Bombay HC Upholds Order Refusing To Register 'Rashtriya Swayansevak Sangh' As Charitable Society [Read Judgment]
"The authority acting under Section 3-A of the said Act is competent to reject the claim for registration of society in particular name, if in its opinion it is found to be undesirable."
The Bombay High Court on Monday upheld an order of Assistant Registrar of Societies denying permission to register a charitable society under the name and style of "Rashtriya Swayansevak Sangh".
Rejecting an application filed by a 'social worker' Janardan Moon, the Assistant Registrar found that the registration of the society under the name and style of "Rashtriya Swayansevak Sangh" is barred under Section 3-A of the Societies Registration Act in the absence of prior permission of the government. Referring to a government circular, he also stated that the use of name "Rashtriya" in the name of the society directly or by implication suggests the patronage of the Government of India or the state government.
The bench comprising of Justice RK Deshpande and Justice Vinay Joshi observed: "So far as the challenge based on Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution of India is concerned, no doubt, it relates to a fundamental right of the association or union. Of course, by Article 19(4), the operation of any existing law insofar as it imposes or prevents the State from making any law imposing reasonable restrictions on the exercise of right conferred by this Article in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, public order or morality and operation of such law is not affected. It is not the argument advanced that the provision of Section 3¬A of the Societies Registration Act is in any way unreasonable or contravenes the provision of Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution of India. The authority acting under Section 3¬A of the said Act is competent to reject the claim for registration of society in particular name, if in its opinion it is found to be undesirable."
Explaining the procedure, the bench further observed: "Our reading of the provision of Section 3¬A of the Societies Registration Act is that the power of the Registrar to reject the application for registration of the society by name proposed, can be exercised on three grounds- (i) that such registration is undesirable being a name which is identical with, or so nearly resembles the name by which any other existing society has been previously registered, as to be likely to deceive the public or members of either society, or (ii) which suggests or is calculated to suggest the patronage of the Government or connection with any body constituted by that Government or any local authority, or (iii) which may be deemed to be undesirable. Ground No.(i) contemplates existence of registered Society in the identical name or the name which resembles with such society. Ground No.(ii) does not contemplate existence of registered society, but it suggests or calculated to suggest the patronage or connection with the Government or local authority. For the society falling in ground No.(ii), the registration may be permissible with the prior permission of the Government concerned, whereas ground No.(iii) is subject to any rules made in that behalf."