Court Interference in Election Process of Societies and Clubs

Jojy George.

Free and Fair Elections are Basic Features of Democracy

The Supreme Court of India held as under in Kihoto Hollohan v. Zachillhu, AIR 1993 SC 412:

  • Democracy is a part of the basic structure of our Constitution, and rule of law; and free and fair elections are basic features of democracy, One of the postulates of free and fair elections is provision for resolution of election disputes as also adjudication of disputes relating to subsequent disqualifications by an independent authority. It is only by a fair adjudication of such disputes relating to validity of elections and subsequent disqualifications of members that true reflection of the electoral mandate and governance by rule of law essential for democracy can be ensured.”

‘Democracy’ and free and fair election’ are inseparable twins.

It has been held in Rameshwar Prasad Vs. Union of India [AIR 2006 SC 980]  as under:

“…The well recognised position in law is that purity in the electoral process and the conduct of the elected representatives cannot be isolated from the constitutional requirements. ‘Democracy’ and free and fair election’ are inseparable twins. There is almost an inseverable umbilical cord joining them. In a democracy the little man-voter has overwhelming importance and cannot be hijacked from the course of free and fair elections…….”

In Nimba Rajaram Mali Vs. Collector, Jalgaon[1] our Apex Court held as under:

“In a democratic society what is important is the Will of the majority and the elected representatives must honour the will of the majority. It is immaterial to analyse and debate on the reasons behind the will of the majority or the specific reasons for such will being expressed. The will of the majority is of paramount importance and it must be respected by all elected representatives responsible for the governance of such democratic institutions. … Unless it is shown that while passing such a resolution of No Confidence Motion, there was flagrant violation of any of mandatory procedure laid down, such a resolution cannot be interfered with by the Court or statutory authorities adjudicating such disputes. “

Nomination Paper Rejected: Writ Petition not Maintainable

From the very beginning, the Supreme Court of India took the firm stand that the Court would not interfere in the election process if it is started.

In NP Ponnuswami Vs. Returning Officer[2] the nomination paper of the appellant for election to the Madras Legislative Assembly was rejected by the Returning Officer. The appellant challenged the rejection of the nomination paper by filing a writ petition in the High Court which was dismissed on the ground that it had no jurisdiction to interfere with the order of the Returning Officer on account of Article 329(b) of the Constitution, which says that no election to either House of Parliament or to the House or either House of the Legislature of a State shall be called in question except by an election petition presented to such authority and in such manner as may be provided for by or under any law made by the appropriate legislature. In appeal, our Apex Court with a Bench of six learned Judges examined the question whether the writ petition would be maintainable at the initial stage against an order rejecting the nomination paper.

It was observed in this decision:

“The law of elections in India does not contemplate that there should be two attacks on matters connected with election proceedings, one while they are going on by invoking the extraordinary jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution (the ordinary jurisdiction of the courts having been expressly excluded), and another after they have been completed by means of an election petition. Any matter which has the effect of vitiating an election should be brought up only at the appropriate stage in an appropriate manner before a special tribunal and should not be brought up at an intermediate stage before any court.”

Electoral Roll:  Illegality in Preparation: Courts Interfere

If the electoral roll itself has been challenged on the ground that the members enrolled are in violation of the provisions of the Scheme of Administration then in such cases the courts can interfere. A valid electoral role is the basic requirement of a fair election.[3]

In Chief Commissioner, Ajmer Vs. Radhey Shyam Dani,[4] the Constitution Bench of our Apex Court upheld the decision of the Chief Commissioner on the ground that the electoral roll prepared was invalid as it was prepared in accordance with some invalid rules.[5] This decision is followed in Bar Council of Delhi Vs. Surjeet Singh[6] 

In Ramgulam Shri Baijnath Prasad Vs. Collector, Guna[7] it was observed that when election held on the basis of rolls which had not been prepared in accordance with law, the petition cannot be dismissed merely on the ground of delay.

