22 February 1955
Supreme Court


Case number: Appeal (civil) 215 of 1954






DATE OF JUDGMENT: 22/02/1955


CITATION:  1955 AIR  314            1955 SCR  (1)1268

ACT: Bombay  Municipal  Boroughs Act, 1925 (Bombay Act  XVIII  of 1925),  s.  19 as amended by Bombay Act  LIV  of  1954-Legal effect  thereof-Validity of election-S.  35(3)(6)-Notice  of meeting-Provisions   of   s.  35(3)-Whether   directory   or mandatory-S.  35(6)-Presence  or absence  of  public-Whether affects the validity of meeting.                             1269

HEADNOTE: The first respondent-Municipality-governed by the  Municipal Boroughs Act, 1925 (Bombay Act XVIII of 1925) consists of 32 councillors, S, (the appellant) being one of them.  The last general  election to the Municipality took place on the  7th May  1951.   The  term of the councillors  was  three  years computed from the first meeting held on 10th July 1951 after the  general  election.   In that meeting the  4th  and  5th respondents   were  elected  President  and   Vice-President respectively  for a term of three years.  Act XVIII of  1925 was amended by Bombay Act XXXV of 1954 under which the  term of office of the councillors was extended from 3 to 4  years ending on 9th July 1955.  As the term of respondents 4 and 5 was  to expire at the end of three years from the 10th  July 1951 and as the term of the Municipality was extended by one year under the Amending Act XXXV of 1954 a fresh election of President  and  VicePresident was necessary to fill  up  the vacancies  thus occurring.  The Collector called  a  special general meeting for the 30th July 1954 to elect a  President and   Vice-President  for  the  remaining  period   of   the quadrennium  and nominated the Prant Official (the  District Deputy Collector) to preside over that meeting.  On the 30th July 1954 the Prant Officer adjourned the meeting to the 3rd August  1954 under instructions from the  Collector  without transacting   any   business.   The  objection   raised   by respondent  No. 3 against the adjournment was  overruled  by the presiding Officer.  The special general meeting was held on  the  3rd  August 1954.  An objection raised  by  S  (the appellant) that under the provisions of the Act a  President could  not  be  elected  for a term less  than  a  year  was overruled by the presiding Officer.  On this 13  councillors (including  S) out of the 32 who were present walked out  on



the  ground that the President was to be elected for a  term less than a year contrary to the provisions of the Act.  The remaining  19 councillors elected the 2nd respondent as  the President  for  the  remaining period  of  the  quadrennium. Immediately after that another meeting presided over by  the newly  elected President elected respondent No. 3  as  Vice- President.   The same point of order raised by S as  in  the case of the President was overruled, on which 6  councillors walked  out  and  the  meeting was  held  by  the  remaining councillors.   All the 32 councillors were present  both  on the 30th July 1954 and the 3rd August 1954.  An  application under   Art.  226  of  the  Constitution  presented   by   S questioning  the validity of the meeting of the 3rd  August, 1954,  and  consequently  the validity of  the  election  of respondents Nos. 2 and 3 as President and Vice-President for the remaining period of the quadrennium was dismissed by the High Court. Held,  (1)  that  the meeting of the  3rd  August  1954,  in substance though not in form, complied with the requirements of the law for holding a valid special meeting and therefore the   meeting  was  not  invalid  because  the   record   of proceedings  would show that whatever had been done  on  the 30th  July 1954 and the 3rd August 1954 had been done  under the orders of the Collector.  The notice to the  councillors required   under   s.  35(3)  of  the  Act   satisfied   the requirements of three clear days, that the provisions of  s. 35(3) regarding the ser- 1270 vice of notice are directory and not mandatory; and that any omissions  in the manner of service of the notice  are  more irregularities  which  would  not  vitiate  the  proceedings unless   it   is  shown  that   those   irregularities   had prejudicially  affected the proceedings which had  not  been alleged or proved in the present case.  All the  councillors constituting  the  Municipality  were present  on  both  the occasions namely the 30th July 1954 and the 3rd August  1954 and  thus had ample notice of the meeting to be held on  the 3rd  August 1954, the time and place of the meeting and  the business to be transacted.  That under the provisions of  s. 35(3)  of  the Act the presence at or the absence  from  the meeting   of  the  members  of  the  public  has  no   legal consequence  so  far  as the validity  of  the  election  is concerned; (2)  that  as s. 19 of the Bombay Boroughs Act, (Bombay  Act XVIII  of  1925) had been amended by  the  Bombay  Municipal Boroughs  Act,  1954  (Bombay  Act  LIV  of  1954)  and  was retrospective in its operation, it had the effect of  curing any   illegality  or  irregularity-in  the   election   with reference  to  the  provisions  of S.  19  of  the  Act  and therefore respondents Nos. 2 and 3 had been validly  elected as President and, Vice-President respectively. King  v. The General Commissioners of Income-tax for  South- ampton,  Ex  parte  W.M.  Singer ([1916]  2  K.B.  249)  and Mukerjee, Offcial Receiver v. Ramratan Kuer ([1935] L. R. 63 I. A. 47), referred to.

