Appeal, No. 90, Jan. T., 1963, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 3 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1962, No. 2967, in case of Joseph Lurie and Louis Lipschitz v. Republican Alliance. Order reversed.
Herbert A. Fogel, with him John F. Dugan, and Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, for appellant.
Herbert S. Levin, for appellees.
Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN
This is an action in equity instituted by two taxpayers and electors of the City of Philadelphia against the Republican Alliance, an unincorporated association of individuals, who have been engaged in political activities and functioning as a political committee. It is alleged that during the primary and general elections of 1961, the Republican Alliance collected and disbursed large sums of money in the promotion of its program and failed to publicly account therefor as required by law. An order is sought compelling the defendant to file an account in the proper office as required by the Act of June 3, 1937, P.L. 1333, § 1608, 25 P.S. § 3228.
Preliminary objections to the complaint challenging equity's jurisdiction were dismissed by the court below, and this appeal followed pursuant to the provisions of the Act of March 5, 1925, P.L. 23, 12 P.S. § 672.
The objections should have been sustained. Equity lacks jurisdiction of the issue.
The Act of 1937, supra, known as the Pennsylvania Election Code (Code) provides the detailed procedure to be followed in regard to the accounting of the financial receipts and disbursements of candidates for elective office, as well as political committees. It prescribes how such accounts may be challenged and audited. It specifically designates the court of quarter sessions as the tribunal having jurisdiction of such proceedings. .the present action is bottomed upon a violation of the Code, as the court below correctly recognized. The complainants were legally required to follow the Code's prescriptions in challenging the violation.
Where a remedy is provided by an act of assembly, the directions of the legislation must be strictly pursued and such remedy is exclusive, Act of March 21, 1806, P.L. 558, § 13, 46 P.S. § 156. See also, Thompson v. Morrison, 352 Pa. 616, 44 A.2d 55 (1945); Oteri Appeal, 372 Pa. 557, 94 A.2d 772 (1953).
Further, "as a general rule, the office and jurisdiction of a court of equity, unless enlarged by statute, are limited to the protection of the rights of property. ..." Cooper v. McDermott, 399 Pa. 160, 163, 159 A.2d 486 (1960). As stated by this Court in Penn. Anth. M. Co. v. Anth. M. of Pa., 318 Pa. 401, ...