T. P. Daver Vs. Lodge Victoria No.
363, S. C. Belgaum  INSC 370 (12 December 1962)
IMAM, SYED JAFFER KAPUR, J.L.
CITATION: 1963 AIR 1144 1964 SCR (1) 1
Domestic Tribunal-Masonic Lodge-Source of
power to expel members-Contract by which they become members-Rules must be
strictly observed-Must act honestly and in good faith-Should not exceed its
jurisdiction-Jurisdiction of Civil Courts.
There is a Scotish Masonic institution known
as Grand Lodge of Scotland. Under this institution there are District Grand
Lodges. Under its superintendence there are Daughter Lodges. These institutions
arc governed by their own constitutions and laws. Under those laws a member
against whom disciplinary action has been taken by a Daughter Lodge can appeal
to the District Grand Lodge and there is a right of second appeal to the Grand
Lodge of Scotland. The appellant was a member of one of the Daughter Lodges at
Belgaum known as Lodge Victoria. The second respondent made a complaint against
the appellant alleging that he has committed 12 masonic offences. A notice was
issued to the appellant by the Secretary of the Victoria Lodge alleging the
commission of these offences and requiring him to reply within 14 days. The
appellant submitted his answer in extension to the various charges. A special
meeting of the Lodge was held at which each charge was read, members gave their
comments and each charge was put to vote and it was unanimously decided that
the appellant was guilty of each charge. By a resolution the appellant was
expelled subject to the confirmation of the District Grand Lodge. The decision
was communicated to the appellant who therefore filed an appeal to the District
Lodge which body after giving him adjournment to appear in person dismissed the
appeal at the next meeting at which the appellant absented himself. A further
appeal was filed to the Grand Lodge which was also dismissed. Thereafter the
appellant filed a suit before the Civil judge, Belgaum for a declaration that
the resolution of the 2 Lodge Victoria expelling him was void and that he still
continued to be a member of that Lodge. The Civil Judge dismissed the suit.
Thereupon an appeal was filed before the High Court of Mysore. The High Court
dismissed the appeal. The present appeal is by way of a certificate granted by
the High Court.
The appellant contended that the Lodge
Victoria had no jurisdiction to try Masonic offences since such offences were
within the jurisdiction of the District Grand Lodge, Bombay.
Secondly, it was contended that the
disciplinary proceedings prescribed by law 198 which governs such proceedings
were not strictly complied with. It was further contended that the fourteen
days to which he was entitled after he filed his answer were not granted to
him. Lastly, it was argued that the decision to expel him was wrong on merits.
Held, that the source of the power of
associations, clubs and Lodges to expel their members is the contract on the
basis of which they become members.
Bonsor v. Musicians Union,  A. C. 104,
A member of a Masonic Lodge is bound to abide
by the rules of the Lodge; and if the rules provide for expulsion, he shall be
expelled only in the manner provided by the rules.
Maclean v. The Workers' Union  1 Ch.
602 and Ezra v. Mahendra Nath Banerji, I. L.R.  2Cal. 88, approved.
The Lodge is bound to act strictly according
to the rules;
whether a particular rule is mandatory or
directory falls to be decided in each case, having regard to the well settled
rules of construction in that regard. The jurisdiction of the Civil Court is
rather limited; it cannot obviously sit as a court of appeal from the decision
of such a body, it can set aside the order of such a body if the said body acts
without jurisdiction or does not act in good faith or act,, in violation of
natural justice. Maclean v. The Workers Union,  1 Ch. 623 and L.A.P.0'
Beilly v. C. C. Gettens, A I.R. (1949) P. C. 313, referred to.
The rules governing tribunals cannot mutatis
mutandis be applied to such bodies as Lodges. One has to see broadly in the
circumstances of cacti case whether the principles of natural justice has been
applied. In the circumstances of this case, 3 particularly when it is found
that the appellant had not raised any objection, it cannot be said that the
resolution passed by the Lodge Victoria is bad for violating any principles of
Maclean v. The Workers Union,  1 Ch.
602, referred to.
Law 198 expressly confers a jurisdiction on a
Daughter Lodge to try a member if he commits an offence, the jurisdiction
conferred on it cannot be excluded by Law 128 which is a general law. The word
offence' in the context of Law 198 can only mean the infringement of laws of
the Daughter Lodge.