JUDGMENT: CiviL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 215 of 1954. Appeal  by Special Leave from the Judgment and  Order  dated the 23rd day of August 1954 of the High Court of  Judicature at  Bombay  in Special Civil Application No.  1665  of  1954 under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. R.   B.  Kotwal, J. B. Dadachanji and Rajinder  Narain,  for



the appellant. Naunit Lal, for respondents Nos. 1 to 3. 1955.  February 22.  The Judgment of the Court was delivered by SINHA  J.-This  is an appeal by special  leave  against  the judgment  and order dated the 23rd August 1954 of  the  High Court  of Judicature at Bombay, dismissing  the  appellant’s petition for a writ of quo warranto or any other appropriate writ  directed  against  the election of  the  2nd  and  3rd respondents as President and Vice-President respectively  of the Gadag-Betgeri                             1271 The facts of this case are not in dispute and may shortly be stated  as  follows: The 1st respondent  is  a  municipality governed  by  the provisions of the Municipal  Boroughs  Act (Bombay  Act  XVIII of 1925) which 7  hereinafter  shall  be referred  to  as  the  Act for the  sake  of  brevity.   The appellant  is  one of the 32  councillors  constituting  the municipality.  The last general election to the municipality took place on the 7th May 1951.  The term of the councillors was three years computed from the date of the first  general meetinog  held after the general election aforesaid-in  this case  the 10th July 1951.  In that meeting the 4th  and  5th respondents   were  elected  President  and   Vice-President respectively of the municipality for a term of three  years. The Act was amended by Bombay Act XXXV of 1954, under  which the term of office of the councillors was extended from 3 to 4  years  ending  on  the 9th July 1955.   As  the  term  of respondents  4 and 5 aforesaid was to expire at the  end  of three  years from the 10th July 1951 and as the term of  the municipality was extended by one year under the amending Act aforesaid, the vacancies thus occurring bad to be filled  up by  a fresh election of President and  Vice-President.   The Collector therefore called a special general meeting of  the municipality  to  be held on the 30th July 1954 to  elect  a President and Vice-President for the remaining period of the quadrennium.  The Collector had nominated the Prant  Officer (the District Deputy Collector) to preside over that special general  meeting.  On the 30th July 1954 the  Prant  Officer under instructions from the Collector adjourned the  meeting to the 3rd August 1954 without transacting any business, the only item on the agenda being the election of the  President and  Vice-President.  The 3rd respondent raised a  point  of order  against  the adjournment but  the  presiding  officer aforesaid  overruled  that  objection.   Hence  the  special general  meeting was held on the 3rd August 1954.   At  that meeting the appellant raised a point of order that under the provisions of the " Act a President could not be elected for 163 1272 a  term  less than a year and that  therefore  the  proposed election  would  be in the teeth of those  provisions.   The presiding officer who was the same person who had  adjourned the  meeting on the 30th July 1954 overruled that  objection too.   Thereupon  13  out  of the  32  councillors  who were present  walked out on the ground that they did not  propose to  participate  in a meeting in which the proposal  was  to elect  a  President  for less than a year  contrary  to  the provisions  of the Act.  The appellant was one of  those  13 councillors  who walked out.  It may be added that the  full strength  of the municipality is 32 councillors all of  whom were  present both on the 30th July 1954 and the 3rd  August 1954.   The remaining 19 councillors proceeded  to  transact business  and elected the 2nd respondent as  the  President, the  proposal  being  that he "should be  President  of  the



