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Muthalapuram Service Co-Operative Bank Ltd. represented by its Secretary, Saju Joseph v/s Kerala State Co-Operative Rubber Marketing Federation Ltd. & Another

    WP(C) No. 39498 of 2015 (J)

    Decided On, 14 June 2017

    At, High Court of Kerala


    For the Petitioner: P.V. Baby, Joshy Thannickamattam, A.N. Santhosh, Advocates. For the Respondents: R1, Jagan George, P. Jayabal Menon, K.J. Gisha, Jagan Abraham M. George, Advocates, R2, Santhosh Peter, Sr. Government Pleader.

Judgment Text

1. The petitioner claims to be a primary cooperative society registered under the provisions of the Kerala Co-operative Societies Act, 1969 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). According to them, they have deposited an amount of Rs.30,00,000/- as fixed deposit with the 1st respondent, Kerala State Co-operative Rubber Marketing Federation Limited ('Rubber Mark' for short) from the year 1997 onwards. They allege that even though the fixed deposits had matured for payment, the 1st respondent is refusing to make payment of the proceeds of the same to the petitioner citing one reason or the other, which are completely unsustainable in law. The petitioner, therefore has filed this writ petition, praying that the 1st respondent be directed to return to them the amounts covered by the fixed deposits maintained by them with the 1st respondent.

2. I have heard Sri. P.V. Baby, the learned counsel for the petitioner, the learned Standing Counsel appearing for the 1st respondent and the learned Senior Government Pleader for the 2nd respondent.

3. There are not many facts in dispute in this case. The fact that the petitioner has deposited an amount of Rs.30,00,000/- with the 1st respondent is admitted. The 1st respondent admits that this amount of Rs.30,00,000/- and the interest thereon were renewed as fixed deposits from time to time and concedes that as on 26.09.2015, the total amount due to the petitioner is Rs.64,77,246.87/-. The learned Standing Counsel appearing for the 1st respondent also cedes that Rubber Mark had issued Ext.P13 acknowledgement to the petitioner wherein this figure is admitted. He says that the only reason why the Rubber Mark is unable to make payment these amounts to the petitioner is because of extreme financial constraints and lack of resources. According to him, attempts were made even by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies through the good offices of the Hon'ble Minister for Co-operation to have a settlement with various primary societies like the petitioner who had deposited money with the 1st respondent. The learned Standing Counsel asserts that Ext.R1(c) is the minutes of one such meeting, which was held on 11.03.2014, wherein it was agreed that the Rubber Mark would repay only the principal amount to the primary Co-operative societies like the petitioner.

4. Sri. P.V. Baby refutes these submissions very vehemently pointing out Ext.R1(c) was not recorded with the consent or knowledge of the petitioner. He says that, as is ex facie discernible from the said document, the petitioner or other similarly situated societies were never invited to the meeting and he says that if they had been so invited, they would not have permitted recording of such minutes. Mr Baby says that the amount deposited by his client in a fixed deposit with the Rubber Mark is vital to their financial health and that any reduction in the same would cause financial perdition to the petitioner society.

5. I have considered the rival submissions made by the learned counsel on either side. I have also examined the materials available on record. Since it is admitted by the 1st respondent that it had accepted fixed deposits from the petitioner and since as per Ext.P13, the amounts due to the petitioner as on 26.09.2015 was accepted by them to be Rs.64,77,246.87/-, I see no reason why the 1st respondent should be allowed any leeway in making payment to the petitioner. This is more particularly because the delay that has been caused by the 1st respondent in making payment of these amounts to the petitioner, obviously would cast a large burden and prejudice to the operational efficiency of the petitioner. It may be true that the 1st respondent is now finding it difficult to honour the commitment on account of lack of resources and on account of financial constraints. However, that does not concede to with them any legal justification to deny the payment of the amounts covered by the fixed deposits even though they have long matured for payment.

6. In such circumstances and for the reasons that I have recorded above, I direct the 1st respondent to repay the petitioner all the amounts covered by the various fixed deposits and acknowledged by them in Ext.P13, within a period of six months from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment.

7. I clarify that nothing contained in the judgment would hamper or trammel the rights of the 1st respondent, if any, in approaching the competent authority and obtaining a settlement with the petitioner, in such manner as may be possible, with the consent of the petitioner and in the event of any such settlement being a

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rrived at within the time of six months granted in this judgment, the 1st respondent would be entitled to make such payment to the petitioner and any such payment would operate as a full and final settlement. Needless to say, if a settlement is not possible within the time granted herein, the 1st respondent will be obligated to make payment of the entire amounts, including the deposited amount and interest up to date, to the petitioner within the time granted herein. This writ petition is thus ordered.