In the present case the rules relating to the
disciplinary proceedings have been strictly complied with. With regard to the
contention that the additional fourteen days, to which he is entitled to file
his case, were not granted to him it is held that there was no prejudice caused
to him by this failure and since he never made a complaint of it before any of
the two appellate bodies, he has waived the requirement of the rule. From the
facts and circumstances of the case, particularly when it is found that the
appellant did not raise any objection, it cannot be said that the resolution
passed by the Lodge Victoria is bad for violating natural justice. Since Civil
Courts have no jurisdiction to decide on the merits of a decision given by a
domestic tribunal and since both courts below have found concurrently that the
Daughter Lodge has acted in good faith and since no exceptional circumstance
has been shown, this Court will not examine the merits of the decision.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 414 of 1960.
Appeal from the judgment and decree dated
September 25, 1958, of the Mysore High Court in Regular Appeal (B) No. 256 of
Naraindas C. Malkani and G. Gopalakrishnan,
for the appellant.
Bishan Narain and S. P. Verma, for the respondent
1962. December 12. The judgment of the Court
was delivered by SUBBA RAO, J.-This appeal on certificate relates to an
internal dispute of the members of a 4 Masonic Lodge called the "Lodge
Victoria No. 363 S.C." at Belgaum.
There is a Scotish institution known as
"Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland" at
Edinburgh, hereinafter called the "Grand Lodge of Scotland". Under
its supervision there arc Provincial or District Grand Lodges spread throughout
the world. There are Daughter Lodges under the superintendence of the District
Grand Lodges. The Grand Lodge of Scotland is governed by its own written
Constitution and Laws. There is also a separate Constitution and Laws for every
District Grand Lodge. One such District Grand Lodge known as "The Grand
Lodge of All Scotish Freemasonary in India and Pakistan" has its
headquarters at Bombay. The aforesaid daughter Lodge at Belgaum is directly
under the said District Grand Lodge and is governed by the Constitution and
Laws of the latter.
The appellant was a member of the lodge
Victoria, having joined it in the year 1948. On October 16, 1952, the second
respondent made a complaint against the appellant to the Master, Lodge
Victoria, alleging that the appellant was guilty of 12 masonic offences. It was
alleged therein that, as the appellant had committed masonic offences, he
should be tried by the Lodge for the charges levelled against him under Law 198
of the Constitution. On October 20, 1952, notice of the said complaint was issued
to the appellant and he was required to send to the Secretary of the Lodge his
answers to the charges within 14 days from the date of the notice. He was also
informed that he was entitled to be present and to state his defence at the
special meeting to be held on November 8, 1952. On the same day, the Secretary
of the Lodge sent notices to all the members of the Lodge asking them to attend
the said special meeting convened for considering and 5 passing judgment on the
said complaint. On October 27, 1952, the appellant submitted his answer in
extenso to the various charges levelled against him in the complaint; in that
answer he requested that "my complete replies be read in to the brethren
assembled to decide this matter and I be informed of the total number of
brethren present and the number of votes cast one way or the other." A
perusal of that reply also shows that the appellant under-stood the charges
levelled against him as relating to certain offences alleged to have been
committed by him and his reply proceeded on that basis. On November 8, 1952,
the special meeting of the Lodge was held and the minutes show that 18 members
attended the meeting, that each charge was read at the meeting, that comments
of the members were invited and that decision was taken on each of the charges.
Each of the charge was put to vote and the members present unanimously held
that every one of the charges levelled against the appellant was established.
In the result they passed a resolution excluding the appellant from the Lodge
until the exclusion was confirmed by the District Grand Lodge under Law 199 of
the Constitution. On November 15, 1952, the said decision was communicated to
the appellant. On November 24, 1952, the appellant preferred an appeal against
that order to the District Grand Lodge. On October 5, 1953, a meeting of the
District Grand Lodge was convened to consider the appeal and the appeal was
dismissed. It was noted in the proceedings of the District Grand Lodge that
though earlier an adjournment was given to enable the appellant to appear in
person at the meeting, he remained absent. On a further appeal to the Grand
Lodge of Scotland, the said Lodge considered the sentence imposed on the
appellant as one of "suspension sine die" and recommended to the
Lodge Victoria to review the suspension after a period of 12 months if the
appellant applied for reinstatement. It does not 6 appear that the appellant
filed any application for review.