municipality  for the remaining period of  the  quadrennium" and  that was the proposal which was  carried.   Immediately after the election of the President another meeting was held for the election of the Vice-President under the  presidency of  the newly elected President (the 2nd  respondent).   The appellant  raised the same point of order as he had done  in the case of the election of the President and that was  also overruled.    Thereupon  six  of  the  councillors   present including  the  appellant  walked  out  and  the   remaining councillors   elected  the  3rd  respondent  as  the   Vice- President. The appellant moved the High Court of Bombay under art.  226 of the Constitution for a writ of quo warranto or any  other appropriate  writ or order or direction against the 2nd  and 3rd  respondents "restraining them from usurping the  office of  the  President and Vice-President  respectively  of  the opponent  No.  I  Municipality  and  restraining  them  from performing  any  duties and from exercising  any  powers  as President and Vice-President respectively".  The High  Court held  that the election of the 2nd and 3rd  respondents  was not illegal and dismissed the application.  It held that  on a proper construction of the relevant provisions of the  Act it  was  not correct to say that the term of office  of  the councillors or of the newly                             1273 elected President and Vice-President shall end with the  9th July 1955; that the intention was to elect the President and the   Vice-President   for  the  remaining   term   of   the municipality  which  was  not only a period  of  four  years certain  but an additional period up to 7 the date when  new President  and  Vice-President A would be elected  and  take over after a fresh general election; that the adjournment of the  meeting of the 30th July was not beyond the  powers  of the presiding officer; and that consequently the meeting  of the  3rd August was not vitiated by any illegality.  It  was also pointed out by the High Court that all the  councillors constituting  the municipality had notice of  the  adjourned meeting and did as a matter of fact attend that meeting  and that  even if there was any irregularity in the  adjournment on the 30th July 1954 that did not affect the illegality  of the adjourned meeting and the business transacted therein. The  appellant moved the High Court for leave to  appeal  to this court but that application was rejected. The  appellant then applied to this court for special leave to appeal which was granted on the 3rd September 1954. It  has  been  argued on behalf of the  appellant  that  the meeting held on 3rd August 1954 as aforesaid was invalid for the reasons: 1.   that  it was not an adjourned meeting inasmuch  as  the meeting  of  the  30th  July  1954  had  not  been   validly adjourned,  2. that it had not been called by the Collector,   and  3.  that  the written notice required by section 35(3)  had not  been  given and in any event, had not been  served  and published as required by law. Secondly  it  was urged that the meeting of the  3rd  August being  thus  invalid.,  the  business  transacted  at   that meeting,  namely, the election of the President was  equally invalid.   Thirdly  it was urged that the  election  of  the President  being  invalid, the meeting held  that  very  day under the presidency of the President thus elected was  also invalid and the election of the Vice-President  consequently was illegal.  It was 1274



