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M. Gidda Reddy Vs. Special Category Deputy Registrar and Personal Assistant to Collector, Kurnool and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Appeal No. 423 of 1976
Judge
Reported inAIR1977AP274
ActsAndhra Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act, 1964 - Sections 31(2), 32(7), 34(1) and 123
AppellantM. Gidda Reddy
RespondentSpecial Category Deputy Registrar and Personal Assistant to Collector, Kurnool and anr.
Appellant AdvocateG. Veera Reddy, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateAdvocate General and ;V.R. Reddy, Adv. for F.A.
Excerpt:
trust and societies - term of committee - sections 31 (2), 32 (7), 34 (1) and 123 of andhra pradesh co-operative societies act, 1964 - term of managing committee extended beyond its expiry date in view of government order - appellant was president of committee - it contended that it is obligatory on part of registrar to further extend said term of committee - high court observed that registrar has power to supersede a committee if conditions of section 34 are fulfilled - government has power to exempt any society from any of provisions of act under section 123 - discretion has to be exercised for purposes of act in good faith on relevant grounds - court not prepared to accede to contention that registrar was bound to extend term of committee in every case in which election could not be.....alladi kuppuswami, j. 1. the appellant is the president of the managing committee of the nandikotkur co-operative land mortgage bank. the managing committee was elected in the year 1971 and its term expired in or about april, 1974. in view of certain g.os. the term of the managing committee was being extended from time to time. ultimately, the term was extended from 1-1-1976 to 31-3-1976. there was no further extension of the period of the managing committee and apprehending that person in charge will be appointed to manage the affairs of the land mortgage bank, the petitioner filed w.p. no. 1256 of 1976 (andh pra) praying for the issue of a writ of mandamus directing the registrar of co-operative societies to exercise his powers under s. 31 (2)(b) of the andhra pradesh co-operative.....
Judgment:

Alladi Kuppuswami, J.

1. The appellant is the President of the Managing Committee of the Nandikotkur Co-operative Land Mortgage Bank. The Managing Committee was elected in the year 1971 and its term expired in or about April, 1974. In view of certain G.Os. the term of the Managing Committee was being extended from time to time. Ultimately, the term was extended from 1-1-1976 to 31-3-1976. There was no further extension of the period of the Managing Committee and apprehending that person in charge will be appointed to manage the affairs of the Land Mortgage Bank, the petitioner filed W.P. No. 1256 of 1976 (Andh Pra) praying for the issue of a writ of Mandamus directing the Registrar of Co-operative Societies to exercise his powers under S. 31 (2)(b) of the Andhra Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act (referred to in this judgment as the Act) by extending the term of the Managing Committee. In pursuance of the interim directions given by this Court pending disposal of the writ petition, the term of the Managing Committee was extended upto 30-6-1976 in the first instance and again till 31-12-1976. Meanwhile the writ petition was heard on 21-8-1976 by Jeevan Reddy, J.

2. In the affidavit in support of the writ petition it was submitted that it was obligatory on the part of the Registrar to extend the term of the Managing Committee and he could not arbitrarily refuse extension and exercise powers under Section 32(7) (a) of the Act and appoint a person-in-charge.

3. In the counter-affidavit it was pointed out that the action in extending the term of the Managing Committee was not arbitrary. The enquiry conducted by the Deputy Registrar, Agricultural Development Banks and the Joint Registrar Liaison Officer revealed that the president of the society had gone to Japan by spending huge amounts of the Bank without any appropriate sanction and that a Jeep was purchased without prior permission of the Registrar. The President appointed unqualified staff without reference to the Employment Exchange. The Managing Committee did not care to see the proper utilisation of loans sanctioned to the members and the enquiry revealed misutilisation of the said loans. The enquiry brought to light several serious irregularities in the management of the funds of the Bank and breach of trust on the part of the Managing Committee.

