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Bhikharipur Co-operative Society Ltd. Vs. the Assistant Registrar, Co-operative Societies Ltd. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1967CriLJ1225
AppellantBhikharipur Co-operative Society Ltd.
RespondentThe Assistant Registrar, Co-operative Societies Ltd.
Excerpt:
.....them, which had already approached the civil court for a redress of its grievance and thereby inducing it to forego the assistance of that court. but had been embezzled by the secretary of the society in collusion with its president, clearly amounts to prejudging the merits and in fact refuting the claim of the society in the civil suit. even if the inquiry had been concluded earlier, it was the duty of the respondent to have deferred his findings till the decision of the civil suit, which had admittedly been filed well before the date of sending the letter (annexure 's'). 8. in my view, therefore, the respondent is clearly guilty of contempt of the court of the munsif of fatehpur......and secretary etc., with respect to the merits of the claim made by the petitioner in its civil suit against meoli cooperative society ltd., and that it had further embarras. bed the directors of the petitioner society from appearing as witnesses in the civil suit on behalf of the society, particularly when the suit had been instituted at their instance, as resolved in their meeting dated 10-11-1965. on account of the above conduct of the respondent it was alleged that he had committed contempt of the court of the munsif, fatehpur where the suit of the petitioner-society was then pending.4. in his counter-affidavit, the respondent has taken the plea that he and the assistant development officer had already concluded the inquiry against the petitioner society and had come to the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Gyanendra Kumar, J.

1. This is an application by Bhikharipur Co-operative Society Ltd., district Fatehpur, through one of its directors, Radha Krishna Dubey, for proceedings for contempt of court against Surendra Singh, Assistant Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Fatehpur in the following circumstances:

2. The petitioner-society mainly carries on the business of giving loans to its members and charges interest from them. The members of the society also deposit their monies and earn interest thereon. In 1965 one Sheo Sagar Sharma was the President of the society, while Subedar Tripathi was its Manager cum Secretary. The allegation of the petitioner is that on 16.7.1965, Lakshmi Narain, the then President of Meoli Co-operative Society Ltd., district Fatehpur approached the petitioner-society for a loan of Rs. 4,000/- on behalf of Meoli Co-operative Society Ltd.. It is again the case of the petitioner that on that date (16.7.1965) a loan of Rs. 4,000/- was advanced by the petitioner society to the Meoli Co-operative Society Ltd., through its President, Lakshmi Narain. The latter is alleged to have promised to return the amount with interest by September, 1965. He is further alleged to have executed a receipt for the aforesaid loan.

The case of the petitioner society further is that Meoli Co-operative Society Ltd., failed to repay the amount of Rs. 4,000/- by September, 1965, as agreed. The result was that on 25-11-1965 the petitioner Society filed suit No. 423 of 1965 against Meoli Co-operative Society Ltd., in the court of the Munsif, Fatehpur, for the realisation of the loan with interest. It may be mentioned here that before instituting the suit the matter had come up for consideration before the meeting of the board of directors held on 10-11.1965 wherein it was decided to institute a suit against Meoli Co-operative Society Ltd. and that the expenses of the suit will be borne by the petitioner society. It is alleged that the respondent on 17-1.1966, with full knowledge of the pendency of the petitioner's suit aforesaid addressed a letter to the board of directors and the petitioner-society alleging that its President, Sheo Sagar Sharma and its Manager Secretary, Subedar Tripathi were in collusion with each other and in order to misappropriate a sum of Rs. 4,000/, had fictitiously shown an advance of loan of that amount to Meoli Co-operative Society Ltd., and had thus allowed Subedar Tripathi to embezzle that amount. A copy of the aforesaid letter was sent to all the directors by name and also to the Manager Secretary as well as to the Deputy Registrar, Co-operative Societies, U. P., Allahabad. A copy of the letter is annexure 'S' to the counter-affidavit of the respondent.

3. The argument advanced on behalf of the petitioner, therefore, is that by sending the aforesaid letter and its copies to various persons, the respondent had not only expressed his opinion about the transaction, which was the subject matter of the suit, but had also attempted to create a prejudice in the mind of the directors and Secretary etc., with respect to the merits of the claim made by the petitioner in its civil suit against Meoli Cooperative Society Ltd., and that it had further embarras. Bed the directors of the petitioner society from appearing as witnesses in the civil suit on behalf of the society, particularly when the suit had been instituted at their instance, as resolved in their meeting dated 10-11-1965. On account of the above conduct of the respondent it was alleged that he had committed contempt of the court of the Munsif, Fatehpur where the suit of the petitioner-society was then pending.

4. In his counter-affidavit, the respondent has taken the plea that he and the Assistant Development Officer had already concluded the inquiry against the petitioner society and had come to the conclusion that a sum of Rs. 4,000/. had been embezzled by its Secretary, Subedar Tripathi and had therefore lodged a report with the Superintendent of Police on 29,11.1965, and that he had only reiterated the facts and his views in his impugned letter dated 17-1.1966, In para 10 of his counter-affidavit, he has justified the stand taken by him and has reiterated his finding that no loan of Rs. 4,000/- was advanced by the petitioner-society to Meoli Cooperative Society Ltd., that there was no record to show that Lakshmi Narain, as President of the defendant Society had promised to return, this amount by September, 1965. It was further denied that any proper receipt was obtained from Lakshmi Narain for the aforesaid loan and that Subedar Tripathi had committed an embezzlement in respect of the above amount. In the end the respondent asserted that the present application was wholly misconceived and was liable to be dismissed with costs. It is noteworthy that there is not a word of regret or remorse anywhere in the counter-affidavit of the respondent.

