23 Jun 2023 3:37 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has dismissed a petition filed by a society and its governing body members registered under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, challenging an order of the Registrar directing enquiry under Section 25 of the Act, on the complaint made by a third party alleging violations regarding the proper running of the society. A single judge bench of Justice Suraj...
The Karnataka High Court has dismissed a petition filed by a society and its governing body members registered under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, challenging an order of the Registrar directing enquiry under Section 25 of the Act, on the complaint made by a third party alleging violations regarding the proper running of the society.
A single judge bench of Justice Suraj Govindaraj sitting at Kalaburagi dismissed the petition filed by Lingasugur Taluk Halumata Abhivrudhi Samiti (R) and its members who had challenged the notices issued by the Enquiry officer to them.
Their primary contention was that action of was based on the complaint made by a third party who was not a member of the society, let alone being a member of the Governing Body. It was contended that Registrar could not have taken cognizance of the said complaint or instituted an enquiry since under Section 25.
The bench referred to Section 25 of the Act and noted the Registrar may on his own motion and shall on an application of the majority of the members of the Governing Body or of not less than 1/3rd of the members of the society, hold an enquiry or direct some person authorised by him by order in writing to hold an enquiry into the constitution, working and financial condition of the registered society.
Thus, “merely because the third party were to submit a complaint, the Registrar cannot initiate an enquiry without application of his mind," Court said. It held that if a complaint is received by the Registrar and if the Registrar on perusal of the said complaint were to be of the opinion that enquiry is to be instituted, then he can order to do so and when such an order is made by the Registrar, it can only be said to be on his own motion, since there is an independent application of mind by the Registrar.
“In the event of the non-application of mind by the Registrar and or the Registrar blindly following the complaint lodged by a third party that there is an embargo under Sub Section (1) to Section 25 of the Act and such an enquiry would not come within the purview of Sub Section (1) to Section 25 of the Act.”
In the present case the Court said it can be seen from the order of appointment of Enquiry Officer that the Registrar issued two notices for a preliminary enquiry and to find out whether there is prima facie truth in the allegations. It is upon receipt of the said report that the Registrar applied his mind to the report and came to an independent conclusion that an enquiry is required to be held.
"Thus the appointment of Enquiry Officer in the present case is not based on the complaint received but the registrar has acted upon it by instituting a preliminary enquiry and acted upon the preliminary enquiry as regards which he applied his mind. This application of mind, in my considered opinion, would constitute “on his own motion"”.
Accordingly it dismissed the petition.
Case Title: Lingasugur Taluk Halumata Abhivrudhi Samiti ( R ) & Others And State of Karnataka & Others
Case No: WRIT PETITION NO. 201552 OF 2023
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 234
Date of Order: 09-06-2023
Appearance: Advocate Amresh S Roja for petitioners.
AGA Shivakumar R Tengli FOR R1 TO R3
Click Here To Read/Download Order