S.K. Jha, J.
1. The nine petitioners have come up under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India with a prayer for quashing Annexure 1 to the main petition and Annexures 5 and 6 to the petition under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure filed by the petitioners subsequently. Their further prayes is for the issuance of a writ of mandamus restraining the State of Bihar (respondent No. 1) and the Secretary to the Government of Bihar in the Department of Local-self Government (respondent No. 2) from enforcing either of the three annexures mentioned above.
2. According to the petitioners, the facts relevant for challenging the aforesaid annexures are as follows. The petitioners are the permanent residents of Nawadah town. The State Government by a notification bearing No. 8727 L. S. G. dated the 6th August, 1967, had constituted a Notified Area Committee for the town of Nawadah in exercise of its powers under the Bihar and Orissa Municipal Act, 1922 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). Subsequently, by notification No. 5778 L.S.G., dated the 7th June, 1972, in exercise of the powers vested in the State Government under Section 390-A of the Act, the aforesaid Notified Area Committee was converted into a Municipality with effect from the 9th June, 1972. By the same notification, the State Government also appointed an Administrator for the purpose of running the administration of the Nawada Municipal Board, and one Shri Shyam Behari Prasad, Executive 'Officer, was appointed as the Administrator. Again, by ,a fresh order dated the 27th December. 1972, the State Government under partial modification of the earlier notification of the 7th June, 1972 appointed an ad hoc committee for the Nawada Municipal Board consisting of a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman and 18 other members. This notification of the State Government dated the 27th December, 1972, has been marked as Annexure I to the main writ petition. The further relevant facts which have been stated in a subsequent application under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure filed by the petitioners are to the effect that after the writ application was admitted by this Court, a series of subsequent events had taken place, to wit, on the 17th February, 1973, the State Government sent an intimation to the office of the Nawadah Municipality that the Government had been pleased to pass an order in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 390-A of the Act to appoint an Advisory Committee for the Nawadah Municipality consisting of the members mentioned in the Government order. It has been further alleged that all the members of the erstwhile ad hoc committee had been nominated .as members of the aforesaid Advisory Committee. A true copy of this Government order has been marked as Annexure 4 to the application under Section 151 of the Code. Subsequently, the State Government passed an order dated the 7th March, 1973, whereby it again cancelled the earlier order of formation of the Advisory Committee for Nawadah Municipality as contained in Annexure 4 and also passed an order whereby the Administrator of the Nawadah Municipality was designated as the Executive Officer of the Municipal Board, and the Advisory Committee was re-designated as ad hoc committee after cancelling the order incorporated in Annexure 4. Copies of the Government orders regarding the cancellation of the Advisory Committee and the appointment of the Executive Officer have been marked as Annexures 5 and 6 respectively. On these facts, the petitioners challenge the validity and legality of Annexures 1, 5 and 6 on a number of grounds.
3. Mr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, learned counsel for the petitioners, at the outset raised three points in support of this application, namely, (1) that the State Government had no authority in law to constitute an ad hoc committee under the provisions of the Act. (2) that the State Government had committed a fraud on its powers by frequently changing its orders to favour a certain set of individuals who have all been said to be the members of the Ruling Party, namely, Ruling Congress Party, and (3) that it was a clear case of mala fide on the part of the State Government as the dominant intention in issuing successive and contradictory orders and notifications was not to promote the civic amenities for the purpose of which the Act had been enacted but merely in order to oblige the favourites of the Ruling Congress Party. It was further urged that the impugned orders were arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable. In course of argument, however, learned counsel sought for a permission in writing to urge additional grounds in, support of this application. The fresh grounds sought to be urged, for which permission was granted and no objection was raised on behalf of the respondents, were to the effect that Section 390-A of the Act was ultra vires and unconstitutional due to excessive delegation of power and that the impugned Section did not contain any guideline and had clothed the State Government with a blanket and an uncontrolled power to apply the provision of law recklessly. To sum up the different points urged by learned counsel, enumerated above, broadly classified, fall only under three heads, viz., (1) that there was no express power conferred by the Act on the State Government to appoint an ad hoc committee after conversion of a notified area committee into a municipal board, (21 that assuming that such a power could be called from the r>provisions of Section 390-A of the Act, that must be struck down as ultra vires and unconstitutional on account of excessive delegation leading to the arbitrary and uncanalised exercise of power according to the whims of the Government, and (3) that, in any event, the orders were vitiated by mala fide and unreasonableness.
