The Bombay High Court appointed four members of the Managing Board to run a society saying that the principles of natural justice have not been followed by the statutory authorities.

The Court was dealing with a writ petition filed against the order of the Deputy Registrar, Co-operative Societies disqualifying three freshly elected members of the Managing Committee for five years by accepting the inquiry report under Sections 83 and 88 of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960 without giving any reasons.

A Single Bench of Justice Milind N. Jadhav said, “In the facts which are narrated herein above there is no reason as to why the Administrator should continue to manage the affairs of the society any further. In so far as the issue of inquiry is concerned, it is also seen that how the principles of natural justice are not followed by the Statutory Authorities despite the Petitioners having placed the material evidence on record.”

Advocate Nigel Quraishy appeared for the petitioners while Addl. G.P. Milind More appeared for the respondents.

In this case, the petitioners were the members of Kendwell Co-operative Housing Society Ltd. who were duly elected in the election held by the Returning Officer and declared as office bearers. Their grievance was that the respondent who was appointed as an Administrator in 2021 still continued as Administrator of the Society and serious complaints were made against him.

Before the aforesaid members could take charge of the society affairs from the existing Administrator, they were disqualified by an order resultantly leading to the society being managed by him. For a period of two years, despite the members pursuing the office, elections were not held until January 2023. Without considering the reply of the society to the inquiry, a notice was issued under Section 88 without even hearing the society or members. Hence, the petition was filed before the High Court.

The High Court after considering the submissions made by the parties observed, “It is seen that in the body of the eight newly elected office bearers he is also elected as an office bearer of the Managing Committee. It is a sorry state of affairs that instead of working together, complaints are filed on issues which have all the answers.”

The Court directed that a Board of four Managing Committee members shall administer the affairs of the 15 member Kendwell Cooperative Housing Society for a limited period of four months.

“Respondent No.4 i.e. the Administrator shall handover immediate charge of all the records of the society to the four members of the Managing Board appointed by this Court to run the affairs of the society”, further ordered the Court.

The Court also directed that the banker of the society shall take cognizance of the order and immediately remove the authority of the Administrator and include the names of the office bearers to run the affairs of the society and sign the cheques.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the writ petition and quashed the impugned order.

Cause Title- Reuben Alphonso & Ors. v. State of Maharashtra & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2023:BHC-OS:15402-DB)

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