BHAGWAN Vs. JOINT CHARITY COMMISSIONER
LAWS(BOM)-2020-10-301
HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY
Decided on October 07,2020

BHAGWAN Appellant
VERSUS
JOINT CHARITY COMMISSIONER Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.) Heard all. Rules in all the petitions. The Rules are made returnable forthwith. The learned advocates and the learned AGP waive service for the respective respondents in each of these petitions. With the consent of all the parties these matters are heard finally at the stage of admission and are being disposed of by this common judgment. With a view to avoid confusion, the Writ Petition No.4003/2020 is being considered as a lead petition. The parties are being referred to by their designations/surnames.
(2.) The history leading to the filing of these Writ Petitions is to following effect. i. A trust by name Nandigram Krushi Avam Gramvikas Sanstha, Sugaon, Tq. Mukhed District Nanded is a Public Trust, duly registered as such under the provisions of the Maharashtra Public Trust Act, 1960 (herein after 'the Trust Act ') on 11.12.1996. The Scheme of the Trust and the Rules and Regulations governing it were approved by the Charity Commissioner in Inquiry No.496/1999 and even its modification was accepted in Inquiry No.407/2012. However, it is a common ground that the Trust continued to be administered as per the original scheme without any objection. ii. According to the Scheme the Managing Committee consists of 7 members. The election to the Managing Committee were last held on 16.09.2011 and Mr. Peddawad was elected as a President and Mr. Dapkekar was elected as a Secretary. Accordingly a Change Report No.369/2012 was submitted and it was accepted on 16.09.2012. iii. The President Peddawad submitted a Change Report No.13/2017 with following case : a. The Trust had received applications for enrollment as members from 27 persons on 09.10.2015. He called upon Secretary Dapkekar to call a meeting of the Managing Committee for considering the applications by issuing a letter dated 23.10.2015. Since Dapkekar failed to convene the meeting as per the directions, in exercise of the powers under Rule 11 A(3) of the Scheme, he issued a notice dated 12.11.2015 calling meeting of the Managing Committee to be held on 23.11.2015. It was sent by Registered Post A.D. and was duly received by the rest of the members except Secretary Dapkekar whose notice was returned. b. Secretary Dapkekar then tried to stall the meeting by filing Writ Petition No.11404/2015 before this Court and challenged the notice dated 12.11.2015. However, he failed to obtain any order. c. Pursuant to the notice dated 12.11.2015 a meeting of the Managing Committee was held as scheduled on 23.11.2015. All the 7 members of the Managing Committee including Secretary Dapkekar were present. After deliberations, a resolution accepting induction of 27 members was passed. Four members namely President Peddawad, Member Suhas Peddawad, Sau. Nilawati Hudge and Sau. Aparna Nalgirkar voted in favour of allotment of such memberships. Whereas Secretary Dapkekar and Sau. Swatitai Tambhale opposed the Motion and member Dr. Sangram Patwari remained neutral and thus the Resolution was passed by 4:2 majority. d. It was then reported that Secretary Dapkekar refused to receive membership fees from these newly added members and President Peddawad informed them to deposit it in the account of the Trust or with the Joint Secretary and accordingly they deposited the Membership Fees in the account of the Trust between 12.1.2016 and 14.1.2016. e. President Peddawad then filed an Inquiry Application No.733/2016 on 23.08.2016 under Section 41A of the Trust Act before the Deputy Charity Commissioner praying for appointment of an Election Officer for holding the elections for electing a new Managing Committee. The respondent Nos. 3 to 5, Gangadhar S. Dapkekar, Sangram V. Patwari and Sau. Swatitai Tambhale filed an Application (Exhibit-9) in that proceeding and proposed one advocate Mr. B.C. Lone for appointment as the Election Officer. President Peddawad consented to his appointment. By the order dated 17.11.2016 the Deputy Charity Commissioner disposed of the Inquiry holding that the appointment of Election Officer falls in the domain of the Managing Committee and directed it to