Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.40764 of 2010
Christ Church College, Kanpur through its Principal Dr. Parvez E. Deen, The Mall, Kanpur
State of U.P. & Ors.
Hon'ble Dilip Gupta, J.
Christ Church College, Kanpur through its Manager Parvez E. Deen has filed this petition for a direction upon the respondents to release the Bank Account of the petitioner-College which have been stopped by the letters dated 3rd July, 2010 and 5th July, 2010 and to make the same operative. The petitioner has also sought a direction upon the respondents not to interfere in the smooth functioning of the petitioner-College. It is stated that the Christ Church College, Kanpur (hereinafter referred to as the 'College') is affiliated to the Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University, Kanpur and is a minority Institution established way back in 1886. The College is run by a Society by the name of "Christ Church College Society, Kanpur" (hereinafter referred to as the 'Society') which was registered on 30th May, 1956. The Society has its own Memorandum and Rules and Regulations. The Lucknow Diocesan Trust Association (hereinafter referred to as the 'LDTA') is a Charitable and Religious Trust incorporated in the year 1924. The Church of North India was inaugurated in 1970 after coming together of six Churches and Diocese of Lucknow within the Church of North India was constituted. All the properties within the Diocese of Lucknow came within the jurisdiction of LDTA. The Bishop of Lucknow, Church of North India became the Chairman of the Society which is under the Church of North India.
The Diocesan Council of the Lucknow Diocese made a recommendation for its division into Diocese of Lucknow and Diocese of Agra covering defined territory with the western part of the State coming under the Dioceses of Agra and the eastern part coming under the Diocese of Lucknow. Both the Diocese of Lucknow and LDTA effectively divested all their rights, duties, functions, liabilities, assets etc. in respect of the western 2
part and vested beneficial ownership on the Diocese of Agra for all times to come through Bishop of Agra. Accordingly, The Agra Diocesan Trust Association (hereinafter referred to as the 'ADTA') was incorporated as Charitable Company in October, 1988. The Bishop of the Diocese of Agra became the Chairman of the ADTA. A perusal of the territorial jurisdiction of Agra Diocese will go to show that Kanpur was included in the Diocese of Agra and thus the jurisdiction of the Christ Church College Society, Kanpur shifted from the Diocese of Lucknow to the Diocese of Agra. It is also stated that with the creation of Diocese of Agra, incorporation of ADTA and appointment of Bishop of Agra, it became necessary to incorporate changes in the Memorandum and Rules & Regulations of Christ Church College Society, Kanpur. Accordingly, in the year 1986 a resolution was passed for amendment in Rules & Regulations of the Society and the resolution and the amended Memorandum and Rules & Regulations of the Christ Church College Society, Kanpur were submitted to the Registrar of Societies for intimation. The registration of the Society was also renewed from time to time on the basis of the list supplied by the Secretary of the Society and it was last renewed on 18th February, 2006 w.e.f. 10th October, 2005 for a period of five years. It is, therefore, asserted in the writ petition that the Christ Church College, Kanpur falls within the territorial jurisdiction of ADTA and the property on which the college is situated also falls within the jurisdiction of ADTA. Lucknow Diocese and LDTA cease to have any jurisdiction over either the property on which the college is situated or the property of the college itself and have nothing to do with the aforesaid college. However, on 28th April, 2010, the Deputy Registrar, Firms, Societies and Chits, Kanpur (hereinafter referred to as the 'Deputy Registrar'), on the application filed by one Liaquat M. Khan, passed an order cancelling the renewal certificate issued in favour of the Society and directed the Bishop of Anglican Church - S.P. Prakash to submit papers and renewal fees for renewal of the registration of the Society.
