The State of Maharashtra & ANR Vs.
B. K. Takkamore & Ors  INSC 28 (2 February 1967)
02/02/1967 BACHAWAT, R.S.
CITATION: 1967 AIR 1353 1967 SCR (2) 583
CITATOR INFO :
E 1969 SC 707 (49) R 1976 SC 232 (10,18) R
1987 SC 570 (14) F 1989 SC1185 (23)
City of Nagpur Corporation Act, 1948 (C.P.
& Berar Act 2 of 1950), s. 408-Municipality--Supersession-Grounds of
interference in writ application-Order if sustainable when one of the two
charges found not proved.
By s. 408 of the City of Nagpur Corporation
Act, 1948 the State Government may, after giving an opportunity to the
Corporation to show cause, pass an order superseding the Corporation, if it is
of opinion that the Corporation is not competent or persistently makes default
in the performance of the duties imposed on it by or under the Act. After the
requisite show cause notice the State Government passed the impugned Order
superseding the Nagpur Municipal Corporation.
The High Court, in a writ petition, quashed
the Order holding that the State Government exercised its power' under s. 408
on grounds which were not reasonably related to its Legitimate exercise and
that the finding upon which the Order was passed was rationally impossible on the
materials before the State Government. On appeal to this Court:
HELD: The Order of supersession was valid and
could not be set aside.
(i)Of the two grounds on which the opinion of
the State Government was based the first ground could not be sustained, firstly
because the Corporation had no opportunity to show cause against the charge,
and secondly, because no reasonable person on the materials before the State
Government could possibly form the opinion that the charge was proved.
Regarding the second ground there were materials before the State Government
upon which it could find that the Corporation was not competent to perform the
duties imposed upon it. [588H; 592D] In a writ application the court will not
review the facts as an appellate body. But the Order of supersession is liable
to be set aside, as in excess of the, statutory power under s. 408, if no
reasonable person on a proper consideration of the materials before the State
Government will form the opinion that the Corporation is not competent to
perform or persistently defaults in the performance of the duties imposed on
it. 'Me Order is also liable to be set aside if it was passed in bid faith or
due opportunity to show cause was not given. [585H] (ii)The Order cannot be set
aside for the reason that one of the grounds is found to be non-existent or
irrelevant. The Order, read with the show cause notice shows that in the
opinion of the State Government the second ground by itself was serious enough
to warrant action under s.408. [595 A-B] An administrative or quasi-judicial
Order based on several grounds, all taken together, cannot be sustained if it
be found that some of the grounds are non-existent or irrelevant and there is
nothing to show that the authority would have passed the Order on the basis of
the other relevant and 584 existing grounds. But, an Order based on several
grounds some of which are found to be non-existent or irrelevant can be
sustained if the Court is satisfied that the authority would have passed the
Order on the basis of other relevant and existing grounds and the exclusion of
the irrelevant or non-existent grounds could not have affected the ultimate
'opinion or decision. [594 E-G] Dwarka Das Bhatia v. State of Jammu and
Kashmir, [19651 S.C.R, 948. Dhirajilal Girdharilal v. Commissioner of
Income-tax, A.I.R. 1956 S.C. 271, State of Orissa v.
Bidyabhushan Mahapatra,  Supp. I S.CR.
648 and Naursinha v. State of Madhya Pradesh, A.I.R.  M.P.
397. referred to.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 2340 of 1966.
Appeal from the judgment and order dated
October 7, 1966 of the Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench in Special Civil Application
No. 940 of 1965.
M. C. Setalvad, N. S. Bindra and R. H.
Dhebar, for appellant No. 1.
A. S. Bobde, and S. G. Kukdey, for respondent
M. M. Kinkhede, G. L. Sanghi and A. G.
Ratnaparkhi, for respondents Nos. 3-16, 19-31, 33, 34, 36-45, 47-53, 55 and 57.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Bachawat, J. This appeal arises out of a writ petition filed by respondent No.
