1. A short question which arises in this petition is whether the appeal filed before the Registrar of Cooperative Societies is competent or not from the order made by the Assistant District Registrar (Co-operative Societies) Jhill a Panchayat, Bharuch directing that the registration of respondent No. I Society will continue. A few facts need be noticed in order to appreciate the rival contentions of the parties before me.
2. The petitioner-Society applied for registration in the office of the Taluka Development Officer, Vagra on September 28, 1976. It appears that on July 27 1976 a similar application was presented by the Chief Promoter of respondent No. 1-society in the same office. The application of respondent No. I-society was forwarded on Oct. 14, 1976. In the meeting held on Oct. 19, 1976 of the concerned Sub Committee of the District Panchayat, it was decided to register only one society from village Suva and accordingly the application of respondent No 1.society was accepted and the respondent No. 1-society was accepted and the petitioner-Society was intimated that it was not permissible to register two societies having the same objects from the same .village in the larger interest of the co-operative movement The petitioner-society being aggrieved with this decision of the Assistant District Registrar preferred an appeal in the Court of Additional Registrar, Gujarat who is respondent No. 2 herein. By order of Oct. 26. 1977, the Additional Registrar allowed the appeal and set aside the order of the Assistant District Registrar, Jhilla Panchayat. Bharuch on 22-11-76 according registration to respondent No. 1-society, and the matter was remanded to the concerned Sub Committee of the Bharuch Jhilla Panchayat for deciding the matter afresh. The Assistant District Registrar of the Jhilla Panchayat thereafter by his order of August 29, 1978, decided to accord the registration to the petitioner-society and consequently withdrew the registration accorded to respondent No. 1-society with the result that the matter was carried again in appeal by the respondent No. 1-society of before the Additional Registrar of the Gujarat who dismissed the appeal. In spite of the dismissal of the of appeal the Assistant District Registrar (Co-operative Societies) Bharuch Jhilla Panchayat by his another order of July 17, 1980, decided to continue the registration of the respondent-society. The petitioner-society, therefore, again carried the matter before the Additional Registrar under Section 153 of the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act since in effect the said order amounted to grant of the registration under Section 9 of the Co-operative Societies Act. Surprisingly the Additional Registrar returned the memo of appeal by his order of August 7, 1980. holding that the appeal was incompetent before him and the petitioner-society should prefer a revision application before the Government of Gujarat in Agriculture, and Co-operative Department at Gandhinagar. It is this order which lenged in this petition.
3. I am of the opinion that this petition must be allowed obviously for the following reasons.In the first place nothing has been stated in the impugned order as to how the appeal of the petitioner-society was not competent and more particularly because on earlier three occasions the appeal was entertained by the same authority. Apart from this infirmity it is difficult to appreciate that how the Additional Registrar refused to entertain the appeal since it was exfacie competent before him in view of the clear provision contained in Section 153(1)(b) of the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act, 1962. However, at the time of hearing of this petition, the learned Assistant Government Pleader. appearing for the respondent No. 2 pointed out to me that the powers of the Registrar, inter alia under Section 9 of the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act as conferred on the District Registrar or the Assistant District Registrar have been delegated to the Jhilla Panchayat by the State Government in exercise of its power under S. 156 of the Gujarat Panchayats Act. S. 156 of the Gujarat Panchayats Act provides for delegation of powers of Registrar of Co-operative Societies to Panchayat. The material part of the said section, so far as relevant for the purposes of this petition, reads as under-
'156. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Bombay Co-operative Societies Act, 1925, or any other corresponding enactment for the time being in force in the State of Gujarat, the State Government, having regard to the Panchayat Functions List may subject to such conditions as it may think fit to impose, by an order published in the Official Gazette, delegate to a district panchayat and the taluka panchayats subordinate to it, such powers, functions and duties of the Registrar or any other authority under the said Act or enactment as may be specified in the order.
(2). In particular, such order may provide for the delegation of powers relating.
