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Praveena Sreeramineni v/s The Govt. of A.P. & Others

    Writ Appeal No. 265 of 2000

    Decided On, 29 March 2000

    At, High Court of Andhra Pradesh

    By, THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. LIBERHAN & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE C.Y. SOMAYAJULU

    For the Appearing Parties: D.V. Bhadram, Advocate.



Judgment Text

M. S. Liberhan, C.J.

1. This writ appeal arises out of an order of the learned single Judge dismissing the writ petition, filed by the petitioner, challenging GO Ms. No. 368. Agriculture and Co-operation (Co-operation IV) Department, dated 29-12-99, by which the powers that were delegated earlier to the officers subordinate to the Registrar of Co-operative Societies by GO Ms. No. 890, Food and Agriculture, dated 29-3-1965 and GO Ms. No. 34, Food and Agriculture (Co-op. IV) Department, dated 16-1-89, were modified and again reconferred on the principal officer i.e., Registrar of Co-operative Societies in respect of five Societies, mentioned therein.

2. The learned single Judge found that for the sake of administrative convenience, the Government had carved out an exception of reconferring the powers upon the Registrar of Co-operative Societies (hereinafter referred to as 'the Registrar') in respect of five societies mentioned in the GO, which powers, in fact, were exercisable by him and were delegated earlier to the officers subordinate to him, keeping in view the number of members in the Societies. The Government is well within its limits and jurisdiction to carve out the exception of reconferring the powers upon the Registrar in respect of certain societies, and empowering him alone to exercise those powers and not the officers subordinate to him, who were earlier delegated those powers, Generally, for smooth and efficient running of the administration, and to unburden the work pressure that exists on the principal officer, his powers are delegated to the officers subordinate him.

3. The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant vehemently contended that the Government had earlier delegated the powers of the Registrar in respect of all the Societies to the officers subordinate to him, and the action of respondents in now reconferring those powers again on the principal officer in respect of five societies mentioned in the GO, the members of which, admittedly, are persons holding high and dominant official positions, is arbitrary and bad in law. The learned counsel for the appellant further contended that the action of the respondents in classifying the societies on the basis of the official positions held by the members, is an unreasonable classification, and as such, cannot be sustained. He further contended that taking away the powers delegated upon the officers subordinate to the Registrar, and again reconferring the powers upon him by the impugned GO in respect of five societies mentioned therein, and excluding the other societies, is arbitrary and illegal.

4. The learned counsel for the appellant further argued that the action of the respondents in reconferring the powers upon the Registrar, in respect of five societies, mentioned in the GO, has been done by following the pick and choose method, and as such the classification is not in accordance with the classification as ordained in Section 18 of the A.P. Co-operative Societies Act, 1964 (for brevity 'the Act') read with Rule 12 of the (A.P. Co-operative Societies Rules, 1964) (for brevity 'the Rules'), and therefore, the impugned action is hit by Article 14 of the Constitution of India. He further contended that the impugned GO has taken away the right of filing revision/appeal against the order of the Registrar.

5. During the course of arguments, it was conceded at the bar that the members of the five societies, in respect of which, the delegation has been revoked and powers reconferred upon the principal officer i.e. the Registrar, are persons holding high and dominant official positions as M.Ps. M.L.As., Ministers, Judges, IAS Officers etc. It is also conceded at the bar that Section 18 of the Act is intra vires of the Constitution as does not suffer from the infirmity of violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

6. It would be expedient to extract Section 18 of the Act, which ordains as under :

Classification : The Registrar shall, in accordance with the rules, classify societies with reference to their objects, area of operation, membership or any other matter specified in the rules.

7. From the above provision it becomes clear that the Registrar is vested with the power of classifying the societies on the basis of their (a) objects, (b) area of operation, (c) membership or (d) any other matters specified in the Rules.

8. In the instant case, concedingly, the members of the five societies in respect of which powers delegated earlier upon the officers subordinate to the Registrar have been revoked and reconferred upon the Registrar, are persons holding high and dominant official positions like M.Ps., M.L.As. Ministers, Judges and IAS Officers etc., and that has been done so because the members of the five societies are much superior in rank to the officers, to whom powers were delegated earlier. The Government apprehending that there is a possibility of the subordinate officers being influenced by the members of the five societies, who are holding high and dominant positions, and feeling that justice would not be done if power is allowed to be exercised by the officers subordinate to the Registrar, to whom powers were delegated earlier, has carved out an exception of reconferring the delegated powers in respect of the five societies mentioned in the impugned GO, upon the principal officer i.e. the Registrar, who is an independent officer, unlikely to be influenced as he enjoys nearly equal status to that of the members of the five societies.

9. It is not disputed by the learned counsel for the appellant that under the Act, the Registrar has the inherent power. Merely because the powers exercisable by the Registrar were earlier delegated to the officers subordinate to him, it cannot be said that the delegation cannot be revoked and powers reconferred upon the Registrar, who under the Act is originally vested with those powers and has just delegated his powers to his subordinate for administrative convenience. It also cannot be said that when once the principal officer delegates his powers to his subordinates, he is denuded of those powers and that he again cannot be reconferred with those powers at a later stage, and more especially when the persons to whom powers have been delegated earlier are officers subordinate to him, functioning and discharging their duties under his control and supervision.

10. We are unable to comprehend as to how the rights of the appellant have been adversely affected when the impugned GO has only reconferred the powers upon the principal, which in fact, were exercisable by him under the Act, but were delegated to his subordinates for administrative convenience. In pith and substance, the GO has only reinvested the powers in the Registrar, in respect of five societies, mentioned in the GO, which in fact, were exercisable by him, but were earlier delegated to his subordinates for administrative convenience.

11. Delegation of powers is an administrative act, and it is for the delegating authority in exercise of administrative powers to determine and decide as to with respect to which societies or with respect to whom or with respect to which powers he would like to delegate. No fault can be found with the impugned GO reconferring the powers, delegated earlier to the subordinates, upon the principal officer i.e. the Registrar, in respect of five societies only and excluding the others, and we assume that the authorities, while revoking the delegation made earlier to the officers subordinate to the Registrar, have kept in mind the basis on which the societies can be classified as ordained under Section 18 of the Act read with Rule 12 of the Rules. Simply because powers have been invested in the Registrar, it cannot be said that the right of filing revision or appeal against the orders of the Registrar has been curtailed.

12. For the reasons recorded above, we find that the impugned GO suffers from no infirmity, muchless violation of Article 1

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4 of the Constitution of India, which bars only an arbitrary act. No arbitrariness has been pointed out in the impugned GO, reconferring the powers upon the Registrar only in respect of five societies mentioned therein and excluding the other societies, which powers, in fact, were exercisable by him, but were earlier delegated to his subordinate for administrative convenience keeping in view the workload, membership of the society, and there being a possibility of the independent decision of the subordinate officers being influenced by the members of the five societies, who are holding high and dominant official positions. 13. In view of the observations made above, we neither find any error in the order of the learned single Judge nor any merit in the writ appeal warranting interference. The writ appeal fails, and it is accordingly dismissed. No costs. Appeal dismissed.
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