further  argued that the election of the President  and  the Vice-President  being in violation of section 19 of the  Act was  invalid  on  that ground also; and  finally,  that  the amendment  of  section 19 by the amending Act  LIV  of  1954 after  leave to appeal had been granted by this court  could not  affect the present proceedings which were then  pending even   though  the  amending  Act  purported  to   make   it retrospective. On  behalf of respondents 1, 2 and 3 who only have  appeared in this court, it has been urged that a President and  Vice- President could be elected for a term of less than one  year as section 19 of the Act was subject to section 23 (1)  (A); that in any view of the matter, section 19 as amended by the amending  Act  LIV  of 1954  rendered  the  election  beyond question  as  the  Act in terms was meant  to  validate  all elections held between the passing of the amending Act  XXXV of 1954 and the amending Act LIV of 1954; that the presiding officer had inherent, if not statutory power to adjourn  the meeting  of  the 30th July 1954 and that in  any  event  the meeting  held on the 3rd August 1954 could be treated  as  a fresh   meeting  called  by  the  Collector  and  that   any irregularity in serving the notice or in the appointment  of the presiding officer was cured by the provisions of section 57  of the Act.  It was also argued that the  appellant  was not  the councillor who had objected to the  adjournment  of the meeting of the 30th July and could not therefore  object to  it  at a later stage.  Finally it was  argued  that  the appellant  had no right to a writ or order prayed for as  he had not been injured in any sense. It  would thus appear that there are two main  questions  in controversy between the parties, namely, (1)  whether the meeting of the 3rd August, 1954 had been  validly held; and (2)  whether the president and the vice-president having  been  elected  "for  the  remaining  period  of  the quadrennium" had been validly elected. There  are  a number of subsidiary  questions  bearing  upon these  two main questions which have been  canvassed  before us, 1275 A good deal of argument was addressed to us contending  that the presiding officer had no power to adjourn the meeting of the  30th  July 1954 in view of the  provisions  of  section 35(11)  of the Act.  In this connection reference  was  also made  to the proviso to section 19-A(2).  Those  provisions, it  was argued,, point to the conclusion that the powers  of the presiding officer are the same as those of the president of a municipality when presiding over an ordinary meeting of the  municipality  except that section  35(11)  relating  to adjournments  had been qualified only to this extent by  the proviso  aforesaid,  that  the  Collector  or  the   officer presiding  over  the meeting for the purpose of  holding  an election  of the president or vice-president may  refuse  to adjourn  such  a  meeting  in spite of  the  wishes  of  the majority  of  the members present to the contrary.   It  was also  argued that the High Court had wrongly taken the  view that the presiding officer had the inherent right to adjourn the meeting.  Reference was made to certain passages in "The Law  of  Meetings"  by Head, "The Law  on  the  Practice  of Meetings"  by Shackleton, and "Company Meetings" by  Talbot. In  our opinion, it is unnecessary for the purpose  of  this case to pronounce upon the merits of that controversy in the view  we  take  of  the meeting of  the  3rd  August,  1954, assuming  that the meeting of the 30th July, 1954  had  been adjourned without authority.



It is common ground that it was the Collector who called the meeting  of  the  30th  July 1954  and  that  it  was  under instructions from the Collector that meeting was  adjourned. Under the provisions of section 23(1) (A), on the expiry  of the  term  of office of the president or  vice-president  as determined  by the municipality under section 19(1)  of  the Act,  a  new president or vice-president  shall  be  elected within 25 days from the date of such expiry.  The provisions of section 19-A which relate to the procedure for calling  a meeting of a newly constituted municipality for the election of a president and vice-president have been made  applicable to the calling of a meeting and the procedure to be followed at such meeting for the 1276 election   of  a  president.   Section  19-A  requires   the Collector  to call a meeting for holding such  an  election. Such  a meeting shall be presided over by the  Collector  or such  officer  as  the Collector may  by  order  in  writing appoint in this behalf.  The Collector or his nominee,  when presiding over such a meeting, shall have the same powers as the  president  of a municipalit by when  presiding  over  a meeting  of  the municipality has, but shall  not  have  the right  to  vote.  On the 30th July, 1954 a  special  general meeting had been called by the Collector for the election of the  President.  In the proceedings of that meeting  it  has been recorded that "Under instructions from the Collector of Dharwar the presiding authority adjourns the meeting to  3rd August  1954  at  3  P.m.".  At  that  meeting  all  the  32 councillors  were present and admittedly in  their  presence the presiding officer declared openly that the meeting  will be  held on the 3rd August 1954 under instructions from  the Collector  concerned.  When the meeting was held on the  3rd August  1954 at 3 P.m. as previously notified, again the  32 councillors  were  present.  The proceedings show  that  the same Prant Officer "occupied the chair as authorised by  the Collector".  The presiding authority read out and  explained to  the  members present the following  telegraphic  message from the Collector: "Government  have directed to bold election of President  of Gadag Municipality on 3rd August as already arranged.   Hold election accordingly today without fail". At  this meeting the appellant raised two points  of  order, (1)  that  the election of the president for  the  remaining period  of  the quadrennium as mentioned in the  agenda  was illegal,  and  (2)  that the meeting was  not  an  adjourned meeting of the municipality and was also illegal because  it -was  under  the  instructions of  the  Collector  that  the adjourned meeting was being held and that the Collector  had no such power.  The minutes of the proceedings further  show that "the presiding authority ruled out the points of  order on the ground that this was a special meeting called by  the Collector for the election of the President and 1277 the  election has to be held as already fixed".   After  the ruling   given  by  the  presiding  authority,  13   members including  the appellant expressed a desire to walk out  and walked  out with the permission of the presiding  authority. The  remaining members, as already indicated, continued  the business  of  the  meeting and the  proposal  that  the  2nd respondent  should be elected president of the  municipality for  the  remaining period of the quadrennium  after  having been duly made and seconded was carried unanimously and  the meeting terminated. It would thus appear that the meeting of the 3rd August 1954 for  the  election of the president had been called  by  the



