HIGH COURT OF KERALA
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(1.) I think the court below was right in holding that a society registered or deemed to be registered under the Travancore - Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act, 1955 (the Act for short) does not cease to exist on its name being struck off the register under sub-s.(4) of S.30 of the Act. (There is an ellipsis in this sub-section. It only speaks of the Registrar issuing notice to the society and by publication, that, unless cause is shown to the contrary, the name of the society will, after the expiry of three months, be struck off the register as defunct. It contains no provision for the actual striking off and leaves that to be implied). It remains a society as defined by S.2(d), namely, a society registered or deemed to be registered under the Act, and, therefore, an entity in respect of which an application like the present, under clauses (a) and (b) of sub-s.(1) of S.25 of the Act, for the removal of its governing body and the framing of a scheme can be brought.
(2.) A society becomes a registered society the moment S.5 of the Act is complied with, and its registration does not depend on its name being entered in the register maintained under S.30, something to be done after the registration is completed, Therefore, in the absence of express provision to this effect, the mere removal of its name from the register, which is only a ministerial act, cannot affect its status as a registered society. It is true that sub-s.(4) of S.30 speaks of the name of the society being struck off the register as defunct. I am prepared to assume that the word, "defunct" applies to the word, "society" and not, as a strict construction might require, to the word, "name". But, even so, I should think that the word, "defunct" is used in the sense of "having ceased to function", and not in the sense of "having ceased to exist". That apart, if on its name being struck off the register, a society does not cease to be a society as defined by S.2(d), the mere statement in sub-s.(4) of S.30 that the name of the society is to be struck off the register as defunct cannot have the effect of determining the life of the society. It is noteworthy, that, unlike S.560 of the Companies Act, which expressly provides for the dissolution of a company on its name being struck off the register, there is no provision in the Act for the dissolution of a society or for the cancellation of its registration on its name being struck off the register. And, it is also noteworthy that there is no provision for restoring the name to the register so that the very unsatisfactory result could follow that, if on its name being struck off, a society ceases to exist and the name can be struck off merely because the society has ceased to function its assets can be appropriated with impunity by those in control, very likely the very persons who by their mismanagement have been responsible for its ceasing to function. And no remedy would be open to its creditors or to its beneficiaries or other persons interested in its affairs. Reference may usefully be made in this connection to S.23 to 26 of the Act regarding the dissolution of a society and the disposal of its assets.
(3.) I think the court below was right in overruling the preliminary objection taken by the petitioners herein that the application brought against them under S.25(1) of the Act was not maintainable because the name of the society concerned had seen struck off the register under sub-s.(4) of S.30.;
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