1 before the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court, challenging the show-cause
notice dated July 21, 1965 and the order dated September 29, 1965, superseding
the municipal corporation of the city of Nagpur. In July, 1962, the term of
office of the present Councillors commenced. On July 21, 1965, the Government
of Maharashtra issued a notice to respondent No. 1, the Mayor of the Nagpur
Municipal Corporation, asking him to show cause why the corporation should not
be superseded. On August 1, 1965, respondent No.
I filed his reply to the show-cause notice.
On September 29, 1965, the State Government passed the impugned order
superseding the corporation under ss. 408 and 409 of the City of Nagpur
Corporation Act 1948 (C. P. & Berar Act 11 of 1950). On September 30, 1965,
respondent No. I filed a writ petition challenging the show-cause notice and
the order of supersession. The High Court allowed the writ petition and quashed
the order of supersession. The High Court held that the State Government exercised
its power under S. 408 on grounds which were not reasonably related to its
legitimate exercise and the finding upon which the order was passed was
rationally impossible on the materials before the State Government. The State
of Maharashtra now appeals to this Court on a certificate granted by the High
By an order of this Court, the Administrator
of the City of Nagpur appointed under the order of supersession of September
29, 1965, has been joined as the second appellant.
585 Section 408 of the City of Nagpur
Corporation Act 1948 is in 'these terms:"408. (1) If at any time upon
representations made or otherwise it appears to the State the Corporation is
not competent to perform or persistently makes default in the performance of
the duties imposed on it by or under this Act or any other law for the time
being in force, or exceeds or abuses its powers the State Government may',
after having given an opportunity to the Corp oration to show cause why such an
order should not be made, or if it" appears to the State Government that
the case is one of emergency, forthwith issue an order directing that all the
Councillors shall retire from office as and from such date as may be appointed
and declare the Corporation to be superseded. Such order shall be published in
the Gazette and the reasons for making it shall be stated therein.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in
sections 17 and 20, all Councillors shall vacate their office from the date
mentioned inany order under sub-section (1).".
The consequence of supersession of the
corporation under s.
408 is that all its members vacate their
office, all powers and duties of the; corporation; the Standing Committee and
the chief executive officer may be exercised by the administrator of the city
appointed by the State government, and all property vested in the corporation
vests in the administrator (s. 408).
The conditions for the exercise of he power
under s. 408 are clearly stated in the section. It must appear to the State
government that the corporation is not competent or persistently makes default
in the performance of the duties imposed on it by or under the Act or any other
law for the time being in force, or exceeds or abuses its powers.
Except in cases of emerge icy, the State
government must give to the corporation an opportunity to show cause why the
order under the section should not be made. If on a consideration of the
explanation submitted by the corporation, the State government considers that
there is no ground for making the order, the Government may drop the
proceeding. Otherwise, it may issue an order declaring the corporation to 'be
superseded and directing that all the Councillors shall retire from office. The
order must be published in the Gazette and the reasons: For-making it must be
stated therein. There is no appeal to the court from the order under s. 408. in
a writ application the court will not review the facts as an appellate body.
But the order is liable to be set aside if no reasonable person on a proper
consideration of the materials before the State government could form the
opinion that the corporation "is not competent to perform, or persistently
makes default in the performance of the duties imposed on it by or under this
Act or any other law for the 586 time being in force, or exceeds or abuses its
Likewise, the order is liable to be set aside
if it was passed in bad faith or if in a case which was not one, of emergency,
due opportunity to show cause was not given to the corporation. In all such
cases, the order is in excess of the statutory power under s. 408 and is
On the question whether the order under s.