4. I shall deal with each of these broad points successively. Section 390-A, Sub-section (1) of the Act runs as follows:--
"Notwithstanding anything contained in Sections 388, 389 and 390 and subject to the provisions of Section 4, the State Government may, by notification, declare that with effect from the date to be specified in the notification and subject to such provisions as the State Government may make for the period of transition a notified area constituted under Section 388 shall be converted into a municipality, and with effect from that date all the provisions of this Act shall apply to such municipality unless the State Government in the notification, or by a fresh notification, specifically bar the application of any provision in that area''.
It will thus be seen that the provisions are wide enough to empower the Government to make such temporary arrangements for the administration of a municipal board during the period of transition as may be suitable and reasonable in the exigencies of any particular case. Learned counsel for the petitioners urged that since there was no express power under the Act authorising the State Government to form an ad hoc committee during the transition period, the absence of any such express provision must be deemed to be a case of casus omissus. The Legislature must be presumed to have deliberately omitted to incorporate such provision in the scheme of the Act. It is well settled principle of interpretation of statutes that casus omissus ought not to be filled in by the Courts. Reliance was placed by learned, counsel on a decision of the Supreme Court in Sm. Hira Devi v. District Board, Shahjahan-pur (AIR 1952 SC 362). Nobody can dispute the proposition that casus omissus in any statute, even for the sake of beneficial construction, should not be supplied by Court as that would amount to legislating on a subject on which the Legislature did not choose so to legislate. But such a principle can have no application where there is an express provision in the Act, As may be seen from the provision quoted above, it has been expressly specified that the State Government may by notification declare with effect from the date to be specified in the notification and subject to such provisions as the State Government may make for the period of transition that a notified area shall be converted into a municipality. Ample powers have been given to the State Government for making such provisions during the period of transition as may be deemed reasonable. It is well-settled that primary rule of construction is to intend the Legislature to have meant what they have actually expressed. The object of all interpretation is to discover the intention of the Legislature, but that intention must be deduced from the language used. Where the language is plain and admits of but one meaning, the task of interpretation can hardly be said to arise. Every word in a statute is to be given a meaning and the principle of casus omissus or, for that matter, construction ut res magis valeat quam pereat cannot be invoked except in a case of ambiguity. So far as the language -of Section 390-A is concerned, it is express and admits of no ambiguity whatsoever. There is no force, therefore, in the contention of learned counsel that it would be a case of filling casus omissus in a statute, because, as I have already held above the State Government has been given 'express power to lay down such provisions during the transitory period as the exigencies of a situation may demand.