(a) the registration of co-operlative societies:
(b) x x x
(c) appeals arising out of non-admission of members in a cc-operative society;
(d) to (j) xx xx xx xx
4. The State Government has by notification issued in the Rural Development Department bearing No. DDC1163/3P8-A of 1963 dated Mar. 25, 1963 delegated the powers of Registrar as specified in the Schedule ' annexed to the said notification to the District Panchayat subject to the conditions mentioned therein. The material part of that notification as far as relevant for our purposes is set out herein below -
'Rural Development Department Order
Sachivalaya, Ahmedabad-15, 25th March 1963
Gujarat Panchayats Act. 1961.
Number DDC-1163/398-A of 1963 -Under Section 156 of the Gujarat Panchayats Act, 1961 Government is pleased to delegate to the District Panchayats powers of the Registrar as specified in the Schedule annexed hereto subject to the condition that the powers shall be exercised in respect of the types of Societies for which the powers are exercisable by the District Registrar, Cooperative Societies, and the Assistant District Registrar, Co-operative Societies as per powers delegated to them under Registrar's order No. ADM/A dated 7th January 1963 or as may be delegated from time to time and in respect of the societies whose share capital does not exceed Rs. 2,00,000/- and whose byelaws are according to model ones:- SCHEDULESr. Powers Section of Gulara Co-operativeSocietiesNo. Act No. X of 1062 under which powers are exercisable. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________1 2 3. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________1. The Registration of Co. operative Societies. Section 92. * * * 3. Appeals arising out of non-admission Section 24of members in a Co-operative Society4. to 10. * * *________________________________________________________________________________________________________2. xx xx xx3. xx xx xx xx
5. This notification is published in the Gujarat Government Gazette Part I-A dated April 4, 1963. It was therefore urged by the learned Assistant Government Pleader on the basis of this notification that since the impugned order has been made by the Assistant District Registrar (Co-operative Societies) Bharuch Jhilla Panchayat, it is an order of the District Panchayat and, therefore, only revision is competent against the said order under Section 305 of the Gujarat Panchayats Act.
6. Though the contention appears to be attractive, I am afraid it will not stand the scrutiny for the simple reason that in the first place the District Panchayat exercises the powers of Registrar under Section 9 of the Co-operative Societies Act; particularly those powers which are exercisable by District Registrar, Co-operative Societies and the Assistant District Registrar. Co-operative Societies as conferred on them by the Registrar and, therefore, the appeal from orders in exercise of such powers would lie to the Registrar since they are in fact and substance the powers exercisable by the District Registrar or Assistant District Registrar of Co-operative Societies under the Gujarat Cooperative Societies Act. Secondly the power of the Registrar to hear appeal under S. 152 has not been transferred to Jhilla Panchayat. As a matter of fact item 3 of the Schedule to the said notification is pertaining to the transfer of powers of Registrar under Section 24 of the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act. Section 24 provides for admission to membership of prescribed societies and any person aggrieved by the decision of the society refusing him admission to its membership is entitled to prefer an appeal to the Registrar. Section 24 provides as under:-
'24. (1) No society of such class as may be prescribed shall, without sufficient cause, refuse admission to membership to any person duly qualified there for under the provisions of this Act and its by-laws.
(2) Any person aggrieved by the decision of a society refusing him admission to its membership may appeal to the Registrar,
(3) The decision of the Registrar in appeal shall be final.'
7. The notification relied upon by the learned Assistant Government Pleader and item No. 3 in the Schedule thereto seeks to transfer this power of the Registrar to hear appeal under S. 24(2) to the District Panchayat. If the State Government had intended to delegate the powers of the Registrar of Co-operative Societies to hear appeals to the District Panchayat from the orders of the District Registrar or Assistant District Registrar as provided in S, 153 (1) (b), the notification would have certainly included that power with reference to the relevant section of the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act. This clearly negatives the contention of' the learned Assistant Government Pleader that the appeal was rightly held to be incompetent by the Additional Registrar. Gujarat State.
8. The result therefore is that this petition should be allowed and the Additional Registrar should be directed to entertain and hear the appeal and dispose of the same on merits according to law. Rule is made absolute accordingly with no order as to costs.
9. Petition allowed.