Sabha & Anr Vs. Vth Addl. Distt. and Sessions Judge, Varanasi & Ors
 INSC 249 (22
K. Ramaswamy, K. Misra Rangnath Punchhi, M.M.
1990 SCR (3) 971 1991 SCC Supl. (2) 36 JT 1990 (4) 160 1990 SCALE (2)404
Registration Act, 1860 (Act No. 21 of 1860 as applicable to Uttar Pradesh):
Sections 23 and 25.
challenging office bearers' election and for rendition of
accounts--Jurisdiction of Civil Court--Whether barred.
of Civil Procedure, 1908: Section 9--Civil Court--Bar of Jurisdiction.
respondents instituted a civil suit challenging the election of the office
bearers' of the appellant-Society and asked for rendition of accounts. The
appellant-Society contested the suit on the ground that in view of Sections 23
and 25 of the Societies Registration Act, 1860 the suit was barred. The courts
below having held that the suit was not barred, the defendant Society filed
appeal in this Court.
the appeal, this Court,
1. A litigant having a grievance of a civil nature has, independently of any
statute, a right to institute a suit in the civil court unless its cognizance
is either expressly or impliedly barred. The exclusion of jurisdiction of the
civil court is not to be readily inferred and such exclusion must be either
express or implied. [973A-B] K.S. Venkataraman & Company v. State of Madras,  2 S.C.R. 229; Ganga Bai v. Vijay Kumar and Ors.,  3 S.C.R. 662; Dhula
Bhai and Ors. v. The State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors.,  3 S.C.R. 882;
Investment Company Limited v. The Governor General in Council,  L.R. 74
I.A. 50; cited.
provisions of Section 23 of the Societies Regis- tration Act, 1860 are confined
to audit and have nothing to do with the relief of rendition of accounts.
Section 25 deals with disputes regarding challenge to the eviction of
office-bearers. The maintainability of dispute within the purview of that
Section is hedged with conditions and unless such requirement is fulfilled, a
statutory dispute would not be maintainable. [976B]
the instant case the action in the Civil Court is by some of the members who perhaps would not satisfy the
requirement laid down in Section 25. It cannot be said that Section 25 having
provided the pre-conditions on the satis- faction of which a dispute within the
purview of that Sec- tion would be maintainable before the Registrar takes away
the right of Members of the Society to claim relief other- wise outside the
purview of Section 25 on the basis of their right to seek remedy for their
grievance. It is not the appellant's contention that the relief claimed is not
one which would come within the ambit of Section 9 of the Code of Civil
Procedure. Therefore, the bar of Section 25 is not applicable to the facts of
the case, and the conclusion reached in the Courts below is correct and the
suit is maintainable. [976C-E]
APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 2483 of 1982.
the Judgment and Order dated 5.2. 1982 of the Allahabad High Court in Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 1744 of 1982.
Mukhoty and U.S. Prasad for the Appellants.
Gupta, Ms. Rani Chhabra and M.C. Dhingra for the Respondents.
following Judgment of the Court was delivered by Appellant is a Society
registered under the Societies Registration Act, 21 of 1860. Five persons of
whom some are respondents before us instituted a suit in the Court of Civil
Judge, Varanasi challenging the election of the Manag-
ing Committee and other elected officers of the appellant and asked for
rendition of accounts. This suit of 1981 is still pending. We are now concerned
with the correctness of the finding on the preliminary issue as to whether such
a suit is maintainable in the Civil Court.
The defendants' objection to the maintainability is grounded upon the provi- sions
contained in Sections 23 and 25 of the Registration Act. The Courts below have
taken the view that the suit is not barred. That is why the defendants are here
by special leave.
litigant having a grievance of a civil nature has, independently of any
statute, a right to institute a suit in the civil court unless its cognizance
is either expressly or impliedly barred. The position is well-settled that exclu-
sion of jurisdiction of the civil court is not to be readily inferred and such
exclusion must be either expressly or implied.
has been placed by Mr. Mukhoty before us on the ratio of the Constitution Bench
decision of this Court in K.S. Venkataraman & Company v. State of Madras,
 2 S.C.R. 229 where reference has been made to the Privy Coun- cil case
in Raleigh Investment Company Limited v. The Gover- nor General in Council. It
has been laid down that the Civil Court's
jurisdiction would be presumed unless the contrary is indicated. Mr. Mukhoty
has also relied upon two other decisions being Ganga Bai v. Vijay Kumar and
Others,  3 S.C.R. 662 and Dhula bhai and Others, v. The State of Madhya Pradesh and Another, [ 1974] 3 S.C.R. 882.
The legal position thus seems to be clear and it is not necessary to quote
is really in dispute is the application of the rule to the facts of the case.
