K.A. Swami, J.
1. Sri Udayashankar, learned Government Pleader has secured the records and instructions and an official is also deputed by the 1st respondent to give instructions to the learned Government Pleader.
2. As this petition can be disposed of on a short point, Rule is Issued and it is heard for final disposal because of the urgency involved in the petition in as much as the election from the Agriculturists' Constituencies of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee, Doddaballapur is scheduled to take place on 6-11-1988 as per the calendar of events dated 23-9-1988 issued by the Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore Rural District as per Annexure-B.
3. The petitioners 1 to 7 are the voters in the Agriculturists' Constituencies; Petitioner-7, it is stated, is a sitting member of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee, Doddaballapur (hereinafter referred to as the 'Market Committee'). None of the petitioners has filed the nomination paper.
As per Section 14 of the Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation) Act, 1966 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act'), the Deputy Commissioner of the District has divided the Market Area of the Market Committee into the following Agriculturists' Constituencies:
Name of the Constituency
No. of Voters
4. The petitioners have sought for quashing the calendar of events produced as Annexure-B on the ground that the Agriculturists' Constituencies are not formed in accordance with Sub-section (2) of Section 14 of the Act. Sub-section (2) of Section 14 of the Act reads thus:
"14(2) For the purpose of clause (1) of subsection (1) the Deputy Commissioner shall by notification determine the territorial extent of the nine agriculturists' Constituencies and shall reserve one such constituency for the scheduled castes or the scheduled Tribes. The number of voters in each such constituency shall as far as practicable be the same throughout the market area."
From the aforesaid provision it is clear that it is incumbent upon the Deputy Commissioner to determine the territorial extent of each of the 9 agriculturists' constituencies in such a manner that the number of voters In each constituency as far as practicable shall be the same throughout the Market Area. In the instant case the number of voters in each constituency has already been noticed above. The total number of voters is 13639. They are to be divided into 9 constituencies. Thus each constituency shall, as far as practicable, have 2074 voters. Therefore, the effort of the authority should have been to form the constituencies in such a manner that each constituency as far as practicable consists of 2074 voters. Of course, the number of voters may be a little more or a little less than 2074 in as much as it cannot be and it need not be a mathematical division but the effort should be such that as far as practicable the voters in each constituency shall be the same throughout the market area. In the Instant case, in Constituency Nos. 1, 2 and 3, there are 853, 614 and 933 voters more than the minimum number. Whereas in the other constituencies viz., constituencies 4 to 9, there are 427, 117, 249, 424, 837 and 373 respectively less number of voters than the minimum. There is thus considerable disparity of voters allotted to each one of the constituencies. In three constituencies, there are more than the minimum number and in the other constituencies, there are considerably less than the minimum number. None of the constituencies is formed in conformity with Sub-section (2) of Section 14 of the Act. Thus the territorial extent of the Agriculturists' constituencies is determined in clear transgression of Sub-section (2) of Section 14 of the Act. Similar provisions contained in the Mysore Village Panchayats and Local Boards Act, 1959 came up for consideration before a Division Bench of this Court in W.P. No. 608/1960 (K.B. PATIL v. STATE OF MYSORE AND ORS., decided on 11-4-1961) and the election itself was set aside on the ground that the ratio between the number of members to be elected from each territorial constituency in the Panchayat and the population of that constituency was not the same throughout the area within the jurisdiction of the Panchayat; as such there was a transgression of subsection (4) of Section 5 of the Mysore Village Panchayat and Local Boards Act, 1959. The ratio of the decision clearly applies to the case on hand.
