order are concerned, a couple of aspects will also have to be indicated. In the first place, the order in effect imposes a total ban on any public debate on the Emergency declared on June 25, 1975 irrespective of the nature of such public debate; in other words, irrespective of the question as to whether at such public debate the Emergency in question is to be supported and applauded or the same is to be criticised and even if it is to be criticised irrespective of the manner of criticism to be levelled, the ban will equally apply and the second aspect which emerges clearly is that the prohibition imposed is very widely worded in the sense that not only any public debate on the Emergency "declared on June 25, 1975 itself is prohibited but the prohibition includes within its scope any discussion on 'any matter relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency'. The question is whether such general order so widely worded and imposing a total ban on any kind of public debate relating to the Emergency in question falls within the four corners of the parent Rule viz. Rule 69 read with Rule 1A.

85. Mr. Palkhiwalla appearing for the petitioners has pressed into service two grounds of attack for invalidating the aforesaid general order. In the first place, he contended that in issuing this impugned general order the State Government could be said to have clearly misdirected itself in law and for this purpose he relied upon certain statements which have been made by Mr. Sahasrabhojane, Joint Secretary in the Home Department (Special), Government of Maharashtra, Bombay in his affidavit dated November 13, 1975 filed in reply to the petition, which, according to Mr. Palkhiwalla, shows the basis on which the State Government came to issue this order. Secondly, he contended that the impugned order was too wide to be authorised by the parent Rule. On both these grounds he contended that the impugned order will have to be regarded as outside the purview of the parent Rule and therefore ultra vires and as such liable to be struck down. I shall examine these contentions of Mr. Palkhiwalla presently.

86. Turning to the first contention it would be necessary to refer to the relevant averments which are to be found in Sahasrabhojane's affidavit dated November 13, 1975 where the facts have been stated on the basis of which the State Government came to issue the impugned general order dated October 14, 1975. In para. 7 of his affidavit Sahasrabhojane has stated that in Bombay and at various places like City of Poona, City of Nagpur, City of Sholapur and City of Kolhapur public meetings were held with or without necessary permission under the ordinary law of the land, that many a time the authorities gave permission to hold such meetings, that from the reports received of such meetings it was found that speeches were delivered at such meetings whereat public or the portion of the public or class of public attended and at some of the meetings speeches were delivered criticising the Emergency declared on June 25, 1975. It has been further averred in that paragraph that the Ordinance issued by the President of India and the Governor of Maharashtra and the measures taken by the Central and State Governments pursuant to the said declaration of the Emergency were criticised and that because of such meetings it was felt by the Government that if such meetings were allowed to be held amongst various sections of society, it would affect the maintenance of public order and internal security. It has been further averred that the said order (meaning the impugned order dated October 14, 1975) was passed because on the basis of material before it the Government was satisfied that to secure maintenance of internal security and public order it was necessary to prohibit meetings: in the said areas where any matter relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency declared under the proclamation of Emergency issued on June 25, 1975 was to be or likely to be discussed or referred to or is discussed or referred to by any speaker or other persons taking part in the public meeting. He has further asserted that the Government was satisfied that if such meetings were permitted it would affect the maintenance of internal security and public order and in arriving at the said conclusion the Government relied upon the material before it and that the said material showed that there was a concerted attempt to hold such meetings where emergency and matters connected therewith would be discussed in Bombay and various places mentioned in the said Ordinance so that there would be disturbance of public order and internal security. After averring these facts and stating that on the basis of such material that was available before the Government the Government arrived at the requisite satisfaction that issuance of the impugned order was necessary for the maintenance of public order and internal security, Sahasrabhojane has gone on to add two legal submissions in his affidavit and in that t behalf he has stated thus:

I say that the Said Emergency was declared due to internal disturbance and criticising the Emergency would tantamount to supporting internal disturbance. (vide para. 7).
He has again stated thus:

I submit that discussion of Emergency at a public meeting per se in a given case as in the present case can affect the maintenance of internal security and public order. (vide para. 10).