hold a meeting to that effect. Learned Deputy Charity Commissioner issued a direction to the Election Officer to verify the list of members before holding the Election. f. President Peddawad by issuing letter dated 21.11.2016 directed Secretary Dapkekar to convene a meeting for appointment of the Election Officer. Instead of calling a meeting of the Managing Committee, Secretary Dapkekar issued a notice dated 28.11.2016 calling a General Body Meeting. It was stated to have been issued to 20 members excluding the 27 members who were enrolled in the Managing Committee meeting dated 23.11.2015. President Peddawad by his communication dated 10.12.2016 objected to such meeting. The Secretary Dapkekar stated to have gone ahead with the meeting on 10.12.2016 and resolution was passed by the General Body Meeting showing that one advocate Mr. Bachate was appointed as the Election Officer. g. Since Secretary Dapkekar had not convened a meeting as requisitioned by the President Peddawad, under the purported exercise of power under Rule 11(3) of the Scheme, he convened a Special General Body Meeting by issuing notice dated 13.12.2016 to all the members intimating that the meeting would be held on 25.12.2016. It was sent by RPAD to all the Members of the Trust. It was notified that if the quorum was not complete the meeting would be held at the same venue after an hour. President Peddawad also invited advocate Mr. B.C. Lone to the meeting. Accordingly a Special General Body Meeting was held on 25.12.2016 which was attended by only 25 members out of 52 members. For want of quorum it was adjourned for an hour and was accordingly held after one hour and advocate Mr. B.C. Lone was appointed as an Election Officer. He proceeded to conduct the Election of the Managing Committee consisting of 7 members. Thereafter President Peddawad submitted Change Report No.13/2017 in the Office of the Deputy Charity Commissioner, Nanded under Section 22 of the Trust Act on 26.12.2016. iv. Simultaneously, Secretary Dapkekar also submitted Change Report No.52/2017 with the Deputy Charity Commissioner on 02.01.2017 mentioning that the new Managing Committee had come into existence in the General Body Meeting dated 01.01.2017 which was attended by 12 members. v. By the Judgment and Order dated 21.08.2019, the learned Deputy Charity Commissioner accepted the Change Report No.13/2017 filed by the President Peddawad and rejected the Change Report No.52/2017 filed by Secretary Dapkekar. vi. Being aggrieved and dissatisfied by acceptance of the Change Report filed by President, Secretary Dapkekar, Dr. Sangram Patwari and Sau. Swatitai Tambhale filed separate Appeals under Section 70 of the Trust Act bearing Appeal Nos.266/2019, 267/2019 and 268/2019 respectively. Secretary Dapkekar also preferred Appeal No.274/2019 challenging the order of the Deputy Charity Commissioner to the extent of rejection of the Change Report No.52/2017 filed by him. vii. The learned Joint Charity Commissioner, Aurangabad allowed the Appeals filed by Secretary Dapkekar, Dr. Patwari and Sau. Tambhale and rejected the Change Report No.13/2017. The learned Joint Charity Commissioner also dismissed the Appeal preferred by Secretary Dapkekar. In addition the learned Joint Charity Commissioner directed the election to be held within three months. President Peddawad submitted an application on 17.02.2020 to the learned Joint Charity Commissioner who was pleased to concede to the request and stayed the operation of the judgment and order passed by him in the Appeal rejecting the Change Report No.13/2017 for a period of one month.
(3.) The Writ Petition No.4003/2020, Writ Petition No.4002/2020 and Writ Petition No.3998/2020 are filed by President Peddawad impugning the order passed by the learned Joint Charity Commissioner dated 13.02.2020 allowing the Appeal and rejecting the Change Report filed by him. Whereas Writ Petition No.4008/2020 is filed by Secretary Dapkekar impugning the order passed by the Joint Charity Commissioner on 17.02.2020 staying operation of his judgment and order in the appeals for a period of one month. Writ Petition No.4036/2020 is filed by 17 out of 27 members stated to have been enrolled in the Managing Committee meeting dated 23.11.2015.;


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