1. In this petition under Arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution the petitioner has sought for quashing the notice dated 11-5-1984 bearing No. SOC (ENQ) 122/81-82 (Annexure-C), passed by the District Registrar, Kolar Dist, Kolar. This notice is issued by the respondent to the petitioner to show cause as to why an action for appointment of an Administrator under S., 27A of the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act') should not be taken.
2. Sri W. K. Joshi, learned Counsel for the petitioner, has advanced the following three points for consideration :
1) That an enquiry under S. 25 of the Act is going on for the last two years and it is the respondent, who is conducting the enquiry and it is almost coming to a close; therefore, pending that enquiry, the present notice Annexure-C issued for taking action under S. 27A of the Act is not justified;
2) That simultaneous proceedings under Ss. 25 and 27A of the Act are not permissible; and
3) That, at any rate, it is the State Government that is empowered under S. 27A of the Act to appoint an Administrator, not the Registrar, therefore, the notice is required to be issued by the State Government, not by the Registrar, before appointing an Administrator. Hence, the notice issued by the respondent proposing to take action under S. 27A of the Act is illegal.
3. Point No. 1 : It appears to me that these contentions cannot be accepted. No doubt, an enquiry initiated under S. 25 of the Act is pending and it has not yet been completed. The scope and object of an enquiry under S. 25 of the Act are quite different from the scope and object of a report made under S. 27A of the Act. It may be possible, in a given case, a report made under S. 25 of the Act may form a basis, but not necessarily always, for making a report under S. 27A of the Act to the Government for appointment of an Administrator. This does not affect the power of the Registrar to make a report under S. 27A(l)(c) of the Act. The report made under S. 27A of the Act is specifically intended for taking steps by the State Government to appoint an Administrator to manage the affairs of the Society; whereas, in the case of an enquiry and report made under S. 25 of the Act depending upon the nature of the report, it may or it may not lead to an action being taken under S. 26 of the Act for surcharge. Thus, both the proceedings are quite different and one does not depend upon the other. Hence, it is not possible to hold that it is neither permissible nor just and proper to take action under S. 27A of the Act, when an enquiry under S. 25 of the Act is going on. Thus, the first contention is rejected.
4. Point No. 2 : The aforesaid conclusion must also lead to rejection of the second contention of the petitioner that simultaneous proceedings under Ss. 25 and 27A of the Act are not permissible. When both the proceedings are quite independent and one does not depend upon another and when there is no specific prohibition in this regard contained in the Statute, it is not possible to hold that both the proceedings cannot go on simultaneously. In addition to this, it is also pertinent to notice that S. 27A of the Act opens with the words 'Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, - 'this nonobstante clause' makes it clear that a proceeding under S. 27A of the Act can take place irrespective of the pendency of the proceeding under S. 25 of the Act'. Enquiry under S. 25 of the Act is held into the constitution, working and financial condition of a registered Society; whereas, the appointment of an Administrator under S. 27A of the Act is made for a specified period to manage the affairs of the Society. Hence, the second contention is also rejected.
5. Point No. 3 : No doubt, the power under S. 27A of the Act is exercisable by the State Government. The circumstances under which an Administrator for a Society may be appointed are stated in sub-sec. (1) of S. 27A of the Act. S. 27A(l) of the Act is as follows :
'27A. Appointment of Administrator, Not with standing anything in this Act, -
(1) (a) Where any society on account of the pendency of litigation or otherwise has not held or is unable to hold the annual general meeting; or
(b) where the term of office of the members of the governing body of a society has expired and a new governing body has not for any reason been constituted; or
(c) where on a report made by the Registrar or otherwise, on enquiry, the State Government considers it necessary in public interest so to do, the State Government may, by order published in the official Gazette, appoint an Administrator for such society for such period, not exceeding six months, as may be specified in the order, to manage the affairs of the society;
Provided that for reasons to be recorded in writing, the State Government may, by like order, extend the said period by any further periods not exceeding six months at a time, so however subject to the provisions of clause
(5), the aggregate period shall not extend beyond four years.'
5A. The grounds mentioned in the aforesaid clauses (a) and (b) of sub-sec. (1) of S. 27A of the Act are not exhaustive. The report made by the Registrar under sub-cl. (c) thereof may be on the other grounds other than the grounds mentioned in clauses (a) and (b) thereof. The State Government under S. 27A(l) of the Act is empowered to appoint an Administrator for a Society registered under the Act either on a report made by the Registrar or otherwise, but on enquiry the State Government has to be satisfied that it is necessary in the public interest to appoint an Administrator. No doubt, the Registrar has no power under S. 27A(l) of the Act to appoint an Administrator for a Society registered under the Act; but he is entitled to make a report to the State Government for appointing an Administrator to the Society. If for the purpose of making such a report, the Registrar gives a notice to the Society and calls upon it to show cause as to why an action under S. 27A(l) of the Act should not be taken, such an act cannot be held beyond the competence of the Registrar. Show cause notice issued by the Registrar is only for the purpose of making a report to the State Government under S. 27A(l)(c) of the Act and not for appointing an Administrator by himself. Therefore, it is not possible to hold that the notice issued by the Registrar is illegal and is opposed to the provisions of S. 27A(l) of the Act.
5B. Even though the report is made by the Registrar after affording an opportunity to the Society, the State Government on receipt of such a report is still required to afford an opportunity to the society, and it has to be satisfied on holding an enquiry that it is necessary in public interest to appoint an Administrator for the society for a specified period as per the provisions contained in clause (c) of sub-sec. (1) of S. 27A of the Act, as the power to appoint an Administrator is vested in the State Government. The fact that the Registrar has given notice before making a report under clause (c) of sub-section (1) of S. 27A of the Act does not dispense with the enquiry to be held and an opportunity to be afforded to the Society by the State Government before it decides to appoint an Administrator to the Society. Therefore, point No. 3 is answered against the petitioner.
6. Learned Counsel for the petitioner has relied upon a decision of this Court reported in (1979) 1 Kant L.J. 393 : (1980) Lab I.C. (NOC) 17 A. Krishnamurthy v. State of Karnataka. No doubt, that was a case in which an appointment of an Administrator made under S. 27A of the Act was challenged and it was quashed; but in that case the decision rested on the scope of S. 25(2)(c)(iii) of the Act and it was held that failure to supply a copy of the enquiry report to the society vitiated the appointment of an Administrator. Therefore, the points involved in the instant case did not arise for consideration in that case.
7. For the reasons stated above, I am of the view that no interference is called for at this stage. Hence, no grounds to issue Rule. Accordingly, Writ petition is rejected at the stage of preliminary hearing.
8. Since the power to appoint an Administrator under S. 27A(l) of the Act is exercisable by the State Government and the scope of the said provision has been considered in this decision, a copy of the order be also communicated to the State Government.
9. Petition dismissed.