408 is an administrative or quasi-judicial act, our attention was drawn to the
decisions in Municipal Committed, Karali and Another, v. The State of Madhya
Pradesh(1) and Shri Radheshyam Khare and Anr. v. The State of Madhya Pradesh
and Others.(2) These cases turned on the construction of ss. 53A and 57 of the
C. P. & Berar Municipalities Act 1922 (Act 11 of 1922). The point whether
the order under s. 408 is quasi-judicial or administrative act is not very
material, for it is common ground,that the present case was not one of
emergency and the State government was bound to give opportunity to the
corporation to show cause why the order should not be made.
The order dated September 29, 1965 was in
these terms:"Whereas it is reported to the Government of Maharashtra that
the Municipal Corporation of the City of Nagpur (hereinafter referred to as
'the Municipal Corporation') constituted under the City of Nagpur Municipal
Corporation Act, 1948 (C.P. & Berar Act 11 of 1950) (hereinafter. referred
to as 'the said Act') (a) has, since the present Councillors entered upon their
office, planned its -expenditure on the basis of uncertain receipts as shown
below, that is to sayYear Receipts in budget as Actual of previous passed by
Corporation year Rs. in lacs Rs. in lacs.
1963-64 351 173 1964-65 221 190 1965-66 258
(200 to 215 lacs anticipated.
and without exercising the proper controls
provided by or under the said Act has allowed its financial position to
deteriorate rapidly and-seriously to such an extent that the free cash balance
of Rs. 5.81 lacs approximately in March 1962 was reduced to Rs. 53,000
approximately on the 12th July, 1965: and that the Corporation had no funds
even to (1) A.I.R. 1958 M.P. 323.
(2)  S.C.R. 1440.
587 disburse the salaries of its officers and
'servants as is noticed from the Resolution of the Municipal Corporation No.
98, dated the 4th September, 1965; and (b) has neglected to under take the
improvement of water supply and to provide a sufficient supply of suitable
water for public and private purposes;
And whereas, an opportunity was given to the
Municipal Corporation to show cause why in the aforesaid circumstances an order
of supersession under sub-section (1) of section 408 of the said Act should not
be made-, And whereas, after considering the reply of the Municipal Corporation
and subsequent it submissions made by it the Government of Maharashtra is of the
opinion that the Municipal Corporation is not competent to perform the duties
imposed on it by or under the said Act;
Now' therefore, in exercise of the powers
conferred by sub-section (1) of section 408 and subsection (1) of section 409
of the said Act, and of all other powers enabling it in this behalf, the
Government of Maharashtra for the reasons specified aforesaid, hereby(1)
directs that all the Councillors of the Municipal Corporation shall retire from
office as and from the 1st day of October, 1965;
(2) declares the Municipal Corporation to be
superseded from that date; and (3) appoints Shri D. H. Deshmukh to be the
Administrator of the City of Nagpur From the order it appears that there were
two grounds on which the State government formed the opinion that the
corporation was not competent to perform the duties imposed on it by or under
the Nagpur Municipal Corporation Act, 1948.
Annexure 2 to the show-cause notice dated
July 21, 1965 Set out the following facts relatable to the first ground mentioned
in paragraph 1(a) of the order:"II. (1) In March 1962, the free cash
balance with the Corporation was Rs., 5. 81 lacs. On 12-7-65, the opening cash
balance of the Corporation ",as Rs. 53,821. The Statement 'A' appended
hereto will reveal the financial.
