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Meerut Collegiate Association, Meerut and ors. Vs. Arvind Nath Seth and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ Petn. No. 8907 of 1981
Judge
Reported inAIR1982All172
ActsSocieties Registration Act, 1860 - Sections 25 and 25(1); ;Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 94 - Order 39, Rule 1
AppellantMeerut Collegiate Association, Meerut and ors.
RespondentArvind Nath Seth and ors.
Appellant AdvocateRavi Kant, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS.S. Bhatnagar, Adv. and ;Standing Counsel
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
.....be satisfied that the existence of that power is absolutely essential for the discharge of the power conferred and not merely that it is convenient to have such a power. we are not satisfied that the power to place under suspension an officer is absolutely essential for the proper exercise of the power conferred under section 95 (1) (g). it cannot be said that the power in question cannot be properly exercised without the power to suspend pending enquiry. 608) :but it is a well-known rule of statutory construction that a tribunal or body should be considered to be endowed with such ancillary or incidental powers as are necessary to discharge its functions effectively for the purpose of doing justice between the parties. ' what follows, therefore from these decisions is that ancillary..........is not competent to pass any interim order pending the reference because there is no such power conferred on it either expressly or by implication under the relevant provisions of the act. he invited our attention to a number of decisions in his support. on the contrary sri s. s. bhatnagar, learned counsel for the respondents, urged that in the first instance section 25 of the act itself confers a power on the prescribed authority to pass such an order. apart from this in view of section 19-a of the u. p. general clauses act there is now no difficulty in spelling out on inherent power in the prescribed authority to make an interim order. according to sri bhatnagar when a power is conferred on a statutory authority, unless there is any restriction or limitation provided, the.....
Judgment:

R.R. Rastogi, J.

1. This petition under Article 226 of the Constitution involves the scope of the power of the Prescribed Authority to pass an interim order pending reference made to it under Section 25 of the Societies Registration Act, 1860, hereafter, 'the Act'.

2. The facts are these : Meerut Collegiate Association, petitioner No. 1, is a society registered under the Act. The Society runs and administers the Meerut College, Meerut The affairs of the college are looked after by an Executive Committee of the Society consisting of 33 members, out of whom 21 members are elected. The term of the Executive Committee is for three years and the last election of the Executive Committee of the Society was held on 19th Feb., 1978 under bye-law 12 (a) of the Society. Thereafter fresh elections were held on 10th May, 1981. In that election Sri Raja Ram Mittal was elected President, Sri P. S. Rastogi Vice-President and Sri J. D. Singhal, Petitioner No. 2 the Honorary Secretary. Twenty-one members of the Executive Committee as well were elected. Sri Arvind Nath Seth, respondent No. 1 and Sri Vishwa Nath Agarwal, respondent No. 2, were also candidates for the posts of President and Honorary Secretary respectively. Both of them lost the election. Soon after these respondents along with some others made a reference under Section 25 of the Act seeking to challenge the election of the aforesaid office bearers and members of the Executive Committee before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Meerut, respondent No. 3, on 13th May, 1981 being Case No. 2/12 of 1981. The petitioners put in appearance and filed preliminary objections. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate who has also been personally made party as respondent No. 4 during the course of these proceedings, passed an interlocutory order on 10th of June, 1981 directing that pending the reference, the meeting of the Executive Committee fixed for that day and in future shall not be held till further orders. This order forms the subject matter of challenge in the present writ petition.

3. Counter and rejoinder affidavits have been exchanged.

4. The question which falls for our consideration thus is as to whether in proceedings under Section 25 of the Act the Prescribed Authority can pass an interlocutory or interim order. According to learned counsel for the petitioners, the Prescribed Authority is not competent to pass any interim order pending the reference because there is no such power conferred on it either expressly or by implication under the relevant provisions of the Act. He invited our attention to a number of decisions in his support. On the contrary Sri S. S. Bhatnagar, learned counsel for the respondents, urged that in the first instance Section 25 of the Act itself confers a power on the Prescribed Authority to pass such an order. Apart from this in view of Section 19-A of the U. P. General Clauses Act there is now no difficulty in spelling out on inherent power in the Prescribed Authority to make an interim order. According to Sri Bhatnagar when a power is conferred on a statutory authority, unless there is any restriction or limitation provided, the authority shall have all the powers to do such acts as are reasonably necessary for the execution of the power conferred. He also cited some decisions in support of his contentions.

