w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n

National Energy & Waste Management Multipurpose Co. Operative Society (Kerala) Ltd. (Newsco), Thrissur, Represented by C.L. Anto, Chief Promoter & Chairman v/s Registrar of Co-Operative Societies, Thiruvananthapuram & Others

    WP(C). Nos. 9524 & 11175 of 2019
    Decided On, 21 June 2019
    At, High Court of Kerala
    For the Petitioner: C.L. Anto, Party in Person. For the Respondents: Bimal K. Nath, Sr. GP, P.C. Sasidharan, SC.

Judgment Text
involve a very small issue, namely, whether the registration of the petitioner-Society and the approval of its Bye-laws are in consensus with the provisions of the Kerala Co-operative Societies Act and Rules (hereinafter referred to as 'the KCS Act and Rules' for short) respectively.

2. These litigations have a small history behind them. The promoters of the petitioner-Society initially approached the Registrar of Co-operative Societies for its registration in the name "National Energy and Waste Management Multipurpose Co-operative Society (Kerala) Ltd., Kerala" (hereinafter referred to as 'the Society' for short), on the strength of the draft Bye-laws presented along with their application. The Registrar of Co-operative Societies, however, informed the promoters that the provisions of the draft Bye-laws were offending not merely the provisions of the KCS Act, but also various other enactments and therefore, that their application for registration could not be considered.

3. This order was challenged by the promoters before this Court, and by an interim order, dated 17/11/2012 in W.P(C)No.20292 of 2012, the competent Authorities were directed to register the Society, subject to the outcome of the said writ petition. The records reveal that the Society was thus granted a provisional Registration Certificate, dated 22/11/2012, and the draft Bye-laws was also provisionally approved, the copy of which has been marked as Ext.P7 herein. It appears that subsequent to such provisional registration of the petitioner-Society another communication was issued by the competent Assistant Registrar of Co-operative Societies pointing out certain defects and directing the Society to cure those defects within 90 days, in order to confirm the provisional registration already granted as afore mentioned.

4. However, by then, the above mentioned writ petition, namely W.P(C)No.20292 of 2012, was heard by a learned Single Judge of this Court in full and both the afore mentioned communications issued by the Assistant Registrar, were quashed and the competent Registrar of Co-operative Societies was directed to confirm the provisional registration earlier granted. It appears that this judgment was taken up in appeal by the official respondents herein, in Writ Appeal No.855 of 2013, which was allowed, setting aside the judgment of the learned Single Judge with the directions as under:

In such circumstances, we are unable to uphold the judgment of the learned Single Judge and the judgment will stand set aside. It is directed that it will be open to the respondent to cure the defects pointed out by the Registrar or object to the defects pointed out, within sixty days from today, in which event, once the defects are so cured, the Registrar will pass orders in the matter. If he is satisfied that the defects are cured, he shall take steps for issuing certificate of registration to the Society. In any event, the orders thereon shall be passed at any rate within 30 days of being communicated that the defects are either cured or satisfactorily answered by the respondent. Before final orders are passed, the respondent shall be granted an opportunity of being heard also. Needless to say, the provisional registration granted will remain in force in the meanwhile and its further continuance depends upon the nature of the order to be passed by the Registrar. Writ appeal is disposed of as above.

5. Normally, therefore, going by the directions in the judgment afore extracted, the Society ought to have merely answered the defects pointed out by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies or ought to have objected to it within the 60 day period fixed therein and the Registrar was expected to, thereafter, pass final orders in the matter.

6. However, what transpired subsequent to the judgment in W.A.No.855 of 2013 is baffling, because the rival parties appear to have virtually entered into an out-of-court settlement, agreeing that the Society will adopt the model Bye-laws, as provided under Rule 6 of the KCS Rules along with certain amendments to it, as suggested by the General Body of the petitioner-Society.

7. The Petitioner, then goes on to allege that in contravention of the agreement between the Registrar and them, the said Authority issued Ext.P26 order, produced along with W.P(C)No.11175 of 2019, whereby only the model Bye-laws, as approved by the General Body, was approved, without any of the amendments sought for by it being even considered. The petitioner, therefore, contends that this is a fraud committed upon them by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies, asserting that along with the model Bye-laws approved by the Society, a resolution passed by the General Body, which was countersigned by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies, was also forwarded to the said Authority, wherein the amendments that they wanted to the Bye-laws were clearly indicated.

8. In its crux, the petitioner's specific accusation is that Ext.P26 order in W.P(C)No.11175 of 2019, approving its Byelaws is not legally tenable because the amendments sought to it by them in the conciliatory meeting between the parties, were not approved. The petitioner, therefore, prays that Ext.P26 in W.P(C)No.11175 of 2019 be set aside and that the amendments sought for by them to the Bye-laws be directed to be approved.

9. The petitioner has a further case that on the strength of the provisional registration and Ext.P7 Bye-laws they opened a bank account with the Thrissur District Cooperative Bank Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as 'the DCB' for short) and that certain amounts have already been deposited therein. They allege that in view of Ext.P26 order in W.P(C)No.11175 of 2019, wherein the Bye-laws of the Society have been allegedly truncated by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies, they are unable to conduct proper meetings or to go on with the affairs of the Society and therefore, that they are unable to operate the afore said account with the DCB effectively. The petitioner, therefore, prays that the DCB be directed to allow them to operate the account because if they are not allowed to do so, then valuable contracts that they are likely to get in future will be lost forever.