The petitioners challenged this order passed by the Deputy Registrar in Writ Petition No.28575 of 2010 which was allowed by the judgment and order dated 24th May, 2010 with the following observations:- "There is a serious dispute between the petitioner and respondent no.3 as to whether the Society falls 3
within the territorial jurisdiction of LDTA or ADTA. According to the petitioner, the jurisdiction now vests with the ADTA while according to Liaquat M. Khan the jurisdiction vests with the LDTA. For the said purpose documents have been filed by the petitioner-Society but there is no reference of the same in the impugned order. In any case, when there was such a serious dispute between the parties, the Deputy Registrar should not have proceeded to examine the application filed by Liaquat M. Khan for cancellation of the renewal certificates which had been issued for a long period of about three decades earlier at the instance of the Secretary of the petitioner- Society and he should have referred the matter to the State Government in view of the provisions of Section 3- B of the Act as amended in the State of Uttar Pradesh. It is, therefore, not necessary to examine the various contentions advanced by the parties regarding the validity or otherwise of the impugned order. The order dated 28th April, 2010 passed by the Deputy Registrar is, accordingly, set aside. The Deputy Registrar shall forward the papers to the State Government which shall decide the matter after giving opportunity to the parties concerning including Dr. Parvez E. Deen, Cornel Swing and Liaquat M. Khan.
The writ petition is allowed to the extent indicated above."
It also needs to be mentioned that earlier the Church of India and Lucknow Diocese Trust Association filed Original Suit No.1304 of 2009 in the Court of Civil Judge (Senior division), Kanpur Nagar with the following principal reliefs:-
"A. A decree restraining the defendants Nos.1 to 15 from interfering in the Management, working and control of Diocese of Lucknow and Lucknow Diocesan Trust Association by the chairman and members of the Committee of Management duly elected on 15.01.2008 in the meeting held at Lucknow and confirmed on
06.02.2008 by the Standing Committee of the Lucknow Diocesan Council under the Chairmanship of Bishop of Lucknow R. Rev. Vijay Mantode.
B. That a decree be passed restraining the defendants Nos.1 to 15 their servants, agents, assigns, representatives from transferring, alienating or damaging in any manner any of the properties of the Diocese of Lucknow and Lucknow Diocesan Trust Association."
The plaint was presented during the summer vacation and it was accompanied by an application for grant of temporary injunction and an application under Rule 13 of the General Rules (Civil) (hereinafter referred 4
to as the 'Rules') indicating urgency for the matter to be taken up in the summer vacation. The urgency application was rejected by the Civil Judge (Senior Division), Kanpur Nagar by the order dated 15th June, 2009 holding that there was no urgency for the matter to be taken up in the summer vacation. This order dated 15th June, 2009 was assailed by the plaintiffs in Writ Petition No.1016 of 2009 in the summer vacation and the petition was disposed of by the order dated 18th June, 2009 which is quoted below:- "Hon'ble Rakesh Sharma, J.
Heard Sri Saral Srivastava, learned counsel for the petitioner and perused the record.
Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the Church of India was founded in the year 1927 and the petitioner is duly elected management, its office bearers. They were duly elected after following due process on 15th January, 2008. They are managing the affairs of the Church of India. In this writ petition, the petitioners have raised grievances that the respondents No.1 to 15 are interfering in the management, working and control of Diocese of Lucknow and Lucknow Diocesan Trust Association, its properties and institutions and attempts have been made to sell the properties of the Church and hindrance have been caused in day to day management of the institutions including the institutions run by the Church of India in Uttar Pradesh and other cities. The petitioners had filed a suit in the Court of Civil Judge, Senior Division, Kanpur City has also sought interim injunction but no immediate relief could be granted. If this Court does not grant indulgence, there is eminent danger of alienation of the Church's property. The schools are going to open shortly and the respondents may disturb the academic atmosphere of the institution and cause hindrance in working of the institution. In view of the above, since the application seeking injunction is already pending disposal before the trial Court, as an interim measure, it is provided that till the disposal of the application seeking interim relief/injunction and disposal of the injunction suit the respondent no.1 to 15 shall not interfere in the management, working and control of the Diocese of Lucknow and Lucknow Diocesan Trust Association or its properties and institutions by the Chairman and members of the Committee of Management duly elected on 15.01.2008 in the meeting held at Lucknow and confirmed on 06.2.2008 by the Standing Committee of the Lucknow Diocesan Council under the Chairmanship of Bishop of Lucknow R. Rev. Vijay Mantode.