On September 7, 1954, the appellant
instituted a suit in the Court of the Civil Judge, Senior Division, Belgaum,
for a declaration that the resolution of the Victoria Lodge dated November 8,
1952, was illegal and void and that he continued to be a member of the Lodge
despite the resolution, for an injunction to restrain the officers and servants
of the said Lodge from preventing him from exercising his rights therein, and
for recovery of damages. To that suit he made the Victoria Lodge, the first
defendant ; the complainant, the second defendant ; the Secretary of the Lodge,
the third defendant ; and the District Grand Lodge, Bombay, the fourth
defendant. The defendants contested the suit. The learned Civil judge dismissed
the suit. The appeal filed by the appellant to the High Court of Mysore was
The present appeal has been filed on a
certificate issued by the said High Court.
Learned counsel for the appellant raised
before us all the contentions which his client had unsuccessfully raised in the
courts below. Before we advert to the said contentions it would be convenient
to notice briefly the law on the subject relevant to the present enquiry.
The source of the power of associations like
clubs and lodges to expel their members is the contract on the basis of which
they become members. This principle has been restated by Lord Morton in Bonsor
v. Musicians' Union, (1).
There, one Bonsor, who became a member of a
trade union, was expelled. In that context Lord Morton observed :
"When Mr. Bonsor applied to join the
respondent union, and his application was accepted, a contract came into
existence between Mr. Bonsor and the respondent, whereby Mr. Bonsor agreed to
abide by the rules of the (1)  A.C. 104,127.
7 respondent union, and the union impliedly
agreed that Mr. Bonsor would not be excluded by the union or its officers
otherwise than in accordance with the rules".
This contractual origin of the rule of
expulsion has its corollary in the cognate rule that in expelling a member the
conditions laid down in the rules must be strictly compliedwith. In Maclean v.
The Workers' Union, (1), the contractual foundation of the power is described
"In such a case as the present, where
the tribunal is the result of rules adopted by persons who have formed the
association known as a trade union, it seems to me reasonably clear that the
rights of the plaintiff against the defendants must depend simply on the
contract, and that the material terms of the contract must be found in the
Proceeding on that basis, the learned Judge
"It is certain, therefore, that a
domestic tribunal is bound to act strictly according to its rules and is under
an obligation to act honestly and in good faith." The same idea was
expressed by the Calcutta High Court in Ezra v. Mahendra Nath Banerji (1) thus :
"......... Where the rule provides in
any particular respect that some condition must be fulfilled, then that
condition must be strictly complied with, since the power of expulsion is
itself dependent on the terms of the rule." The next question is whether
the doctrine of strict compliance with the rules implies that every minute
deviation from the rules, whether substantial or not, would render the act of
such a body void. The answer to this question will depend upon the (1)  1
Ch. 602, 623.
(2) I.L.R. (1946) 2 Cal, 88, 109, 8 nature of
the rule infringed ; whether a rule is mandatory or directory depends upon each
rule, the purpose for which it is made and the setting in which it appears. We
shall consider this aspect of the doctrine when we deal with the argument of
the learned counsel that in the present case the rules have not been complied
The scope of the jurisdiction of a civil
court vis-a-vis the decisions of tribunals is also well settled. In Maclean v. The
Workers' Union Maugham,J., observed:
"It appears to me that we have no power
to review the evidence any more than have a power to say whether the tribunal
came to a right conclusion." Much to the same effect the judicial
Committee observed in L.A.P.0' Beilly v. C.C. Gittens, (2).
"................ It is important to
bear in mind that neither the learned Judge nor their Lordships' Board is
" entitled to sit as a Court of appeal from the decisions of a domestic
tribunal such as the Stewards of the Trinidad Turf Club".
Later on the Privy Council stated:
"All these matters, however, are
essentially matters for the domestic tribunal to decide as it thinks right.
Provided that the tribunal does not exceed its jurisdiction and acts honestly
and in good faith, the Court cannot intervene even if it thinks that the
penalty is severe or that a very strict standard has been applied".
Another aspect which may also be noticed is
how far and to what extent the doctrine of bias may be (1)  1 Ch, 602,
(2) A.I.R. (1949) P.C. 313, 316, 317.
9 invoked in the case of domestic tribunals
like those of clubs. The observations of Maugham J. in Maclean's case(1) in
this context may be noticed.
The learned judge observed in that case thus:
"A person who joins an association
governed by rules under which he may be expelled ........................ has
in my judgment no legal right of redress if he be expelled according to the
rules however unfair and unjust the rules or the action of the expelling
tribunal may be provided that it acts in good faith .........................
