Decided on October 21,2003

T.K.PORINCHU Appellant


- (1.) Can the Administrator appointed under S.33 of the Kerala Cooperative Societies Act, 1969 enrol new members This question was answered in the negative by a Full Bench of this Court in Hassan v. Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies ( 1998 (2) KLT 746 FB). It was held that the Administrator appointed under S.33 of the Kerala Cooperative Societies Act, 1969 has no power to enrol new members. This decision was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies v. T.A. Kuttappan and Others ( 2000 (6) SCC 127 ). In the meantime, another Full Bench of this Court considered the matter in Cherthala Agricultural Rural Development Bank v. Joint Registrar ( 2000 (1) KLT 730 FB) and took the view that the decision in Hassans case will operate prospectively from the date of the decision and not retrospectively. Does the later decision lay down a rule of universal application or was it confined to the facts of that case This is the issue that arises for consideration in these two cases.
(2.) The facts may be briefly noticed. The petitioner in O.P. No. 4699 of 2001 is a member of the Trichur District Cooperative Hospital Ltd. It is a society registered under the Kerala Cooperative Societies Act, 1969 (hereinafter referred to as the Act). The Managing Committee of the society was superseded by the Joint Registrar before the expiry of the term on 11.11.1996. It was challenged. In the meantime, the election was notified. On 4.12.1996 the Returning Officer appointed by the Joint Registrar removed 1700 members from the voters list. This Court in O.P. No. 19104 of 1996 allowed those members to vote. Accordingly, election was conducted to the Managing Committee of the society on 29.12.1996. Since results were not declared before the expiry of the term of the then managing committee, a part-time Administrator was appointed under S.33 of the Act on 1.1.1997 and he was managing the society. This Court by order in C.M.P. No. 1991 of 1997 directed to declare the results before 22.1.1997. Results were declared on 22.1.1997 and the newly elected committee took charge on 28.1.1997. The part-time Administrator who was managing the society had enrolled 859 new members after election was declared and before the newly elected committee had taken charge. Even though the new committee had taken over on 28.1.1997, the Joint Registrar set aside the election by order dated 14.8.1997. An administrator was appointed. On 16.12.1997, the State Cooperative Tribunal set aside the above order. Still, the Joint Registrar did not give the charge to the elected committee and the Society continued to be administered by the Administrator. Aggrieved members filed Writ Petition before this Court and this Court directed the Joint Registrar to hand over charge to the elected committee by judgment dated 18.3.1998. On 24.3.1998, the Administrator handed over the charge to the elected committee. But during the interval from 14.8.1997 to 24.3.1998, the Administrator enrolled 3781 members. Thus, the total number of members enrolled by the Administrator was 4,633. The number of Original members was only 7426. According to the petitioner, 4,633 members were enrolled to tilt the balance so that the political party in power will get control of the society in the next election and the Administrator had enrolled those members en masse without examining the eligibility of the persons or any proper verification of facts. On 25.4.1998, the managing committee appointed a sub-committee to verify the admission of members by the Administrator. After considering the report of the sub-committee, the managing committee on 16.5.1998 decided to issue notice to the members enrolled by the Administrator for removing them from the membership. After consideration of the matter, the Committee resolved to remove the members enrolled by the Interim Administrator. Again, the Committee was superseded under S.33 of the Act on the ground of lack of quorum and the Administrator assumed charge. Immediately after assuming charge, on 1.10.1999, the Administrator readmitted all the removed members with retrospective effect. The Petitioner herein filed a petition before the Joint Registrar under S.176 of the Act to rescind the resolution adopted by the Part-time Administrator readmitting the 4,633 members. That was dismissed by Ext. P4 order in O.P. No. 4699/2001. The administrator readmitted the members on the basis of an order (Ext. P5) obtained by one of the removed members questioning the resolution to cancel his membership and others. The petitioner challenges the order at Exts. P4 and P5. He also questions the readmission of the members by the Administrator.
(3.) The Administrator after readmitting the members, started steps for conducting election. It was notified on 9.2.2001. O.P. No. 17330 of 2001 was filed questioning the inclusion of those persons appointed by the Administrator in the voters list and questioning the election conducted by the Returning Officer as objections filed were overruled by the Returning Officer. Interim petitions were also filed in O.P. No. 4699 of 2001 questioning the conduct of the election immediately when draft voters list was published on 17.2.2001. In CMP No. 10707 of 2001, a learned Single Judge of this Court ordered as follows: In the circumstances, I direct that the election proceedings may go on, but the counting of votes and declaration of results are not to be attempted or done until further orders are obtained from this Court. Therefore, even though elections were held on 10.3.2001, the votes were not counted.;

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