It will thus appear clear that the material or the basis on which the impugned order came to be issued by the State of Maharashtra was as has been indicated by Sahasrabhojane in his affidavit the relevant portion of which I have summarised above and also on the basis of two legal submissions which have been put forward by Sahasrabhojane on behalf of the Government of Maharashtra, which I have quoted verbatim in his own words. While considering these averments it will not be o

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ut of place to mention that how and in what manner this Emergency was criticised by the speakers at various public meetings has nowhere been indicated except at one place where it has been stated that speeches were delivered at the meeting 'conferring vehement criticism' of the Emergency and the measures taken thereunder (vide para. 9). Unlike the Irish case where the movement for a separate Irish Republic had assumed violent proportions, there is in the instant case no whisper to be found in these averments that while indulging in criticism of the Emergency and the measures taken thereunder the speakers had indulged in any incitement to violence. It is also significant to note that it has no where been alleged or suggested that as a result of these speeches which were delivered vehemently criticising the emergency and measures taken thereunder any untoward incident or violence or breach of peace occurred in any of the cities where such speeches were delivered or at any other place in the State. In this view of the matter it seems to me clear that raison d'etre of this impugned order dated October 14, 1975 where-under a total ban is imposed upon public debate touching the Emergency or matters relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency is that in the opinion of Government criticising the Emergency is tantamount to supporting internal disturbance and that discussion of Emergency at a public meeting per se would affect the maintenance of internal security and public order irrespective of the nature of the criticism levelled'. The question is whether on this basis impugned order could be justified and according to Mr. Palkhiwalla, since the impugned order is founded on a basically fallacious assumption namely that any criticism of Emergency or the measures taken thereunder per se would affect the maintenance of public order and internal security and. any criticism of emergency, irrespective of its nature would be tantamount to supporting internal disturbance, the State Government must be regarded as having misdirected itself in law while issuing this impugned order. I find considerable force in this contention of Mr. Palkhiwalla. 87. In the above context the nature of the prohibition or ban imposed on public debate in regard to current emergency declared on June 25, 1975 assumes considerable importance. As I have said above, the ban imposed on public debate touching the Emergency in question is total and complete; the ban is attracted even if at such public debate the emergency is to be supported and applauded; the ban is attracted even if the emergency is to be criticised in a peaceful and constructive manner and the ban is of course attracted if the emergency is to be criticised by giving incitement to violence. It is only the last type of public debate that has rational connection with the maintenance of public order and internal security but the impugned order imposing a total ban on public debate on the emergency irrespective of its nature is based on an irrational feeling entertained by the State Government that public debate of any kind or rather every criticism of emergency in a public debate irrespective of its nature per se would affect public order or internal security and is tantamount to supporting internal disturbance. In issuing the impugned order the State Government could be said to have clearly misdirected itself in law. 88. My attention was invited specifically to the provision contained in the impugned order which states that a public debate on the emergency is possible after obtaining prior permission of the concerned officer who so far as the Greater Bombay is concerned is the Commissioner of Police, Bombay; but here again, in my view, the very fact that the impugned order contains a provision that for every public debate on the Emergency in question a prior permission of the officer concerned is required rather reemphasises the aspect that the ban imposed is otherwise total and complete. Now there are two aspects to which I would like to advert and which were also pressed into service by Mr. Palkhiwalla touching this total prohibition on public debate on the Emergency in question. In the first place, Mr. Palkhiwalla pointed out that there is no law in the country today which prohibits discussion on any of the Emergencies which are currently in operation and as such the Court will have to consider the question as to whether the State Government by issuing the impugned general order on October 14, 1975 has really imposed any manifestly unreasonable restriction or not, and in this behalf he fairly conceded that the declarations of Emergency made by the President of India under Article 352 of the Constitution have undoubtedly been made non-justiciable, but that was far from saying that the Emergencies which are in operation in the country today could not be discussed or debated by the public at large, and decided cases have taken the view that speaking ill of the Government or criticising Government's policies or measures has no rational connection with maintenance of public order (vide Satya Brata Ghose v. Arif Ali. It is true that the declarations of Emergency are made non-justiciable under Sub-article (5) of Article 352. But all that this means is that, the satisfaction of the President mentioned in Clause 1 and Clause 3 has been made final and conclusive not liable to be questioned in any Court on any ground