4. As Jeevan Reddy, J. felt that the allegations in the counter affidavit were vague and a reply affidavit was also filed denying the allegations in the counter-affidavit, he went through the relevant file. After considering the various allegations referred to in the report, he found that some of the allegations were irrelevant. But in regard to two of them, namely the foreign tour undertaken by the President at the expense of the Society and the appointment of staff otherwise than through the employment of staff otherwise than through the employment exchange. Jeevan Reddy J. felt that it could not be said that there was no material before the first respondent upon which he could have come to the opinion that it was not in the interests of the Society to extend the term of the committee. It was argued before him that if some of the grounds which weighed with the authority were irrelevant, it could not be predicted to what extent the irrelevant grounds would have influenced the formation of opinion and hence the satisfaction must be held to be vitiated. Jeevan Reddy, J. held that this principle which was applied in the case of Preventive Detention could not be extended to other cases. In the result he held that no case was made out for interference and dismissed the writ petition.

5. The appellant has preferred this writ appeal against the judgment and order of Jeevan Reddy J. In the Writ appeal, it is contended that it is obligatory on the part of the Registrar to extend the term of the Managing Committee by reason of certain G.Os. issued by the Government. It is further contended that even if he has a discretion to extend the term of the committee or not, it must not be exercised arbitrarily or capriciously but only with a view to effectuate the policy in the Act. In this case, the refusal to exercise the discretion in not extentending the term of the committee was arbitrary and capricious and at any rate relevant considerations. An application, W. A. M. P. No. 514 of 1976 is filed for granting permission to raise additional grounds. These relate to the various allegations referred to by Jeevan Reddy, J. in his judgment as forming relevant considerations for exercising the discretion in not extending the term of the committee. It is further stated that when an authority acts on material partly relevant and partly irrelevant, it is impossible to say to what extent the mind of the authority was affected by the irrelevant material, and hence the order has to be struck down.

6. In order to appreciate the contentions of the appellant, it is necessary to set out the relevant provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act, 1964, referred to in this judgment as the Act.

7. Section 31 provides that the General Body of the Society shall constitute a committee in accordance with the bye-laws and entrust the management of the affairs of the society to such a committee.

8. Under S. 31 (2) (a) the term of office of the Committee or of any of its members shall be extended for such a period, not exceeding three years, as may be specified in the bye-laws.

9. Section 31 (2) (b) is in the following terms:

'Notwithstanding anything in Cl. (a) if for any reason the election of the members of the committee is not held by the time of the expiration of the term of the existing committee, the Registrar may, for reasons to be recorded in writing direct that the term of officer of that committee shall extend upto such time as such election is held which extension shall not ordinarily exceed one year.'

Section 32 (7) (a) is as follows:

'If there is no committee or in the opinion of the Registrar it is not possible to call a general meeting for the purpose of conducting election of members of the committee, the Registrar may appoint a person or persons to manage the affairs of the society for a period not exceeding six months and he may, with the previous approval of the Government from time to time, extend such period beyond six months, so however that the aggregate period including the extension shall not exceed two years.'

Section 34 empowers the Registrar to supersede the committee from a specified date if in his opinion, the committee is not functioning properly or wilfully disobeys or wilfully fails to comply with any lawful order or direction issued by the Registrar under the Act or the Rules. Before doing so, he has to give an opportunity to the committee to make its representation. After superseding the committee, he may appoint either a person (referred to as the Special Officer) or a committee of two or more persons (referred to as the Managing Committee) to manage the affairs of the society for a period which may, in the discretion of the Registrar be extended from time to time, so however that the aggregate period shall not extend three years.

10. Section 123 of the Act enables the Government for reasons to be recorded to exempt any society or any class of societies from any of the provisions of this Act.

11. Section 131 empowers the Government to direct the Registrar to make an enquiry or to take appropriate proceedings under this Act in regard to the matters specified in the section.

12. Rule 22 of the Rules made under the Act deals in detail with the procedure regarding the conduct of elections to Committees of societies etc.

13. It is thus seen from the above provisions that a managing committee is normally constituted by the general body in accordance with the bye-laws of the society. Its term is governed by the bye-laws but it should not in any event exceed three years. If the election of the members of the committee is not held before the expiration of the term of the existing Committee, the Registrar may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, direct that the term of officer of that committee shall extend upto such time as such election is held. If he chooses to extend the term, he has to record his reasons in writing under S. 31 (2) (b). The period of extension shall not ordinarily exceed one year. If he does not extend the term and consequently there is no committee, the Registrar may appoint a person or persons to manage the affairs of the Committee under S. 32 (7)(a).