5. This brings us to the next point urged by learned counsel with regard to the vires of Section 390-A of the Act. Mr. Mukherjee has argued the point with great ability and ingenuity. He has sought to rely upon a decision of the Supreme Court in Hamdard Dawakhana v. Union of India (AIR I960 SC 554) for the proposition that the conferment of uncanalised and uncontrolled power by the rules to the executive is ultra vires, and the discretion conferred upon the executive under any statute or statutory rules should not be so wide that it would be impossible to discern it. On the strength of this decision, learned counsel urged that the blanket power given to the State Government for laying down such provisions as it thinks fit gives such an unbridled and uncanalised legislative power which suffers from the vice of excessive delegation. I am afraid, the contention, though in the first instance attractive, does not stand scrutiny. As I shall presently show, Section 390-A is not a piece of delegation of legislative authority but merely a conditional legislation. I shall refer in this context to the decisions of the Supreme Court in Bangalore Woollen, Cotton and Silk Mills Co. Ltd. v. Corporation of the City of Bangalore, (AIR 1962 SC 1263) and in Mohamedalli v, Union of India, (AIR 1964 SC 980). In the case of Bangalore Woollen, Cotton and Silk Mills Co. (supra) the Legislature had laid dawn the powers of the Municipality to tax the various goods. It had enumerated certain articles and animals, and Class VIII read with Section 97 (e) had authorised the Municipality to impose tax on other articles and goods. It was sought to be contended before the Supreme Court in that case on the strength of the case of Hamdard Dawakhana that such a wide power authorising the Municipality to impose tax on. any other articles and goods suffered from the vice of excessive delegation. While repelling this argument, their Lordships of the Supreme Court distinguished the case of Hamdard Dawakhana and held that the argument that the power of the Municipal Corporation to specify goods was excessive delegation which was both uncanalised and uncontrolled was not in the nature of excessive delegation of legislative authority but merely a piece of conditional legislation. While dealing with this question, their Lordships observed :
"All that the legislature has done in the present case is that it has specified certain articles on which octopi duty can be imposed and it has also given to the Municipal Corporation the discretion to determine on what other goods and under what conditions the tax should be levied. That, in our opinion, is not a case which falls under the rule laid down by this Court in AIR 1960 SC 554."
So also in the case of MohmedalH (supra) the constitutionality of Sections 1 (3) (b) and 17 of the Employees' Provident Funds Act, 1952 was sought to be challenged on the ground that they conferred uncontrolled and uncanalised power on the appropriate Government. While repelling the contention put forward in that regard on the strength of the authority of Hamdard Dawakhana's case, the Supreme Court laid down;
"It is clear that the last mentioned case illustrates the rule that the question whether or not a particular piece of Legislation suffers from the vice of excessive delegation must be determined with reference to the facts and circumstances in the background of which the provisions of the statute impugned had been enacted. If, on a review of all the facts and circumstances and of the relevant provisions of the statute, the Court is in a position to say that the Legislature had clearly indicated the underlying principle of the Legislation and laid down criteria and proper standards but had left the application of those principles and standards to individual cases in the hands of the executive, it cannot be said that there was excessive delegation of powers by the Legislature. On the other hand, if a review of all those facts and circumstances and the provisions of the statute, including the preamble, leaves the Court guessing as to the principles and standards, then the delegate has been entrusted not with the mere function of applying the law to individual cases, but with a substantial portion of legislative power itself."
Applying the aforesaid principles, it has to be seen as to what was the object with which Section 390-A was incorporated in the statute book by Bihar Act 20 of 1965. Prior to the insertion of this Section in the statute book, only two contingencies were envisaged by the Act by which a new municipality could be created either in the first instance or after the termination of super session of any existing municipality under Section 385 of the Act. The procedure to be followed in cases where new municipalities were constituted was embodied in Sections 4 to
13. whereas the procedure to be followed on the termination of the order of supersession under Section 385 was laid down in Sub-section (2) of Section 386 of the Act. The Legislature having found a clear lacuna in the Act with regard to a contingency when a notified area committee should or ought to, in the circumstances of any particular case, be converted into a municipality, it sought to fill up such lacuna by enactment of Section 390-A. In the very fitness of things, it was absolutely necessary and very reasonable to make some stop-gap arrangement for the period between the date of such conversion of a notified area committee into a municipality and the procedure by which the Municipal Commissioners could be elected or nominated by the Govt. in pursuance of the provisions of Sections 12 to 18 of the Act. Section 12 of the Act provides for the Constitution and incorporation of Municipal Commissioners. Section 13 lays down the number of Commissioners and of elected and appointed Commissioners. Section 14 provides for the appointment of Commissioners by the Govt. Section 15 lays down the qualifications of voters at elections of Municipal Commissioners. Section 17 prescribes the qualifications for election as Commissioners, and Section 18 provides for formation of wards. Thereafter follows Section 19 under which rules have been made by the State Government to regulate the election in so far as any municipality is concerned. It is evident therefore, that from the date when a notified area committee is converted into a municipality right up to the time of formation of wards and preparation of electoral rolls, sufficient time-lag was bound to follow, and the State Government was the best authority to judge the circumstances obtaining in any particular area for which arrangements during such period (c)f transition should and could be made. Every case of such a conversion must be judged in the light of conditions and situations obtaining in that particular area. It cannot, therefore, be suggested that investing the State Government with the power of laying down the provisions to operate during such a transitory period amounts to an unbridled or uncontrolled conferment of legislative power. In this connection, reference may be made to a Division Bench decision of this Court in Rohtas Industries Ltd. v. State of Bihar, 1965 BLJR 886 which was a case in which the constitutionality of Sections 388 and 389 of the Act was involved. Construing the provisions of those two sections, it was held;
"The question which we have to consider, however, is whether it is possible to say that such un-canalised and uncontrolled power to declare an area a notified area has been conferred upon the State Government under Sections 388 and 389 of the Act. Section 388 itself indicates that the power to declare an area a notified area is to be exercised only in respect of such area where it is considered necessary to make administrative provision for all or any of the purposes of the Act."