position of the Corporation. On the basis of
average daily receipts the Corporation will have an opening balance of Rs. 7
-74 lacs on 1-8-65 as against that their immediate liabilities are of the order
of Rs. 30 84 lacs. 'It is 588 thus clear that the Corporation is heading for a
grave. financial crisis and it will not be in a position even to pay fully the
salaries and wages of their permanent and temporary employees. Under Chapter IV
of the City of Nagpur corporation Act, the Corporation is required to pay
salaries to their officers and servants as provided for in Sections 47, 49 and
50 of the said Act. The liability arising out of the payment of salaries; and
wages is the third charge on the municipal fund the. previous two charges being
repayment of all loans payable by the Corporation under Chapter IX of that Act
and the second being the payment for discharge of all liabilities imposed on
the Corporation in respect of debts' and obligations and contracts of' the
Municipality, of Nagpur, to whom the Corporationis a successor. It is assumed
that such liabilities do -not any' longer exist. Thus the payment of salaries
etc., is the ,second charge on the municipal fund, and it is very obvious from
the figures in Statement `A' that the Corporation is not in a position to
discharge that liability." The opinion of the State, government so far as
it is based on the first ground cannot be supported. The show-cause notice did
not mention the charge that the Councillors planned the expenditure on the basis
of uncertain receipts or that they did not exercise .proper controls provided
by or under the Act. No opportunity was given to the corporation to explain the
charge. Without giving such an opportunity, the State government could not
lawfully and that the charge was proved. The cash balances of the corporation
vary from day to day. No reasonable person could possibly come to the
conclusion hat the financial position of the corporation had deteriorated from
the fact that the cash balances were Rs. 5,81,000 in March 1962 and Rs. 53,000
on July 12, 1965. The, statement that the corporation had no funds to disburse
the salaries of its officers and servants had no factual basis. As a matter of
fact, the corporation paid the salaries. The dearness allowance was not paid
because the bills were not scrutinized.' The resolution dated September 4, 1965
referred to in the order was passed long after the show-cause notice was issued
and the corporation was not given an, opportunity to explain it.
The resolution did not say that the co'
oration had no' funds even to disburse' the salaries of its officers and
servants. The, corporation resolved to raise a loan of Rs. 15 lacs from the
State; Government, but, the; loan was not raised. The High Court also pointed
out that many of the statements in the. statement "A" referred to in
the showcause notice were factually incorrect. The opinion of the State
government, based on the first ground cannot be sustained, firstly because the
corporation had no, opportunity to show cause against the charge, and secondly,
because no reasonable Person on the materials 589 before the State government
could possibly form the opinion that the charge was proved:The second. ground
referred to in paragraph 1 (b) of the order dated September 29, 1965 is more
serious. Section 57(1)(k) of the City of Nagpur Corporation Act, 1948 provides
that the corporation shall make adequate provision by any means or measures
which it may lawfully use or take for........... "(k) the management and
maintenance of all municipal water-works and the construction and maintenance
of new works and Means for providing sufficient supply of suitable water for
public and private purposes." The charge was that the corporation
neglected to undertake the improvement of water, supply and to provide a
sufficient supply of suitable water for public and private purposes.
The relevant facts were set out in annexure
1-1(1) to (4) and annexure 11 to the show-cause notice. It is' common ground
that the water supply of the city of Nagpur was inadequate. The population of
the city was fast increasing and it was the duty of the corporation to augment
the supply. The improvement of the head works at the Kanhan Stage III and also
the re-modelling and redesigning of the -distribution system was necessary for
augmenting and,improving the water supply. The work at Kanhan Stage.111
commenced in 1964 and. for that purpose the Government sanctioned an ad hoc
loan of Rs. 21 lacs. The cost of the remaining work at Kanhan Stage III and the
work of re-modelling and redesigning of distribution system was estimated to be
Rs. 70 lacs. The corporation could not meet the cost without. raising a loan.
II had the power to raise a loan for this purpose with the previous sanction of
the State government under s. 90 of the City of Nagpur Corporation Act 1948.
The corporation was not in a position to raise 1 he loan in the open market
unless the repayment of the loan was guaranteed by the Government. It
approached them. Government to give the guarantee. The Government was willing
to give the guarantee if two conditions were fulfilled (1) the co oration would
meter the water supply immediately, and (2) in the annual budget, the budget of
the water works department for the supply of water would be shown separately. The
Government was not willing to, give the guarantee unless conditions were
fulfilled. In May/June,.965, these conditions were communicated by, the
minister in charge to the municipal commissioner and the chairman of the
standing committee. On June 5, 1965, the standing committee resolved:
"(i) The Corporation may raise in the
open market loan of Rs. 70 lacs for the purpose of completing the Kanhan Stage
III head works and provision of Alteration plant and for re-modelling -and
redesigning the water distribution system in Nagpur Corporation are.