The phrase, "the principles of natural
justice," can only mean in this connection the principles of fair play so
deeply rooted in the minds of modern Englishmen that a provision for an inquiry
necessarily imports that the accused should be given his chance of defence and
explanation. On that point there is no difficulty. Nor do I doubt that in most
cases it is a reasonable inference from the rules that if there is anything of
the nature of a lis between two persons, neither of them should sit on the
tribunal." Another difficulty that one is confronted with in proceedings
held by committees constituted by clubs is to demarcate precisely the line
between the prosecutor and the, Judge. Maugham, J. noticed this difficulty and
observed in Maclean's case (1) at p. 626 thus :
"In many cases the tribunal is
necessarily entrusted with the duty of appearing to act as prosecutors as well
as that of judges; for there is no one else to prosecute. For example, in a
case where a council is charged with the duty of considering the conduct of any
member whose conduct is disgrace full and of expelling him if found guilty of
such an offence, it constantly occurs that the matter is brought to the (1)
 1 Ch. 602, 628.
10 attention of the council by a report of
legal proceedings in the press. The member is summoned to appear before the
council. The council's duty is to cause him to appear and to explain his
conduct. It may be that in so acting the council are the prosecutors. In one
sense they are; but if the regulations show that the council is bound to act as
I have mentioned and to that extent to act as prosecutors, it seems to be clear
that the council is not disqualified from taking the further steps which-the
rules require." Though it is advisable for a club to frame rules to avoid
conflict of duties, if the rules sanction such a procedure, the party, who has
bound himself by those rules, cannot complain, unless the enquiry held pursuant
to such rules discloses malafides or unfair treatment.
The following principles may be gathered from
the above discussion. (1) A member of a masonic lodge is bound to abide by the
rules of the lodge; and if the rules provide for expulsion, he shall be
expelled only in the manner provided by the rules. (2) The lodge is bound to
act strictly according to the rules, whether a particular rule is mandatory or
directory falls to be decided in each case, having regard to the well settled
rules of construction in that regard. (3) The jurisdiction of a civil court is
rather limited; it cannot obviously sit as a court of appeal from decisions of
such a body; it can set aside the order of such a body, if the said body acts
without jurisdiction or does not act in good faith or acts in violation of the
principles of natural justice as explained in the decisions cited supra.
Bearing the said principles in mind, we shall
now proceed to consider the arguments of learned counsel for the appellant.
11 The first contention is that Lodge
Victoria has no jurisdiction to decide on the question whether a member
committed a masonic offence, for, it is said, such offences are within the
jurisdiction of a District Grand Lodge, Bombay. The question falls to be
decided on a construction of the relevant Laws of the Lodge :
The said Laws read:
Law 198. Every Daughter Lodge shall be
entitled to try any member accused of any offence. A complaint, in writing,
shall be served on the accused brother, by registered letter posted to his last
known address, specifying the offence of which he is charged, which he shall be
entitled to answer in writing within fourteen days of the date of posting of
the complaint, or within such longer time as may be specified in the complaint.
On the answer being lodged, or on the expiry of the time for doing so, the matter
of the complaint shall be brought before the Lodge for consideration and
judgment, either at a special meeting called for that purpose, or at a regular
meeting of the Lodge. The meeting at which it is to be considered must be
called by circular sent by the Secretary, which shall state the fact that the
complaint, and answer, if any, are to be brought before the Lodge for
consideration and judgment. In the case of a Lodge which does not convene its
meetings by circular, the meeting shall be called in such manner as may be
ordered by Grand Committee, or by Grand Secretary on its behalf. Notice of the
meeting shall be sent to the accused brother by registered letter posted to his
last known address at least fourteen clear days prior to the day of the meeting
and that whether he has lodged a written answer or not, and he shall be
entitled 12 to appear at the. meeting and any adjournment thereof and state his
defence. After the case has been considered, the Lodge shall give its decision.
Such decision shall be by votes of a majority of the qualified members voting
thereon and only those present throughout the hearing of the case shall be
entitled to vote.
If the complaint be sustained, the Lodge
shall pronounce such admonition or sentence as shall be decided by the majority
of votes as aforesaid. A Daughter Lodge may not, however, pronounce a sentence
of expulsion as power to expel is vested in Grand Lodge alone; but, if the
circumstances are deemed of sufficient gravity, a Daughter Lodge may recommend
to Grand Lodge that a brother be expelled from the craft. The judgment
pronounced shall be intimated forthwith in writing by registered letter to the
said brother, who shall therein be apprised that it shall 'be final unless
appealed against to the Provincial or District Grand Lodge, or to Grand Lodge
in the case of a Daughter Lodge not within the jurisdiction of a Province or
District within one month after the date of posting the said intimation.