With the aforesaid observations/directions, the writ petition is finally disposed of."
It is asserted by the petitioner that on the basis of the order dated 18 th June, 2009 passed in the aforesaid Writ Petition No.1016 of 2009, respondent no.4-Rt. Rev. Vijay Mantode, Bishop of Lucknow and Chairman of Lucknow Diocesan Trust Association started interfering in the property which did not even relate to the Church of India and which were the properties of ADTA and fell within the territorial jurisdiction of Diocese of Agra. An application for clarification of the order dated 18th June, 2009 was moved by the petitioner which was also disposed of on 13th May, 2010 with the following observations:-
"This Court has rendered a judgment and order dated18.6.2009, directing the trial court to deal with the suit pending disposal before the same.
Sri A.D. Saunders, learned counsel appearing for Agra, DIOECE-respondent no.7 has approached this Court seeking some modifications highlighting the difficulties faced by the Agra DIOECE in respect of the managing his properties. He has made detailed submissions
Sri Satya Prakash, learned counsel for the respondent nos. 3 and 6 made submissions on application seeking recall of the judgment and order passed on 18.6.2009. Sri Saral Srivastava, learned counsel for the petitioner has reiterated his submissions that the matter is pending before the trial court and the said court can deal with the objections of these parties.
All these applications have been dealt with by the Court after hearing the learned counsel for the parties namely Sri Saral Srivastava, learned counsel for the petitioner, Sri A.D. Saunders, learned counsel for the respondent no.7 and Sri Satya Prakash, learned counsel for the respondent nos.3 and 6.
This Court has already observed that the matter is pending disposal before the trial court, Civil Judge (Senior Division) Kanpur Nagar and the parties may contest the case before the appropriate court. This Court has taken note of the anxiety and grievances raised by the learned counsel for pressing their respective applications today. What is required is the case may be dealt with and disposed of expeditiously. Admittedly the matter is sub- judice before the said court.
In view of the above, without interefering in the judgment and order dated 18.6.2009 it is provided that the parties may appear before the trial court, file their objections, replies, if so desire and they may contest the case. It is open for them to put-forth all these submissions contained in their applications and affidavits. The trial court may pass appropriate order after hearing the 6
contesting parties and take into account the submissions of the said parties and appreciate the law on the subject. The matter shall be dealt with expeditiously in accordance with law.
With the above observations, all the applications are disposed of."
A letter dated 23rd June, 2010 was thereafter submitted by respondent no.4 before the Branch Manager, Bank of Baroda, Kanpur with a prayer to stop all transactions in view of the order dated 18th June, 2009 passed by the Court. After referring to the filing of the Suit and order dated 18th June, 2009 passed in Writ Petition, the application mentioned :- "The undersigned, the Bishop of Lucknow Rt.
Rev. Vijay Mantode as Chairman of all institutions including the institutions in question Christ Church School (Inter College), The Mall, Kanpur has not authorised the present signatories of aforesaid accounts to operate the account of Christ Church School (Inter College). Copy of the order dated 18.06.2009 and 13.05.2010 of the Hon'ble High Court are being annexed as Annexures 1 & 2 to this notice.
Properties of the institutions belong to Lucknow Diocesan Trust Association under the Chairmanship of the undersigned and are subject matter of C.M.W.P. No.1016 of 2009, a copy of the institutions is being annexed herewith as Annexure 3 to this notice. That in view of the above facts and the orders of the Hon'ble Allahabad High Court dated 18.06.2009 and 13.05.2010 (Annexures 1 & 2), you should stop all transactions made under the signature of the present unauthorised signatories/persons. You are further called upon to correspond with the undersigned in respect of further transactions. In case the transactions are not stopped immediately under the signature of unauthorised persons, you shall be committing contempt of the aforesaid order dated 18.06.2009 of the Hon'ble Allahabad High Court as well as shall be making yourself and Bank liable for both under civil and criminal law. Notwithstanding to mention that the concerned officers of the bank in such an eventuality shall be personally liable for prosecution. So please take serious note and inform the undersigned without delay."