In Pundlik Vs. State of Maharashtra[8] it is held by our Apex Court that where the voters’ list had been prepared on the basis of non-existent Rules, it would be illegal and the Court could interfere under Article 226 of the Constitution.

In Dev Prakash Balmukund Vs. Babu Ram Rewti Mal[9], it is held that if the very foundation of the election, namely, the electoral roll was illegal, no election on its basis could be proceed or be allowed to stand, but that did not mean that any kind of defect in the roll, however technical in its nature, would be suffice to reach such a conclusion.[10]

Strict Pleading and Standard of Proof

In Sushila Prasad Vs. State of Bihar, 2015-4 PLJR 881, the High Court dealt with the requirement of strict pleading observing as under:

  • “There is absolute lack of pleadings to support that the voters who had been illegally included in the list had contributed to the success of the returned candidate and which had materially affected the election nor is there any thing on record to show whether any such prayer had been made by the petitioner in conformity with the statutory provisions. In fact even in absence of such prayer the petitioner simply proceeded to seek a declaration that the entire election was void on such infirmity.” (Referred to in Tanu Singh Vs. State of Bihar, 2019-4 Pat LJR 784)

An election petition is a strict statutory proceeding.[11] In Jagan Nath Vs. Jaswant Singh[12] it is observed:

  • “The general rule is well settled that the statutory requirements of election law must be strictly observed and that an election contest is not an action at law or a suit in equity but is a purely statutory proceeding unknown to the common law and the Court possesses no common law power.” [13]

In election matters the standard of proof is high and burden is on the election petitioner. Mere preponderance of probabilities or presumptions cannot be the basis to challenge an election. The election proceedings are akin to criminal proceedings.[14]

It is held in Gajanan Krishnaji Barat Vs. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe[15] that in an election petition, based on allegations of commission of corrupt practice, the onus lies heavily on the petitioner to establish the charge of corrupt practice and in case of doubt the benefit goes to the returned candidate.

Courts Sparingly Exercise Jurisdiction – Must be cogent and compelling grounds.

The decision taken by the concerned authority during the course of election is not open to judicial review except on the ground of mala fide or arbitrary exercise of power.[16] Courts will not interfere with discharging duties by the elected office bearers of an organisation, without cogent and compelling grounds. A simple breach of any Rule will not give rise to a cause of action for any member unless there is manifest illegality, or act or omission that goes to the root of the matter.  In other words, the alleged violation should be so grave that it could not be condoned by the general body.[17]

Court interfere if only Election Materially Affected by Illegality

In election cases courts enquire whether the alleged illegality materially affected the result of the election. See:

  • Hariprasad Mulshanker Trivedi v. V. B. Raju, AIR 1973 SC 2602,
  • Kunwar Nripendra Bahadur Singh v. Jai Ram Verma, AIR 1977 SC 1992
  • P T Rajan v. T P M Sahir, AIR 2003 SC 4603,
  • Baidyanath Panjira v. Sita Ram Mahto,AIR 1970 SC 314
  • I. Vikheshe Sema v. Hokishe Sema, 1996-4 SCC 53.

Illegal inclusion of voters in Voters-list

If the result of election is not materially affected by illegal inclusion of voters in Electoral Roll, the court will not delve to the allegation. In Shyamdeo Prasad Singh Vs. Nawal Kishore Yadav, (2000) 8 SCC 46 the Supreme Court considered the effect of improper reception of votes cast by illegal electors in the voter list and observed as under:

  • “26. To sum up we are of the opinion that inclusion of person or persons in the electoral roll by an authority empowered in law to prepare the electoral rolls, though they were not qualified to be so enrolled, cannot be a ground for setting aside an election of a returned candidate under sub-clause (iii) or (iv) of clause (d) of sub-section (1) of Section 100 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.” (Referred to in Tanu Singh Vs. State of Bihar, 2019-4 Pat LJR 784)

Right To Vote or Stand as a Candidate, Not a Civil Right

Right to Challenge an Election Is Not a Common Law Right. In NP Ponnuswami Vs. Returning Officer, Namakkal[18] it was observed:

“The right to vote or stand as a candidate for election is not a civil right but is a creature of statute or special law and must be subject to the limitations imposed by it.”

