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Rajinder Kumar Vohra & Anr v. Special Secretary Cooperation, Punjab - CWP-14786-2004  RD-P&H 4641 (24 July 2006)
(1) C.W.P. No.14786 of 2004
Date of decision: 11.7.2006
Rajinder Kumar Vohra and another
Special Secretary Cooperation, Punjab and others .....Respondents
(2) C.W.P. No.14811 of 2004
Rajinder Kumar Vohra and another
Special Secretary Cooperation, Punjab and others .....Respondents
Coram: Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.S. Nijjar
Hon'ble Mr. Justice S.S. Saron
Present: Mr. Anupam Bhardwaj, Advocate for the petitioners.
Mrs. Charu Tuli, Senior Deputy Advocate General, Punjab for respondents No.1 and 2.
Mr. Onkar Rai, Advocate for respondent for respondent No.3.
S.S. Saron, J.
This order will dispose of CWP Nos.14786 and 14811 of 2004 as they are between the same parties and the facts are also similar.
The petitioners in the two writ petitions are the legal CWP Nos.14786/2004 etc.
representatives of Shri Kishan Chand deceased who was working as Secretary of the Sathiala Cooperative Agricultural Service Society Ltd., Sathiala (respondent No.3) (`Society' for short). He resigned from the post of Secretary in 1985 and after his resignation he died on 9.11.1985. During the period of service of aforesaid Kishan Chand Secretary of the respondent No.3-Society nothing was due from him towards the Society and nothing had been pointed out or claimed by the Society against him. However, after about 14 years of his demise, the petitioners were surprised to receive notices directing them to appear before the Arbitrator on 10.2.1999 with regard to two arbitration proceedings. One for recovery of an amount of Rs.16,580/- i.e. Rs.4,506/- as the principal amount, Rs.11,823/- as interest and costs of Rs.250/-. The other notice was received regarding recovery of Rs.9,310/- i.e. Rs.2,500/- as the principal amount, Rs.6,560/- as interest and Rs.250/- as costs. The petitioners on receipt of the two notices submitted applications for supply of the copies of the claim petitions along with the record and documents on the basis of which arbitration proceedings were initiated against them. However, the claim petitions and the documents were not supplied to them. Thereafter, they filed representations for supplying them with copies of the claim petitions. In any case, they appeared before the Arbitrator on 15.12.1999. On the said date the Secretary of respondent No.3-Society also appeared before the Arbitrator along with the records and made statements in both the proceedings to the effect that nothing was due from late Shri Kishan Chand Vohra. The Secretary further gave in writing that as per records of the Society, Shri Kishan Chand Vohra, ex-Secretary of the Society was not liable for an amount of Rs.4,506/-. A similar statement CWP Nos.14786/2004 etc.
was made in the connected case that Shri Kishan Chand Vohra, ex-Secretary was not liable for an amount of Rs.2500/-. The Arbitrator vide his award dated 5.12.1999 in both the cases after going through the statements and seeing the records, exonerated the petitioners in respect of the claim of the Society. The matter remained dormant thereafter for almost three years.
After about 3 years the respondent No.3-Society filed two appeals under Section 68 of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act, 1961 (`Act' for short) against the two awards dated 15.12.1999 before the Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Baba Bakala, (exercising the powers of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab). Along with the appeals, applications for condonation of delay were also filed. The Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Baba Bakala vide order dated 30.5.2003 after going through the records came to the conclusion that Shri Kishan Chand, ex-Secretary had shown an advance of Rs.4,506/- the details of which are mentioned in the order and since there were no receipts in the record of the Society, it was taken that he used this amount as mentioned for his personal gain. In the other case also the Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, (exercising the powers of Registrar) reached the conclusion that Shri Kishan Chand, ex- Secretary of the Society had shown as advance a sum of Rs.2,500/- towards one Rajiv Trading Company, Chandigarh on 9.3.1978 for which there was no receipt. In this manner it was observed that the ex-Secretary had shown a bogus advance of Rs.2,500/- and used it for his personal gain. Accordingly, the orders of the Arbitrator in both the cases were set aside and recovery of the amounts claimed by respondent No.3-Society were ordered vide orders dated 30.5.2003 in both the cases. The petitioners aggrieved against the said CWP Nos.14786/2004 etc.
orders of the Assistant Registrar, (exercising the powers of Registrar), filed revision petitions before the Special Secretary Cooperation (Appeals), Punjab, Chandigarh, exercising the powers of the State Government under the Act. The said revisions petitions were dismissed on 8.6.2004 which orders are impugned by way of the presents petitions.
On notice, written statement has been filed by respondent No.3- Society in which it is stated that disputed questions of facts are involved which are not liable to be gone into in exercise of the writ jurisdiction of this Court. Besides, it is stated that the writ petition is not competent as respondent No.3-Society initiated recovery proceedings of the embezzled amount from the LRs of late Shri Kishan Chand, ex-Secretary of the respondent No.3-Society. It is stated that all the necessary documents were supplied to the petitioners during the arbitration proceedings, however, the Arbitrator had illegally dismissed the claim of respondent No.3-Society.
Therefore, it is submitted that the writ petitions are liable to be dismissed.