Collector  who had authorized the Prant Officer  to  preside over  that  meeting  and that the 2nd  respondent  was  duly elected president.  Under section 35(3) of the Act, for such a special general meeting three clear days’ notice has to be given "specifying the time and place at -which such  meeting is  to  be held and the business to  be  transacted  thereat shall  be served upon the councillors, and posted up at  the municipal  office  or  the  kacheri  or  some  other  public building  in the municipal borough and also published  in  a local  vernacular  newspaper having a large  circulation  if such exists". It  has been contended on behalf of the appellant  that  the notice  required  by section 35 (3) contemplates  a  written notice  to be served and published in the manner  specified, and  that  the meeting of the 3rd August 1954 could  not  be said  to  have been held after complying with the  terms  of sub-section  (3) of section 35. It was also  contended  that the  requirements of section 19-A(1) and (2) have  also  not been  complied  with because there is no evidence  that  the Collector  had  called that meeting or that he had  made  an order  in  writing  that the presiding  authority  had  been authorized  to preside over that meeting.  In  our  opinion, there is no substance in any one of these contentions.  From the record of the proceedings of the proposed meeting of the 30th July 1954 and the actual meeting on the 3rd August 1954 it is clear that whatever had been done had been done  under the orders of 1278 the  Collector.  He had called the meeting of the 30th  July as also of the 3rd August 1954.  It was he who had appointed the  Prant Officer as the presiding officer for  both  those meetings.  It is true that the notice of the meeting of  the 3rd  August 1954 had not been given in writing but had  only been  intimated to all the councillors who were  present  at the  meeting  of  the  30th July  1954.   The  notice  amply satisfies  the  requirement  of three  days’  clear  notice, though it was not in writing.  It had indicated the time  of the  meeting  and  the business  to  be  transacted.   Under section  35(4)  the  ordinary  venue of  a  meeting  is  the municipal  office unless otherwise indicated in the  notice. It is also true that the notice was not served in the manner indicated  in  sub-section  (3) of section 35  of  the  Act. There  is no evidence that there existed a local  vernacular newspaper with large circulation, in which the notice of the meeting  could  be  published.  The question  is,  do  those omissions render the notice ineffective in law.  That  could only  be so if those provisions were held to  be  mandatory. The following provisions (omitting the words not material to this case) would show that those provisions of section 35(3) are  directory and not mandatory and that any  omissions  in the manner of service of the notice are mere  irregularities which would not vitiate the proceedings unless it was  shown that  those  irregularities bad prejudicially  affected  the proceedings:- "No  resolution of a municipality deemed invalid on  account of  any  irregularity  in the service  of  notice  upon  any councillor  or member provided that the proceedings  of  the municipality   ................   were   not   prejudicially affected by such irregularity". Fortunately   for  the  respondents,  all  the   councillors constituting  the  municipality  were present  on  both  the occasions,  namely, 30th July and 3rd August,  1954.   Hence they  had ample notice of the meeting to be held on the  3rd August,  1954,  the time and place of the  meeting  and  the business  to be transacted.  It has not been either  alleged