590 (ii) The principle of universal
meterisation should be accepted and all water connection in future should only
be in the meter system' (iii) The principle of providing a separate subsidiary
budget for water supply should be accepted." At a meeting held on June 30,
1965, the corporation appears to have disapproved of the standing committee's
resolution regarding the principle of universal meterisation and setting up a
separate subsidiary budget for water supply though no specific resolution to
that effect was passed. A meeting of the corporation on July 5, 1965 was
convened to discuss the matter of raising a loan of Rs. 70 lacs. In the notice
calling the meeting, the following office note appeared at the foot of the
relevant agenda:"In this connection the State Government demanded the
following two assurances from the Corporation, (1) Nagpur Corporation should
meter the water supply immediately.
(2) In the annual budget of the Corporation budget
of the water works department should be shown separately for supply of water.
In the said budget provision for payment of loans, sinking. fund and future
increase, in expenditure should be made separately. After making these
provisions the Corporation can expend the money for other works." On July
5, 1965, the meeting was adjourned.
On July 1,2, 1965, the corporation passed
the, following resolution:"The Corporation gives its approval to the
raising of a loan of Rs. 70 lakhs, in the next three years. Such a loan
comprising of Rs. 24 lakhs for Kanhan 3 Stage scheme and Rs. 45 lakhs for
improvement in the Distribution System necessitated in view of the additional
29 million gallons of water that will be available after completion of the
Kanhan 3 Stage Scheme.
The office should take necessary action to
obtain the guarantee of the State Government for raising this loan in the open
market in accordance with the above Resolution." The resolution is not
printed in the paper book, but an agreed copy of the resolution was filed before
us. :The State government was of the view that by the resolution dated July 12,
1965, the corporation refused to accept the two conditions mentioned in the
office note and thereby made it impossible for the corporation to meet the cost
of construction of the head works and the. remodelling and 591 redesigning of
the distribution system and to provide a sufficient supply of water for the
public and private purposes. The corporation could not raise the loan without
the Government guarantee and the government could, not reasonably guarantee the
loan unless the two conditions of universal meterisation and the separate
budget for the water supply were accepted. The two conditions were reasonable.
The adoption of universal meterisation would
have curtailed the wastage of water and secured adequate revenues necessary for
the repayment of the loan and the setting up of an adequate sinking and
development fund for the water supply.
A separate budget for the supply of water
would have ensured that the receipts from the/ supply of water were a located
to the expenditure on the water supply scheme. The answer of the corporation
was twofold. The corporation said firstly that the resolution dated July 12,
1965 neither accepted nor rejected the two conditions and the question of
accepting the conditions was left for future negotiations with the government
after the government would be approached for the sanction of the loan under s.
420(2)(r) of the City of Nagpur Corporation Act 1948, read with City of Nagpur
Corporation Loans Rules 1951. The corporation said secondly that the cost of
immediate meterisation of the old connections would be Rs. 52 lacs and it was
impossible for the corporation to raise this sum, nor could it lawfully divert
any portion of the loan of Rs. 70 lacs for meeting this cost.
The High Court accepted the contention that
at the meeting held on July 12, 1965, the corporation had resolved that-the
matter with regard to the conditions imposed by the government for giving the
loan should be left for further negotiations with the government. But it is to
be noticed that the resolution dated July 12, 1965 did riot state that there
should be any further negotiations with the government on the matter, nor did
it disclose the financial problem with regard to meterisation or the basis upon
which further negotiations should take place. On June 30, 1965, he corporation
had talked out the recommendation of the standing committee with regard to the
universal meterisation and separate budget. In this background, the State
government. could reasonably hold that the passing of the resolution excluding
the office note amounted to virtual rejection of the conditions mentioned in
the note. The High Court was in error in accepting the first contention.