5. We shall first see whether Section 25 of the Act confers any such power on the Prescribed Authority expressly or by implication. Sub-section (1) of Section 25 as introduced in the Act by the State of Uttar Pradesh reads :

'25. Disputes regarding election of officebearers :-- (1) The Prescribed Authority may, on a reference made to it by the Registrar or by at least one-fourth of the members of Society registered in Uttar Pradesh, hear and decide in a summary manner any doubt or dispute in respect of the election or continuance in office of an office bearer of such society and may pass such ordefs in respect thereof as it deems fit.' There is a proviso to this sub-section which has been inserted by a later amendment. It provides for the grounds on which election of an office bearer shall be set aside. These grounds are :--

(a) commission of corrupt practice by such office bearers.

(b) improper rejection of the nomination of any candidate, or

(c) where on account of improper acceptance of any nomination or by improper reception, refusal or rejection of any vote etc. the result of the election has been materially affected.

Explanation I to this proviso provides what amounts to corrupt practice. Explanation II says thai a 'promise' of individual advantage or profit to a person includes a promise for the benefit of the person himself, or of any one in whom he is interested. Then comes Explanation III which says :--

'The State Government may by rule prescribe the procedure for hearing and decision of doubts and disputes in respect of such elections and make provision in respect of any other matter relating to such elections for which insufficient provision exists in this Act or in the rules of the society.'

6. No rules have been framed by the State Government in this behalf. A bare reading of this sub-section would go to show that a dispute in regard to election of office-bearers may be referred to the Prescribed Authority by the Registrar or by at least one-fourth of the members of the society registered under the Act. The Prescribed Authority is required to hear and decide any such doubt or dispute in a summary manner and he may pass such order in respect thereof as be deems fit. The grounds on which the election of an office bearer shall be set aside have now been provided in the proviso to this sub-section. The State Government could frame rules and prescribe procedure for hearing and deciding doubts or disputes in this behalf up-till now it has not framed any such rules. The Prescribed Authority is certainly a statutory authority. It may be emphasised that these are only summary proceedings. We do not find that this provision confers any power to make an interim order either expressly or by necessary implication. The Prescribed Authority can only decide any doubt or dispute in respect of the election or continuance of an office bearer of such society. For this purpose it may pass such orders as it deems fit. The fact that the word 'orders' which is in plural number has been used does not mean that it can pass an order beyond the scope of the powers conferred on it by this section. The Prescribed Authority may have to require the parties to appear before it and furnish evidence as they desire. It may also have to summon witnesses. In other words, apart from passing the final order the Prescribed Authority may have to pass some such orders also. But, that does not mean that it can pass an interim order of stay.

7. Section 19-A of the Uttar Pradesh General Clauses Act 1904 which has been inserted by Act 54 of 1955 reads :--

'19-A. Ancillary powers -- Where by any Uttar Pradesh Act, a power is given to a person, officer or functionary to do or enforce the doing of any act or thing, all such powers shall be deemed to be given as are necessary to enable a person, officer or functionary to do or enforce the doing of the act or thing.'

This section provides for ancillary powers. Such powers can be spelt out only in a case where the power expressly conferred under a statute necessarily implies, for tne proper execution of that power. The nature of proceedings and the powers expressly conferred are to constitute the backgrounds for spelling out ancillary or inherent powers, we would illustrate the difference by reference to certain specific instances.

8. The U. P. Panchayat Raj Act 1947 has conferred on the State Government certain powers of control and supervision over the Gaonsamaj and its office bearers. These powers are enumerated in Section 95. Under Section 95 (1) (g) power is conferred on the Government to suspend or to remove a member of the Gaon Panchayat or Joint Committee (Bhumi Prabandhak Samiti) or an office bearer of a Gaon Sabha or a Panch, Sahayak Sarpanch or Sarpanch of a Nyaya Panchayat if the conditions mentioned therein are satisfied. No specific power to suspend the Pradhan pending enquiry into the charges levelled against him has been conferred on the State Government In view of Section 96-A the power conferred on the Government under Section 95 can be delegated to any officer or authority subordinate to it subject to such conditions and restrictions as it may deem fit to impose. The State Govt.'s power under Section 95 (1) (g) has been delegated to the Sub-Divisional Officers. A question arose in S. D. O., Faizabad v. S. N. Singh : [1970]1SCR151 , as to whether the State Government has power to suspend the Pradhan of a Gaon Sabha pending enquiry into the charges levelled against him. The Court gave the answer in the negative and approved decision of this Court in Babu Nandan v. Sub-Divisional Officer, Salempur : (1966)IILLJ81All . The principle laid down by the Court in para 8 is :--

'It is well recognised that where an Act confers a jurisdiction, it impliedly also grants the power of doing all such acts, of employing such means as are essentially necessary to its execution. But before implying the existence of such a power the Court must be satisfied that the existence of that power is absolutely essential for the discharge of the power conferred and not merely that it is convenient to have such a power. We are not satisfied that the power to place under suspension an officer is absolutely essential for the proper exercise of the Power conferred under Section 95 (1) (g). It cannot be said that the power in question cannot be properly exercised without the power to suspend pending enquiry. The mere possibility of interference with the course of enquiry or of further misuse of powers are not sufficient to enlarge the scope of a statutory power.'