or  proved  that the irregularities in the  service  of  the notice or the omissions com-                             1279 plained of had prejudicially affected the proceedings.   But it  was contended that as the notice had not been posted  up at  the municipal office or the local kacheri or some  other public  building and had also not been published in a  local vernacular  newspaper,  if there were one,  though  all  the councillors were present on 3rd August, 1954, the members of the public had no such notice and naturally therefore  could not  be present at that meeting.  In this connection it  was pointed out that sub-section (6) of section 35 provides that every  such meeting shall be open to the public, unless  the presiding authority directs to the contrary.  It is  evident from  the  provisions of that sub-section  that  though  the presence of the public at such meetings may be desirable, it is not obligatory.  The presence at or the absence from such a  meeting  of  the  members of  the  public  has  no  legal consequence  so  far  as the validity  of  the  election  is concerned.   It must therefore be held that the  meeting  of the  3rd  August,  1954 in substance, though  not  in  form, complied  with  the requirements of the law  for  holding  a valid  special  general  meeting  and  that  therefore  that meeting was not invalid, assuming, as already said, that the order  of the presiding authority adjourning the meeting  of the  30th  July,  1954 was not authorized.   It  has  to  be remembered  in this connection that such a  special  general meeting  can be presided over only by the Collector  or  the person authorized by him and if either the Collector or  his nominee  does not hold the meeting, it is not competent  for councillors   present  to  elect  their  own  chairman   for presiding  over such a meeting.  Therefore if the  presiding authority  admittedly under instructions from the  Collector refused to proceed with the elections on the 30th July 1954, the  councillors present could not hold a meeting  of  their own  with a president of their own choice and  transact  the only  business  on  the  agenda,  namely,  the  election  of president.  Hence, rightly or wrongly, if the meeting called for  the 30th July was not held, another meeting had  to  be held for the purpose within 25 days of the occurrence of the vacancy.  In this case, as a 164 1280 result  of the expiry of the original term of office of  the president  and  vice-president, another meeting  giving  the required  three days statutory notice had to be  held.   The meeting  held  on the 3rd August 1954 was  such  a  meeting. Indeed,   there  were  some  omissions  in  the  manner   of publication  or service of the notice but those in law  were mere  irregularities  which  do  not  have  the  effect   of vitiating  the election held at that meeting.  The  election of the president therefore, if not otherwise invalid,  could not  be  assailed on the ground of the irregularity  in  the service or publication of the notice, in the special circum- stances  of this case.  If all the councillors had not  been present  on  the 30th July or had not been informed  of  the proposed   meeting   of   the   3rd   August   1954,   other considerations may have arisen but in this case it is  clear that  there  was  absolutely no prejudice to  any  party  or individual  or  the  municipality as a whole.   But  it  was further contended that the walking out of the 13 councillors rendered  the meeting infructuous.  In our opinion,  such  a result  does  not follow from the voluntary act  of  the  13 councillors  who  chose  to  walk  out.   It  was  not  even suggested  that there was no quorum for the special  general



meeting after the 13 councillors walked out. The  next question is whether the provisions of  section  19 (1) as they stood on the 3rd August 1954 render the election of  the president and the vice-president on the  3rd  August 1954  invalid  as it was "for the remaining  period  of  the quadrennium".   The High Court has taken the view  that  the remaining  period of the quadrennium would  not  necessarily end on the 9th July 1955, in view of the proviso to  section 19(1)  "that the term of office of such president  or  vice- president  shall be deemed to extend to and expire with  the date  on  which his successor is elected".  In view  of  the events  that  have happened it is not necessary  for  us  to pronounce on the correctness or otherwise of that  decision. After the judgment of the High Court and after the grant  of special leave by this court, the Bombay Legislature  enacted Act LIV of 1954 which was published in the Bombay Gazette on the 14th                             1281 October  1954.  Sections 2 and 3 of the amending Act are  in these terms: "2.  In  section 19 of the Bombay  Municipal  Boroughs  Act, 1925, in sub-section (I),- (1)after  the words ’not less than one year’ the  words  ’or not  less  than  the residue of the term of  office  of  the municipality, whichever is less’ shall be inserted; (2)for the words ’three years’ the words ’four years’  shall be substituted. 3.(1)  The  amendments made by this Act shall be  deemed  to have  come  into  force  on the date  on  which  the  Bombay District  Muncipal and Municipal Boroughs  (Amendment)  Act, 1954, came into force (hereinafter in this section  referred to  as ’the said date’) and all elections to the  office  of the  president or vice-president, held on or after the  said date and before the coming into force of this Act, shall  be deemed  to be valid as if this Act bad been in force on  the said  date;  and  any person elected to the  office  of  the president  or vice-president at any of such elections  shall not  be deemed to have been illegally elected merely on  the ground  that  the  residue  of the term  of  office  of  the municipality  being less than one year at the time  of  such election, he would hold his office for a term less than  one year in contravention of section 19 of the Bombay  Municipal Boroughs Act, 1925, as it was in operation before the coming into force of this Act. (2)Nothing  contained  in  this  section  shall  affect  the judgment,  decree  or order of any competent  court,  passed before  the  coming into force of this Act, holding  any  of such  elections  invalid  on the ground  specified  in  sub- section (1)". It has not been contended that section 19 as amended by  Act LIV  of  1954  does not in terms  cover  the  elections  now impugned,  nor  that section 3 of the  amending  Act  quoted above is not retrospective; but it has been urged on  behalf of the appellant that it is not retrospective to the  extent of affecting pending proceedings.  In terms the amendment in question is deemed to have come into force on the II the May 1954 1282 on  which date the amending Act XXXV of 1954 had  come  into force.  Section 3 in terms also declares that all  elections to  the  office of president and vice-president held  on  or after the 11th May 1954 and before the coming into force  of the  amending Act shall be deemed to have been  valid.   The section  also  declares in unequivocal terms  that  such  an election  shall  not be questioned simply on the  ground  of