It was further held in that case;
"It is manifest that such a declaration (under Section 388) has to be made keeping in view the stage of development of the area proposed to be notified. Where an area has developed, but not to the extent as to justify the constitution of a Municipality in accordance with S. 4 of the Act. the intention or policy of the legislature as indicated in Sections 388 and 380 of the Act, is that the State Government should make administrative orovision for all or any of the purposes of the Municipal Act in respect of such appropriate areas. Therefore, it cannot be maintained that in the provisions of Sections 388 and 389 of the Act, no standards have been laid down for the exercise of the power of the State Government in the matter of declaration of a notified area...... It may be that in a particular case, the declaration of an area into a notified area may not be justified having regard to the stage of its development. Such a declaration might be struck down as mala fide. But that would not be a ground for holding Sections 388 and 389 of the Act ultra vires. The Statute would nevertheless be good, though a particular declaration might be shown to be bad. In my opinion, it is not a case of delegation of legislative authority but a piece of conditional legislation for exercise of powers to give effect to the declared policy of the legislature."
In so far as the construction of Section 390-A of the Act is concerned, it is worthwhile to repeat that though a particular decision in a given set of circumstances may be struck down as invalid on the ground of mala fide of the authority exercising the power, the provision is nevertheless good for it had merely empowered the State Government to make administrative provisions for the transitory period which did not amount to any delegation of any legislative power but merely to the exercise of a conditional legislation. Learned counsel submitted that the decision of this Court in Rohtas Industries' case should not be held to be good law in so far as it went counter to the dicta of the Supreme Court in Hamdard Dawakhana's case. The contention cannot be accepted for the simple reason that the Division Bench deciding that case had clearly construed and discussed the effect of the decision of the Supreme Court in Hamdard Dawakhana's case.
6. Can it then be said that the exercise of power in the facts and circumstances of this particular case has been an unreasonable exercise amounting to mala fides ? Learned counsel for the petitioners placed strong reliance on a number of decisions, both of the Supreme Court and of this Court, in support of this contention that the frequent issuance of orders and notifications by the State Government in the present case in regard to any annexures 1, 4, 5 and 6 clearly amounted to an unreasonable exercise of power which would be both liable to attack on the ground of malice in law as well as malice in fact. Learned counsel referred to the decisions of the Supreme Court in Partap Singh v. State of Punjab (AIR 1964 SC 72) and in C. S. Rowjee y. State of Andhra Pradesh (AIR 1964 SC 962). Before dealing with the facts of those two cases, I think it better to start with a quotation from the case relied upon by learned counsel for the petitioners in C. S. Rowjee's case in Paragraph 20 :
"It is, no doubt, true that allegations of mala fides and of improper motives on the part of those in power are frequently made and their frequency has increased in recent times. It is also somewhat unfortunate that allegations of this nature which have no foundation in fact, are made in several of the cases which have come up before this and other Courts and it is found that they have been made merely with a view to cause prejudice or in the hope that whether they have basis in fact or not some of it at least might stick. Consequently it has become the duty of the Court to scrutinise these allegations with care so as to avoid being in any manner influenced by them, in cases where they have no foundation in fact.'