and that neither the Supreme Court nor any other Court shall have any jurisdiction to entertain any question on any ground regarding validity of the declaration made by a proclamation by the President or the continued operation of the emergency proclaimed; however there is no law yet made either by Parliament or State Legislature prohibiting discussion of Emergency declared either on December 3, 1972 or on June 25, 1975 nor such discussion or debate has been made illegal or unlawful (except, of course, by the impugned order dated October 14, 1975 issued by the State of Maharashtra the validity of which is being tested in this case). Therefore, even during the Emergencies that are currently in operation it is legitimate for any citizen to say that the proclamations of Emergency, which are legislative acts on the part of the President are unjustified or unwarranted; it is legitimate for any citizen to say that these Emergencies are being kept alive for suppressing democratic dissent and criticism and that these should be ended; it is legitimate for any citizen to say that the Presidential Order dated June 27, 1975, which in its blanket form purports to take away the remedy by way of habeas corpus to challenge his detention even if it is made mala fide be revoked; and it is further legitimate for any citizen-to say that Parliament should meet to disapprove two Proclamation and the Presidential Order dated June 27, 1975, Of course, all these things could be said by any citizen subject to one proviso that the manner in which all this is said by him does not constitute a 'prejudicial act' as defined in Rule 36(e) of Defence and Internal Security of India Rules, 1971 which according to the settled law of this country means that while saying all these things there should be no incitement to violence, (vide Niharendu v. Emperor A.I.R. [1942] F.C. 22, Emperor v. Sadashiv A.I.R. [1947]P.C. 82, 49 Bom. L.R. 526 S.C. and Kedar Nath v. State of Bihar : AIR1962SC955 . In other words, creation of public opinion against the emergency in a pursuasive, peaceful and constructive manner is permissible and perfectly legal. 89. Secondly, the importance of right to dissent in a democratic set up has been, recognised in judicial decisions also, to some of which I may make a reference. In Anant Janardhan v. M.A. Deshmukh (1965) 68 Bom. L.R. 256 which was a case dealing with the freedom of press this Court at p. 273 of the report has observed thus: ...It is implicit in the freedom of press that every one ought to have the privilege of expressing opinions which are unpopular or distasteful. Right to dissent is the very essence of democracy. Conformity to accepted norms and belief has always been the enemy of freedom of thought. In the case of Sakal papers (P) Ltd. v. Union of India : [1962]3SCR842 the Supreme Court in para. 29 of its judgment has observed thus (p. 311) : ...The first decision of this Court in which this was recognized is Romesh Thappar v. The State of Madras: 1950CriLJ1514 . There, this Court held that freedom of speech and expression includes freedom of propagation of ideas and that this freedom is ensured by the freedom of circulation. In that case this Court has also pointed out that freedom of speech and expression are the foundation of all democratic organisations and are essential for the proper functioning of the processes of democracy. Again in para. 42 of its judgment the Supreme Court has observed thus (p. 315) : ...The freedom of speech and expression of opinion is of paramount importance under a democratic Constitution which envisages changes in the composition of legislatures and governments and must be preserved. In the latest decision of the Supreme Court in Ram Bahadur v. State of Bihar : 1975CriLJ269 , Mr. Justice Chandrachud has made the following observations (p. 228) : ...The mere fact that the petitioner was instrumental in forming the Sanchalan Samiti for conducting the students agitation or that he readily agreed to become a member of that Samiti cannot justify the conclusion that these acts are calculated to disturb public order. Peaceful protests and the voicing of a contrary opinion are powerful wholesome weapons in the democratic repertoire. It is therefore unconstitutional to pick up a peaceful protestant and to put him behind the prison bars. The right to repine can be taken away only for a constitutionally recognised purpose as for example in the interests of public order. In De Jonge v. Oregon (1937) 81 L. ed. 278 Chief Justice Hughes who delivered the opinion of the Court has made the following observation (p. 283) : Freedom of speech and of the press are fundamental rights which are safeguarded by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution.... The right of peaceable assembly is a right cognate to those of free speech and free press and is equally fundamental. In Hague v. Committee for Industrial Organization (1939) 83 L.ed. 1423 Mr. Justice Roberts who delivered the opinion in which Mr. Justice Black concurred has observed as follows (p. 1435) : Although it has been held that the Fourteenth Amendment created no rights in citizens of the United States, but merely secured existing rights against state abridgment, it is clear that the right peaceably to assemble and to discuss these topics, and to communicate respecting them, whether orally or in writing, is a privilege inherent in citizenship of the United States which the Amendment protects. Cooley in his treatise on the Constitutional Limitations has stated thus (p. 349) : Right to Discussion and Petition.