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Cites 4 docs
the Co-operative Societies Act, 1912
Section 2 in the Co-operative Societies Act, 1912
The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
Hyderabad Karnataka Education ... vs Registrar Of Societies And Ors on 7 December, 1999

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Punjab-Haryana High Court
The Postal And R.M.S. Employees ... vs The Registrar, Co-Operative ... on 7 March, 2002
Author: A Mohunta
Bench: A Mohunta



JUDGMENT

 

Ashutosh Mohunta, J.

1. The present writ petition has been filed for quashing the order passed by the Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Haryana, dated August 9, 1999 (Annexure P2), vide which the petitioner-Management was directed to take respondent-S.C. Karkara back in service with all consequential benefits.

2. Briefly, the facts are that S.C.Karkara - respondent No.2 was an employee of the petitioner - Bank and was placed under suspension by the Managing Director of the Bank vide order dated July 14, 1992. The said respondent was issued a charge-sheet on October 1, 1992, As many as 10 charges were levelled against the respondent, as enumerated in Annexure R.4, Regular inquiry was held and the Board of Directors on the basis of the report of the Inquiry Officers imposed the following penalties on respondent No.2:-

"a) To be dismissed from service with immediate effect.

b) To make good the loss caused to the bank. For this the Board authorised Shri S.P.Goyal, Vice-Chairman of the Bank to calculate the exact amount of loss cause by Shri S.C. Karkara, including interest upto date and thereafter issue a show cause notice to him to explain as to why the amount of loss be not recovered from him by adjusting any amount which may be payable by the bank to him and/or filing appropriate legal proceedings for recovery before proper legal forum. Sh. S.P. Goyal shall place before the Board the comments/objections received from S.C. Karkara to the aforesaid notice and thereupon the Board shall pass final order in respect of the recovery to be effected."

3. This order was challenged by respondent No.2 in appeal before the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Haryana, who vide his order dated August 9, 1999 quashed the order dated April 21, 1998 and directed the Management to take respondent No.2 back in service with all consequential benefits.

4. In the present case respondent No.2 was appointed as Manager in the Postal & R.M.S. Employees Co-operative Bank Limited, Ambala Cantt. His service conditions were governed by the Postal & R.M.S. Employees Co-operative Bank Ltd., Ambala Cantt. Staff Service Rules (for short the Staff Service Rules). According to these rules in case of reduction in rank, removal, dismissal or termination of a regular employees, the Board of Directors was competent authority to take action and the Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Haryana, was the competent appellate authority.

5. Counsel for the petitioner argued that the Staff Service Rules are not applicable in the present case. Therefore, the Registrar did not have the jurisdiction to decide the matter. According to the counsel, the matter is governed by the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 1984 (for short 'the 1984 Act').

6. However, a perusal of Section 74 of the 1984 Act makes it clear that a dispute other than a dispute regarding disciplinary action would be governed by the provisions of the 1984 Act. Section 74 of the said Act is reproduced as under:-

"74. Disputes:- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, if any dispute [other than a dispute regarding disciplinary action taken by a multi-State co-operative society against its paid employee or an industrial dispute as defined in Clause (k) of Section 2 of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (14 of 1947)], touching the constitution, management or business of a multi-State co-operative society arises-

(a) among members, past members and persons claiming through members, past members and deceased members, or

(b) between a member, past member or a person claiming through a member, past member or deceased member and the multi-State co-operative society, its board or any officer, agent or employee of the multi-State co-operative society, or liquidator, past or present, or

(c) between the multi-State co-operative society or its board and any past board, any officer, agent or employee, or any past officer, past agent or past employee or the nominee, heirs or legal representatives of any deceased officer, deceased agent or deceased employee of the multi-State co-operative society, or

(d) between the multi-State co-operative society and other multi-State co-operative society, between a multi-State co-operative society and liquidator of one multi-State co-operative society or between liquidator of another multi-State co-operative society and the liquidator of another multi-State co-operative Such dispute shall be referred to the Central Registrar for decision and no Court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or other proceedings in respect of such dispute.

Provided that all disputes in which a national co-operative society is a party shall be referred to the Central Registrar or any officer empowered to exercise the power of the Central Registrar.

(2) For the purpose of Sub-section (1), the following shall be deemed to be disputes touching the constitution, management, or business of a multi-State co-operative society, namely:

(a) a claim by the multi-State co-operative society for any debt or demand due to it from a member or the nominee, heirs or legal representatives of a deceased member, whether such debt or demand be admitted or not;

(b) a claim by a surety against the principal debtor where the multi-state co-operative society has recovered from the surety any amount in respect of any debt or demand due to it from the principal debtor as a result of the default of the principal debtor, whether such debt or demand is admitted or not;

(c) any dispute arising in connection with the election of any officer of a multi-State co-operative society.

(3) If any question arises whether a dispute referred to the Central Registrar is or is not a dispute touching the constitution, management or business of multi-State co-operative society, the decision thereon of the Central Registrar shall be final and shall not be called in question in any court.

7. The argument of the learned counsel for the petitioner is without any merit. The counsel has relied upon a decision of this Court reported as The Kular Cooperative Agricultural Service Society Limited v. The Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, 1997(1) P.L.J. 170, to contend that such like matters would be covered by the 1984 Act. However, in the present case since the dispute related to taking disciplinary action against an employee, therefore, the same would be covered by Section 74 of the 1984 Act. The awarding of any punishment, minor or major, are all consequences of a disciplinary action which is taken against an employee. Section 74 of the 1984 Act itself bars any action to be initiated in a case which involves disciplinary action against an employee. Thus, the aforesaid authority cited by the counsel for the petitioner is not applicable to the facts of the present case. As per appendix 'D' of the Staff Service Rules, in the case of dismissal of a Manager by the Board of Directors, the appellate authority is the Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Haryana.

8. In any case, as respondent No.2 was not issued any show-cause notice before the punishment of dismissal from service was imposed upon him, therefore, the principles of natural justice were clearly violated. Hence, the orders of dismissal were wholly illegal and were rightly set aside by the Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Haryana.

9. In the light of the above discussion, I find no merit in this petition. The same is hereby dismissed. There shall, however, be no order as to costs.