1. This is a revision application made by the manager of the Nasik branch of the Anatha Vidyarthi Griha, Poona, against the order of the Registrar appointed under the Public Trusts Registration Act, XXV of 1935, requiring him to register the institution. The facts are that on December 13, 1944, the Civil Judge, Senior Division, Nasik, who is also the Registrar under Section 4 of Bombay Act XXV of 1935, issued a notice against the applicant to show cause why action should not be taken against him for non-compliance with the requisition published in Lokasatta on December 13, 1944. The applicant on February 25, 1947, appeared before the Registrar and contended that the Anatha Vidyarthi Griha was an association registered as a society under the Societies Registration Act (XXI of 1860), the object of which was to work for the education, maintenance and welfare of poor and deserving Hindu students, with a view, mainly to make them useful public workers, and that it was not a religious trust as contemplated in Section 3, Clause (3), and that it could not be treated as a public trust under the Act and that therefore it. was not liable to be registered under the Act. He also contended that it is not shown that the Nasik branch had independent existence and that its income is more than Rs. 1,000 per year. The learned Registrar, however, held 'that the Institute is for the public welfare and the fund is raised from the public. Hence it is a public branch registrable under the Public Trusts Registration Act and hence the trustees and the manager be called upon to have the registration made.' Against this order the applicant has come in revision.
2. The main contention of Mr. Gharpure, the learned advocate for the applicant, is that the societies registered under the Societies Registration Act are exempt from the operation of the Bombay Public Trusts Registration Act. This point is not covered by any authorities. This is for the first time that a society registered under the Societies Registration Act is sought to be brought under the purview of the Bombay Public Trusts Registration Act. It is therefore necessary to examine this argument more closely.
3. The preamble of the Bombay Public Trusts Registration Act states:
Whereas it is expedient to provide for the registration of trusts created or existing for a public purpose of a religious or charitable nature and for the audit and filing of accounts of such trusts with a view to ensuring the better management thereof etc.
4. The object of this Act is therefore to ensure the better management of public trusts of a religious or charitable nature by providing for registration thereof and for the audit and filing of accounts.
5. The contention of Mr. Gharpure is that the Anatha Vidyarthi Griha is not a public trust of a religious or charitable nature. It has got its own constitution and its administration is carried on by the council in accordance with the rules and in conformity with the aims and objects of the society. Under Rule 10 of its constitution, 'all properties, whether moveable or immoveable of any sort or kind of the society, shall belong to the society, in its corporate character and no member in his individual capacity shall have any right to them or to any portion of them.' Apart from the rules of this society, Section 5 of the Societies Registration Act itself provides that the property, moveable and immoveable, belonging to a society registered under the Act, if not vested in trustees, shall be deemed to be vested, for the time being, in the governing body of such society and in all proceedings, civil and criminal, may be described as the property of the governing body of such society by their proper title. It is thus clear that the society registered under the Act is the full owner of all its property and funds and there is therefore no reason why such a society requires to be dealt with under the Bombay Public Trusts Registration Act.
6. In Krishnan v. Sundaram (1940) 43 Bom. L.R. 562 it has been held that the position of a society registered under the Societies Registration Act is like that of a club or a joint stock company. In that case, the learned Judge applied the principles of company law to the case of a society registered under the Societies Registration Act. This principle was accepted and followed in Satyavrat Sidhantalankar v. Arya Samaj : AIR1946Bom516 There the learned Judge has observed (p.-347):
I am of opinion that by reason of the provisions of the Societies Registration Act, once the society is registered with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, by filing a memorandum and certified copy of the rules and regulations...the society enjoys the status of a legal entity apart from the members constituting the same and is capable of suing or being sued.
And again on p. 351 the learned Judge observes:
The society is neither a corporation nor a limited company incorporated under the Indian Companies Act. It is a registered society of individuals, which has acquired a legal status by reason of its registration with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, under the provisions of the Societies Registration Act.... The rule of majority is the normal basis of these associations. I am therefore of opinion that the principles governing the members of joint stock companies are the principles which are applicable in the case of a society registered under the Societies Registration Act.
7. If the position of societies registered under the Societies Registration Act is like that of a club or a joint stock company, there is no reason why there should be an outside interference in its internal management. The rules of the societies usually provide for a machinery for a proper and efficient management of their properties. They can sue and be sued, and if there be any irregularity or illegality in the disposal of its funds, it is always open to the aggrieved party to file a suit against the society for appropriate reliefs and get redress. Obviously it appears, to me that as the Legislature has already provided for the registration of such societies under the Societies Registration Act, it cannot be the intention of the Legislature to bring them within the scope of the Bombay Public Trusts Registration Act which applies to public trusts created or existing for public purposes of a religious or a charitable nature.
8. I am fortified in this view by the fact that there is no case up till now-so I am told-of any society registered under the Societies Registration Act, being called upon to get it registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Registration Act. The Anatha Vidyarthi Griha has its head office at Poona. It is not registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Registration Act. Nor have the several educational societies in this Province registered under the Societies Registration Act been called upon to get themselves registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Registration Act.
9. I, therefore, hold that this society which is registered under the Societies Registration Act is exempt from the operation of the Bombay Public Trusts Registration Act. The order made by the Registrar, dated March 14, 1947, requiring the trustees and manager to have the association at Nasik registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Registration Act is set aside.
10. The rule is, therefore, made absolute.
11. There will be no order as to costs.