Under Section 25(1) of the Societies Registration Act, it is the Prescribed Authority which is invested with the power to decide a dispute in respect of an election or continuance in office of an office bearer of a registers society. The Assistant Registrar does not have power to decide a dispute of such nature, albeit he could prima facie adjudge whether the dispute is bona fide or sham, to find out whether it needs to be referred to the prescribed authority or not. Kumar Gaurav Singh v. State of U.P., 2018 (4) AWC 4020.
Tag Archives: Prescribed Authority
Election Dispute of a Registered Society – Assistant Registrar Does Not Have the Power to Decide the Same
The phrase “entertained” used in the 1st proviso to Section 21(1)(a) of the Uttar Pradesh Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972 would mean that the period of three years since the date of purchase by the landlord must have expired when the Prescribed Authority is required to entertain the release application on the grounds mentioned in Clause (a) of Section 21(1) of Uttar Pradesh Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972. This would be a stage reached when the Court applies its judicial mind and takes up the case for decision on merits concerning the grounds mentioned in Clause (a) of Section 21(1) of Uttar Pradesh Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972. The word “entertained” would necessarily mean entertain the grounds for consideration for the purpose of adjudication of merits and not at any stage prior thereto, i.e. neither at the stage at which the application is filed in the office of the prescribed authority nor at the stage when summons is issued to the tenant. The crux of the conclusion is that by the time the application for possession on the grounds mentioned in clause (a) of Section 21(1) is taken up by the Prescribed Authority for consideration on merits, at least minimum three years period should have elapsed since the date of purchase of the premises by the landlord/landlady. Pradeep Kumar v. Meena Devi Sahu, 2020 (138) ALR 91.
Section 15 of the Societies Registration Act, 1860 defines member. Sub-section (1) of Section 15 of the Act provides that for the purposes of this Act a member of a Society shall be a person who, having been admitted therein according to the rules and regulations thereof, shall have paid a subscription, or shall have signed the roll or list of members thereof, and shall not have resigned in accordance with such rules and regulations. It also defines disqualified members by providing that in all proceedings under the Act no person shall be entitled to vote or be counted as a member whose subscription at the time shall have been in arrears for a period exceeding three months. Sub-Section (2) of Section 15 of the Act provides that every society shall maintain a register of members giving such particulars, as may be prescribed. However, Section 15 does not confer power on the Registrar or any other Authority to decide any issue in respect of membership. In Shiv Kumar Singh v. State of U.P., 2004 (5) ESC 493, it was held that the Assistant Registrar is not authorized to decide any dispute with regards to membership of the General Body under Section of the Act, 1860. Committee of Management, Sri Vidur Sewa Ashram v. State of U.P., (2019) 1 UPLBEC 520.
Even the newly inserted Section 4-B of the Societies Registration Act, 1860 does not attach finality to the determination made by the Registrar in respect of membership, therefore such determination is open to challenge before appropriate forum or Court. Section 25 of the Societies Registration Act, 1860 as inserted in the State of Uttar Pradesh creates a forum for settlement of disputes pertaining to election of office bearers of a society as also in respect of their continuance, in a summary manner. To effectively settle the dispute, clause (c) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 25 of the Act empowers the Prescribed Authority to assess whether the result of the election has been materially affected by the improper acceptance or rejection of any nomination or by the improper reception of any vote which is void, which implies that the Prescribed Authority has power to decide an issue as regards membership of the society and therefore whether a reference is with the strength of one-fourth of the members or not becomes a jurisdictional fact which has to be necessarily determined by the Prescribed Authority before adjudicating the dispute. While determining the existence of jurisdictional fact the Prescribed Authority can determine the general body and come to its own conclusion based on the material placed before it irrespective of any other determination made by the Registrar while holding election under Section 25(2) of the Societies Registration Act, 1860, though such determination is subject to decision of a Civil Court of competent jurisdiction. Committee of Management, Sri Vidur Sewa Ashram v. State of U.P., (2019) 1 UPLBEC 520.