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M.C. Vasudevan Vs. S.N.D.P. Yogam - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberO.P. No. 120 of 1956 (E)
Judge
Reported inAIR1958Ker164
ActsConstitution of India - Aricle 226; Travancore Regulation, 1063
AppellantM.C. Vasudevan
RespondentS.N.D.P. Yogam
Appellant Advocate K.P. Abraham,; George Kurian and; M.M. Cherian, Advs
Respondent Advocate T.N. Subramonia Iyer and; S. Subramonia Iyer, Advs.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....a denial of the charge levelled in exts. we see no substance in either contention, it is well-settled that even a quasi-judicial tribunal is not bound to give an oral hearing to a person before it proceeds to pass an order adverse to him. but the right to hold office is given to a share-holder not by the companies act but by rule 12 of the rules of the yogam, and we fail to see any impropriety in the board suspending that right in the case of any member as a measure of discipline......the unions are of course, subordinate to the yogam and subject to its control. on 20-7-1955, the general secretary of the yogam, acting on behalf of its council sent the petitioner the notice, (ex. p-3) asking him to show cause against disciplinary action for having worked against the interests of the yogam.the charge was based on two documents appended to the notice, the first ex. p-4 dated 8-6-1955 being a resolution of the mezhuveli branch of the thiruvellah union alleging that the petitioner was carrying on 'anti s. n. d. p. yogam,' proaganda and had, according to a newspaper report, presided over a meeting of dissidents at mezhuveli on 28-5-1955 and spoken against the yogam. the second, ext. p-5 dated 20-7-1955, was a report by the secretary of the thiruvellah union affirming.....
Judgment:

Kaman Nayar, J.

1. The petitioner before us was, and claims that he still is, the president of the Pathanamthitta Union of the Aruvipuram Sri Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (better known by its abbreviated title of the S. N. D. P. Yogam), a body incorporated under Tranvancore Regulation I of 1063 (Indian Companies Act VI of 1882). A copy of the articles of association. In other words of the rules of the Yogam, has been produced and has been marked as Ext. P-l.

They contemplate the establishment of a large number of branches: unions are group organisations of the branches; and both the branches and the unions are of course, subordinate to the Yogam and subject to its control. On 20-7-1955, the General Secretary of the Yogam, acting on behalf of its Council sent the petitioner the notice, (Ex. P-3) asking him to show cause against disciplinary action for having worked against the interests of the Yogam.

The charge was based on two documents appended to the notice, the first Ex. P-4 dated 8-6-1955 being a resolution of the Mezhuveli Branch of the Thiruvellah Union alleging that the petitioner was carrying on 'anti S. N. D. P. Yogam,' proaganda and had, according to a newspaper report, presided over a meeting of dissidents at Mezhuveli on 28-5-1955 and spoken against the Yogam. The second, Ext. P-5 dated 20-7-1955, was a report by the Secretary of the Thiruvellah Union affirming these allegations.

The petitioner replied to the notice with Ex. P-6, a bombastic tirade against the office bearers of the Yogam and a eulogy of himself as the upholder of the true cause. The council was not satisfied with this so-called explanation -- If we were called upon to pronounce upon it we would say that, as a denial of the charge levelled in Exts. P-3 to P-5, it was most equivocal -- and by its resolution dated 18-8-1955 duly communicated to the petitioner by the General Secretary (Ext. P-7 is the communication) it called upon him to answer certain specific questions regarding his alleged participation in the meeting at Mezhuveli on 28-5-1955.

This communication the petitioner chose to ignore, and the whole matter having been placed before the Board of Directors of the Yogam, the Board considering that the petitioner had not satisfactorily answered the charge against him resolved to punish him by debarring him from holding any office in the Yogam or in its subordinate organisations for a period of three years. This resolution was communicated to the petitioner by means of Ext. P-8, and it is against it that the petitioner complains on the score that it was beyond the competence of the Board and opposed to the principles of natural justice and the provisions of the Companies Act. His prayer is that, acting under Article 226 of the Constitution, we should

'quash the decision of the S. N. D. P. Board disqualifying the petitioner from holding any official post in the S. N. D, P. Yogam for three years by the issue of a writ of certiorari and prohibition or such other writ or order appropriate under the circumstances'.

2. The first respondent to the petition is the Yogam represented by its General Secretary. The second respondent is the Pathanamthitta Union represented by its Secretary and the third respondent is a person, who, according to the petitioner, claims to have been elected as the acting president of the Union in place of the petitioner.

3. We might observe at the very outset that we consider this to be a case where the petitioner, having an adequate remedy under the ordinary law, should have had resort to the ordinary courts instead of invoking our special jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution. His case, as we understand it, is that the order of disqualification passed against him by the Board is null and void and that he still continues to be the president of the second respondent Union.

A suit for declaration to that effect, or, in the event of any threat to his office by the respondents or by anybody else, for an injunction to uphold it, would have been a proper and an adequate remedy, and although we do not go to the extent of accepting the contention of the learned counsel for the respondents that the Yogam being a private body, and the proceedings of its Board the proceedings of a domestic tribunal, we have no jurisdiction to interfere under Article 226 of the Constitution, we are quite prepared to dismiss the petition on the preliminary ground that this is not a fit case for the exercise of that jurisdiction.

4. But, having heard the petition in full, we might proceed to observe that, even on the merits, there appears to be no case for interference. That the Board had the power to punish cannot be disputed in view of Rule 21 of the rules of the Yogam which empowers the Board to take disciplinary action against any member of the Yogam who acts contrary to its interests in anticipation of the approval of the general body. What is contended before us is that the punishment by the Board was in disregard of the principles of natural justice in that the petitioner was not given an opportunity of showing cause against it and that it was in disregard also of the provisions of the Companies Act.

We see no substance in either contention, It is well-settled that even a quasi-judicial tribunal is not bound to give an oral hearing to a person before it proceeds to pass an order adverse to him. It is enough if it affords him sufficient opportunity for stating his case. That opportunity, it cannot be denied, was given to the petitioner twice, by Ext. P-3 and again by Ext. P-7, and we cannot accept the argument that these notices should be ignored because they do not purport to be by or on behalf of the Board.

No decision has been cited before us in support of the proposition that the charge and the demand for an explanation must proceed from the very authority competent to inflict the, punishment, and, on principle, we see no reason why these should not proceed from some subordinate authority. It is not as if the Council and the General Secretary were outsiders having no right to question the petitioner with regard to his conduct. They are persons in authority. Under R. 15 of the rules the Board is the governing body of the Yogam, and under R. 28, the Council is in charge of its internal management.

The General Secretary himself has vast powers of supervision and control under R. 40, and, in any case, both Exts. P-3 and P-7 were sent by him on behalf of the Council. In the circumstances the action taken by the Council must be deemed to be on behalf of the Board and for the purpose of placing the entire matter before it. It is to be noted that in the so-called explanation, Ext, P-6, submitted in response to Ext. P-3, the petitioner did not question the authority of the Council or of the General Secretary to call for his explanation with a view to disciplinary action, and he cannot be heard to question it now.

5. As for the contention that the punishment is in violation of the provisions of the Companies Act, our attention has not been drawn to any provision that can be said to have been violated. What is argued is that, so long as the petitioner is a share-holder, he cannot be deprived of the rights of a shareholder (which include the right to hold office in the subordinate organisations) in the absence of express provision in the Companies Act in this behalf. But the right to hold office is given to a share-holder not by the Companies Act but by Rule 12 of the rules of the Yogam, and we fail to see any impropriety in the Board suspending that right in the case of any member as a measure of discipline.

6. We dismiss the petition with costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 100/-. (One hundred).


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