The High Court was also in error in holding
that the Government passed the order of September 29, 1965 without considering
that universal meterisation posed a formidable problem which could not be
overcome without a loan of Rs.
52, lacs in addition to the loan of Rs. 70 lacs.
The resolution of July 12, 1965 did not state that the corporation wanted an
additional loan of Rs. .52 lacs for meeting the cost of universal meterisation.
Even in the answer to the showcause notice, the corporation did not say that it
wanted to raise 592 an additional loan of Rs. 52 lacs. The answer stated that
the raising of this sum for the present was an impossibility. There is nothing
to show that the State, government would not have guaranteed repayment of this
additional loan or that it was not possible to raise the loan backed, by a
government guarantee. In the writ petition respondent No.1 gave a summary of
the reply to the show-cause notice. But there was no specific averment in the
petition supported by affidavit that Rs. 52 lacs was necessary for the
meterisation and that the raising of this sum was an impossibility. That is why
the point was not dealt with in the return to the writ, petition. Even assuming
that the meterisation would cost Rs. 52 lacs, there is nothing to show that the
government would not have guaranteed the loan for this sum or that the
corporation could not have raised the loan with this, guarantee.
Moreover, if the Government was right in
assuming that the corporation had refused to entertain the proposal of
meterisation, the question of raising funds for the meterisation would not
arise and would be irrelevant. The government passed the order after taking
into consideration the reply to the show-cause notice. There were materials be
"ore the State Government upon which it could find that the corporation
had neglected to undertake an improvement of water supply and to provide a
sufficient supply of water for private and public purpose. On the basis of this
finding, the State government could form the opinion that the corporation was
not competent to perform the duties imposed on it by or under the Act.
Mr. Bobde contended that the opinion of the
State government was based on two grounds arid as one of them is found to be
non-existent or irrelevant, the order is invalid and should be set aside. The
cases relied on by him may, be briefly noticed. In a number of cases, the Court
has quashed orders of preventive detention based on several grounds one of
which is found to be irrelevant or illusory. After reviewing the earlier cases
Jagannadhadas J, in Dwarka Dass Bhatia v. The State of Jammu and Kashmir (1)
"The principle underlying all these
decisions is 'this. Where power is vested in a statutory authority to deprive
the liberty of a subject on its subjective satisfaction with reference to
specified matters, if that satisfaction is stated to be based on a number of
grounds or for a variety 'of reasons all taken together, and if some out of
them are found to be non-existent or irrelevant, the very exercise of that
power is bad. This is so because the matter being one for subjective
satisfaction, it must be properly based on all the reasons on which it purports
to be based.
If 'some out of them are found to be nonexistent
or irrelevant, the Court cannot predicate what the subjective satisfaction of
the said authority would have been on the exclusion of those grounds or (1)
 S.C.R. 948,955.