To ascertain whether the suit would be barred, the effect of the provisions of
Sections 23 and 25 of the Registration Act with the U .P. amendments has to be
considered. These sections provide:
Audit: (1) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub- section (2) of Section 4
or of Section 22, where the Regis- trar is of opinion that it is necessary or
expedient so to do, he may, by written order, require any society to furnish
its accounts or a copy of a statement of receipts and ex- penditure for any
particular year duly audited by a Char- tered Accountant:
that the Registrar may, at the request of society permit it to have such
accounts and statement audit- ed by any other person by him.
the society fails to furnish the documents referred to in sub-section (1)
within the period specified in the order or with such extended period as the
Registrar may from time to time allow, the Registrar may cause the accounts of
such society audited for the said year and may recover the cost of such audit
from that society.
the society neglects or refuses to make its account or 974 other documents
available for audit under sub-section (2) or, in the opinion of the Registrar,
otherwise fails to provide requisite facilities to have the audit made with due
expedition, the Registrar may proceed to take action under Section 24.
Disputes regarding election of office-bearers:-(1) The prescribed authority
may, on a reference made to it by the Registrar or by at least one fourth of
the members of a society registered in Uttar Pradesh, hear and decide in a
summary manner any doubt or dispute in respect of the elec- tion or continuance
in office of an office-bearer of such society, and may pass such orders in
respect thereof as it deems fit:
that the election of an office bearer shall be set aside where the prescribed
authority is satis- fied:- (a) that any corrupt practice has been committed by
such office bearer; or (b) that the nomination of any candidate has been
improperly rejected; or (c) that the result of the election in so far as it
concerns such office-bearer has been materially affected by the improper
acceptance of any nomination or by the improper reception, refusal or rejection
of any vote or the reception of any vote which is void or by any non-compliance
with the provisions of any rules of the society.
I.--A person shall be deemed to have commit- ted a corrupt practice who
directly or indirectly, by him- self or by any other person-- (i) induces, or
attempts to induce, by fraud, intentional misrepresentation, coercion or threat
of injury, any elector to give or to refrain from giving a vote in favour of
any candidate, or any person to stand or not to stand as, or to withdraw or not
to withdraw from being a candidate at the election;
with a view to inducing any elector to give or to refrain from giving a vote in
favour of any candidate, or to inducing any 975 person to stand or not to stand
as, or to withdraw or not to withdraw from being, a candidate at the election,
offers or gives any money, or valuable consideration, or any place of
employment, or holds out any promise of individual advantage or profit to any
(within the meaning of the Indian Penal Code) the doing of any of the acts
specified in clause (i) and (ii);
induces or attempts to induce a candidate or elector to believe that he, or any
person in whom he is interested, will become or will be rendered an object of
divine dis- pleasure or spiritual censure;
canvasses on grounds of caste, community, sect or reli- gion;
such other practice as the Government may prescribe to be a corrupt practice.
II--A 'promise of individual advantage or profit to a person' includes a
promise for the benefit of the person himself, or of any one in which he is
III--The State Government may prescribe the procedure for hearing and decision
of doubts or disputes in respect of such elections and make provision in
respect of any other matter relating to such elections for which insuf- ficient
provisions exists in this Act or in the rules of the society.
Where by an order made under sub-section (1), an election is set aside or an
office bearer is held no longer entitled to continue in office or where the
Registrar is satisfied that any election of office bearers of a society has not
been held within the time specified in the rules of that society, he may call
meeting of the general body of such society for electing such office-bearer or
office- bearers, and such meeting shall be presided over and be conducted by
the Registrar or by any officer authorised by him in this behalf, and the
provisions in the rules of the society relating to meetings and elections shall
apply to such meeting and election with necessary modifications.
Where a meeting is called by the Registrar under sub-section no other meeting
shall be called for the purpose of election by any other authority or any
person claiming to be an office-bearer of the society.
Explanation--For the purposes of this section, the expres- sion 'prescribed
authority' means an officer or court autho- rised in this behalf by the State
Government by notification published in the Official Gazette.
of the view that provisions of Section 23 are con- fined to audit and have
nothing to do with the relief of rendition of accounts. No more is necessary to
be said about that relief. Section 25 deals with disputes regarding chal- lenge
to the eviction of office-bearers. The maintainability of dispute within the
purview of that Section is hedged with conditions and unless such requirement
is fulfilled, a statutory dispute would not be maintainable. The present action
in the Civil Court is by some of the members who
perhaps would not satisfy the requirements laid down in Section 25. It cannot
be contended that Section 25 having provided the pre-conditions on the
satisfaction of which a dispute within the purview of that Section would be
main- tainable before the Registrar takes away the right of Mem- bers of the
Society to claim relief otherwise outside the purview of Section 25 on the
basis of their right to seek remedy for their grievance. It is not the
contention of Mr.
that the relief claimed is not one which would come within the ambit of Section
9 of the Code of Civil Proce- dure. That being so, we are of the view that the
bar of Section 25 is not applicable to the facts of the case.
the conclusion reached in the Courts below is correct and the suit is
pointed out to Mr. Mukhoty that the relief against election of office bearers
must have become infructuous with the passage of time as the election is
annual. It is for the trial Court now to dispose of the suit taking into
consider- ation the changes in the situations that may be brought before it. We
dismiss the appeal and direct the trial court to expedite the disposal of the
suit. No costs.