Ram Chandra Mission & ANR Vs. P. Rajagopalachari & Ors  INSC 746 (29 April
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT & TARUN CHATTERJEE
REPORTABLE CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6619 OF 2000 Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
1. Challenge in this appeal is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the
Allahabad High Court. By a common judgment several civil appeals were heard
together and disposed of. A common link in all these appeals was the decision
of a religious cum Philanthropic Society named Sh. Ram Chandra Mission. It was
established by a late Sh. Ram Chandra Ji Maharajan and on his death disputes
arose. The disputes essentially relate to spiritual heirship to control the
affairs of the mission. Series of litigation was resulted and the four special
leaves before the High Court were summed up and by the impugned order the High
Court held that all the four appeals were to be dismissed. Before the Division
Bench orders of learned Single Judge were challenged. The relief sought for
were categorized under five heads.
Grant of letters of administration in favour of Sri U.C. Saxena in
respect of the properties of Sri Ram Chandra Mission through out India and
Declaration and Sri Umesh Chandra Saxena was the President of the Mission
and the second petitioner was the Secretary thereof.
An interim grant during pendency of the application.
In the alternative appointment of a
receiver in respect of the entire estate of deceased Sr.
Ram Chandra Mission, and 5. Any other relief.
2. The special leaves were filed by Umesh Chandra Saxena and others, Uma
Shankar and Another, the present appellants and another. Special leave by the
Umesh Chandra Saxena and Anr. Sri. P. Rajagopalichari were the respondent while
in the first special leave by Umesh Chandra Saxena and Anr. The Administrative
General, U.P. Allahabad and others were the parties.
3. Background facts as highlighted by the appellant in this appeal are as
Sh. Ram Chandra Mission-Society was registered, established and founded by
Maharaj, Shri Ram Chandra Ji Maharaj with its constitution, bye laws and
Memorandum of Society on 21.7.1995. Purportedly there was a covering letter to
the intimation dated 23.3.1974 alleged to have been executed by the founder in
favour of respondent P.
Rajagopalachari. This intimation according to the appellant was the result
of manipulation and fraud. The nomination was declared him to be the president
of society and clearly stated that he shall work for the Mission and he is
"President of Sahaj Marga System". On 16.4.1982 nomination was
executed in favour of Shri Umesh Chandra Saxena as spiritual representative in
the direct line of succession and he was nominated as the successor or
President under Rules 3 and 4 of the registered constitution, bye laws of the
society. The nomination/declaration clearly stated that the previous nomination
if any made by the founder stand superseded and cancelled. Founder - Shri Ram
Chandraji Maharaj breathed his last on 19.4.983. On 4.1.1984 a civil suit was
filed by three members of the Society in the Court of Civil Judge, Shahjanpur
who granted ex-parte injunction restraining P.
Rajgopalachari from acting as President. On 6.2.1984 and 7.2.1984 working
Committee meeting was held at head quarters and after perusal of booklet Sh.
U.C. Saxena was declared as a successor or President and also the spiritual
representation in the direct line of succession on the basis of nomination of
16.4.1982. The claim of P. Rajgopalachari based on the alleged nomination dated
23.3.1994 was treated as rejected. On 8.2.1984 General Body was held at the
head quarter of the Society and the claim of Sh. Umesh Chandra Saxena was
approved and he was declared as spiritual representative in the direct line of
succession and also as the successor or President of the society. Claim of P.
Rajgopalachari based on the alleged nomination was rejected.
On 15.2.1982 a circular was issued by Secretary Sh. S. A. Sarnad informing all members regarding the declaration of Sh.Umesh Chandra Saxena as Successor President and the spiritual representative
in the direct line of succession. An amendment was carried out to the Societies
Registration Act, 1860 on
30.4.1984. Section 3(A) was amended by the substitution of sub section 4 of
Section 3(A) and addition of a proviso to Section 4(1). By virtue of Section
3(a)(4). List of the members of the managing Committee Body elected was
required to be filed. Ex-parte injunction was granted on 4.1.1984 was confirmed
on 9.4.1984. In appeal by respondent No. 1, P. Rajgopalachari the High Court
granted stay of injunction. The High Court allowed the first appeal and set
aside the injunction order. SLP filed against the order of the High Court was
dismissed by this Court on 27.9.1985. The suit was subsequently withdrawn on
10.7.1997 on giving of an undertaking not to alignate and not to shift the head
On 23.1.1988 elections were held at the head quarters in accordance with
Section 3(A)(4) and Section 4 and the office bearers were duly elected Sh. S.P.
