Singh Vs. State of Haryana & Ors  INSC 493 (2 May 1997)
RAMASWAMY, K.T. THOMAS
O R D
E R Order dated 7.0.1996 is recalled. We have heard Shri Maheshwari, learned
counsel for the appellant.
only question is; whether the appellant as President of the Sardarajanti Kalan
Cooperative Agricultural Service Society along with other two persons, namely,
the Secretary and Treasurer, is liable to account for a sum of Rs. 65,726,59.
It is an admitted position that Tara Chand is Ex-Secretary, the appellant, the
Ex-President and Sardar Singh is the Ex-Cashier. The dispute arose from award
proceedings under the Haryana Cooperative Societies Act. On a reference made to
the Registrar, the matter was referred to the concerned officer for enquiry and
basis thereof, after notice to the parties and conduct of the due enquiry, the
award come to be passed wherein it was held that the three officers, namely,
the appellant as President, Tara Chand as Secretary and Sardar Singh as Cashier
were jointly and individually responsible for the unaccounted sum of
Rs.65.726.59. The Secretary and the Cashier had allowed the award to become
final. The appellant carried the matter in appeal, which was confirmed;
writ petition, filed consequently, stood dismissed.
this appeal by special leave granted by this court.
learned counsel for the appellant, contends that the appellate authority
proceeded on the premise that the appellant had admitted the misappropriation
and accordingly it confirmed the award. This Court called for the record on
perusal thereof, found that there was no such admission. Therefore, leave was
granted. The appellant having not admitted the misappropriation, it must be
proved that the appellant was a party thereto. It is argued that in the absence
of such a proof, he cannot be saddled with any liability for the unaccounted
money to the members of the Society. We find no force in the contention. It is
true that the Registrar, who conducted the enquiry, had noted the admission.
The admission was only in relation to the joint purchase of a tempo by the
three persons for use as a public carrier and the income derived therefrom was
required to be distributed to the members of the Society. That does not amount
to admission by the appellant and others that they misappropriated the amount.
It is seen from the evidence that certain amount, at the rate of Rs.1500/- to
each of the members was credited towards purchase of lempo and there is an
admission by the appellant and others that the tempo was purchased. Once it is
proved that the tempo was actually purchased, the burden is on the said office
bearers of the society to account for the profits derived by its use as public
carriage. The finding is that they have not accounted for. It is true that
under the bye-laws of the Society, as placed before us, the responsibility is
of the Treasurer and the Secretary. But the appellant being the president bears
the overall responsibility. Being the President of the Society, he owes the
collective responsibility with the Treasurer and the Secretary for its
accounting. In the absence of accounting of the funds, necessary inference is
that there was improper management of the institution and thereby they are
liable for making good the loss caused to the Society and the members. The
crime registered against them is in respect of an offence; but the surcharge
proceedings are for unaccounted money by the officers or the persons
responsible therefor. Being the President of the Society, the appellant bears
the collective responsibility to have the accounting properly done of the funds
of the Society. The omission thereof constitutes misappropriation.
then contended that certain documents had not been supplied to the appellant
and, therefore, it is violative of the principles of natural justice. We do not
find any force in the contention at this distance of time for the reason that
it involves investigation into the questions of facts.
appeal is accordingly dismissed. No costs.