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COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT ASHOK EDUCATIONAL SOCIETY & OTHERS versus ASSTT. REGISTRAR FIRM SOCIETIES & CHITS & OTHERS

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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Committee of Management Ashok Educational Society & Others v. Asstt. Registrar Firm Societies & Chits & Others - SPECIAL APPEAL No. 744 of 2004 [2004] RD-AH 489 (10 August 2004)

 

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HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE OF ALLAHABAD

Reserved

Special Appeal No. 744 of 2004

Committee of Management Ashok Educational Society Gam Barpar (Araipar) and others Vs. Assistant Registrar Firm Societies and Chits, Gorakhpur and others            

~~~~

Hon'ble Tarun Chatterjee, CJ

Hon'ble Dilip Gupta, J.

(Delivered by Hon'ble Dilip Gupta, J.)

This Special Appeal has been filed against the judgment dated 10.5.2004 of a learned Judge dismissing Writ Petition No. 18369 of 2004 filed by the Committee of Management and four others for quashing the order dated 7.4.2004 passed by the Assistant Registrar, Firms, Societies and Chits, Gorakhpur.

Ashok Educational Society Gam Barpar (Araipar) P.O. Barpar, tehsil and district Deoria was registered as a Society under the provisions of Section 3 of the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (hereinafter referred to as the ''Act') on 13.7.1988 on the basis of the papers submitted by the Manager Sri Swami Nath Mani Tripathi. Section 3-A of the Act which deals with renewal of certificate of registration, provides that the certificate of registration shall remain in force for a period of five years from the date of issue. The first and the second renewal of the certificate of registration were done on the basis of the papers submitted by the Manager Sri Swami Nath Mani Tripathi. For the purposes of the renewal of the certificate of registration for the third time the papers were submitted in the office on 10.7.2003. The office of the Assistant Registrar sought the necessary papers required under Section 4 of the Act by means of the communication dated 22.7.2003. Sri Shailesh Kumar Tripathi, alleging himself to be the Secretary of the Society submitted the documents and thereafter the certificate of registration was renewed on 2.9.2003. Sri Swami Nath Mani Tripathi claiming himself to be the Manager of the Society, however, submitted the list of the Managing Committee but since there was a variation in certain names in the said list a notice dated 1.11.2003 was issued to Sri Shailesh Kumar Tripathi, who in response to the aforesaid notice, submitted his objections pointing out that the elections of the Society had taken place on 26.10.2003 in which Sri Gulab Dutt Tripathi had been elected as the Manager in place of Sri Swami Nath Mani Tripathi. On receipt of the aforesaid objections, the Assistant Registrar issued notices dated 19.11.2003 to both Sri Swami Nath Mani Tripathi and Sri Gulab Dutt Tripathi. Both the aforesaid persons submitted their objections and were also heard personally by the Assistant Registrar. By means of the order dated 7.4.2004 the Assistant Registrar has declared invalid the elections held on 26.10.2003 and has issued a direction to Sri Shailesh Kumar Tripathi to return the certificate of registration of the Society which had been renewed and has also accepted the list of Managing Committee of the Society submitted by Sri Swami Nath Mani Tripathi for the year 2004-05 under Section 4 of the Act. It is this order dated 7.4.2004 which was impugned in the writ petition out of which the present Special Appeal arises.

Before the learned Judge it was contended on behalf of the petitioners that the Assistant Registrar could not have decided the dispute relating to elections since the matter could only have been decided by the Prescribed Authority under Section 25 of the Act. The learned Judge accepted this legal position but refused to grant relief in exercise of his writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India on the ground that the order did not suffer from any manifest error apparent on the face of the record and since the nature of the dispute required the parties to lead evidence, it could more efficaciously be dealt with by the civil court or any other forum. The learned Judge accordingly dismissed the writ petition.  

We have heard the learned counsel for the appellants, the learned Standing Counsel appearing for respondent Nos. 1,2 and 3 and Sri A.P. Sahi, learned counsel appearing for respondent No. 4, namely, Sri Swami Nath Mani Tripathi.

Learned counsel for the appellants submitted that the validity of the elections held on 26.10.2003 could not have been examined by the Assistant Registrar while exercising powers under Section 4 of the Act since the same could be determined only by the Prescribed Authority under Section 25 of the Act. According to him once the Assistant Registrar came to the conclusion that there was a dispute regarding the elections held on 26.10.2003 it was incumbent upon the Assistant Registrar to refer the matter to the Prescribed Authority under Section 25 of the Act but in the instant case the Assistant Registrar has assumed  jurisdiction in a matter not vested in him.

Learned counsel for the respondent No. 4, however, submitted that it cannot be said that the order was without jurisdiction since under Section 4 of the Act, the Society was required to file the list of the Managing Committee with the Assistant Registrar and if the old office bearers did not countersign the list, the Assistant Registrar could issue notices inviting objections which were required to be decided by him. According to the learned counsel for the respondent No.4 this is preciously what has been done in the present case by the Assistant Registrar.

We have carefully considered the submissions advanced by the learned counsel for the parties and have also examined the materials available on record.