-The right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances- is one which 'would seem unnecessary to be expressly provided for in a republican government, since it results from the very nature of its structure and institutions, It is impossible that it could be practically denied until the spirit of liberty had wholly disappeared, and the people had become so servile and debased as to be unfit to exercise any of the privileges of freedom'. The Supreme Court of Canada in a reference In re Alberta Statutes [1938] S.C.R. (Can) 100 has made the following observations at pages 145 and 146 of the report: Under the British system, which is ours, no political party can erect a prohibitory barrier to prevent the electors from getting information concerning the policy of the government. Freedom of discussion is essential to enlighten public opinion in a democratic State; it cannot be curtailed without affecting the right of the people to be informed through sources independent of the government concerning matters of public interest, There must be an untrammelled publication of the news and political opinions of the political parties contending for ascendancy. 90. It is in the light of such great importance that is attached to the right to dissent in a democratic set up that is ours and in the light of the fact that there is no law yet made prohibiting discussion on the emergencies declared on December 3, 1972 or June 25, 1975, that the validity of the impugned general order imposing a total ban on any kind of public debate on the emergencies in question will have to be considered especially when the raison d'etre of such total ban is the view of the State Government that any criticism of the emergency which has been declared due to internal disturbance is tantamount to supporting internal disturbance and that any discussion of Emergency at any public meeting per se would affect the maintenance of internal security and public order. The total ban imposed on public debate of any kind irrespective of the nature of the criticism that might be levelled against the emergencies thereat will have to be regarded as manifestly unreasonable. In any event in issuing this impugned general order the State Government must be held to have misdirected itself in law and if that be the case the first ground of attack against the impugned general order must succeed. 91. Turning to the other ground of attack the contention has been that the impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 is too widely worded to be authorised by the parent Rule viz. Rule 69 read with Rule 1A. In this behalf emphasis was laid on the aspect that not only is a public debate on the Emergency in question banned totally but the ban also takes within its compass discussion of or reference to 'any matter relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency'. Relying on this aspect of the impugned order it was urged, and rightly in my view, that by any plausible process of reasoning a matter which normally may not relate, to or arise out of or be connected with emergency in question could be shown to be a matter relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency because the words 'relating to' or 'arising out of or 'connected with are expressions of widest amplitude. In other words, not merely a peaceful public debate on, the Emergency in question is prohibited but even peaceful discussion of or even a reference to any matter relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency has been prohibited. It is urged that the impugned order therefore must be regarded as too wide to be authorised by the parent Rule. It cannot be disputed that the expressions 'relating to' or 'arising out of or 'connected with' are expressions of very wide amplitude and any matter or topic albeit indirectly, incidentally or even remotely touching the emergency can be brought within the ban imposed by the impugned order and what is more even the most peaceful discussion of or reference to such a matter or topic is covered. Again some sort of reliance was sought to be placed on the fact that the order itself has indicated that the prohibition contained therein will not apply to a public meeting for which prior permission of the officer concerned is obtained and here again the same argument was advanced that this was the mode in which discussion of or reference to Emergency or any matter connected therewith is sought to be regulated, I am unable to accept this submission for the reason, which I have already indicated above, namely that such a provision rather reemphasises the aspect that the ban or prohibition is otherwise total or complete. An attempt was sought to be made to argue that after all when an application for prior permission was made by any person to hold a public debate that application will be considered on merits by the officer concerned and permission would be granted or refused on the merits of each application and if the refusal to grant permission in a given case was found to be improper or irrational, the refusal could be struck down but that does not mean that the impugned order itself should be struck down. Such an argument in the facts of the present case is merely required to be stated to be rejected. Having regard to the basis on which the State Government has thought fit to issue this impugned order imposing a total ban on public debate on the Emergency in question, it would not require the penetrating intelligence of a Sherlock Holmes to realise in what cases permission would be granted and in what cases it would not be granted. The very reason for the imposition of the ban as stated in the affidavit by Sahasrabhojane is that in several public meetings held all over the State the emergences and measures taken thereunder were criticised and it was because of such criticism that were levelled at such meetings that the Government was satisfied that, in the context of Emergency holding of any public meeting where any matter relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing Emergency is to be or likely to be discussed or referred to or is discussed or referred to by any speaker or other persons taking part in the public meeting would affect the maintenance of public order and internal security and therefore the ban was imposed. If that be so, it would stand to