14. Apart from that, the Registrar has the power to supersede a committee if the conditions of S. 34 are fulfilled.

15. The Government has to power to exempt any society from any of the provisions of the Act, under S. 123. In exercise of powers under S. 123, the Government was issuing G.Os. from time to time since 1972. The said G.Os. exempted all the Co-operative Societies form the provisions relating to the conduct of elections contained in S. 31 (1) of the Act and R. 22 of the Rules made thereunder with the result that elections could not be held in respect of the Managing Committees of all the societies in the State. The Registrars were therefore exercising their powers under s. 31 (2)(b) from time to time and extending the term of the Committee for stated periods. On 17th May 1973 the Government issued G.O. Ms. No. 237. In that G.O. it was stated that elections to the societies had to be postponed due to the tensions developing in connection with the general elections of the state and Central Legislature or continued civil commotion. There had been no uniformity in the procedure followed for making alternative arrangements for the working of Co-operative Societies when the elections had thus to be postponed. In some cases a person or person in charge were appointed while in other cases the term of the existing Committees had been extended. The Registrar of Co-operative Societies had pointed out that where the Managing Committees of the societies could not conduct elections due to the postponement of such elections by the higher authorities (which circumstance is not within the control of the Co-operative Department), the provisions of S. 32 (7)(a) could not, in fairness be invoked to curtail the term of the Committee and usher in a person or persons in charge. He had also pointed out that S. 32 (7)(a) can only be invoked when elections have not been held on account of the omissions or commissions on the part of the existing Managing Committees which prevented conduct of elections before expiry of its term and that to invoke this provision, the bona fides of the Committee have to be in doubt with regard to the conduct of elections to the successor managing Committees. Section 32 (7) (a) is not meant to be invoked to terminate the period of a Managing Committee even on the ground that the Managing Committee had to discharged its duties as it ought to have during its tenure in office or for other reasons which might cast doubts about its operational efficiency. If there are any such allegations against the committee or if the Committee's work was not satisfactory then the right course of action to adopt would be to invoke S. 34 (1) of the Act and to supersede the Committee concerned after following the statutory procedure prescribed. Provision under Section 32 (7)(a) is not meant to be used either to circumvent or toe short circuit the procedure laid down under Section 34(1) for terminating the life of a managing Committee on the ground that its work had either been unsatisfactory or that there are allegations pending against the Committee, etc. The Registrar was of the view that if elections could not be held for reasons beyond the control of the existing managing Committee, then the term of such Committee should be extended under Section 31(2)(b) till such time as it becomes possible to conduct elections to the successor managing Committee. The Government agreed that where elections to societies are postponed by virtue of order issued by the Government from time to time, the only course open is to extend the term of the existing Committees under Section 31(2)(b). It was however observed that this does not prevent the Registrar from exercising his power under Section 34 wherever such action is called for. Finally the Government directed that whenever it relaxed Rule 22 to enable the Registrar to postpone the elections, the only course open is to extend the term of all the existing managing Committees irrespective of their performance. Action under Section 34 may also be taken independently in respect of such societies which invite such action by their conduct.

16. The next G. O. is G. O. Ms. No. 460 dated 22nd April, 1974. It was stated therein that the last exemption from Section 31(1) and Rule 22 was to expire on 30-4-1974. The Registrars were asked to take steps to conduct elections to all Co-operative Societies except certain specified categories. In cases where the term of office of the existing Committee was due to expire on or about 30-4-1974, the Registrar was asked to take action under Section 32(7)(a) to appoint persons to manage the affairs of all the Apex and District Level Societies and in the case of the rest of societies however the existing arrangement for the management of the societies should be continued for a period of two months from 1-5-1974 or till the elected bodies take over. The order issued in G. O. Ms. 237 stand modified to the above extent.

17. In the end of June, 1975, a state of emergency was proclaimed in the country. Consequently, it was felt that it was not desirous to hold elections to the managing Committees of the Co-operative societies during the period emergency was in operation. The Government therefore passed G. O. Rt. No. 1063 dated 28th June, 1975 exempting all co-operative societies in the State from the provisions of Section 31(1) and R. 22 except in regard to the societies in respect of which nominations of candidates for elections have already been filed.