In our opinion, this decision applies on all fours to the present case. The power conferred on the Prescribed Authority under Section 25 of the Act is to hear and decide any doubt or dispute in respect of the elec-tion or continuance of an office-bearer or of such society. It is required to do so in a summary manner. The question arises whether it is essential for the discharge of the power conferred that pending reference the Prescribed Authority may suspend the office bearer of the elected committee of manage-ment from carrying on its work, on the pos-sibility or supposition that the office bearer or the committee may further misuse their powers. We do not think that it can be said that it is absolutely essential for the Prescribed Authority to pass such an order for the discharge of the power conferred on it. It may be seen that Section 19-A of the U. P. Geneal Clauses Act in a way, gives a statu-tory recognition to the principle of law laid down in S. N. Singh's case and does not provide for spelling out inherent or ancillary powers in every case.

9. Another instance can be gathered from the provisions contained in Section 17(3) of the Arms Act, 1959. Under Section 17 of the Arms Act the licensing authority has the option to pass either an order of suspension or an order of revocation. An order of suspension can be passed only on the grounds mentioned in Clauses (a) to (e) of Sub-section (3) of Section 17. An order of suspension cannot be passed for the duration of the proceedings that may be taken before an order of revocation is ultimately passed, vide Jagul Kishore v. District Magistrate, 1971 All WR (HC) 727. This decision was given by a learned single Judge. Thereafter, there are two Division Bench decisions laying down the same proposition and they are Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 299 of 1978, Iqbal Ahmad v. District Magistrate, Azamgarh, decided on 9-1-1978 and Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 6245 of 1978, Sarjoo Singh v. District Magistrate, Ballia, decided on 24-7-1978.

10. On the contrary where the statute confers on an officer, Tribunal or Appellate or Revisional Authority -- powers wide enough for discharge of the power conferred, then power to pass interim order of stay can certainly be spelt out. The power of the State Government to pass stay orders under Section 7-F of the U. P. (Temporary) Control of Rent and Eviction Act, 1947, is an instance on this point. A Full Bench of our Court in Baleshwar Dayal v. State of U. P., 1971 All LI 1074 : (AIR 1972 All 12) had occasion to consider this question. In Smt. Bhagwati Devi v. Baij Nath. 1966 All WR 631, it had been held that powers of the State Government under Section 7-F of the Act aforesaid are wide enough to enable it to pass stay orders during the pendency of the revision before it and that the stay order passed by it would operate from the date it is made. Subsequently another Divisjoa Bench doubted the decision in Smt. Bbag-wati Devi's case and then the question came up before the Full Bench in Baleshwar Dayal's case. The Foil Bench approved the decision in Smt. Bhagwati's case and took the view that once the State Government summons the record under Section 7-F of the Act power to make orders with the view to make it certain that it may be able to pass an appropriate and effective order must per necessity be conceded to it Prime facie such an order would be necessary to be made to secure the ends of justice.

11. Another instance may be given from the Income-tax Act 1961, Section 254 of that Act provides for the powers of the Appellate Tribunal while disposing of an appeal. P says that the Appellate Tribunal may, after giving both the parties to the appeal aa opportunity of being heard, pass such orders thereon as it thinks fit Section 255 of that Act provides for the procedure of Appellate Tribunal and Sub-section (6) of this section lays down that the Appellate Tribunal shall, for the purpose of discharging its functions, have all the powers which are vested in the Income-tax Authorities referred to in Section 131 and any proceeding before the Appellate Tribunal shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding and the Appellate Tribunal shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for all the purposes of Section 195 and Chap, XXXV of the Cr. P. C. 1898. in M. K. Mohamraad Kunhi v. Income-tax Officer : [1966]59ITR171(Ker) , a question axose as to whether the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal has the power to stay recovery of tax pending the disposal of an appeal before it. The Kerala High Court acting upon the principle that where statute confers a power on an authority, such ancillary and incidental power must be provided for the exercise of that power, held that the Income-tax Tribunal has the power to stay recovery of tax pending the disposal of an appeal before it. The Department took up the matter in appeal before the Supreme Court vide the Income-tax Officer v. M. K. Mohammed Kunhi AIR 1969 SC 430. The Court affirmed the view of the Kerala High Court and laid down :

'It is a firmly established rule that an express grant of statutory power carries with it by necessary implication the authority to use all reasonable means to make such grant effective ..... The powers which have been conferred by Section 254 on the Appellate Tribunal with widest possible amplitude must carry with them by necessary implication all powers and duties incidental and necessary to make the exercise of those powers fully effective.'