In special circumstances, Grand Committee,
through Grand Secretary, may extend the period within which an appeal may be
Law 128: A Provincial or District Grand Lodge
shall hear and determine all subjects of masonic complaint, dispute, or
difference initiated before or appealed or remitted to it respecting Daughter
Lodges or brethren of the Scotish Craft within the Province or District, and
may admonish, or pronounce a sentence of suspension, and, in the case of a
Lodge, may suspend its Charter. The procedure in all such subjects of
complaint, dispute, or difference shall be re13 gulated mutatis mutandis by
Laws 104 to III inclusive.
Law 56: The Grand Lodge shall hear and determine,
through its Grand Committee as hereinbefore provided, all subjects of Masonic
complaint or irregularity respecting Lodges or Brethren within the
jurisdiction, and may proceed to admonish, or fine, or suspend, or expel.
Under Law 198, every Daughter Lodge will be
entitled to try any member accused of an offence; under Law 128, a Provincial
or District Grand Lodge shall hear and determine all subjects of masonic
dispute or difference initiated before it respecting the brethren of the
Scotish Craft; and Law 56 provides that the Grand Lodge shall hear such
complaints and inflict suitable punishments in respect thereof It will be seen that
two different expressions are used: the expression "'offence" is used
in Law 198, while the expression "masonic complaint" is used in Law
128. It is, therefore, said that, as in the complaint the appellant is alleged
to have committed masonic offences, the proper forum is the District Grand
Lodge and not the Daughter Lodge. It is common case that the expressions
"offence" and "masonic complaint" have not been defined in
the Laws. In its legal significance an offence means an act or omission made
punishable by any law for the time being in force. The expression "masonic
complaint" is a comprehensive term; it may mean any complaint pertaining
to masonic matters. It is not necessary to decide whether the expression
"masonic complaint" is wide enough to take in an "offence".
But Law 198 expressly confers a jurisdiction on a Daughter Lodge to try a
member if he commits an offence; the jurisdiction conferred on it cannot be
excluded by law 128, which is a general law. The question therefore is whether
the allegations made against the appellant constituted "offences"
within the meaning of law 198.
14 The word "'offence" in the
context of that Law can only mean the infringement of the Laws of the Daughter
Lodge. As all the Laws have not been placed before us, we are not in a position
to hold whether the allegations amounted to "offence" or not in the
aforesaid sense. But the complainant, the appellant and the members of the
Lodge, including its office bearers, proceeded on the basis that the appellant
committed "'offences". The complaint discloses as many as 12 charges.
The appellant answered them seriatim.
Indeed, in his answer he specifically stated:
"Further if my accuser and others of his
mind have thought this alleged "offence" serious enough to be
included in this complaint, why did they not take any action in the matter
immediately instead of taking it up after sleeping over it for no less than 3-4
years ?" This shows that even the appellant proceeded on the basis that
the allegations, if established, would amount to "offences" within
the meaning of the said law. In the special meeting of the Lodge it was held
that the charges have been established; and on that basis punishment was
imposed on the appellant. The appellant did not take any objection either that
the allegations did not amount to "offences" within the meaning of
law 198 or that the Lodge had no jurisdiction to decide whether he committed
the offences. It is, therefore, manifest that all the parties concerned in the
matter accepted the position that if the acts alleged to have been committed by
tile appellant were established, he would have committed "offences"
under the laws. If the allegations against the appellant amounted to
""offences" Law 198 is immediately attracted. If that be so,
neither Law 128 nor Law 56, which deal with the jurisdiction of a District
Grand Lodge in respect of "masonic complaints", can just the
jurisdiction expressly conferred on the 15 Daughter Lodge. We, therefore, hold
that the Daughter Lodge had jurisdiction to entertain the complaint filed by
the 2nd respondent against the appellant and decide it on merits.
The next question is, whether Law 198 has
been strictly complied with. Relevant part of Law 198 reads :
"On the answer being lodged, or on the
expiry of the time for doing so, the matter of the complaint shall be brought
before the Lodge for consideration and judgment, either at a special meeting
called for that purpose, or at a regular meeting of the Lodge. The meeting at
which it is to be considered must be called by circular sent by the Secretary,
which shall state the fact that the complaint, and answer, if any, are to be
brought before the lodge for consideration and judgment." As we have
already indicated in the narration of facts, notice was issued to the members
fixing the date of the special meeting along with the notice issued to the
appellant i.e., the notice was issued to the members before the appellant filed
his answer in respect of the allegations made against him in the complaint. It
is, therefore, contended that the notice of the special meeting issued to the
members was not in strict compliance with the said Law.
