POYSER J.—Rodrigo v. Peiris.
1934Present: Poyser J.
RODRIGO v. PEIRIS.
683—P. C. Badulla-Haldummulla, 3,124.
Urban District Council—Member interested in work executed—Supply offirewood under plague regulations—Order by Chairman of U. D. C. asproper authority—Ordinance No. 11 of 1920, s. 237.
Where the member of an Urban District Council supplied firewood forthe use of the residents in an area declared to be a diseased locality underthe Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance, 1897, at the requestof the Chairman of the Council, as “ proper authority ” under theOrdinance,—
Held, that the member was not interested in any work executed forthe Council within the meaning of section 237 of the Local GovernmentOrdinance, No. 11 of 1920.
PPEAL from a conviction by the Police Magistrate of Badulla-Haldummulla.
H. V. Perera (with him Ranawake and D. W. Fernando), forappellant.
N.E. Weerasooria (with him Gratiaen and Batuwantudawa), forrespondent.
January 22, 1934. Poyser J.—
The appellant, a member of the Urban District Council of Bandara-wela, has been convicted under section 237 of the Local GovernmentOrdinance, No. 11 of 1920, of having directly or indirectly interestedhimself in work executed for the said Council, viz., the supply of fire-wood.
The circumstances under which the firewood in question was suppliedare as follows:—In March, 1933, there was an outbreak of plague inBandarawela, and by a declaration dated March 9, the Chairman,Urban District Council, Bandarawela, as “proper authority” under theQuarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance, 1897, declared acertain area to be a “diseased locality” within the meaning of the saidOrdinance.
This declaration was confirmed by the Governor in a Proclamationdated March 16, 1933.
POYSER J.—Rodrigo v. Peiris.
The accused owns a firewood store and at the request of the Chairmanof the Urban District Council, the “ proper authority", supplied firewoodfor the use of the residents in the area declared to be a “ diseased localityThe accused's version of this transaction is set out in a letter, datedApril 18, 1933, he sent to the Chairman, and has been accepted by thePolice Magistrate as a correct account of whattook place. The followingis the material part of this letter:—
"At the outbreak of plague and when certain residents were segre-gated, you requested me on the 11th of March to supply four yards offirewood for the use of the residents so segregated. I asked you whetherit was for payment and you said it was and gave an order. Accordingly1 supplied it. Again on the 12th you asked me to supply another fouryards and gave an order. I supplied. On the 15th you asked me twoyards, but I had only one. You went away saying it was not enoughbut later you sent your inspector Mr. Fernando for the one yard.Mr. Fernando gave an order, and the yard was accordingly supplied.After the plague situation was over, 1 was requested by the ActingSecretary, Mr. Seneviratne, to send the orders for payment. AccordinglyI sent them through my man Podi Singho. ”
The accused on March 30 received Rs. 27 for the firewood hesupplied, he was paid from Council founds, a money vote for plagueexpenses being passed on March 20, and the voucher authorizingpayment set out that the firewood was supplied for the use of plague contacts.
On these facts the Magistrate has held that the accused has directlyconcerned himself in a contract with the Council. I am unable to agreewith this finding. I think the contract the accused entered into waswith the “ proper authority,” and the fact that the “ proper authority ”in this case happened to be the Chairman of the Urban District Council is,in my view, immaterial, for such person is not necessarily the Chairmanof the Urban District Council.
The definition of “ proper authority ” is contained in Regulation 1 ofthe Regulations made under the Quarantine and Prevention of DiseasesOrdinance, 1897, published in the Supplement to the Government Gazetteof August 28, 1925.
The material part of this Regulation is as follows :—
1 (b) “ Wherever there shall be established a District Council underOrdinance No. 11 of 1920 or a Local Board, the Chairman of theDistrict Council, or the Chairman of the Local Board, or the PrincipalCivil Medical Officer, or the Assistant Principal Civil Medical Officer, orthe Sanitary Commissioner, or the Assistant Sanitary Commissioner,or the Sanitary Officers, or the Government Agent of the Province,or the Assistant Government Agent of the District, or the DistrictJudge, or the Police Magistrate, or the Provincial Surgeon of theProvince, or the Senior Medical Officer resident within the DistrictCouncil or Local Board limits, or any officer appointed by the Governorto perform the duties of the proper authority.”
The “ proper authority ” is given wide powers under these regulations.He may employ any person to assist him in the execution of his duties(Regulation 40). He may establish hospitals and places of observation
POYSER J.—Karunaratne v. Abdul Razak.
(Regulation 42); he may take possession of lands or impress the use ofcarts (Regulation 77). For the purposes of these regulations it wouldobviously be necessary for him to enter into contracts, and any suchcontract would necessarily be a contract with the “proper authority,”even if the latter happens to be the Chairman of a District Council.
The fact that payment for this firewood was made from Council fundsis, in my view, immaterial. It appears from a Government Circular setout in an appendix to the above regulations that the expenses for thearrangements for isolation and segregation within Municipal, UrbanDistrict, or Local Board limits are met partly by the Government andpartly by the Local Boards.
Expenses for the provision of firewood would, according to thisappendix, appear to be payable by the Local Board.
For these reasons I consider the accused was not interested in anywork executed for the Urban District Council of Bandarawela.
The appeal is allowed and the conviction set aside.
RODRIGO v. PEIRIS