18. On 29th March, 1976, the Government issued another G. O., G. O. Rt. No. 598. By this G. O. the societies were exempted from the operation of Sub-section 31(2)(b), 32(7)(a) and 34(1) of the Act in so far as they relate to the aggregate period referred to therein. It has already been noticed that under Section 31(2)(b), the Registrar can extend the term of the managing Committee for a maximum period of one year. Under Section 32(7)(a), he can appointed a person in charge for a period not exceeding six months and extend such period beyond six months so however, that the aggregate period including the extension shall not exceed two years. Under Section 34, when the Committee was superseded the Registrar could appoint a special officer or a Committee for an aggregate period not exceeding three years. The effect of the G. O. exempting the societies from these provisions in so far as they relate to the aggregate period, was to remove the limitation with reference to the period. In other words, the acts referred to above could be done by the Registrar without any restriction as to the above period. The above G. O., (G. O. Rt. No. 598) cancelled G. O. Ms. No. 237 dated 17-5-1973.

19. G. O. Rt. No. 1199 dated 19th June, 1976 again exempted the societies from the provisions of Sub-section 31(2)(b), 32(7)(a) and 34(1) of the Act in so far as they relate to the aggregate period so as to enable the Registrar to extend the term of the Committee upto 31-12-1976. G. O. Rt. No. 2412 dated 27th December, 1976 made a further extension from 1-1-1977 to 30-6-1977.

20. It is the contention of the petitioner that in view of the above G. Os. it was obligatory upon the Registrar to extend the term of the existing managing Committee from time to time until the elections were held and a new managing Committee was elected. The Registrar was therefore wrong in refusing to extend the term of the managing Committee and appointing a person in charge. We are unable to agree with this contention.

21. As we have pointed out earlier, the effect of the G. Os. exempting the societies from the provisions of Sub-section 31(2)(b), 32(7)(a) and 34(1) of the Act in so far as they relate to the aggregate period was only to remove the limitations imposed by these Sections in regard to the period by which the term of the managing Committee was to be extended or the term during which the person in-charge or the special officer was to function. They did not affect the main part of these Sub-section which continued to apply to all the societies. Under Section 31(2)(b) if the elections were not held, the Registrar may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, direct the term of office of that Committee should be extended. The Registrar has therefore the discretion whether to extend the term of the Committee or not. That discretion was not, in any way, affected by the G. Os. exempting the societies from Section 31(2)(a) relating to the period of extension. If he chose to extend the term, he had to record the reasons therefor in writing. If he did not choose to do so, there was no necessity for him to record his reasons in writing. In exercising his discretion he cannot act arbitrarily or capriciously. The discretion has to be exercised for the purposes of the Act in good faith on relevant grounds. We are, however, not prepared to accede to the contention that he was bound to extend the term of the Committee of every case in which election could not be held.

22. Reliance was however placed upon G. O. Ms. No. 237 dated 17-5-1973 in which it was directed that the only course open to the Registrar was to extend the term of all the existing managing Committees irrespective of their performance and it was therefore argued that the Registrar had no option but to extend the term of the managing Committee. It has however already been noticed that the said G. O. was cancelled by G. O. Rt. No. 598 dated 29-3-1976. Hence the contention based on G. O. Ms. No. 237 which was subsequently cancelled has to fail.

23. Even in regard to G. O. Ms. No. 237, it was held by Madhava Reddy, J. in W. P. No. 7234 of 1975 dated 15-4-1975 (Andh Pra), that it is not a statutory direction the compliance of which was obligatory upon the Registrar. At the most it could amount to a declaration of policy of the Government and not a direction to the Registrars. He pointed out that the only authority that was vested in the Government under the Act was that contained in Section 131 to give directions in regard to certain matters which do not include extension of the term of the Committee. There is no other provision which vests in the Government the power to give directions to the Registrars. Section 123 does not empower the Government to issue a general or special order to extend the term of any Committee for any particular period. It only empowers the Government to exempt Committees from certain provisions of the Act and in exercise of that power all that it did was to remove the embargo relating to the period of extension. We are in complete agreement with this view.

