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Cites 3 docs
The Co-operative Societies Act, 1912
Gurnam Singh & Anr vs State Of Punjab on 19 October, 1995
South Central Railway Employees ... vs Registrar Of Co-Operative ... on 13 January, 1998

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Punjab-Haryana High Court
The Panchkula Urban Co-Operative ... vs State Of Haryana And Ors. on 19 February, 1998
Equivalent citations: (1998) 120 PLR 235
Author: H Brar
Bench: H Brar, B Rai

JUDGMENT

H.S. Brar, J.

1. A prayer has been made in this petition under Articles 226/227 of the Constitution of India for issuance of an appropriate writ, order or direction for quashing the order dated 24.6.1997, annexed as Annexure P5 with the petition, vide which the Financial Commissioner & Secretary to Government of Haryana, Cooperation Department, Haryana, Chandigach had set aside the order dated 19.3.96 of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Haryana.

2. The main attack by the learned counsel for the petitioner on the impugned order of the Financial Commissioner & Secretary to Government Haryana, Cooperative Department, dated 24.6.1997 is that it is without jurisdiction as no revision was competent against the order of the Registrar, Co-operative Societies dated 19.3.1996. The other attack on the order of the Financial Commissioner is that he has wrongly held that notices sent to the respondents No. 3 to 6 for the meeting dated 27.10.1995 were not served on them.

3. The factual position in brief is that Board of Directors of the Panchkula Urban Cooperative Bank Ltd., Sector 10, Panchkula (hereinafter referred to as 'the Cooperative Bank') held a meeting on 27.10.1995 wherein a resolution was passed and some decisions were taken. Aggrieved with this resolution passed by the Board of Directors, respondents No. 3 to 6 filed a petition before the Registrar Cooperative Societies, Haryana which was dismissed by him vide his order dated 19.3.1996. Aggrieved against that order, the respondents filed a revision before the Financial Commissioner & Secretary to Government Haryana, Cooperative Department, Haryana, Chandigarh. The Financial Commissioner & Secretary to Government Haryana accepted the revision and set aside the order dated 19.3.1996 of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Haryana. The meeting held on 27.10.1995 by the Board of Directors of the Cooperative Bank was declared invalid and consequently all the decisions taken in the meeting were declared null and void and inoperative.

4. It is this order which has been impugned by the petitioner-Bank in this petition mainly on the grounds which have been stated above.

5. Let us first deal with the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner who submits that no revision petition lies against the order of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Haryana.

6. Section 115 of the Haryana Cooperative Societies Act, 1984 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Societies Act') which deals with revision is reproduced as under :-

"115. Revision.- The Government may suo motu or an application of a party to a reference under Section 102, call for and examine the record of any proceedings . in which no appeal lies to the Government under Section 114 for the purpose of satisfying itself as to the legality or propriety of any decision or order passed and if in any case it shall appear to the Government that any such decision or order should be modified, annulled or revised, the Government may, after giving the persons affected thereby an opportunity of being heard, pass such order thereon as it may deem fit."

7. Admittedly, the order dated 19.3.1996 of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Haryana in this case, is not appealable under Section 114 of the Societies Act. The learned counsel for the petitioner even contented that the application filed by respondents No. 3 to 6 under Rule 110 of the Haryana Cooperative Societies Rules, 1989 before the Registrar was not maintainable, but still the same was decided by the learned Registrar in accordance with law. So in these circumstances when even according to the learned counsel that neither any application lay before the Registrar nor an appeal was competent then the revision under Section 115 is the only remedy by a person aggrieved by an illegal order of the authority concerned.

8. Though the learned counsel for the petitioner has cited, The Government Employees Co-operative House Building Society Ltd., Rohtak v. The Deputy Registrar, Co-op. Societies, Rohtak and Ors., (1997-2)116 P.L.R. 202 for the proposition that revision petition is not maintainable under Section 115 of the Societies Act but that authority is not applicable to the facts of this case. In The Government Employees Cooperative House Building Society Ltd. (supra), the Cooperative Society challenged' the legality and validity of the order passed by the Assistant Registrar on the ground that the Assistant Registrar was never delegated the powers of Deputy Registrar by the State Government and that the powers delegated to the Deputy Registrar under the statute could not be exercised by the Assistant Registrar in accordance with the notification issued by the Government. In the facts and circumstances of that case, the petition was allowed and it was directed therein that the appeal of the Cooperative Society, be decided by the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Haryana. A passing reference was given in that judgment, on a contention made by the counsel for the respondents that the writ petition may be dismissed on the ground that the petitioner could have filed a revision petition under Section 115 of the Societies Act, which reads as under :- "After going through the provisions of Section 115, we are of the view that no revision was competent in the present case. The revision petition was maintainable only if a reference under Section 102 of the Haryana Co-operative Societies Act had been made. Even if it is assumed for the sake of argument that revision petition was maintainable, we are not inclined to dismiss the writ petition on the ground of alternative remedy."