reason that permission if asked for would normally be granted for public meetings where the Emergency in question would be supported or applauded, certainly not where it will be criticised, which in the words of Justice Black (in the case of Wieman v. Updegraff (1952) 97 L.ed. 216 means that the State Government is preserving the freedoms (of speech and discussion) not for all but only for 'the cringing and the craven'. That such a state of affairs was far from the mind of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru will be clear from the following passage which may be extracted from his 'Selected Works', vol. 7 at pp. 410-411 which is very eloquent: In countries with a democratic background the greatest value is therefore attached to civil liberty and people of the most diverse and mutually hostile opinions join together in a common attempt to protect this foundation of all liberty and activity. They consider it their duty to resist even the suppression of any opinion or activity to which they are personally opposed, for once the principle of such suppression is admitted it can be, and frequently has been, extended to all manner of other activities. In America, England and France powerful civil liberties unions, of a purely non-party character, have been established to resist all such encroachments and their activities have borne substantial fruit. In India the necessity for such a joint effort embracing all groups and individuals, who believe in civil liberties, is obviously even more necessary than elsewhere. 92. An attempt was made by Mr. Dhanuka appearing for the learned Advocate General to contend that the doctrine of severability should be applied to the impugned order in question, if this Court felt that the impugned order contained certain words which were of wide amplitude and took the impugned order outside the purview of the parent Rule and that such portion of the impugned order may be separated and the rest may be upheld. This argument cannot avail the respondents for the simple reason that the impugned order does not deal with two or more things some being separate from others. The order is singular whole in the sense that it prohibits any public meeting where discussion Of Emergency is likely to take place or Emergency is likely to be referred to. The phrase 'where any matter relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency' is not referable to any different item up such which is independently prohibited. What is prohibited is any public meeting where any matter relating to or arising out of or connected with the existing emergency is to be or is likely to be discussed or referred to by any speaker or other person taking part in the public meeting. The entire order must be read as a whole and in my view there would be no question of invoking the doctrine of severability as suggested by Mr. Dhanuka. Having regard to the above discussion, therefore, it is also clear to me that the impugned order dated October 14, 1975 must be regarded as too wide to be authorised by the parent Rule viz. Rule 69 read with Rule 1A of the Rules and is, on this ground also, liable to be struck down. 93. I shall now deal with two more grounds of attack on the basis of which the impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 was sought to be invalidated: (a) that the impugned order was and is in contravention of injunction contained in Section 38 of the Defence and Internal Security of India Act, 1971 and (b) that the impugned order has been issued mala fide and on extraneous or non-germane considerations. I shall be brief in my discussion on these points as neither has impressed me in the least. As regards the former ground it is pointed out that Section 38 of the parent Act ordains that as little interference with the ordinary avocations of life and enjoyment of property as is possible is permissible to the authority acting in pursuance of the Act and since by the impugned order even peaceful public debate on Emergency in question has been sought to be prohibited completely the State Government acting in pursuance of the Act has contravened the injunction of Section 38. It is not possible to accept this contention for, in my view, what the section contemplates is least interference with the 'ordinary avocations of life' and 'the enjoyment of property', and I am unable to persuade myself to take the view that the holding of or taking part in any public debate on the Emergency in question amounts to ordinary avocation of life. The contention based on Section 38 of the parent Act, therefore, must fail. However, in this context I would like to point out that though the impugned order cannot be said to be in contravention of Section 38, the same is unquestionably in teeth of the assurance given by the Prime Minister in her broadcast to the nation on June 26, 1975 that 'the new emergency proclamation will in no way affect the rights of law-abiding citizens' 94. As regards the latter ground of attack the petitioners' case is that the impugned order dated October 14, 1975 has been issued mala fide and/or on extraneous and non-germane considerations and/or for a collateral purpose. In support of this contention the petitioners have referred to certain facts, namely that in September 1975 a conference of lawyers inter alia sponsored by Democratic Lawyers' Association-an association with pronounced political views- was permitted to be held and to the said conference only those lawyers whose views were favourable and palatable to the Government were invited, and that the said conference was held under patronage of the Government and the ruling party. The petitioners have further averred that apprehending that the proposed meeting which the petitioners wanted to hold on October 18, 1975 may express views which may not be favourable or palatable to the Government an effort was being made to prevent the said meeting at any cost and that the said impugned order