12. Maxwell on Interpretation of Statutes, Eleventh Edition, contains a statement at page 350 that 'where an Act confers a jurisdiction it impliedly also grants the power of doing all such acts or employing such means, as are essentially necessary to its execution'.

13. There is another recent decision of the Supreme Court which is also an illustration of this aspect. It is in Grindlays Bank Ltd. v. Central Government Industrial Tri-bumal : (1981)ILLJ327SC . In that case the Govt. of India, Ministry of Labour had referred an industrial dispute existing between the employers in relation to the Grind-lays Bank Ltd., Calcutta and their workmen, to the Central Government Industrial Tri-bual in exercise of its powers under Section 10 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 for adjudication. Parties appeared before the Industrial Tribunal but ultimately an ex parte award was given. That ex parte award was later on set aside on the defaulting party showing that they were prevented by sufficient cause from appearing when the reference was called for hearing on the date fixed. The question, was whether the Industrial Tribunal had any jurisdiction to set aside the ex parte award particularly when it was based on evidence. The High Court declined to interfere. An appeal by special leave was filed before the Supreme Court and the Court took a contrary view. There is no express provision in the Industrial Disputes Act or the rules framed therein giving the Industrial Tribunal jurisdiction to set aside ex parte award. The Court, however, ruled that the Tribunal had the power to pass the impugned order if it thought fit in the interest of justice. It was observed (at p. 608) :--

'But it is a well-known rule of statutory construction that a Tribunal or body should be considered to be endowed with such ancillary or incidental powers as are necessary to discharge its functions effectively for the purpose of doing justice between the parties.'

What follows, therefore from these decisions is that ancillary or incidental powers can be inferred only if for the discharge of power or functions conferred under the Act effectively, and for the purpose of doing justice between the parties it is necessary to spell out such power. In this behalf it would be useful to recall what his Lordship Late Gajendragadkar while speaking for the Court said in B. B. L. and T. Merchants' Association v. Bombay State : (1961)IILLJ663SC

'The doctrine of implied powers can be legitimately invoked when it is found that a duty has been imposed or a power conferred on an authority by a statute and is further found that the duty cannot be discharged or the power cannot be exercised at all unless some auxiliary or incidental power ii assumed to exist. In such a case, in the absence of an implied power the statute itself would become impossible of compliance. The impossibility in question must be of a general nature so that the performance of duty or the exercise of power is rendered impossible in all cases. It really means that the statutory provision would become a dead letter and cannot be enforced unless a subsidiary power is implied.'

The same law has been laid down in Asstt. Collector of Central Excise Calcutta v. National Tobacco Co. : 1978(2)ELT416(SC) .

14. Learned counsel for the petitionef invited our attention to Matajog Dobey v. H. C. Bhari : [1955]28ITR941(SC) . In that case in execution of certain warrants of search when the officers were obstructed, it was alleged that they assaulted and manhandled the persons who laid the obstruction and offered resistance. In connection with the complaints filed by them a question arose as to whether prior sanction under Section 197, Criminal P. C. 1898 was required for the prosecution of such officers. The view taken was that the officials conducting the authorised and lawful search had a right to remove or cause to be removed the obstruction or resistance offered by the employment of reasonable force and the remedy of the aggrieved party was to resort to the police or the Magistrate with a complaint arid for that purpose prior sanction under Section 197-C was pre-requisite, Broom's Legal Maxims, 10th Edn., Page 312 was quoted with approval. That Maxim is :--

'It is a rule that when the law commands a thing to be done, it authorises the performance of whatever may be necessary foe executing its command.' Applying the principles enunciated in the decisions referred to above, it is not possible to say that for hearing and deciding any doubt or dispute in regard to the election of the office bearer of the petitioner committee it was absolutely necessary for the Prescribed Authority to stay the functioning of the committee pending decision of the reference and further more so when the proceedings are summary in nature. The impugned order, therefore, is liable to be quashed.

15. The petition, hence, succeeds and is allowed. The impugned order passed by respondent No. 3 dated 10th of June, 1981 is quashed. The petitioners will get their costs from the respondents.


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