9. On the other hand, learned counsel for the respondents has brought to our notice a Full Bench judgment of this Court reported in 1992 P.L.J. 658, Gurnam Kaur v. State of Punjab and Ors., (1992-2)102 P.L.R. 746 (F.B.) wherein a reference was made to Section 69 of the Punjab Co-operative Societies Act which deals with the revisional jurisdiction. It has been held by the Full Bench that the revision was competent and it was immaterial whether revisional power was exercised at the instance of the interested whether revisional power was exercised at the instance of the interested party or suo-motu. The relevant portion of the Full Bench judgment is reproduced hereunder :-

"We have given due consideration to the respective arguments addressed by the counsel for the parties and we are of the view that Hardial Singh's case does not lay down correct position of law with respect to interpretation of Section 69 of the Co-operative Societies Act which is reproduced as under :- "69. Revision - The Government may suo motu or on the application of a party to a reference, call for and examine the record of any proceedings in which no appeal lies to the Government under Section 68 for the purpose of satisfying itself as to the legality and propriety of any decision or order passed and if in any case it shall appear to the Government that any such decision or order should be modified, annulled or revised, the Government may pass such order thereon as it may deem fit."

The revisional power as contemplated under Section 69 of the Cooperative Societies Act or any other statute generally is to send for the records of the case pending or decided by the Subordinate Authorities to examine the same and to pass appropriate orders modifying, annulling or revising the same. Such power can be exercised when the Revising Authority comes to know about the legality or propriety or passing such orders. Further, this knowledge can be acquired either at the instance of the Revising Authority itself or at the instance of aggrieved or interested party. The opening words of Section 69 reproduced above with respect to "suo motu" or "on application of the parties to the reference" are explanatory in nature. They are neither superfluous no redundant. Even in the absence of phraseology used the remaining context of the provision referred to above still would clothe the Revisional Authority to exercise the power as would be seen from such like provisions in different statutes, reference to which would be made later. It is immaterial when revisional power is exercised as to whether, the action was initiated at the instance of interested party or sue motu. The order passed would be within jurisdiction. This exercise of powers is not dependent on the action of the party concerned. The view expressed in Hardial Singh's case (supra) that since action was not initiated by the competent party concerned the same could not be treated valid exercise of jurisdiction under Section 69 of the Act, reproduced above, is not tenable in law. Even if the action was taken by a party who was not aggrieved, in other words not a person competent, the exercise of powers in modifying, annulling or revising the order of the subordinate authority will not be without jurisdiction."

10. Section 115 of the Haryana Co-operative Societies Act is almost pari materia with the language of Section 69 of the Punjab Co-operative Societies Act.

11. The observations made by the Division Bench even if help the petitioner to some extent, with respect, we cannot rely upon those observations as they are against the judgment of the Full Bench in Gurnam Kaur v. State of Punjab and Ors. (supra).

12. The language of Section 115 of the Haryana Cooperative Societies Act, 1984 clearly envisages that the Government may suo motu call for and examine the record of any proceedings in which no appeal lies to the Government under Section 114 for the purpose of satisfying itself as to the legality or propriety of any decision or order passed and if in any case it shall appear to the Government that any such decision or order should be modified, annulled or revised, the Government may, after giving the persons affected thereby an opportunity of being heard, pass such order thereon as it may deem fit.

13. The Financial Commissioner & Secretary to Government Haryana, Cooperation Department decided the revision petition, after giving notice to the affected parties. Thus, we hold that the revision petition under Section 115 of the Societies Act is competent.

14. The next contention of the learned counsel that notice were sent to the respondents under U.P.C. and, thus, it should be presumed that they were served on them for the meeting is also without any force.

15. Rule 110 of the Haryana Cooperative Societies Rules, 1989 clearly lays down that at least 15 days' clear notice, specifying the date, place, time and agenda for a meeting of a general body or committee convened by the Registrar, the Chief Executive Officer or otherwise, shall be given to all the members of the general body/committee. It is only in special circumstances that a shorter notice may be given to all the members of the general body/committee with the permission of the Registrar or under his direction. It has been specifically stated by respondents No. 3 to 6 that they were not given notice of the meeting which was held on 27.10.1995.

16. In an authority which has been referred to in the order of the revisional authority i.e. A.I.R. 1994 S.C. 678. it has been clearly held that the certificate of posting is very easy to procure and that certificate of posting does not inspire confidence. Moreover, in such a meeting where important decisions have to be taken, the members are not expected to be informed by merely letters under postal cover. In this case it is not only one or two members who were not informed rather it was about four members who alleged that they were not informed about the meeting.

17. We are, thus, of the view that certificate of posting, in these circumstances, could easily be procured to deprive the other members of their right of being served under the Rules for the purpose of attending the meeting of the committee.

18. In these circumstances also, we do not find any infirmity with the order dated 24.6.1997 of the Financial Commissioner & Secretary to Government Haryana wherein it has been held that no notice was given to the respondents for the meeting which was held on 27.10.1995. We also agree with the decision of the revisional authority that the meeting was not called by the Chief Executive Officer as has been alleged by the petitioner as Rajinder Singh who was not Chief Executive Officer was not competent to call for the meeting and as he had not been appointed as Chief Executive Officer by the Board of Directors of the Bank. In fact, Gurjit Singh, respondent, who was the Chairman of the Board of Directors had informed the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Haryana vide letter dated 26.9.95 that Rajinder Singh was not acceptable to them.

19. We confirm the order of the revisional authority on this matter also that Rajinder Singh was not the Chief Executive Officer of the Society when he called the meeting of the Society.

20. In view of our discussions made above, we do not find any infirmity in the order of the revisional authority dated 24.6.1997. Consequently, we dismiss this writ petition, however, without any order as to costs.