' 572 HEARNE J.—Ranesinghe v. Government Agent, Sabaragamuwa.
1943Present : Hearne J.
. RANESINGHE v. GOVERNMENT AGENT, SABARAGAMUWA.
In the Matter of an Application for a Writ of Mandamuson the Government Agent, Sabaragamuwa.
Writ of Mandamus—Village Committee election—Adjournment of meeting—No notice in writing or by tom-tom—Village Communities Ordinance,(Cap. 198) s. 14 as amended by Ordinance No. 60 of 1938.
Where the adjournment of an election for a Village Committee was notgiven by notice in writing or by beat of tom-tom,—
Held, that the election would not be declared void unless there wasproof that the result would have been different had there been suchnotice.
Karunaratne v, Government Agent, Western Province (32 N.L.R. 16S)
rp HIS was an application for a writ of Mandamus.
C. V. Ranawake (with him W. Muthurajah), for petitioner.
Walter Jayawardene, C.C., for first respondent.
N. Nadaraja, K.C. (with him S. Fernando), for second respondent.
Cur. adv. vult.
November 10, 1943. Hearne J.—
The validity of the election of the second respondent to representWard No. 15 in the Village Committee of Palle pattu has been challengedby the petitioner on various grounds.1
It was argued that, in contravention of the peremptory provisionsof section 14 (3) of the Village Communities Ordinance,' the meeting of thevoters of Ward No. 15 for the purpose of electing their representativewas held outside the village area of Palle pattu. The meeting was heldat “ Kendangomuwa ” which has been brought under the. operation ofthe Small Towns Sanitary Ordinance, and it was claimed that this factalone made it a legal entity distinct -from Palle pattu even if, as is thecase, it falls geographically within the limits of Palle pattu. This is notnecessarily so but in certain circumstances, which have not been shownto obtain, it may be so.
In his petition the petitioner alleges that the election in respectof Ward No. 14 was over at 3 p.m., that “no time of resumption” wasannounced, that many of the voter's left for refreshment, that “ work ”(in connection with Ward Not 15) was resumed at 3.15 or 3.30 p.m., that“ about this time ” a rope was drawn across the entrance to the premiseswhere the election was held, and finally that several voters were therebyprevented from recording their votes.
Nine .voters have-filed an affidavit to the effect that at 3 p.m. “theyunderstood the election for Ward No. 14 was still going on ” (accordingco the petitioner it was then over), that they went to the bazaar forretreshment and that on their return at 3.30 p.m. they were not allowedto enter the election premises.
HEARNE J.—Ranesinghe v. Government Agent, Sabaragamuwa. 573
The unsuccessful candidate, in his affidavit, stated that the presidingofficer (he was appointed by the 1st respondent) told him that the electionfor Ward No. 15 would follow the election for Ward No. 14 which startedat 1.45 p.m., and that “it was altogether impossible for him to haveinformed all his supporters of the alteration in time ”.
It is clear, confining myself for the moment to the nine voters referredto above, that if they had been present as they said till 3 p.m., they atleast could have been informed by the candidate whom they had come tosupport of the change in time. The presiding officer’s version is thattwo or three voters arrived after the polling was declared closed andwere not allowed to vote. It appears from the petitioner’s affidavit thatmany of the voters had arrived very early iri the morning, had had nomidday meal and had gone to their homes or the bazaar for refreshment.The presiding officer states in his affidavit that it was about 2 p.m. thatby public announcement he adjourned the meeting of voters for thepurpose of electing the member for Ward No. 15 from that hour to 3.30 p.m.If the nine voters were present at 2 p.m., and according to them they didnot leave till 3 p.m., they should have been fixed with knowledge of theadjournment. It is difficult to form an idea of the veracity of personswhom one has not seen but the probabilities of the matter suggest thatthe pangs of hunger were responsible for their failure to record theirvotes. Out of a total strength of 510,440 voters recorded their votes.Surely they must have been apprised of the.changed hour of the election ?Again, how did so many of them gain access to the polling boothif “ about the time ” voting was resumed “ a cordon of rope was put up ”to prevent such access ? The affidavits in support of the petitioner’scase do not ring true. The presiding officer’s explanation of the purposeof the rope is reasonable and in all probability in accordance with thefacts.
The -third ground was that certain persons alleged to be minorswpre allowed to vote. These “ miners ” have filed affidavits denyingthat they voted, but even if they were allowed to vote; upon their rightto do so being challenged, the decision of the presiding officer is finaland conclusive. It appears that a record was not made of the objectionsraised in accordance with the provisions of section 16 (5) (d), but this isnot a ground for avoiding the election.
The final ground was, that the adjournment of the meeting from2 to 3.30 p.m. if announced at all to the voters present (I hold that it waswas not “notified thereafter by beat of tom-tom and written notices asrequired by section 14 ”. Unless it- was alleged and proved that thisomission would have led to a different result, the election cannot bedeclared illegal, Karunaratne v. G. A., Western Province1
The rule is discharged with costs.
1 3S X. A. S.169.
RANESINGHE v. GOVERNMENT AGENT, SABARAGAMUWA