5. Along with his counter affidavit, the respondent has filed quite a large number of annexures. The perusal of annexure 'P' shows that on 8.12-1965 the Assistant Development Officer Co-operative, Teliyani, district Fatehpur had re-ported to the respondent that Subedar Tripathi had informed him that the original receipt of the advance of Rs. 4,000/- to Meoli Co-operative Society Ltd. had been filed in the civil court on 25-11.1965. This report further said that the board of directors in its meeting held on 10.11. 1965 had passed a resolution that a suit should be filed against Meoli Co-operative Society Ltd. for the recovery of Rs. 4000/. and the expenditure incurred in the case should be met by the society.

6. Annexure 'B' is another note by the Assistant Development Officer dated 13.12.1965, a copy whereof was also forwarded to the respondent. This document actually gives the number of the suit the particulars of the court, the names of the parties and the details of the court expenditure incurred by the society. Thus the respondent had full knowledge about the suit and its nature on 8.12.1965 and again on 13-12-1965. Annexure 'S' which is a letter addressed by the respondent to the directors of the petitioner society itself speaks of the institution of a civil suit by the petitioner against Meoli Co-operative Society Ltd. after it had been sanctioned at the meeting of the board of directors held on 10-11.1965, in which not only a resolution for institution of the suit by the petitioner against Meoli Co-operative Society Ltd. for recovery of Rs. 4000/. was passed but it was further re-solved that the expenses of the litigation will be borne by the petitioner-society.

Thus the President of the petitioner-society, the directors and Manager-cum-Secretary thereof were very natural and probable witnesses to sup-poet the petitioner's cause in the civil court. Addressing annexure 'S' to all the directors of the society and the Manager-cum-Secretary thereof, who according to the respondent, was the prime culprit in embezzling the money of the society, naturally amount to a veiled threat held out to them as well as to the society through them, which had already approached the civil court for a redress of its grievance and thereby inducing it to forego the assistance of that court.

7. The letter (Annexure 'S') had also the tendency to produce an atmosphere inculcating the belief in the minds of at least a section of the public i. e. the President, the directors and the Manager-cum-Secretary of the society, that the latter's claim in the civil suit was false. As observed above, during the pendency of the civil suit, addressing such a letter, recording the finding of the Assistant Registrar that the loan had really not been advanced to the Meoli Co-operative Society Ltd. but had been embezzled by the Secretary of the society in collusion with its President, clearly amounts to prejudging the merits and in fact refuting the claim of the society in the civil suit. It further tends to prevent the President, the directors and the Manager-cum-Secretary of the society from appearing as witnesses in the civil suit to support the cause of the society.

Thus the act and conduct of the respondent had the clear tendency to interfere with the normal flow of the stream of justice in the pending suit before the Munsiff, Fatehpur. This he had done with full knowledge that the civil suit had already been filed by the society against the Meoli Co-operative Society Ltd. for the return of the amount in question. It is not a case where an officer or an official had acted inadvertently or negligently in doing something in the course of routine departmental inquiry. Even if the inquiry had been concluded earlier, it was the duty of the respondent to have deferred his findings till the decision of the civil suit, which had admittedly been filed well before the date of sending the letter (annexure 'S').

8. In my view, therefore, the respondent is clearly guilty of contempt of the court of the Munsif of Fatehpur. When the case came up before me on the 10th of October, 1956, M/s Sushil Kumar and C. S. P. Singh, appearing for the respondent, had prayed for 24 hours time to present the respondent in person to express his regret and apology for his misconduct. The time prayed for was granted and 11.10 1966 was fixed for the next hearing. On 1140.1966 Mr. Sushli Kumar informed the Court that the respondent had since been transferred from Fatehpur to Budaun and that he had sent a wireless message to him at Budaun but the respondent had not turned up. Mr. Sushil Kumar further stated that on 11th October, 1966 he had also sent a wireless message to the District Magistrate of Budaun to inform the respondent to immediately present himself in the High Court.

However, I find that the respondent ia not present even today. As observed above, be has justified his conduct even in the counter-affidavit filed in this Court, without a word of regret or apology. He is an educated man and a responsible officer and obviously knew the consequence of his act and conduct. It is, therefore, not a case in which a lenient view of the matter can be taken. Accordingly I impose a fine of Rs. 300/-(rupees three hundred only) on the respondent to be paid within a period of one month. In case of default be shall undergo simple imprisonment for one month. He shall also pay a sum of Rs. 100/- (rupees one hundred only) by way of costs to the petitioner and a similar amount as costs to the Assistant Government Advocate, Shri N. C. Upadhya, within a period of one month.


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