24. Reference was made to the decision of Raghuvir J. in W. P. No. 807/76 D/- 29-3-1976 (Andh Pra) Raghuvir J., held that in view of G. O. Ms. No. 237 the only course open for the Registrar was to extend the term of all the existing managing Committees irrespective of their performance. For the reasons above stated, we hold that this view is not correct. In W. P. 770/76 (Andh Pra), it was pointed out by a Division Bench of this Court that the Government cannot by issuing G. Os. take away, abridge, curtail or enlarge the statutory powers of the Registrar. All that the Government is empowered to do under Section 123 is to exempt any society or any class of society from any of the provisions of the Act. It is for the Registrar to come to his own independent conclusion on the question whether the term of an existing Committee should be extended or a person in charge should be appointed and an existing Committee cannot, as a matter of right, claim extension of its term.

25. It was further contended that even though G. O. Ms. No. 237 was cancelled by the subsequent G. O. (G. O. Ms. No. 598) the fact remains that the G. O. was passed as a result of the recommendations of the Registrar. The Registrar was of the view that when elections are to be postponed due to orders of the Government and not due to any fault on the part of the Committee, it was not fair that the term of the existing Committee should be put an end to, and hence in such cases it should be extended and the power to appoint a person in charge should not be invoked in such cases. Even in the subsequent G. Os. it is found that reference is made to the communications from the Registrar of Co-operative Societies to the same effect. It was argued that the Registrar having taken such a view with regard to the exercise of power under Section 32(7)(a), he must be taken to have acted arbitrarily or capriciously in invoking that power in the case of the appellants. This submission, in our view, proceeds upon the misconception about the view of the Registrar communicated to the Government. What the Registrar stated was, that ordinarily the power under Section 32(7)(a) should not be exercised when elections to a managing Committee are not held due to the orders of the Government and not because of any reluctance on their part to do so. That does not mean that the Registrar was of the opinion that in every case where the elections were postponed by the Government, the Registrar could not and should not consider whether it was a fit case for extending the term of the managing Committee or put an end to the term and appoint a person in-charge. That would depend upon the circumstances of each case and we do not find anything in the communication of the Registrar of Co-operative Societies as set out in the G. Os. which would indicate that the Registrar took the view that in every case the term of the Committee should be extended. Assuming he took such a view, we are of the opinion that the Registrar could not abdicate the function entrusted to him under Sub-section 31(2)(b) and 32(7)(a) of the Act to exercise his discretion and consider whether the term should be extended or a person in-charge should be appointed in any particular case or not and say that in every case the term should be extended.

26. The learned counsel for the appellants submitted that by resorting to the power under Section 32(7)(a) and appointing a person in charge, the Registrar has circumvented the provisions of Section 34. He submitted that if the Committee was not functioning properly, the proper course for the Registrar to adopt was, to exercise his power of supersession under Section 34 after following the procedure prescribed in that Section. But as he wished to avoid giving an opportunity to the Committee to make its representation, he adopted the device of acting under Section 32(7)(a) and hence the action must be regarded as mala fide. We are not inclined to agree with this submission. The scope of Section 34 is entirely different from that of Section 32(7)(a). Under Section 34, the Committee can be superseded if it is not functioning properly or wilfully disobeys or wilfully fails to comply with any lawful order or direction issued by the Registrar. The Section presupposes the existence of a Committee and the supersession of that Committee for any of the above reasons. On the other hand, Section 32(7)(a) has application when there is no Committee or when it is not possible to call a general meeting for the purpose of electing a Committee. In the present case, If the Committee's term was not extended, there would be no Committee in existence. Due to the suspension of the operation of Section 31, no general meeting could be called for the purpose of conducting election of a new Committee. The Registrar was, therefore, either to continue the existing Committee or exercise his power under Section 32(7)(a) and appoint a person or persons to manage the affairs of the society. If he wanted to continue the existing Committee, he had to give reasons in writing. If he chose not to extend the term of the Committee, no reasons need be given. Circumstances may justifiably arise where the Registrar may feel that the term of the existing Committee should not be extended and a person in charge should be appointed. If the argument of the learned counsel for the appellants is accepted it would mean that the Registrar has first to extend the term of the Committee and then take steps for supersession under Section 34. We do not think that it is necessary for him to do so when the act gives him the power to decide whether the term of the existing Committee should be extended or not.