contravention of section 19 on which the election of the 2nd and  3rd  respondents bad been questioned  before  the  High Court.   The legislature apparently thought fit  to  declare beyond  all  controversy that an election  of  president  or vice-president  for the unexpired portion of the term  of  a municipality could not be questioned on the ground that  the provisions  of section 19 as it stood before  the  amendment had  been  contravened.But it was argued on  behalf  of  the appellant  that  in terms the amendment had  not  been  made applicable  to  pending litigation and that  therefore  this court should hold that the amendment did not have the effect of  validating  the  elections  which  were  already   under challenge in a court.  No authority has been cited before us in  support of the contention that unless there are  express words  in  the  amending  statute to  the  effect  that  the amendment shall apply to pending proceedings also, it cannot affect  such proceedings.  There is clear authority  to  the contrary  in-the following dictum of Lord Reading,  C.J.  in the case of The King v. The General Commissioners of Income- tax for Southampton; Ex parte W. M. Singer (1),- "I  cannot  accept the contention of the applicant  that  an enactment  can  only take away vested rights of  action  for which legal proceedings have been commenced if there are  in the  enactment  express words to that effect.  There  is  no authority  for  this proposition, and I do not  see  why  in principle  it should be the law.  But it is  necessary  that clear  language  should be used to  make  the  retrospective effect  applicable  to  proceedings  commenced  before   the passing of the statute". That was a case in which the Act in question had (1)  [1916] 2 K.B. 249, 259, 1283 validated  assessments  made  by  commissioners  for   wrong parishes.   It was held by the court that the  retrospective effect of the relevant section extended to proceedings for a prohibition commenced before the Act came into force and the rule  nisi for a prohibition was therefore  discharged.   In every  case the language of the amending statute has  to  be examined  to  find  out  whether  the  legislature   clearly intended  even  pending proceedings to be affected  by  such statute.   A number of authorities were cited before us  but it is only necessary to refer to the decision of their Lord- ships  of  the  Judicial  Committee  in  Mukerjee,  Official Receiver v. Ramratan Kuer(1), which is clearly in point.  In that  case  while  an appeal had  been  pending  before  the Judicial Committee the amending Act had been passed  clearly showing that the Act was retrospective in the sense that  it applied  to all cases of a particular  description,  without reference  to  pending litigation.  In  those  circumstances their  Lordships pointed out that if any saving were  to  be implied   in  favour  of  pending  proceedings,   then   the provisions   of  the  statute  would  largely  be   rendered nugatory.   Those observations apply with full force to  the present  case, inasmuch as if any saving were to be  implied in favour of cases pending on the date of the amendment, the words "all elections to the office of the president or vice- president,  held  on or after the said date and  before  the coming into force of this Act, shall be deemed to be  valid" could not be given their full effect.  As there are no  such saving clauses in express or implied terms, it must be  held that  the amendment was clearly intended by the  legislature to  apply  to all cases of election of  president  or  vice- president,  whether  or  not the matter had  been  taken  to court.  it is the duty of courts to give full effect to  the intentions  of  the legislature as expressed in  a  statute.



That being so, it must be held that the amending Act had the effect  of  curing  any illegality or  irregularity  in  the elections  in question with reference to the  provisions  of section 19 of the Act. For the reasons aforesaid it must be held that the (1)  [1935] L.R. 63 I.A. 47. 1284 meeting  of  the 3rd August 1954 had been validly  held  and that  there is no illegality in the election of the 2nd  and 3rd    respondents   as   president    and    vice-president respectively.  We accordingly affirm the orders of the  High Court,  though not for the same reasons.  The  appeal  fails and is dismissed with costs. Appeal dismissed.