We do not see any contravention of the Law.
The Law does not say that notice to the members should be issued only after the
answer was lodged by the person against whom a complaint was made. But what it
says is that the matter of the complaint shall be brought before the Lodge for
consideration after the answer was lodged or on the expiry of the time for
doing so. It also does not prescribe that the answer should be communicated to
the members, but only indicates that the notice shall state the fact that 16
the complaint and the answer, if any, will be brought before the Lodge for
consideration and judgment. To put it in other words, the gist of the relevant
part of the law is that in the special meeting convened for the purpose or at a
regular meeting of the Lodge, the matter of the complaint shall be brought for
consideration and judgment. In the present case it is not disputed that the prescribed
notice was given to the members and at the meeting all of them had considered
the complaint as well as the answer lodged by the appellant. Therefore, the law
in this regard has been strictly complied with.
The next contention relates to the following
part of Law 198 : "Notice of the meeting shall be sent to the accused
brother by registered letter posted to his last known address at least fourteen
clear days prior to the day of the meeting and that whether he has lodged a
written answer or not, and he shall be entitled to appear at the meeting and
any adjournment thereof and state his defence." It is contended that under
the said part of the Law, the accused is entitled to have another 14 days after
he filed his answer to enable him to file his case before the Lodge and that in
the instant case no such additional period was given to him. That is so. The
position, therefore, is that the appellant was given notice of the hearing as
required by the law, but he was not given the entire period prescribed there
under. The question is whether this error in the procedure vitiated the trial. It
is obvious that the appellant wag not prejudiced. He never made a complaint of
it. Indeed in his answer he made it clear that he would not be present at the
inquiry. The Law itself enabled him to apply for further time, but he did not
ask for it, as he did not want to appear at the meeting. He did not raise this
objection either in the appeal before the District Grand Lodge or in the second
appeal before the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Before the said appellate Lodges he
took 17 the decision on merits. Indeed, by his answer and subsequent conduct he
clearly waived the said requirement of the Law. Can he now be allowed to rely
upon a breach of the procedural rule to invalidate the proceeding? In our view,
he cannot do so. There is a distinction between the jurisdiction of a Lodge and
the irregular exercise of it in the matter of the taking of procedural steps. A
party to a dispute can certainly waive his objections to some defects in
procedure. In this case, the appellant could have taken objection for his being
given a shorter period of notice than prescribed under the Law for his
appearance before the meeting of the Lodge. He did not do so. The appellant
has, by his aforesaid conduct, clearly waived his right under the said Law.
Having waived it, he is now precluded from relying upon the said defect. We,
therefore, hold that it is not open to the appellant to rely upon the said
defect for invalidating the proceeding.
The lie argument that the members of the
Lodge were both the prosecutors and the judges, and therefore the principles of
natural justice have been violated has not much force in the context of the
present enquiry. We are dealing with a case of a Lodge and not with that of a
tribunal or a court.
It is true that the earlier resolution, Ex.
II 4-, shows that 11 members of the Lodge were not well disposed towards the
appellant; but here we are concerned with the complaint filed by the 2nd
respondent. Notice of the complaint was given to all the members of the Lodge.
It may be that some of them did not like the appellant, and one of them is the
complainant himself But 22 members of the Lodge met and unanimously held-,
after considering the complaint and the answer given by the appellant, that he
was guilty. If the appellant had any objection for one or some of the members
taking part in the meeting, he could have raised an objection, but he did not
do so. The rules 18 governing tribunals and courts cannot mutatis mutandis be
applied to such bodies as Lodges. We have to see broadly in the circumstances
of each case whether the principles of natural justice have been applied. In
the circumstances of this case, particularly when we find that the appellant
had not raised any objection, we cannot say that the resolution passed by the
Lodge Victoria is bad for violating any principles of natural justice.
Lastly an attempt was made to persuade us to
resurvey the entire material to ascertain the correctness or otherwise of the
decision of the Lodge. As we have pointed out earlier, civil courts have no
jurisdiction to decide on the merits of a decision given by a private
association like a Lodge.
Both the courts below have held that the
Daughter Lodge has acted in good faith in the matter of the complaint against
the appellant. That is a concurrent finding of fact; and it is the practice of
this Court not to interfere ordinarily with concurrent findings of fact. There
are no exceptional circumstances for our departing from the said practice.
In the result, the appeal fails and is
dismissed. No costs.