It is not in dispute that the registration of the Society was renewed by the Assistant Registrar on 2.9.2003 on the basis of the list of the Managing Committee supplied by Sri Shailesh Kumar Tripathi claiming himself to be the Secretary of the Society. Thereafter Sri Swami Nath Mani Tripathi submitted another list of the Managing Committee. The Assistant Registrar accordingly issued notices to both the persons claiming themselves to be the Managers of the Society and invited objections. It was claimed by Sri Gulab Dutt Tripathi that he had been duly elected as Manager on the basis of the elections held on 26.10.2003 whereas the claim set up by Sri Swami Nath Mani Tripathi was that fresh elections had not taken place on 26.10.2003 and he continued to be the Manager of the Society on the basis of the earlier elections held on 10.12.2000. Thus the Assistant Registrar under Section 4 of the Act was required to decide the objections so that he could recognize one of the aforesaid two lists.

Learned counsel for the appellants submitted that once there was a dispute about the elections, it was obligatory on the part of the Assistant Registrar to refer the matter to the Prescribed Authority under Section 25 of the Act and in support of his contention he placed reliance upon the decisions of this Court given in the cases of Urwa Bazar Educational Society, Urwa Bazar, Gorakhpur and another Vs. Assistant Registrar, Firms, Societies and Units, Division Gorakhpur and others reported in 1988 UPLBEC 515 and The Society, Ganesh Baba Shiksha Prasar Samiti, Birpur, District Ghazipur and another Vs. Assistant Registrar, Firms,  Societies V. Chits, Varanasi Kshettra, Varanasi and others 1987 UPLBEC 60. In both these decisions it has been held by this Court that it is not within the domain or competence of the Assistant Registrar of the Society to renew the registration of a Society on the basis of the papers submitted by one party when two parties were staking their claims to have been elected as Managers before the Assistant Registrar and in such a situation, the Assistant Registrar should refer the matter to the Prescribed Authority.

Learned counsel for the respondent No. 4 Sri A.P. Sahi, however, placed reliance upon a decision of this Court given in the case of Shiksha Parishad, Nagwa, Ballia and another Vs. Deputy Registrar, Firms, Societies and Chits, Faizabad Division, Faizabad and another reported in (1998) 1 UPLBEC 290 and contended that the renewal of certificate of registration of the Society could only be done by the Assistant Registrar and the Prescribed Authority had nothing to do with the matter. Learned counsel further submitted that it is only when a genuine and bona fide dispute regarding the elections arises that the matter has to be referred to the Prescribed Authority but where the dispute appears to be frivolous in nature the matter should not be referred to the Prescribed Authority under Section 25 of the Act.

The case of Shiksha Parishad, Nagwa, Ballia and another (supra) related to renewal of certificate of registration of the Society under Section 3-A of the Act. The question that arose for consideration was whether Sri Nagendra Kumar Pathak was entitled to prosecute the proceedings initiated for renewal of certificate of registration or whether Sri Amar Nath Mishra was entitled to prosecute the proceedings initiated for renewal of certificate for registration. The Deputy Registrar by his order dated 4.4.1995 held that Nagendra Kumar Pathak was entitled to prosecute the proceeding since the original documents pertaining to the Society were filed by him and not by Sri Amar Nath Mishra. It is, in these circumstances, that the Court held that Section 3-A of the Act, which provides for renewal of the certificate of registration of a Society, has nothing to do with the resolution of any dispute or doubt in respect of the election or continuance in office of an office bearer of the Society.

We are, however, conscious of the fact that it is only when there is a genuine dispute regarding the elections that the matter has to be referred by the Assistant Registrar to the Prescribed Authority but when the dispute appears to be frivolous in nature, the provisions of Section 25 of the Act will not be applicable.

Examining the facts of this case, we find that the Assistant Registrar had already renewed the certificate of registration of the Society under Section 3-A of the Act on 2.9.2003. The dispute arose as to which of the lists supplied by the two parties should be accepted under Section 4 of the Act. For the said purpose both the parties claimed to have been elected on the basis of separate elections. According to the case set up by Sri Swami Nath Mani Tripathi, he continued to be the Manager of the Society on the basis of the elections held on 10.12.2000 whereas according to the case set up by Sri Gulab Dutt Tripathi, he was elected as Manager of the Society on the basis of the elections held on 26.10.2003. A perusal of the facts mentioned in the order dated 7.4.2004, however indicates that the case set up by Sri Gulab Dutt Tripathi on the basis of the elections held on 26.10.2003 cannot be termed as a frivolous dispute. Thus when there was a genuine dispute about the elections it was obligatory on the part of the Assistant Registrar to have referred the matter to the Prescribed Authority under Section 25 of the Act for deciding the dispute regarding the elections of office bearers. It is true that it is the power of the Assistant Registrar alone to accept the list of the Managing Committee under Section 4 of the Act but when, as stated above, there was a serious and genuine dispute about the elections, he should have waited for the decision of the Prescribed Authority under Section 25 of the Act and should not have decided the dispute about the elections himself.

The order dated 7.4.2004, therefore, deserves to be set aside and is, accordingly, set aside. The Assistant Registrar shall refer the matter to the Prescribed Authority and the list of the Managing Committee submitted under sub-section (4) of Section 3-A of the Act shall be modified/amended accordingly in terms of the order passed by the Prescribed Authority without affecting the order of renewal of the certificate of registration of the Society.

The Special Appeal is, accordingly, allowed and the judgment of the learned Judge is set aside. There shall be no order as to costs.

Dt/-

Sharma


Copyright

Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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