The rights arising out of elections including the right to contest or challenge an election are not common law rights but are creatures of the statutes which create, confer or limit those rights; and, therefore, for deciding the question whether an election can be set aside on any alleged ground, the Courts have to function within the framework of that law and not travel beyond it.[19] It is a special right conferred under a self contained special law. Right to vote or stand as a candidate for election is not a civil right, but is a creature of a statute or a special law and must be subject to the limitations imposed by it. It will, therefore, be advantageous to look into the scheme of the Act.[20]

It is observed in S Thamil Arasan Vs. R Narayanan[21] that since there is no specific provision permitting the challenge of an election to the society, the only remedy for challenging such election is by means of a civil suit.

Locus Standi of an Individual Member to Challenge Election

In Tej Bahadur vs Shri Narendra Modi, AIR 2021 SC 217,  the Apex Court considered the question of the validity of the appellant’s nomination since that had a direct bearing on the question whether he had a right to question the election. After finding that the appellant was not a duly nominated candidate, it is held as under:

  • “We find that the averments in the petition do not disclose that the appellant has a cause of action which invest him with right to sue. It is settled that where a person has no interest at all, or no sufficient interest to support a legal claim or action he will have no locus standi to sue. The entitlement to sue or locus standi is an integral part of cause of action. In T. Arivandandam v. T.V. Satyapal (1977) 4 SCC 467, V.R. Krishna Iyer J., speaking for this Court held that if on a meaningful – not formal – reading of the plaint it is manifestly vexatious, and meritless, in the sense of not disclosing a clear right to sue, it should be nipped in the bud at the first hearing.”

A member of a Society does not have the right to challenge Election unless his rights are personally affected by the impugned action. An individual member cannot challenge an order finalising a voter list. He should have been a candidate or acquired the right to vote. [22]

The Apex Court held in Bar Council of Delhi Vs. Surjeet Singh, AIR 1980 SC 1612:

  • A voter could challenge the election.
  • Merely because he took part in the election by standing as a candidate or by exercise of his right of franchise he cannot be estopped from challenging the whole election when the election was glaringly illegal and void on the basis of the obnoxious proviso. There is no question of approbation and reprobation at the same time in such a case.
  • A voter could come to the High Court even earlier before the election was held. But merely because he came to challenge the election after it was held it cannot be said that he was guilty of any laches and must be non-suited only on that account.

In Committee of Management, Sri Kachcha Baba Inter College, Varanasi Vs. Regional Committee, Pancham Mandal[23] it was held that a group of members of the General Body (and not by a rival committee of management) had no locus standi to challenge the result of the elections.[24]

There were divergent views, in UP, on the right of an individual member to file a writ petition. In certain cases (Dr. P.P. Rastogi v. Meerut University, Meerut, 1997-1 UPLBEC 415; Smt. Vimla Devi v. The Deputy Director of Education, Agra Region, Agra, 1997-3 ESC 1807; Bhagwan Kaushik v. State of U.P., 2006-2 UPLBEC 1372; Amanullah Khan v. State of U.P. , 2009-75 All LR 29) it was held that an individual member had no right to file the writ petition. The other set of decisions (Kamla Kant Agrawal v. State of U.P., 2008-7 ADJ 601; Committee of Management, Janta Inter College, Sultanpur, District Haridwar v. Joint Director of Education, I Region, Meerut, 1999-1 UPLBEC 170; Ratan Kumar Solanki v. State of U.P., 2010-1 ADJ 262) observed that the writ petition could be maintained, subject to the existence of efficacious alternative remedy, when there was a breach of right of a person affecting his right to form an association, which was a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution, or there was a breach of the Statute. Both the divergent views had been considered by a Division Bench in Committee of Management, Arya Kanya Pathshala Inter College, Bulandshahar v. State of U.P. (2011-2 ADJ 65). The Division Bench observed as under:

  •  “There is no such proposition that an individual member cannot, in no circumstance, challenge the election of the Committee of Management….. It is clear that the question as to whether an individual member has locus to challenge the election of Committee of Management depends on facts of each case…..” (See: Laxman Singh Vs. State of UP, ADJ 2014-9 242, AWC 2014-5 4382, LBESR 2014-3 415)

Individual Can Maintain Cause of the Collective Body 

Where the right of an individual is affected or infringed, and, he has no other effective remedy, and where there are no vitiating circumstances such as delay, latches, etc., the cause of the collective body will be maintainable at the instance of an individual.[25] 

Individual Membership Rights and Corporate Membership Rights

The Kerala High Court in Joseph Vs. Jos[26] observed as under:

“…  There are two kinds of rights for a member of the company, one the individual membership right, and the other the corporate membership right. So far as the corporate membership rights are concerned, a shareholder can assert those rights only in conformity with the decision of the majority of the shareholders. An individual membership right is a right to maintain himself in full membership with all the rights and privileges appertaining to that status. …”

Election Process and Powers of a Returning Officer

Elections in associations are conducted in accordance with their Rules. If it is warrented, the court may intervene. In Hardeo Singh Vs. Union of India[27] the High Court of Uttarakhand being found it necessary that there should be a duly elected Management Committee for a Gurudwara for its proper management and administration, inter alia, following directions were issued with respect to election:

“The Election Officer for the purposes of the completion of the election process including
de-limitation/re-determination of wards,
preparation of electoral rolls,
verification of electors,
qualification of members,
election process,
publication of results,
first meeting of elected committee,
election of office bearers,
first meeting of the committee, constitution of sub-committees etc.,
may constitute a committee not exceeding five members, whom the Election Officer finds suitable.
Such five persons should be respectable and educated persons with no criminal record and no history of association with election of Gurudwara Sri Nanakmatta Sahib. These persons should have no interest or association with any candidate or group. They will also give an undertaking to the Election Officer that they have no interest in the election and they will not participate in canvassing or election etc. in any manner. The Election Officer shall follow such procedure, which is reasonable and on the basis of the principles of natural justice and in accordance with the Sikh principles and values.”

In the absence of express or implied regulations to the contrary,[28] the returning officers, domestic tribunals, syndicate of a university, enquiry committees, etc. are also free to evolve and follow their own procedure as they are ‘masters of their own procedure’;[29] but, they must ensure natural justice in their proposed actions.[30] Lord Denning, Master of Rolls, in the Court of Appeal in England observed, in the matter of a non-statutory domestic tribunal, as under:[31]

“Is a party who is charged before a domestic tribunal entitled as of right to be legally represented, much depends on what the rules say about it. When the rules say nothing, then the party has no absolute right to be legally represented. It is a matter for the discretion of the tribunal. They are masters of their own procedure: and, if they, in the proper exercise of their discretion, decline to allow legal representation, the Courts will not interfere….”[32]

It is held in Guru Nanak University Vs. Iqbal Kaur Sandhu[33] as under:

“It is not the province and the function of this Court to lay down either the time or the mode and manner in which autonomous and high-powered bodies like the Syndicate of the appellant-University are entitled to conduct their business in the meetings. They are equally masters of their own procedure and unless there is an infraction of the clear statutory rules in carrying out their duties and in conforming to the procedure prescribed by law, this Court would be ill-advised to render any gratuitous advice to them in their autonomous field in dealing and disposing of their business.”

A Returning Officer merely conducts the election and has no power to consider the question as to whether a member is eligible to vote or not.[34] He cannot also cancel the membership of a person. After the declaration of the result, the Returning Officer becomes functus officio and he has no power or jurisdiction to change the declaration or to make any other declaration or to make an order to recount or to reconsider the result of election. The returning officer who makes the scrutiny of nominations has the power to reject nomination on proper grounds and he can decide on the eligibility of a candidate.

Duties of Returning Officer

The Returning Officer has to be perform his duties with detachment and impartiality.[35] Our Apex Court, in Food Corporation of India Staff Union Vs. Food Corporation of India,[36]  propounded norms and procedures to be followed for assessing the representative character of the trade union.