We have heard learned counsel for the parties and with their assistance perused the record. It is appropriate to note that at the time when Kishan Chand Vohra, Secretary of respondent No.3-Society, resigned nothing was shown to be due from him towards the Society. In fact, it is after 14 years of his demise that a notice was issued to the petitioners who are the legal heirs of Kishan Chand Vohra for initiating arbitration proceedings in respect of the amount of Rs.16,580/- in one case and Rs.9,310/- in the other case. During the course of proceedings before the Arbitrator on 5.12.1999, the Secretary of the Society made a categoric statement that nothing was due from the predecessor-in-interest of the CWP Nos.14786/2004 etc.
petitioners, namely, Kishan Chand Vohra, ex-Secretary of the Society. In fact he also gave in writing that nothing was due from the then Secretary of the Society. Accordingly, the Arbitrator after going through the statements and perusing the records exonerated the petitioners from the two claims of the Society. Thereafter, respondent No.3-Society kept silent for three years and then filed an appeal under Section 68 of the Act before the Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Baba Bakala (exercising the powers of the Registrar under the Act). Having perused the order dated 30.5.2003 passed by the Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, (exercising the powers of Registrar), we find that the same are bereft of any reasoning. It is merely recorded that after going through the records the Assistant Registrar, (exercising the powers of Registrar), has reached the conclusion that Shri Kishan Chand, ex-Secretary has shown certain advances to some parties for which there was no receipt. In this way it was observed that the ex-Secretary had shown bogus advances and used the amount for his personal use.
However, the conclusions and findings recorded by the Arbitrator as also the statements made by the Secretary of respondent No.3-Society before the Arbitrator which finds mention in the award of the Arbitrator dated 15.12.1999 has not been adverted to. Therefore, the orders as passed by the Assistant Registrar, (exercising the powers of the Registrar under the Act), are orders which are based on no reasons. The said orders merely record the conclusions that had been reached at without adverting to the reasons and basis for reaching the said conclusions. It is well known that a party is liable to be informed of the reasons and the basis in respect of which an order has been passed against him. The recording of reasons in support of an order is CWP Nos.14786/2004 etc.
one of the accepted facets of the principles of natural justice. According to this, a party has a right to know not only the result of the inquiry but also the reasons in support of the decision. An affected party has a right to know as to on what grounds has the order been passed against it. It is well known that recording of reasons introduces clarity and excludes arbitrariness and satisfies the party against whom the order has been passed. In the absence of reasons in support of the decisions, the orders passed by the Assistant Registrar (exercising the powers of Registrar) are clearly vitiated. Besides, it may be noticed that the relevant material and documents have not been adverted to by the Assistant Registrar while passing the impugned orders.
The statements of the Secretary of the Society made in the two cases and also the awards of the Arbitrator passed on 15.12.1999 in both the cases have not been considered by the Assistant Registrar (exercising the powers of Registrar) while passing the orders dated 30.5.2003. It is now well settled that every administrative or quasi-judicial order must satisfy the test of reasonableness, which enjoins that the authority passing the order should take all relevant facts into consideration, it should exclude all irrelevant facts from consideration and its decision should neither be perverse or irrational.
Therefore, for failure to consider the relevant and necessary material i.e. the awards of the Arbitrator and the statements made by the Secretary of the Society to the effect that nothing is due from Kishan Chand former Secretary of the Society would vitiate the orders that have been passed. The revisional authority i.e. the Special Secretary Cooperation (Appeals) (respondent No.1) has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally and with material irregularity inasmuch as it has also not considered the relevant record i.e. the CWP Nos.14786/2004 etc.
awards of the Arbitrator passed on 15.12.1999 as also the statement of the Secretary of respondent No.3-Society stating that nothing was due from Kishan Chand Vohra, former Secretary of the Society. It has merely been observed by the revisional authority that the lower Court has decided the case on merit after perusal of the record and as such the order of the Registrar in appeal is based on record. As regards condonation of delay it was observed that the same stands automatically decided once the competent Court has passed orders on merit. It was also held that it had not been proved that arbitration case was barred by time. Besides, it was observed that if the person who was held liable has died his property can be attached for recovery. However, the heirs of the deceased, it was observed, are not personally liable and warrants of their arrest cannot be issued and the property personally acquired by them cannot be subject to attachment. The important aspect to note is that the Special Secretary Cooperation (Appeals) (respondent No.1) has merely endorsed the orders passed by the Assistant Registrar, (exercising the powers of Registrar). Nothing has been discussed as regards the merits of the case and as to how the statements of the Secretary of the Society who stated that nothing was due from Kishan Chand Vohra were liable to be discarded. It has not been considered as to how the arbitration proceedings were maintainable after a lapse of 14 years from the death of Kishan Chand, the then Secretary of the Society. Besides, the fact that the appeals itself against the orders passed by the Arbitrator on 15.12.1999 were filed after three years are circumstances which have not been given due notice. In the circumstances, the orders passed by the Special Secretary (Appeals) (respondent No.1) are also orders bereft of reasoning; CWP Nos.14786/2004 etc.
besides, have been passed without taking into account the necessary and relevant materials, which were liable to be taken into consideration in the decision making process. Consequently, the orders passed in the two cases by the Assistant Registrar, (exercising the powers of Registrar), and the Secretary Cooperation (Appeals) are absolutely illegal and perverse and, therefore, liable to be set aside and quashed.
For the foregoing reasons, both the writ petitions are allowed and the impugned orders dated 30.5.2003 of the Assistant Registrar, (exercising the powers of Registrar), and dated 8.6.2004 of the Special Secretary Cooperation (Appeals) in the two writ petitions are quashed.
July 11, 2006. (S.S. Nijjar)
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