5. It is not possible to accept the contention that there is a wide discretion left to the Deputy Commissioner In determining the territorial limits of the constituencies and It is open to him to take Into consideration the geographical situation of the villages while forming the constituencies; therefore in the very nature of things, in some constituencies there will be more than the minimum number of voters and in some there will be less than the minimum number of voters. No doubt there is some room left to the Deputy Commissioner to operate while determining the territorial extent of the Agriculturists' constituencies. But that does not mean that the Deputy Commissioner can determine the territorial limits of the constituencies in clear violation of Sub-section (2) of Section 14 of the Act without maintaining the same number of voters as far as practicable in all the Agriculturists' Constituencies throughout the Market Area. Looking to the number of voters comprised in each of the Agriculturists' Constituencies, the Court Is left with no doubt that the Deputy Commissioner has not at all borne In mind the requirements of Sub-section (2) of Section 14 of the Act. If only he had borne in mind the requirement of Sub-section (2) of Section 14 of the Act, disparity of voters as pointed out above would not have been there. Under these circumstances, It is not possible to sustain the Notification Annexure-A dated 12-8-1988 determining the territorial limits of the Agriculturists' Constituencies in the Market Area of the Doddaballapur Market Committee.
6. The next question for consideration is whether as a result of quashing the Notification Annexure-A it is necessary to quash the calendar of events and direct the Deputy Commissioner to issue a fresh calendar of events after determining the territorial limits of the Agriculturists' constituencies.
On the date this petition was filed, the Election Process had already commenced. According to the calendar of events which was issued on 23-9-1988, the last date for filing the nomination papers was 7-10-1988. By now the scrutiny of the nomination papers has also taken place. Further the re-determination of the territorial limits of the Agriculturists Constituencies is not going to affect the nomination papers filed pursuant to the calendar of events and there is sufficient time to redetermine the territorial limits of Agriculturists Constituencies and to renotify the same. For the purposes of contesting from Agriculturists' Constituencies and proposing a candidate, the voter need not be a voter in the very same constituency from which he contests. It is sufficient if he is a voter in any one of the nine agriculturists' constituencies in the market area of the Market Committee. Thus the calendar of events and the nominations are not affected by the re-determination of the territorial limits of the Agriculturists' Constituencies. The election is also scheduled to take place under the very same calendar of events of other constituencies other than the Agriculturists' constituencies also. Therefore, I am of the view that the election process which has already commenced need not be interfered with on the ground that the territorial limits of the constituencies are required to be redetermined. The constituencies will remain the same in as much as the names of the constituencies will remain the same but only the territorial limits will be altered.
7. It is contended that the polling station provided are not sufficient and it Is not possible for the voters to travel a long distance and exercise their votes within the limited time unless sufficient number of polling stations are provided. Rule 20 of the Karnataka Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation) Rules, 1968 (hereinafter referred to as the, 'Rules') provides that the Returning Officer shall provide sufficient number of polling stations for each constituency and appoint a Presiding Officer and one or more Polling Officers for each Polling Station. Therefore, in this regard, it is submitted by the learned Government Pleader that on re-determining the territorial limits of the present constituencies, if additional number of Polling Stations are required, the same will also be provided and notified by the Returning Officer. This submission is placed on record.
8. For the reasons stated above, this Writ Petition is allowed In the following terms:
i) The Notification dated 12-8-1988 bearing No. ELN. 7/88-89 issued by the Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore Rural District, Annexure-A under Sub-section (2) of Section 14 of the Act is quashed.
ii) The Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore Rural District is directed to redetermine the territorial limits of the 9 Agriculturists' constituencies already notified under the aforesaid Notification dated 12-8-1988 (Annexure-A) comprised in the market area of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee, Doddaballapur in conformity with Sub-section (2) of Section 14 of the Act and in the light of the observations made in this order and notify the same on or before the 22nd October 1988, Such re-determination of the territorial limits of 9 Agriculturists' Constituencies shall be deemed to have been made for all purposes on 12-8-1988 in substitution of the Notification dated 12-8-1988 Annexure 'A'.
iii) The Returning Officer - Respondent No. 2 shall also notify the Polling Stations on or before 22-10-1988 and if necessary provide more number of Polling Stations than already provided in conformity with the territorial limits of the constituencies re-determined. Contesting candidates shall also be furnished with a copy of the list of Polling Stations with the particulars of the areas coming under each Polling Station.
iv) It is made clear that the calendar of events is not disturbed and the election process is not interfered with. The election as scheduled may take place.