Corporate Law Case Brief – Chandrakant Khare v Shantaram Kale

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Facts

  • The first meeting of the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation was held on May 6, 1983 at 2 PM and the polling for the offices of mayor, deputy mayor and members of the standing committee was supposed to be held at 2: 30 PM. But at 2: 30 PM, the opposition created chaos and demanded that the meeting to be adjourned at a later date.
  • When the situation was brought under control, the Municipal Commissioner announced that the meeting would continue and the elections would be held at 4.30 p.m. The petitioner filed a protest at 4.15 p.m. stating that the meeting had been adjourned by the Municipal Commissioner for the day and hence meeting can’t be held.
  • Subsequently Respondents 1 and 2 were declared elected as Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively. The appellant filed a writ petition before the high court on the ground that the meeting in which the election was held was invalid. The High Court held that the meeting was not adjourned for the day or sine die, but was only postponed, to be held as soon as peace was restored on the very day and upheld the election of Respondents 1 to 8. Against the judgment of the High Court, the petitioner has filed the present special leave petition.

Issue

Whether the first meeting of the corporation presided over by the commissioner was adjourned for the day/adjourned sine die or was merely suspended?

Ratio

  • A chairman by himself cannot postpone a meeting. The proper course to adopt is to hold a meeting and then adjourn it to a more convenient date.
  • An adjournment will be within his competence in the case of a disorder but for no longer than he considers necessary and his decision should be communicated to the meeting at least to the extent to which it is possible for him to do so.
  • If the chairman adopts any other course, the members who can constitute a ‘quoram’ (the minimum number of members of an assembly or society that must be present at any of its meetings to make the proceedings of that meeting valid) may continue with the meeting and lawfully transact the announced business.
  • Adjournment is the act is postponing a meeting of any private or public body or any business until another time, or indefinitely, in which case it is an adjournment sine die. The word applies also to the period during which the meeting or business stands adjourned.
  • An Adjournment may be:
  1.   For an interval expiring on the day of the adjournment.
  2. For an interval expiring on some later date.
  3. For an indefinite time (i.e. sine die).
  4. Until a fixed time and date.
  5. To another place.

Holding

The first meeting of the Municipal Corporation fixed by the municipal commissioner was not adjourned or adjourned sine die but was only suspended and was to resume when peace and order was restored.

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