593 reasons. To uphold the validity of such
an order in spite of the invalidity of -some of the reasons or grounds would be
to substitute the objective standards of the Court for the subjective
satisfaction of the. statutory authority. In applying these principles,
however, the Court must be. satisfied that the vague or irrelevant grounds are
such as, if excluded, might reasonably have affected the subjective
satisfaction of the appropriate authority. It is not merely because some ground
or reason of a comparatively unessential nature is defective that such an order
based on subjective satisfaction can be held to be invalid. The Court, while
anxious to safeguard the personal liberty of the individual will not lightly
interfere with such orders." In Maursinha v. State of Madhya Pradesh(1),
the Madhya Pradesh High Court, following the principle of the preventive
detention cases, held that an order of supersession of the municipality under
s. 208 of the Madhya Bharat Municipal ties Act 1954, based on several grounds,
most of which were found to be irrelevant, was invalid. In Dhirajlal
Girdharilal v. Commissioner of Income-tax(2) Mahajan, C. J., said with
reference to the order of an income-tax tribunal "The learned
Attorney-General frankly conceded that it could not be denied that to a certain
extent the Tribunal had drawn upon its own imagination and had made use of a
number of surmises and conjectures in reaching its result. He, however,
contended that eliminating the irrelevant material employed by the Tribunal in
arriving at its conclusion, there was sufficient material on which the finding
of fact could be supported. -In our opinion, this contention is not well
It is well established that when a court of
facts acts on material, partly relevant and partly irrelevant, it is impossible
to say to what extent the 'mind of' the court was affected by the irrelevant
material used by it in arriving at its finding. Such a finding is vitiated
because of the use of inadmissible material and thereby an issue of law
arises." In State of Orissa v. Bidyabhushan Mahapatra(3) an administrative
tribunal in a disciplinary proceeding against a public servant found the second
charge and four out of the five heads under the first charge proved and
recommended his dismissal. The Governor after giving him a reasonable
opportunity to show cause against the proposed punishment dismissed him. The High
Court held that, the findings on two of the heads under the first charge could
not be sustained as in arriving at those findings the tribunal had violated
rules of natural justice. It held that the second charge and only (1) A.I.R.
1958 M.P. 397 (2) A.I.R. 1956 S.C., 271 273.
(3)  Supp. I S.C.R. 618,665-6.
594 two heads of the first charge were
established and directed the Governor to reconsider whether on the basis of
these charges the punishment of dismissal should be maintained.
On appeal, this Court set aside the order of
the High Court.
In the course of the judgment, Shah, J,
"If the High Court is satisfied that if
some but not all of the findings of the Tribunal were 'unassailable', the order
of the Governor on whose powers by the rules no restrictions in determining the
appropriate punishment are placed, was final, and the High Court had no
jurisdiction to direct the Governor to review the penalty, for as we have
already observed the order Of dismissal passed by a competent authority on a
public servant, if the conditions of the constitutional prote ction ha* been
complied with, is not justiciable.
Therefore if the order may be supported on
any finding as to substantial misdemeanour for which the punishment can
lawfully be imposed, it is not for the Court to consider whether that ground
alone would have weighed with the authority in dismissing the public servant.
The Court has no jurisdiction if the findings
of the enquiry officer or the Tribunal prima facie make out a case of misdemeanour,
to direct the authority to reconsider that order because in respect of same of
the findings but not all it appears that there had been violation of the rules
of natural justice." The principle underlying these decisions appears to
An administrative or quasi-judicial order
based on several grounds, all taken together, cannot be sustained if it be
found that some of the grounds are non-existent or irrelevant, and there is
nothing to show that the authority would have passed the order on the basis of
the other relevant and existing grounds. On the other hand, an order based on
several grounds some of which are found to be nonexistent or irrelevant, can be
sustained if 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 the irrelevant or non-existent grounds could not have affected the
ultimate opinion or decision.
Now, the opinion of the State government that
the corporation was not competent to perform the duties imposed on it by or
under the Act, was based on two grounds one of Which is relevant and the other
irrelevant. Both the grounds as also other grounds were set out in paragraphs 1
and 2 read with annexures 1 and 2 of the show cause notice dated July 21, 1965.
Para 3 of the show-cause notice stated, "And whereas the grounds aforesaid
jointly as well as severally appear serious enough to warrant action under
section 408(1) of the said Act". The (order dated September 29, 1965, 595
read with the notice dated July 21, 1965 shows that in the opinion of the State
government the second ground alone was serious enough to warrant action under
s. 408(1) and was sufficient to establish that the corporation was not
competent to perform its duties under the Act. The fact that the first ground
mentioned in the order is now found not to exist and is irrelevant, does not
affect the order.
We are reasonably certain that the State
government would have passed the order on the basis of the second ground alone.
The order is, therefore, valid and cannot be set aside.
In the result, the appeal is allowed, the
order of the High Court is set aside and the writ petition is dismissed. In all
the circumstances, there will be no order as to costs in this Court and, in the