27. The learned counsel for the appellants relies upon a decision of the Supreme Court in State of Mysore v. Karibasappa, : [1975]1SCR601 . Section 54 of the Mysore Co-operative Societies Act empowers the State Government by notification to exercise control over the conduct of the business of the society to safeguard the interest of the State where the State aid amounting to not less than two lakhs of rupees is given to a Society. Section 30 of the Act provided for supersession of a Committee, if the society persistently makes default or is negligent in the performance of the duties imposed on it, or commits any act which is prejudicial to the interests of the society or its members or is otherwise not functioning properly. Section 29 empowers the Government to nominate the persons on the Committee of the society. In the case before the Supreme Court, two notifications were issued. Under the first notification, it was stated that it was necessary in public interest to take powers to exercise control over the conduct of the business of the bank to safeguard the public funds. The State Government in exercise of powers conferred by Section 54 of the Act had a right to nominate as its representatives fifteen persons on the Board of Management and to appoint one among them as the President, one as the Vice-president and one another as the Managing Director of the Bank. The Supreme Court held that the State Government instead of taking recourse to Section 30 which provided for supersession indirectly overthrew the management of the Committee. Section 54 contemplated exercise of control over the conduct of the business and the word 'control' suggested check, restraint or influence and was intended to regulate and hold in check and restrain from action. In the guise of exercising control the State had displaced the Committee of Management and substituted its own Committee. The State indirectly intended to achieve what it was prohibited from doing under Section 30 of the Act. It was also held that the notification was in violation of the principles of natural justice. Section 30 of the Act contemplated a notice when the State intended to supersede the management. The Committee was deprived of this right arbitrarily and in utter defiance of the powers under the statute.

28. We are of the view that the decision of the Supreme Court has no application to the facts of this case. The present case is easily distinguishable. In the present case, there was no existing Committee which could be superseded and to which the provisions of Section 34 could be applied. The term of the Committee had expired even in 1974 and its term was being extended from time to time by the Registrar. The Committee had no vested right to continue after its term. Its continuation depended upon the exercise of discretion by the Registrar to extend its term or not. It was open to the Registrar in appropriate cases to exercise his discretion not to extend the term. If he chose not to extend the term he could not be said to be superseding the Committee and doing indirectly what he could not do directly under Section 34 of the Act.

29. Finally it is argued that even if the Registrar had the discretion not to extend the term of the Managing Committee, it was not properly exercised in the present case. It is no doubt true that the Act does not require that the Registrar should give his reasons for not extending the term of the Committee. While there is express provision that he should record his reasons in writing if he chooses to extend the term of the Committee, there is no such provision in case he decides not to extend the term of the Committee. Nevertheless, the discretion cannot be exercised arbitrarily. As has been pointed out in the leading case of Barium Chemicals Ltd. v. Company Law Board, : [1967]1SCR898 , though an order passed in exercise of the powers under a statute cannot be challenged on the ground of propriety or sufficiency it is liable to be quashed on the ground of mala fides, dishonesty or corrupt purpose. Even if it is passed in good faith and with the best of intention to further the purpose of the legislation which confers the powers, since the authority has to act in accordance with and within the limits of that legislation, its order can also be challenged if it is beyond those limits or is passed on grounds extraneous to the legislation or if there are no grounds at all for passing it or if the grounds are such that no one can reasonably arrive at the opinion or satisfaction requisite under the legislation. In any one of these situations it can well be said that the authority did not honestly form its opinion or that in forming it, it did not apply its mind to the relevant facts.

30. In the same case, the Supreme Court, observed that even if the discretion is subjective and it is not necessary to disclose the reasons, if the reasons are disclosed in the affidavits, the Court can consider whether they are relevant reasons from which the authority could have formed the opinion.

