Cooperative Society disputes – Registrar’s Role

The cooperative movement was initially sponsored by the state during its formative year. But with time, besides the public sector and the private sector, the cooperative sector has now properly come into existence. The cooperative sector is based on the principle of one man one vote.

This principle plays a huge role in the dispute resolving machinery because this allows when a single aggrieved member to approach the redressed of his grievances. To address and solves issues of members of corporative societies Chapter nine consisting of section 91 to section 101 has been incorporated in the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act 1960.

While some disputes of a cooperative society can be referred to the registrar. A remedy under writ petition under Article 226 or 227 of the Constitution of India is also available to aggrieved parties in extraordinary circumstance. The registrar of the cooperative society is a quasi judicial authority and has a wide range of powers. The registrar has the power to inspect the workings of the society under section 89A.

For instance, he has the power to refuse membership to a prospective member (section 22 and 23). Though if a party is aggrieved by the decision of the registrar or his subordinate, then a provision does exist for a revision allocation under section 154 f the at, which is set before a higher authority i.e. the divisional joint registrar of cooperative societies and or before the state government under the said section 154.

Societies cannot take any extreme steps on their own. For example even if members of a cooperative society agree the expulsion of another member with ¾th majority under section 35 of the act, the reasons for this should first be submitted to the registrar and only after his approval can the society take steps to expel any members.

The registrar has powers under section 77A to appoint a new managing committee or administrator when there has been a failure to elect proper members to constitute a committee under section 78, the registrar has the authority to remove the entire or just a few members of the managing committee. Under sector 79, he cam enforce performance of obligation while under section 80, he can seize records of the society for evaluation.

However, the registrar or any person authorized by him must apply to the executive magistrate within whose jurisdiction the society functions, before seizing and taking possession of the records and property of the society. Under section 81, the registrar can appoint an auditor to audit the accounts of the society and under section 82, he can direct the society it rectify the defects in its accounts. The registrar on receipt of a complaint or on his own can initiate an inquiry under section 83. He can also initiate action under section 88 to assess damages under delinquent promoter. He has under section 89 to summon and enforce an attendance of any person and also examine him on oath or affirmation or by affidavit or to compel the production of any document in the same manner, as is provided in the case of the civil court under the court of civil procedure 1908.

Once the registrar believes that the managing committee of any society or any member of such committee has committed an offence, then he shall dissolve such a committee or displace it on the following grounds:

* When a committee or any member of the committee makes a default, or is negligent in its performance of duties posed on him.

* When a committee or any member of the committee commits any act which is prejudicial to the interest of the society or its members.

* When a committee or any member of the committee willfully disobeys directions issued by the state government or the Registrar

* When a committee or any member of the committee has otherwise not discharged his functions properly or diligently.

* Where a situation has arisen in which the committee or a member of the committee refuses or ceases to discharge its or his functions.

Here any member of such a committee stands disqualified by or under this act for being a member and the business of the society has or is likely to come to a standstill, the registrar may after giving the committee or the member an opportunity of being heard to state his case or objection, if any within fifteen clear days from the date of receipt of the notice and after consultation with the federal society to which the society is affiliated by order:

(1) remove the committees, and
(2) appoint a committee consisting of three or more members (who shall not be members of the removed committee) to manage the affairs of the society for a period not exceeding six months.