Keeping in view this principle in deciding the question of mala fide, raised in different cases, it will have to be judged from the facts and circumstances brought on the records of this case as to whether the allegation of mala fide can stand the test of judicial scrutiny. In the case of S. Pratap Singh relied upon by learned counsel, clear allegations on affidavits had been made against the then Chief Minister of Punjab, as also there were other corroborative facts found from the files of the Government in support of positive assertion of mala fide. These allegations and pieces of proof stood un-rebutted in so far as the attack on the ground of personal animus against the Chief Minister was not cared to be controverted. So also in the case of C. S. Rowjee, direct allegations had been made against the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri Sanjiva Reddy, and the facts pleaded on affidavits in that case also stood unrcbutted in the absence of any counter-affidavit by the person against whom the allegations had been made, in the present case, the entire allegation of mala fide is based upon two facts, namely, (1) the frequency in the chain of Governmental orders and (2) that all the members of the Ad-hoc Committee were men of the Ruling Congress Party to placate whom such a committee had been advised. Dealing with the second part of the submission first, suffice it to say that a counter-affidavit has been filed on behalf of respondent No. 3, the Chairman of the Municipal Board, in which in paragraph 18, it has been clearly asserted that it was false to say that the Municipal Commissioners were all members of the Ruling Congress Party and that they had been appointed with a view to further the prospect of the Ruling Congress Party in Nawadah Town. It has further been categorically stated that many of the members of the Committee were not members of the Ruling Congress Party. Adverting to the first part of the submission in this regard, learned counsel invited our attention to the sequence of events already enumerated earlier, namely, that on the 7th of June, 1972, the Notified Area Committee was converted into a Municipality by a notification by which one Shri Shyam Behari Prasad Administrator was appointed as the Executive Officer. This notification, though earliest in point of time, has been marked Annexure 2 to the supplementary affidavit filed to the writ application. Thereafter, the allegation is that by a notification dated the 27th December, 1972 (Annexure 1), the earlier notification was modified to the extent that an ad-hoc committee of 20 members was formed for such time as election could duly be held. Then, by Annexure 4 dated the 5th February, 1973, it is said that the ad-hoc committee aforesaid was converted into into an Advisory Committee and then again by an order dated the 7th March, 1973 (Annexure 5). the State Government again revised the ad-hoc committee and also appointed an Executive Officer by Annexure 6. In a nut-shell, therefore, the grievance of the petitioners is that though there is no infirmity in the Government notification dated the 7th June, 1972, by which the Notified Area Committee was converted into a Municipality and by which the Administrator of the Notified Area Committee was designated as the Executive Officer of the Nawadah Municipality, it is sought to be urged that mala fides should be inferred from the successive notifications dated the 27th December, 1972 (Annexure 1) and 5th February, 1973 (Annexure 4) and 7th March, 1973 (Annexures 5 and G). The effect of Annexure 1, as already stated, was merely to appoint an ad-hoc committee of twenty members. The effect of Annexure 4 was to redessgnate the ad-hoc committee as an Advisory Committee and the effect of Annexures 5 and 6 was that the Advisory Committee was again re-named as the Ad-hoc Committee and an Executive Officer was also appointed who had not been included in the notification of the 27th December. 1972. A iact which is not very relevant for the purpose of deciding this issue may yet for the .sake of clarification be noticed here. Annexure 4 to the application under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure by which it is said that the Ad-hoc Committee was converted into an Advisory Committee was actually never notified or published. There was no notification to -that effect at all. It seerns that the matter may have been in contemplation of some of the officers in the Department of Local Self-Government concerned, but such .a proposal did never materialise although in anticipation of the publication of such a notification letters were issued to different authorities by the Under-Secretary to the Government in the Local Self-Government Department. Therefore, the residue of the facts remains only to this extent that an ad-hoc committee was appointed on the 27th December, 1972, to which by Annexure 6 an Executive Officer was also added. Learned counsel had no grievance whatsoever to the appointment of an Administrator or an Executive Officer of the Municipality by the Government