Ordinarily, Courts will not Interfere with Election Process

In Supreme Court Bar Association Vs. BD Kaushik[37]  our Apex Court held:

“Since 1952 this Court has authoritatively laid down that once election process has started the courts should not ordinarily interferewith the said process by way of granting injunction.”

In Jagan Nath Vs. Jaswant Singh[38] it is observed: 

“… It is also well settled that it is a sound principle of natural justice that the success of a candidate who has won at an election should not be lightly interfered with and any petition seeking such interference must strictly conform to the requirements of the law.”

Remedies with respect to the disputes as to elections will have to be sought for after elections are over. This time-honoured principle is emphasised in the following decisions also.

  • Shaji K. Joseph Vs. V. Viswanath[39]
  • N.P. Ponnuswami Vs. Returning Officer[40]
  • Nanhoo Mal and Others Vs. Hira Mal[41].
  • Mohinder Singh Gill Vs. Chief Election Commr.[42]:
  • Boddula Krishnaiah Vs. State Elec. Commissioner, A.P.[43]
  • Shri Sant Sadguru Janardan Swami Vs. State of Maharashtra[44]
  • Anugrah Narain Singh Vs. State of U.P.[45]
  • Election Commissioner of India Vs. Ashok Kumar[46] 
  • Abdulla Khan Vs. State of Orissa[47].
  • Abdul Latheef C.K. Vs. K.M. Haneefa[48]
  • Medical Council of India Vs. Regar/Returning Officer, TN[49] 
  • Avtar Singh Vs. Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Mgmnt. Comtee,[50]
  • C. Subrahmanyam Vs. K. Ramanjaneyullu[51]
  • Ashok Kumar Jain Vs. Neetu Kathoria[52]
  • K.K. Shrivastava Vs. Bhupendra Kumar Jain[53]

It is observed in Shaji K. Joseph Vs. V. Viswanath[54] while considering election to Dental Council of India under Section 3 (a) of the Dentists Act, 1948:

“So far as the issue with regard to eligibility of Respondent no.1 for contesting the election is concerned, though prima facie it appears that Respondent No.1 could contest the election, we do not propose to go into the said issue because, in our opinion, as per the settled law, the High Court should not have interfered with the election after the process of election had commenced. The judgments referred to herein above clearly show the settled position of law to the effect that whenever the process of election starts, normally courts should not interfere with the process of election for the simple reason that if the process of election is interfered with by the courts, possibly no election would be completed without court ‘s order. Very often, for frivolous reasons candidates or others approach the courts and by virtue of interim orders passed by courts, the election is delayed or cancelled and in such a case the basic purpose of having election and getting an elected body to run the administration is frustrated. For the aforestated reasons, this Court has taken a view that all disputes with regard to election should be dealt with only after completion of the election.”

In K.K. Shrivastava Vs. Bhupendra Kumar Jain[55] with respect to election to the Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh under the Advocates Act our Apex Court held:

“Where there is an appropriate or equally efficacious remedy the Court should keep its hands off. This is more particularly so where the dispute relates to an election. Still more so where there is a statutorily prescribed remedy which almost reads in mandatory terms.”[56]

Standard of Proof in Election Matters:

The election of a returned candidate will not be set aside unless there are cogent and convincing reasons.[57] In election matters the standard of proof is high and burden is on the election petitioner. The court proceedings on election disputes are akin to criminal proceedings.[58] It is held in Gajanan Krishnaji Barat Vs. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe[59] that in an election petition, based on allegations of commission of corrupt practice, the standard of proof required is, generally speaking, that in a criminal trial.  The onus lies heavily on the petitioner to establish the charge of corrupt practice and in case of doubt the benefit goes to the returned candidate.

It is pointed out in Seth Gulabchand v. Seth Kudilal[60] that the rules applicable to circumstantial evidence in criminal cases would not apply to civil cases. The ordinary rules governing civil cases of balance of probabilities will continue to apply. Mere preponderance of probabilities or presumptions cannot be the basis to challenge an election.