10. I have heard Shri.C.L.Anto, party in person, stated to be one of the promoters of the Society and who calls himself as the Chief Promoter and Chairman designated; Shri.P.C.Sasidharan, the learned Standing Counsel appearing for the Thrissur DCB and the learned Senior Government Pleader Shri.Bimal K.Nath.

11. The genesis of the controversies in these cases obviously, is the fact that the parties did not abide by the directions in the judgment of the learned Division Bench in Writ Appeal No.855 of 2013. Had they done so, things would not have come to this pass, that these two writ petitions have been required to be filed. This is because, under the terms of the afore extracted directions in the judgment in the Writ Appeal, all the issues relating to the Bye-laws of the petitioner-Society would have been resolved within a period of 60 days as fixed therein. However, inexplicably and without any discernible reason, both sides decided to deviate from the directions therein and to have their own way which has now led to the present impasse. Obviously, therefore, both sides are equally guilty and the petitioner cannot seek exculpation from their error, merely saying that they were coaxed into a conciliation at the instance of the Registrar and other statutory functionaries.

12. I cannot, resultantly, find the conduct of either of the parties subsequent to the judgment in Writ Appeal No.855 of 2013 to be worthy of the support of this Court; and I am of the certain view that, therefore, every action, every decision, every order and every proceedings taken and issued by the parties will simply have to fall, being without legs to stand on. In other words, the factual position, as it existed at the time when the Writ Appeal was allowed in the year 2014, will have to be restored and the parties will now have to act in terms of those directions implicitly.

Consequently, I order these writ petitions and set aside Ext.P26 order produced along with W.P(C)No.11175 of 2019, as also all other subsequent and consequent orders and direct that Ext.P7 Bye-laws, which was the one accepted for the provisional registration of the Society, will continue to remain in force until such time as the directions in the judgment in Writ Appeal No.855 of 2013 are complied with.

As a necessary corollary, I direct the Registrar of Co-operative Societies to ensure that actions pursuant to the judgment in Writ Appeal No.855 of 2013 are completed within the time frames granted therein, construing beginning of such time frame to be the date on which a certified copy of this judgment is received. The petitioner-Society shall also act strictly as per its mandate without fail, so that by the end of the periods fixed therein, the disputes between the parties will find proper resolution.

Since I have now set aside all the proceedings from the year 2014 till this date, the statutory action said to have been taken by the Government against the Society, under Section 66 of the KCS Act, will also stand deferred until such time as the afore directed exercise is completed.

I further and axiomatically order that the Certificate of Registration of the Society, granted consequent to Ext.P26 order in W.P(C)No.11175 of 2019 will stand set aside and the provisional registration issued on 22/11/2012 will thus continue to be in effect in terms of the directions in this judgment.

Finally, as regards the operation of the accounts of the petitioner-Society with the Thrissur District Co-operative Bank Ltd. is concerned, the Society will be permitted to do so on the basis of necessary resolutions to be adopted by them, as per the provisions of Ext.P7 Bye-laws in W.P(C)No.11175 of 2019, on the strength of which the Society is now enjoying the Provisional Registration.

When I make these directions, I am fully aware that Shri.P.C.Sasidharan, the learned Standing Counsel for the DCB, has raised severe objections to the petitioner-Society operating the account asserting that they are now defunct. Even when I hear Shri.P.C.Sasidharan as afore, I do not see any prejudice being caused to the DCB if the Society operates their account, because it is their own money, over which the Bank has no claim. Further, this account was opened by the petitioner-Society on the strength of the Provisional Registration based on Ext.P7 Byelaws in W.P(C)No.11175 of 2019; and I can, therefore, see no discernible cause for the Bank to object to the Society dealing with the amounts therein, on the basis of proper resolutions, especially when I have set aside all orders/proceedings after such Provisional Registration; consequently, Ext.P7 Bye-laws in W.P(C)No.11175 of 2019 being now in force. The only valid apprehension I can foresee for the Bank is that they be not imputed with any guilt if allegations are made in future against the Society; and I, therefore, declaratorily order that operation of the account by the Society in terms of this judgment will not, in any manner, fasten any responsibili

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ty on the Bank and that any allegation, either by others or statutory Authorities in future will be fully answered by the promoters and persons now in its management and that they will be solely responsible for the same. After I dictated this judgment Shri.C.L.Anto submitted that certain other allegations have been made against various Authorities, both of the Co-operative Department and the Thrissur District Cooperative Bank in these writ petitions, and that specific reliefs have been sought against them, including for payment of costs and compensation.I have, therefore, gone through these allegations available on the pleadings, but I am afraid that most or all of them have been made by the petitioner hinged on alleged events subsequent to the judgment of the learned Division Bench in W.A.No.855 of 2013, which in my view, as I have already been declared above, are contrary to the directions in the said judgment. In any event, these allegations or reliefs cannot be considered or granted by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. I, therefore, leave open all such contentions of the petitioner to pursue through other appropriate remedies, if any, subject to the applicable laws and prescriptions of limitations.