It is because of the aforesaid letter dated 23rd June, 2010 that the Branch Manager, Bank of Baroda, Kanpur sent the letter dated 5th July, 2010 to the Principal of the College stopping the operation of the account of the College with them.
A similar letter was also submitted by respondent no.4 before the Standard Chartered Bank, Kanpur for stopping all the operations of the College and by the letter dated 3rd July, 2010 the Standard Chartered Bank, Kanpur also placed restrictions on the account of the College. Sri Naveen Sinha, learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner submitted that after the creation of the Diocese of Agra and ADTA, the Diocese of Lucknow and LDTA have no jurisdiction over the Society since it falls exclusively within the territorial jurisdiction of the Diocese of Agra and ADTA and in any case this issue is yet to be resolved by the State Government pursuant to the directions issued by the Court on 24th May, 2010 in Writ Petition No.28575 of 2010. It is also his submission that the order passed by the Court on 18th June, 2009 in Writ Petition No.1016 of 2009 does not relate to the management of the Christ Church College at all and it is only because of the threats contained in the letters submitted by respondent no.4 to the two Banks that the Banks have stopped all transactions of the account of the College with them. He also submitted that the LDTA or the ADTA, at best, are concerned with their property and not with the administration or management of any College but because of the instructions issued by the Bank, the entire functioning of the petitioner- College has come to stand-still. It is also his submission that the Banks are governed by the Banking Norms, Rules and Regulations and the Banks cannot stop the operations of the account unless there is a specific order to this effect.
Sri Ravi Kant, learned Senior Counsel appearing for respondent no.4, however, submitted that in view of the order dated 18th June, 2009 passed by the Court in Writ Petition No.1016 of 2009, the Banks were justified in putting restrictions on the operations of the account of the College and that the writ petition against the Standard Chartered Bank is not maintainable since it is not State. It is also his submission that it was for the petitioners to file an appropriate application for vacation of the restrictions on the operation of the Bank Account in the Suit pending in the Court of Civil Judge (Senior Division), Kanpur but that has not been done and the present petition has been filed.
The issue involved in this petition is whether the directions issued by this Court on 18th June, 2009 in Writ Petition No.1016 of 2009 will also 8
apply to the petitioner-College. Prima-facie, the reliefs claimed in the plaint do not relate to the management of the petitioner-College and consequently, the order passed on 18th June, 2009 by this Court in Writ Petition No.1016 of 2009 will not apply to the petitioner-College but the two banks have issued directions only on the basis of the order passed by this Court. The restrictions imposed by the two Banks are affecting the functioning of the College which is affiliated to a University. The contention of the learned Senior Counsel appearing for respondent no.4 that the petition against the Standard Chartered Bank is not maintainable is required to be examined after the exchange of affidavits since it has been urged by the learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner that in the facts and circumstances of the case the petition against the said Bank will be maintainable as the action of the Bank is not in accordance with the Banking Norms, Rules and Regulations issued by the Reserve Bank of India and is also contrary to the directions issued by the Court. The petitioner is, therefore, entitled to an interim protection. Learned Standing Counsel appears for respondent no.1. Notice on behalf of respondent no.2 has been received by Sri S.K. Singh while notice on behalf of respondent no.4 has been received by Sri Saral Srivastava. Issue notice to respondent no.3 by registered post. Steps may be taken within a week.
Respondents may file counter affidavit within a period of four weeks. Rejoinder affidavit, if any, may be filed within two weeks thereafter. List this petition for admission/hearing in the week commencing 6th September, 2010.
Till the next date of listing the orders dated 3rd July, 2010 and 5th July, 2010 passed by the respondent Banks shall remain stayed. Date: 26.07.2010