Temporary Injunctions

Interference of courts after election-process commenced [61] and stopping an election are very much against public policy.[62]  But, there is no absolute restriction upon court; it is only limited.[63] 

Election Tribunals under the Representation of Peoples Act are not conferred with power to grant temporary injunctions. When granting injunction is subject to the declaration sought for, in election matters it will be proper not to grant temporary injunction.[64] The success of a winning candidate at an election cannot be lightly interfered with; more so when no fault of his. [65] If ultimately, the suit is dismissed, the court cannot compensate for granting a temporary injunction.[66]

Technicalities of Election Petitions

In Umesh Challiyill Vs. K.P. Rajendran[67] our Apex Court ruled that the election petitions should not be dismissed at the threshold on technical defects which were purely cosmetic and do not go to the root of the matter. It is observed: 

“However, in fairness whenever such defects are pointed out then the proper course for the Court is not to dismiss the petition at the threshold. In order to maintain the sanctity of the election the Court should not take such a technical attitude and dismiss the election petition at the threshold. On the contrary after finding the defects, the Court should give proper opportunity to cure the defects and in case of failure to remove/cure the defects, it could result into dismissal on account of Order 6 Rule 16 or Order 7 Rule 11 CPC. Though technically it cannot be dismissed under Section 86 of the Act of 1951 but it can be rejected when the election petition is not properly constituted as required under the provisions of CPC but in the present case we regret to record that the defects which have been pointed out in this election petition were purely cosmetic and do not go to the root of the matter  and secondly even if the Court found them of serious nature then at least the Court should have given an opportunity to the petitioner to rectify such defects.”[68] 

Instances of Courts Interference before Completion of Election:

  1. Election process was not in conformity with the relevant statutory provisions.[69]
  2. Election Meeting not in conformity with Articles.[70]
  3. Conduct of elections was not in accordance with the Bye laws of the Association.[71]
  4. Voters’ list had been prepared on the basis of nonexistent rules.[72]
  5. Violation of the essential provisions of the Election Rules and the Act and validity of the entire election is in challenge.[73]
  6. Mala fide or arbitrary exercise of power.[74] Court interferes for fair and impartial election.[75]
  7. Where validity of the entire election is in challenge beyond the election of a particular candidate, on the ground of the violation of the essential provisions of the Election Rules and the Act [76]
  8. Where alternative remedy is no remedy in the eye of law.[77]

When the challenge of whole election is such that the alternative remedy is no remedy in the eye of law to cover the challenge; or, in any event, is not adequate and efficacious remedy, then the remedy of writ petition to challenge the whole election is available. In Bar Council of Delhi Vs. Surjeet Singh[78] the Court interfered since the Election Tribunal would have found itself incompetent to declare the proviso to R. 3 (3) of the Delhi Bar Council Election Rules ultra vires and that being so the alternative remedy provided in R. 34 (8) was no remedy at all. The illegalities made the entire election void and the statutory rules under which the election was conducted was invalid.

No Question of Estoppel if Inherent Illegality

If a member participated in a meeting or election knowing the illegality of the same he would be deemed to have acquiesced or concurred in the election and would be estopped from challenging its validity.[79]

But, neither the principle of estoppel nor the principle of approbation and reprobation can be pressed into service in case of an election which is liable to be set aside by a court. Therefore, even a defeated candidates can challenge an election on its inherent illegality. [80]

ELECTIONS OF SOCIETIES AND CLUBS

Court Interfere for Fair and Impartial Election

In proper cases the courts appoint Returning Officers or administrators for societies. The Calcutta High Court in East Bengal Club Vs. Paltu Mukherjee[81] appointed an impartial special officer to hold the election under his supervision for ensuring fair and impartial election of the club. In Sarbjit Singh Vs. All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society[82] the court appointed Retired Chief Justice of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh to be the Administrator of the Society and gave him directions for convening GB and election.