dated October 14, 1975 came to be passed and the circumstances show a partial and/or partisan approach of the Government and that the impugned order has been passed with a view to stifle and choke the expression of any views not palatable to the Government. These averments have been denied by the two deponents who have filed their affidavits in reply to the petition, and it has been emphatically denied that the impugned order dated October 14, 1975 had been issued mala fide and/or on extraneous and non-germane considerations and/or for a purpose not covered by Rule 69 or for a collateral purpose. It has been further denied that apprehending that the meeting to be held on October 18, 1975 may express views which may not be favourable or palatable to the Government an effort was being made to prevent the maid meeting at any cost, or that therefore the impugned order came to be passed as alleged. It is further denied that the circumstances show any partial or partisan approach of the authorities or that the said order was passed with a view to stifle and choke the expression of any views not palatable to the Government. It is asserted that impugned order was passed for the purpose of maintenance of public order and internal security taking into account the material available as indicated earlier. In the absence of proper material being placed on record and in the absence of particulars being furnished in that behalf it would not be possible to accept the petitioners' case that the impugned order has been passed for the collateral purpose of preventing the proposed meeting of the petitioners as suggested by them. This ground of attack, therefore, also must fail. However, though it may be possible to accept the averment made on behalf of the respondents that the impugned order was not passed for collateral purposes or for the purpose of preventing the convening of the proposed meeting at any cost as alleged by the petitioners, it is difficult to accept the pretence of the State Government that the impugned order was not intended to stifle or choke the expression of any views not palatable to the Government. As discussed earlier it is clear that the prohibition imposed by the impugned order was and is avowedly for the purpose of preventing any expression of views by way of criticising the emergency in question or the measures taken thereunder. It is, therefore, not possible to accept that part of respondent No. 2's case that the said impugned order was not passed with a view to stifle or choke any expression of views' not palatable to Government or that the said order does prohibit the criticism of the Government. Such a plea in face of the total ban imposed on any kind of public debate on emergency cannot obviously be accepted, for, in my view, no Government which suppresses even peaceful and constructive criticism of emergency at a public debate, no Government which preserves the freedoms only for the cringing and the craven and no Government which permits its Police Chief to perpetrate on its citizens the humiliation and indignity of being required to obtain prior permission for their normal, innocent and innocuous activities can have any moral right to proclaim to the world that democracy is alive in the country-to be precise in this part of the country. 95. As discussed earlier, however, the impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 will have to be struck down on the two grounds, namely that in issuing it the Government of Maharashtra has misdirected itself in law and that it is also too wide to be authorised by the parent Rule. 96. If this impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 is thus struck down, then the refusal to grant permission to the proposed meeting contained in respondent No. 1's letter dated October 18, 1975 based on the said impugned order" must also fall to the ground. Apart from this aspect of the matter I am in entire agreement with what has fallen from my Lord the Chief Justice that the proposed meeting being a private indoor meeting, the impugned general order dated October 14, 1975 is clearly not attracted and therefore the refusal is of no avail. I adopt all the reasons given by my Lord the Chief Justice for coming to the conclusion that the proposed meeting to be held by the petitioners is a private indoor meeting and not a public meeting. 97. Per Court-. In view of the reasons given in the two judgments delivered as above the petitioners: are entitled to the following reliefs: (1) It is declared that the petitioners have a right to hold the meeting of lawyers restricted to invitees and to discuss the matters regarding civil liberties and the rule of law which was proposed to be held on October 18, 1975. Such right to hold the meeting can be exercised at the time and on the date to which such meeting is adjourned in view of the pendency of this petition; (2) The orders of the Commissioner of Police dated October 13, 1975 and October 18, 1975 refusing to grant permission to the petitioners to hold the meeting are quashed in view of the reasons stated in the two judgments; (3) The impugned general orders from time to time issued by the Commissioner of Police under Section 37(5) of the Bombay Police Act on October 1, 1975 and thereafter are quashed. (4) Per Tulzapurkar J.- The impugned order dated October 14), 1975 issued under Rule 69 read with Rule 1A is also quashed. 98. Mr. Sorabjee on behalf of the petitioners stated that the counsel and attorneys appearing for the petitioners are not charging any fees for their professional services and will be only pressing an order of costs restricted to mere out of pocket expenses incurred of which the statement is handed over. The statement is taken on record. In view of this statement the respondents are directed to pay to the petitioners the sum of Rs. 3,742.51 being the out of pocket expenses incurred by the petitioners.
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