during the period of transition; but his only grievance was to the constitution of such an ad-hoc committee to function as Municipal Board pending finalisation of the election, nomination of the Municipal Commissioners, etc., according to the provisions of the Act and Municipal Elicitation Rules. I fail to see any unreasonable-ness, much less any malice in the fact that instead of the Municipality being run by only one officer termed either as an Administrator or an Executive Officer, a larger section of representative body comprising of a number of persons was also included to administer the affairs of the Municipal Board during the transition period. No averment whatsoever has been made either in the writ application or the supplementary affidavit or in the further application under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure that any of the members of the ad-hoc committee, so formed by the Government, was incapable of administering the affairs of the Municipal Board. Merely a sweeping and bald allegation that the ad-hoc committee .has been formed merely to placate the members of the Ruling Congress-Party will not, in my view, lead to any inference of malice either in fact or in-law, and that fact, too, has been controverted in the counter-affidavit of respondent No. 3, as already mentioned above. Learned counsel for the petitioners vehemently argued that since there was an! allegation of mala fide against the State-Government and the fact had not been controverted by any counter-affidavit on behalf of the State Government, it must be taken to be unrebutted. I do not see any substance in this contention, because the allegation of a particular fact, namely, that all the members of the ad-hoc committee are members of the Ruling' Congress Party, is of such a nature which can be controverted not only by the State Government but by any of the Municipal Commissioners who may or may not be a member of the Ruling Congress Party. Learned counsel further relied upon a decision of this Court in the Mahnar Notified Area Committee v. State of Bihar (1968 Pat LJR 582) in support of his contention that on the facts of the present case, it must be held to be a colourable-exercise of power. The facts of the Mahnar Notified Area Committee's case are quite distinct and clearly distinguishable. What had happened in that case was that the Government headed by Shri Maha-maya Prasad Sinha as Chief Minister of the First United Front Party was voted out of power shortly after assuming-office which was then followed by Shri B. P. Mandal as the Chief Minister. This Government also lasted only for a few weeks, and then came the second United' Front Ministry with Shri Bhola Pas wan; Shastri as the Chief Minister. Notification, was issued by the Mandal Ministry, as it was popularly called, constituting the Mahnar Notified Area Committee; but soon after the Mandal Ministry fell, the second United Front Ministry headed by Shri Shastri issued another notification, superseding and cancelling the formation of that Notified Area Committee. This supersession and cancellation was challenged by the Mannar Notified Area Committee, and it was sought to be opposed and justified by the State on the ground that actually during the Maha-maya Ministry a notification had already been issued defining the limits of the Mahnar Notified Area Committee and that notification issued during the Mandal Ministry was in derogation of the first notification. On facts, it was found in that case that the first notification of the Mahamaya Ministry which was sought to be relied upon by the State had actually not been published at all and that in such circumstances the first notification legally issued and published was that during the Mandal Ministry which was superseded for ulterior motives by the Shastri Ministry. In the present case, there is no question of any successive Governments coming in Power to placate their respective henchmen. The same stable Government appointed an Administrator or an Executive Officer and then an ad-hoc committee of a large number of persons together with the Administrator or the Executive Officer. From these : facts, I cannot infer mala fides either in law or on facts, nor can it be said in the circumstances of the present case that the order of the State Government was at all unreasonable.
7. Mr. Uday Sinha, learned Standing Counsel No. 3 appearing for the State, made a statement at the Bar that actually the formation of the wards had already taken place and electoral rolls were in the process of being prepared and that an election would be held soon thereafter. It is hoped that the State Government will take all necessary steps to complete the election as expeditiously as possible, for, after all, the transitory provisions must be in the nature of transitory and temporary provisions not to last for long times.
8. For the foregoing reasons, I do not see any merit in this writ application. It is, accordingly, dismissed; but in the circumstances of the case, there will be no order as to costs.
S.N.P. Singh, J.
9. I agree.