S.H. Sheth, J.
1. The petitioner No. 1 is a Co-operative Society. The petitioner No. 2 is its elected President. The petitioners Nos. 3 and 4 are its elected members. On 27th September 1972 an Annual General Meeting of the first petitioner-Society was held. One of the items on the agenda was to fill up three vacancies amongst the members of the Managing Committee of the Society. Vacancies were caused on account of retirement of three members by rotation. On that day, business in respect of that item could not be transacted. On 30th October 1972 a meeting of the Managing Committee of the Society was held for considering the steps to be taken in order to have the remainder of the business of the Society transacted. It decided to call a Special General Meeting of the Society on 20th October 1972 and appointed the Election Officer for the purpose of conducting election of three members of the Managing Committee. The notice of Special General Meeting was posted on the notice Board of the Society on the same day. On 20th October 1972 the Special General Meeting of the Society was held. Five nominations were received for three posts. Two nominations were withdrawn and the remaining three candidates were declared elected uncontested. Prior to this election, on 7th October 1972 an application was made by one Ishwarlal Ranchhoddas Patel and 40 other persons to the District Registrar stating that the Society had not filled up three vacancies amongst the members of the Managing Committee. The District Registrar informed the applicants that their allegation raised a dispute under Section 96 touching the management of the Society and that, therefore, they should file a suit before the Board of Nominees. No such suit was filed.
2. After 20th October 1972 the District Registrar appointed one Officer to inquire into the legality of the meeting of the Society held on that day and into the election of three members of the Managing Committee. The officer made the inquiry and submitted his report to the District Registrar. Relying upon that report the District Registrar has set aside the election of the petitioners Nos. 2 to 4 as members of the Managing Committee of the Society and directed the Society to hold fresh elections.
3. It is that order and direction issued by the District Registrar which have given rise to this petition.
4. Mr. Shah, appearing for the petitioners, has raised before me three contentions, viz,.
(1) The Registrar had no jurisdiction to hold an inquiry and to set aside the election.
(2) In any case, the District Registrar ought to have heard the petitioners Nos. 2 to 4 before setting aside their election.
(3) Assuming that the District Registrar had the jurisdiction to make the order which he had made, he had not followed the procedure prescribed by the statute in that behalf.
5. Mr. Shah has placed reliance upon Section 96 of the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act, 1961. Mr. Jani has placed reliance upon Section 86 of the said Act. Sub-section (1) of Section 96 provides that ' Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, any dispute touching the constitution, management or business of a society shall be referred in the prescribed form either by any of the parties to the dispute, or by a federal society to which the society is affiliated, or by a creditor of the society, to the Registrar, if the parties thereto are from amongst the following:
It is clear from the aforesaid provisions that any dispute which touches the constitution of the society falls within the ambit of Sub-section (1) of Section 96. Whether three members of the Managing Committee of the Society have been duly elected or not is a matter which, in my opinion, is covered by the expression 'the constitution of a society' used in Sub-section (1) of Section 96.
6. Sub-section (1) of Section 86 provides as follows:
The Registrar may of his own motion himself, or by a person duly authorised by him in writing in this behalf, hold an inquiry into the constitution, working and financial conditions of a society.
This Sub-section also uses the expression 'constitution of a society' and confers upon the Registrar power to hold an inquiry into the matter relating to the constitution of a society. It appears to me that Section 86(1) confers upon the Registrar administrative power to hold an inquiry. Section 96(1) confers upon the Registrar judicial power of deciding disputes between the parties. Whereas Mr. Jani has contended that the impugned inquiry was held by the Registrar under Section 86(1), Mr. Shah has contended that the Registrar could not have resorted to that Section for holding an inquiry and that the only Section which could have been resorted to was Section 96(1). Indisputably, there are no other Sections which have application to a case of this type. In my opinion, a dispute as to the validity of an election of a member of a Managing Committee creates Us between a successful candidate on one hand and the unsuccessful candidate or a person who is aggrieved by the election on the other hand. Such a dispute, therefore, requires judicial determination. It cannot be inquired into administratively as the District Registrar has done in the present case. The present case, therefore, falls within the ambit of Sub-section (1) of Section 96 and the District Registrar should have exercised his power only if the requirements of Section 96(1) were satisfied. The judicial or quasi judicial inquiry into such a matter which is held under Sub-section (1) of Section 96 presupposes that parties to the dispute would be heard by the Registrar or his nominee or the Board of nominees, as the case may be and that it would be decided in a judicial manner. In my opinion, therefore, the District Registrar had no jurisdiction under Section 86(1) to hold the present inquiry. It has been contended by the District Registrar in the affidavit-in-reply that the impugned order was 'an administrative order and not legal order' and that he had made it in order to rectify the irregularity which was committed by the Society. He can make such an administrative order provided he has jurisdiction to do so. Section 86(1) does not empower him to make such an order in a dispute which is required to be decided judicially. There is no other provision of law upon which reliance has been placed in order to show that the District Registrar has jurisdiction to make such an administrative order.
7. Assuming that the District Registrar has jurisdiction to make such an administrative order, even then he can make such an order which affects the rights of others after hearing those whose rights are affected. No administrative order can be made without hearing a party whose rights are affected thereby. In my opinion, the impugned order has been made by the District Registrar without jurisdiction and is liable to be quashed. Therefore, the second contention raised by Mr. Shah must be upheld. Such a judicial order could not have been made unless all the parties affected thereby were heard and had reasonable opportunity of presenting their case before the Registrar. Indisputably, the District Registrar had not given petitioners Nos. 2 to 4 any opportunity to controvert the evidence which was recorded against them. It was, therefore, made in violation of the principles of natural justice. On this ground also the impugned order is liable to be quashed.
In view of the two findings which I have recorded, it is not necessary for me to record any finding on the third aspect of the case.
8. For the reasons stated above, I issue a Writ of Certiorari and quash the order made by the District Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Mehsana on 17th November 1972 (Annexure 'A' to the petition). Petition is allowed and Rule is made absolute with no order as to costs in the circumstances of the case.