Srivastava as President and Sh. B.D. Mahajan as Secretary respectively. On
24.4.1990 in proceeding under Section 25 of the Act report of the Tehsildar
counter signed by the SDM as the prescribed authority under Section 25 was
passed recognizing the representation of aforesaid two persons as the President
and Secretary. On 29.7.1991 another report was given by the tehsildar and K.G.
in a proceeding under Section 25 recognising the same position. The
aforesaid reports were questioned on behalf of respondent No. 1 before the
prescribed authority by an application called SU-2/91 the application was
rejected by the prescribed authority and earlier reports were confirmed. An
application was moved by 75 members of the society for action under Section
25(2) of the Act on 20.4.1993. On 15.2.1994 elections were held and Sh. Umesh
Chandra Saxena and Sh.K.V. Reddy were elected as President and Secretary
respectively. on 29.9.1994 the Assistant Registrar passed order holding that
since the Constitution provides for nomination of President election cannot be
conducted. He also held that in view of the interim orders in civil suit OS
(No.) 200 of 1983 the respondent No. 1 P. Rajagopalachari shall continue to
work as President. As noted above the suit was withdrawn on 10.7.1997 with
liberty to file fresh suit. On 10.7.1997 writ petition No. 37023 of 1994 filed
against the order dated 29.9.1994 was dismissed by learned Single Judge.
On 24.11.1998 the Division Bench dismissed the special leave No. 580 of 1987
holding that since under the Rules of the society the post of the President and
Members of the working committee is not an elected one, Section 25 would not
come out and took play. The High Court, however held that Registrar had no
authority to direct anybody to continue an office. It was further held that the
application under Section 25(2) itself was untenable and so was the writ
petition. On 22.1.1999 elections were held and again Umesh Chandra Saxena and
Sh. K. V. Reddy were elected as President and Secretary in accordance with the
amended provisions of the Act. On 3.11.2003 Sh. Umesh Chandra Saxena expired
and Navneet Kumar Saxena was elected unanimously as the President of the
Society in an emergent meeting which was held at Hyderabad by working
committee. The general Body on 22.11.2003 had approved and confirmed the
election of the Navneet Kumar Saxena as the President of the society.
Further the amendment proposed and adopted by the General body of the
society, in order to make the rules in consonance of the provisions of the Act.
On 12.2.2005 elections were held in the society for electing the Managing
committee and again Navneet Kumar Saxena and K. V. Reddy was elected as the
president and Secretary respectively.
4. Primarily the stand is that if Section 3(A)(4) as introduced by Act 11 of
1984 cannot be given a restricted meaning. If it is elected to Managing Body
"elected" then the provision made would be rendered
"nugatory". It is intended to provide that even if Rules, say
otherwise "elections" has to be introduced, Section4 (Proviso) is
also relevant. The stand is that earlier there was no need for list of elected
members as there was no elected member. So the purpose is to have elected
Section 4 speaks of an annual list. If the intention was that the members
were to be elected, the legislature could have said so specifically without
leaving it to be inferred by implication. Section 27 provides for the
consequence for non compliance with Section 4. It is stated that the position
in 1975 was that chosen includes "election". Now, it only means
elected by implication and that to be read in the line of Section 3(A) and 4
proviso, it is pointed out that Section 25(2) refers to election and the remedy
to challenge. If there is no remedy nobody is left remedyless. Alternatively,
it is submitted that assuming it is to be done by nomination, P. Rajgopalachari
could have been nominated, but it has been annulled on 16.4.1982 as Umesh
Chandra Saxena remains nominated. It is pointed out that role as President of
the Sahaj Marg system is different. The application filed by Sh. Rajgopalachari
has to be tested as per clause 3(b), these were not challenged and
Rajgopalchari cannot have nay role to play. P.Rajgopalachari could not have
been nominated because he is not in the direct line of succession. In any
event, after passing of order dated 16.4.1982 he has no role to play. The
working committee's decision, resolution of the General Body all are of similar
effect. The stand is strongly opposed by the respondent to say that nomination
were not merely in respect of the Sahaj Marg system system but it was in
respect of President itself.
5. It is pointed out that the earlier suit having direct effect was withdrawn
and the effect of it has to be considered. The effect of the withdrawal of a
suit has been considered by this Court in K. Sivaramaiah v. Rukmani Ammal
[2004(1) SCC 471]. It was inter alia observed as follows:
"So far as Original Suit No. 7359 of 1989 is concerned, the findings
recorded in the judgment therein could have constituted res judicata but the
fact remains that the appellate court permitted the withdrawal of the suit and
once the suit has been permitted to be withdrawn all the proceedings taken
therein including the judgment passed by the trial court have been wiped out. A
judgment given in a suit which has been permitted to be withdrawn with the
liberty of filing a fresh suit on the same cause of action cannot constitute
res judicate in a subsequent suit filed pursuant to such permission of the
6. It is not necessary to deal with the true import of Sections 3(A) and 4.
It would be appropriate to direct that the pending suit shall be decided within
a period of six months.
7. The effect and relevance of any proceedings which have attained finality
shall be duly considered in the pending suit.
It is open to the parties to move for such interim protection as the
circumstances warrant. The appeal stands disposed of accordingly. No order as