KALAVAGUNTA SRIRAMARAO Vs. KALAVAGUNTA SURYANARAYANAMURTHI
LAWS(MAD)-1952-10-1
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
Decided on October 10,1952

KALAVAGUNTA SRIRAMARAO Appellant
VERSUS
KALAVAGUNTA SURYANARAYANAMURTHI Respondents

JUDGEMENT

Venkatarama Aiyar, J. - (1.) This second appeal raises an interesting question as to whether the Registrar functioning under the Madras Co-operative Societies Act is a civil court within the meaning of that expression in Section 25, Madras Debt Conciliation Act 11 of 1936. The facts are not in dispute. The first plaintiff is the father and plaintiffs 2 and 3 and defendant 3 are his sons and they are the members of a joint undivided Hindu family. The first plaintiff became indebted to the Co-operative Society of Kalavagunta and on the application of the Society an award was passed against the first plaintiff by the Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Vijayawada, Award No. 1011 of 1933. In execution of the said award the suit properties were attached in E. P. No. 503 of 1940-41 on his file and the sale was fixed for 29-41942. On 27-4-1942 the first plaintiff filed a petition under Section 4, Madras Debt Conciliation Act, D.C. E. No. 6 of 1942 on the file of the Debt Conciliation Board Bandar, for settlement of his debts and among the debts included in the petition was the debt due to the Co-operative Society under Award No. 1011 of 1933. No notice, however, of the presentation of this petition was given either to the Registrar or to the sales officer. On 29-4-1942 the sale was actually held and the properties were purchased by the appellant for a sum of Rs. 60. On 16-5-1942 the Debt Conciliation Board dismissed the application D. C. B. No. 6 of 1942 on the ground that as a result of the sale which had taken place on 29-4-1942 what was left of the properties of the petitioner was only a land of the extent of two cents and that, therefore, a settlement was impracticable. The first plaintiff moved the department for setting aside the sale but without success: vide the order of the Joint Registrar dated 26-3-1943, Ex. P. 8. Thereupon the present action was instituted in the court of the District Munsif of Gudivada for setting aside the sale on the ground that it was in contravention of Section 25, Madras Debt Conciliation Act and therefore void and for recovery of possession of the properties from the auction-purchaser who was impleaded as the arid defendant in the suit. The District Munsif held that the sale was in violation of Section 25 of the Act and decreed the suit and this decision was affirmed on appeal by the Subordinate Judge, Masulipatam. The auction-purchaser has preferred this second appeal.
(2.) The only point for determination In this appeal is whether the sale held on 294- 1942 was within the prohibition enacted in Section 25, Debt Conciliation Act. In view of the long course of decisions ending with --'Rathnasabapathi Ayyer v. Subramania Pillai'. AIR 1946 Mad 285 (A), it has not been argued in this Court that even if the proceedings in E. P. No, 503 of 1940-41 fell within the purview of Section 25, Debt Conciliation Act, the sale should be upheld for the reason that no notice of the presentation of D. C. B. No. 6 of 1942 was given to the Registrar or to the Sales Officer. The argument that has been pressed on behalf of the appellant is that the sale proceedings conducted by the Department under the provisions of the Madras Co-operative societies Act are not proceedings in a civil court and that, therefore, unaffected by Section 25, Debt Conciliation Act, The substantial question for determination is whether the proceedings in E. P. No. 503 of 1940-41 were proceedings before a civil court within the meaning of that expression in Section 25, Debt Conciliation Act.
(3.) Mr. Ch. Ramakrishna Rao, the learned advocate for tile appellant in an able argument contended that the Registrar and the Arbitrators acting under the provisions of the Co-operative Societies Act are performing functions more or less of a ministerial character, that even if those functions are judicial, the authorities are not acting as courts and in any event they are not acting as civil courts as required by Section 25, Debt Conciliation Act when a question is raised as to whether an authority constituted under a special statute is an administrative body or a tribunal discharging the functions of a judicial character or a court, the answer to it must depend on the nature of the powers conferred on the authorities by the provisions of the statute. It is, therefore, necessary in the first instance to examine the provisions of the Madras Co-operative Societies Act so far as they bear on this contention. Under Section 51 of the Act when there is a dispute between a society and its members and of the nature mentioned therein "such dispute shall be referred to the Registrar for decision." He may himself decide the dispute under Section 51(2)(a); he may transfer it to a person who is authorised by the Government to hear the dispute under Section 51(2)(b) or he may refer it to the decision of an arbitrator or arbitrators under Section 51 (2)(c). The decision of the Registrar is final and not liable to be "called in question in any civil or revenue court." The decision of the person to whom the dispute is transferred under Section 51 (2)(b) or of the arbitrator or arbitrators appointed under Section 51 (2) (e) is open to revision by the Registrar under Section 51 (5).;


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