PHILIPOSE Vs. STATE OF KERALA
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
STATE OF KERALA
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(1.) THE petitioner was a member of a Service Co-operative society called THE Pampakada Service Co-operative Society Ltd. , No. 3520. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the said society but had been removed from that capacity by a resolution of the Board dated 112 1965. Subsequently at a special General Body meeting of the Society held on 7 41965 a resolution was passed, with the requisite 213 majority supporting it, expelling the petitioner from ordinary membership of the society also. THE petitioner preferred a petition before the Deputy Registrar of Co-operative Societies, ernakulam seeking to have the aforementioned resolution set aside on various grounds, more particularly on the ground of irregularity in the matter convening the General Body meeting. THE Deputy Registrar held an enquiry into the matter and ultimately dismissed the petition by his order evidenced by Ex. P-5 dated 24 91965. THE petitioner carried the matter to the Government by preferring an appeal-petition, although under the Travancore-Cochin co-operative Societies Act, 1951 only a revision petition would lie to the government from the order of the Deputy Registrar. THE Government appear to have gone into the matter in considerable detail and after affording an oral hearing to both the petitioner as well as the representative of the society passed the order Ext. P-6 dated the 13th April, 1966, rejecting the appeal-petition preferred by the petitioner. THEreupon the petitioner has approached this court-under Art. 226 of the Constitution seeking to quash the orders Exts. P5 and P6 as also the resolution of the General Body of the society expelling the petitioner from membership.
(2.) THE petitioner's counsel contended firstly that bye-law No. 13 (b) of the 3rd respondent society which empowers the General Body to expel a member by a special resolution, is ultra vires in as much as such provision for expulsion of members can be made only by a rule in view of the specific provision contained in S. 96 (2) (o) of the Travancore-Cochin co-operative Societies Act. According to the petitioner, since Clause. 2 (o) of s. 96 has authorised the Government to make rules providing for expulsion of members, power can be conferred on the society to expel a member by a resolution of the General Body only by specific provision being made in that behalf in a rule duly promulgated under the aforesaid rule-making power. On this basis it is further contended that since there is no such provision in the rules, the society has acted beyond its powers in making a bye-law providing for expulsion. I am not impressed with this argument, because merely on account of the conferment of a rule-making power on the Government under S. 96 (2), which is only an enabling provision, it is not possible to conclude that the society is precluded from framing its own bye-laws touching a matter with respect to which it is otherwise fully competent to frame bye-laws. Further, on a reference to the rules made under the Act it is seen that R. 4 which confers on the society the power to make bye-laws has conferred the power in very wide and general terms and although certain topics are enumerated in clauses (a) to (bb)of R. 4 such enumeration is expressly without prejudice to the generality of the power conferred by the main body of the rule wherein it is stated that the bye-laws may deal with such other matters incidental to the organisation of the society and the management of its business as may be deemed necessary. THEse words, according to me, are wide enough to cover the topic of expulsion of members from the society for the reasons stated in bye-law 13 (b ). Hence there is no merit in the petitioner's contention based on S. 96 (2) (o ).
It was next argued on behalf of the petitioner that since both the Deputy Registrar as well as the Government had noticed certain irregularities in the conduct of the General Body meeting held on 7 4 1965 it was obligatory on their part to have set aside the resolution passed at the said meeting. Reference was made by the learned counsel to R. 23 under which the registrar (which expression includes the Deputy Registrar according to counsel)is empowered to rescind any resolution passed by the society which may appear to him to be ultra vires of the powers of the society. Counsel urged that in the exercise of this power the Deputy Registrar on noticing the irregularities regarding the convening of the General Body meeting ought to have exercised his power of rescinding the resolution passed in the said meeting. It was further contended that on the failure of the Deputy Registrar to exercise such power it was incumbent on the revisional authority, namely the Government, to rectify matters by interfering in revision, either by directing the Deputy Registrar to rescind the resolution or by directly cancelling the resolution in the exercise of the very wide powers invested on Government by S. 86 of the Act. Petitioner's counsel also contended that in as much as the Government bad placed reliance on the factum of a subsequent meeting of the General Body having been held after due notice and circulation of the agenda, at which meeting also a similar resolution is stated to have been passed, the Government ought to have considered the question as to whether the petitioner had been denied the norms of natural justice at this subsequent meeting when the resolution adverse to his interests was passed by the General Body.
In my view, the power conferred on the Registrar under r. 23 is an administrative power to be exercised by him on his subjective satisfaction, and when the Registrar after due consideration of a case has recorded the conclusion that interference by him with a particular resolution passed by a society was not called for, it is not open to the party aggrieved to canvass the correctness of that decision before this court in proceedings under Art. 226 of the Constituion. In the present case, the Deputy Registrar before whom the petition for cancelling the resolution had been filed, had duly enquired into the matter and on the basis of such enquiry he came to the conclusion that there were no sufficient grounds to interfere with the resolution passed by the general Body. The Government as the revisional authority have also examined the contentions raised before it in great detail. It is true that the Government have relied on the circumstance that subsequent to the General Body meeting held on 7 41965 a fresh meeting of the General Body had been duly convened after proper notice and circulation of agenda and that at this meeting also a resolution for expulsion of the petitioner had been passed with the requisite majority. In my view, it was perfectly open to the Government to take note of this relevant fact in deciding whether or not any case has been made out for interference by them with the resolution passed by the society.
(3.) I am unable to see how any concept of natural justice can be legitimately invoked in respect of the General Body meeting of the co-operative Society, because by no stretch of imagination can it be said to involve an adjudication of any civil rights of the petitioner.
No case has been made out by the petitioner for interference by this court under Art. 226 of the Constitution and the writ petition is accordingly dismissed.;
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