12 Nov 2022 10:25 AM GMT
The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently observed that the power of Registrar under Section 32 of the MP Society Registrikaran Adhiniyam, 1973 is not bound by the prerequisite of having certain findings or materials to initiate an enquiry suo moto. The division bench comprising Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Vishal Mishra observed- It is apt to indicate that in various...
The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently observed that the power of Registrar under Section 32 of the MP Society Registrikaran Adhiniyam, 1973 is not bound by the prerequisite of having certain findings or materials to initiate an enquiry suo moto.
The division bench comprising Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Vishal Mishra observed-
It is apt to indicate that in various enactments, the powers are vested only after certain material is collected or on the satisfaction of the concerned authority that action could be initiated. However, so far as Section 32 of the Adhiniyam,1973 is concerned, no such requirement is postulated. The requirement of having any material or any other reason before initiation of the proceedings is absent under Section 32. Section 32 of the Adhiniyam, 1973 only postulates a suo motu power to the Registrar. This is probably intended in order to hold an enquiry with regard to the constitution, working and financial conditions of a Society.
Facts of the case were that that a written complaint was made to a State Cabinet Minister regarding alleged irregularities within the Petitioner Society. The office of the Minister concerned, communicated the information to the Registrar and later followed it up with another communication to enquire about the same. The Registrar, exercising his power under Section 32 of the Adhiniyam, initiated an enquiry suo moto against the functioning of the Petitioner Society and asked its office to produce certain documents for inspection. Questioning the same, the Petitioner moved the Court.
The Petitioner submitted before the Court that the Registrar went beyond his jurisdiction to initiate the enquiry. It was also pointed out that he was doing so at the behest of the Minster. It was asserted that there was no material to indicate as to why and in what manner was the enquiry initiated. Therefore, it was contended that in the absence of any material, no enquiry could be initiated under Section 32 of the Adhiniyam.
Per contra, the State argued that the Registrar exercised his powers within the four corners of law and that the petition was liable to be dismissed.
Interpreting the provisions under Section 32 of the Adhiniyam, the Court observed that the requirement of having any material or any other reason before initiation of the proceedings is absent. Further, the Court rejected the contention of the Petitioner regarding the involvement of the Minister. Referring to the communications from the Office of the Minister concerned to the Registrar, the Court noted that the said documents, in no way, indicated that there was any pressure to initiate enquiry against the Petitioner Society-
…we do not find that there is any pressure, coercion or otherwise by the Minister in order to initiate the proceedings. All that the Minister has done is to intimate about the pending F.I.R. lodged against the petitioner - Society. The subsequent letter is to find out as to what happened to the letter written by the Minister. This we do not find as an interference in the statutory duties of the Registrar. In case there was any communication where the Minister or anybody else would have directed the Registrar to perform a particular act or not to perform a particular act that would amount to interfering in the normal functioning of the authority. This, we do not find either in Annexures P/3 or P/4.
With the aforesaid observations, the Court held that proceedings initiated by the Registrar were just and proper and were bereft of any interference by the Minister or any third party. Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.
Case Title: EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN MP (ELC IN MP) VERSUS THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH
Case citation: 2022 LiveLaw (MP) 255
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