31. Bearing these principles in mind, it has to be considered whether the exercise of discretion by the Registrar in not extending the term of the Committee was vitiated or not. In the report by the Deputy Registrar dated 23-3-1976, the following allegations were made against the working of the society :

(1) The President of the Bank under-took a foreign tour incurring an expenditure of Rs. 7,900/- without the prior permission of the Registrar;

(2) A jeep was purchased for a sum of Rs. 22,879-37 ps. even though the society was not eligible for owning a jeep;

(3) A telephone was installed without the prior approval of the Registrar in February 1969 and upto 31-3-1975, a sum of Rs. 4,950-15 ps. was spent;

(4) A typist was appointed without reference to the Employment Exchange;

(5) Oil engines were purchased from M/s. Vijayalakshmi agencies of Nandikotkur which was said to be non-existent agency;

(6) There was misutilisation or part utilisation of the loans disbursed by the Society for digging the wells.

Jeevan Reddy, J. observed that the purchase of jeep or installation of telephone in 1969 can hardly be treated as a relevant ground while considering the question of extension of the term of the society in 1976. The fifth allegation had been dropped. The allegation regarding misutilisation of funds pertain to the year 1973 and it could not therefore be reasonably said that they constitute relevant material on the question of extension in 1976. Regarding the first allegation relating to the foreign tour, Jeevan Reddy, J. observed that the fact that the President went on a tour against the express instructions of the Registrar cannot be said to be not a relevant circumstance. Similarly, with regard to the fourth allegation, namely, the appointment of a person otherwise than through the Employment Exchange he held that it cannot be said that there was no material before the Registrar upon which he could have formed the opinion that it is not in the interests of the society to extend the term of the Committee. Though some of the allegations were irrelevant, it was not a case where there was no material at all to form an opinion. We see no reason to differ from the above view expressed by Jeevan Reddy, J. The Court cannot sit in judgment over the satisfaction arrived at by the Registrar. All that it can consider is whether there was any material before him to form an opinion and whether such a material is relevant. It is not the province of the Court to go into the sufficiency of the material. We may further add that though Jeevan Reddy J. was of the view that the allegations regarding the purchase of jeep or installation of the telephone or the misutilisation of funds were not relevant as they occurred in 1969 and 1973 respectively, it cannot be said that those circumstances are totally irrelevant. It is true that in spite of these lapses, the Registrar was extending the term of the Committee on prior occasions. But it cannot be said that the Registrar was wrong in taking into account earlier lapses by the Committee when considering the question of extending its term at a later date. It may well be that the Registrar may feel when a Committee is repeatedly committing irregularities that a stage has come when the Committee should not be permitted to continue to function even though on a prior occasion he was willing to condone the same. But even without taking into account those allegations, as Jeevan Reddy, J. has pointed out, there was sufficient material in the form of allegations 1 and 4 for the Registrar to arrive at an opinion that its term should not be extended.

32. It was argued before Jeevan Reddy, J. and the same argument has been repeated before us, that if an authority comes to an opinion on a number of grounds and some of which are held irrelevant, it cannot be predicated to what extent the irrelevant ground influenced the formation of the opinion and hence the opinion must be held to be vitiated. Reliance was placed upon cases relating to preventive detention where detention orders were struck down when the Court came to the conclusion that even one of the grounds of the detention was illegal or untenable. We agree with Jeevan Reddy, J. that the principle applicable to preventive detention cannot be extended to cases such as the present.

33. In State of Maharashtra v. B. K. Takkamore, : [1967]2SCR583 it was held that where an order is based on several grounds some of which are irrelevant then, if there is nothing to show that the authority would have passed the order on the basis of the relevant and existing grounds that order cannot be sustained. Where, however, the Court is satisfied that the authority would have passed the order on the basis of the other relevant and existing grounds and the exclusion of irrelevant or non-existing ground could not have affected the ultimate opinion or decision of the authority, the order has to be sustained. This decision was followed in Swaran Singh v. State of Punjab, : AIR1976SC232 .

34. We are satisfied in the present case that even on the basis of allegations 1 and 4 which are quite serious, the Registrar could have come to the conclusion that the term of the Managing Committee should not be extended. The learned Judge was, therefore, right in dismissing the writ petition. The writ appeal is dismissed with costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 100/-.

35. Appeal dismissed.


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