Principles of General Election Extended to Elections in General

The principles of law under the Representation of People Act, 1951 have been extended by our courts to elections in general[83] including that in Societies and Educational Institutions.[84]

Electoral Roll of Bar Council: Preparation on Invalid Provisions, Court Interferes

In Bar Council of Delhi Vs. Surjeet Singh[85] it was found by our Apex Court that the electoral roll prepared on the basis of invalid provisions resulted in vitiating the entire election, and that the writ petition for setting aside the election of the Bar Council of Delhi was maintainable. The Supreme Court while considering the validity of an electoral roll of Delhi Bar Council, omitting as many as 2000 Advocates on the basis of an invalid Rule framed by that Council, observed:

“9. We, therefore, hold that the impugned proviso to R. 3 (j) to the Delhi Bar Council Election Rules is ultra vires and invalid and the electoral roll prepared by the Delhi Bar Council on the basis of the same resulting in the exclusion of the names of about 2000 Advocates from the said roll was not valid in law. We are further of the opinion that the whole election was invalid on that account and it could be challenged as such in a writ petition. It was not a case of challenging the preparation of the electoral roll on the factual basis of wrong exclusion of a few names. For the said purpose R.4 occurring in Chapter I of the Bar Council of India Rules could come into play. But here, because of the invalidity of the Rules itself, the preparation of the electoral roll was completely vitiated-a matter which cannot be put within the narrow limit of the said rule. 10. The illegal preparation of the electoral roll by the Delhi Bar Council on the basis of the invalid proviso to R. 3(j) goes to the very root of the matter and no election held on the basis of such an infirmity can be upheld. There is no question of the result being materially affected in such a case.” [86] 

Electoral Roll of University: Court Interfere when Election on Nonexistent Rules

In N Thippanna Vs. State of Karnataka[87] Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court by its interim order directed to hold the election but withheld the results. Relying on the Supreme Court decision in Bar Council of Delhi Vs. Surjeeth Singh[88] the Karnataka High Court in its final Judgment held that the electoral rolls prepared by the University, omitting a very large number of registered graduates, was not in conformity with the Act, the statutes and the general principles for preparation of electoral rolls, and that it was void in law.  A valid electoral role is the basic requirement of a fair election.[89]

Though it is observed by our Apex Court in Shri Sant Sadguru Janardan Swami Vs. State of Maharashtra that when the process of election has been commenced it would be impermissible for the court to go into the questions as to breach of the Rule in the preparation of the voters’ list, it observed that where the voters’ list had been prepared on the basis of nonexistent rules, it would be illegal and the Court could interfere under Article 226 of the Constitution.

In Ahmednagar Zilla SDV and P Sangh Limited Vs. State of Maharashtra[90] though the appeal was dismissed following the principles of law laid down in Shri Sant Sadguru Janardan Swami Vs. State of Maharashtra,[91]the Court directed the District Collector, Ahmednagar, to conduct fresh election of the Board of Directors to the appellant Society, forthwith.

Electoral Roll of Societies:  Illegality in Preparation: Remedy is Election Petition

Even as to alleged illegality or breach of rules while preparing the electoral roll, courts will not interfere in the election process, once it is started.[92]

With regard to elections in a society registered under the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960, the Supreme Court[93] observed in Shri Sant Sadguru Janardan Swami Vs. State of Maharashtra as under:

“In view of our finding that preparation of the electoral roll being an intermediate stage in the process of election of the Managing Committee of a specified society and the election process having been set in motion, it is well settled that the High Court should not stay the continuation of the election process even though there may be some alleged illegality or breach of rules while preparing the electoral roll. It is not disputed that the election in question has already been held and the result thereof has been stayed by an order of this Court, and once the result of the election is declared, it would be open to the appellants to challenge the election of the returned candidate, if aggrieved, by means of an election petition before the election Tribunal.”

Electoral Rolls of Societies – Non-inclusion: Courts Will Not Interfere

In MARVS Sai Baba Vs. Commissioner and Registrar of Co-Op. Societies,[94] held as under:

“7. . . It is pertinent to mention that the issue relating to the validity of membership of a society including that of wrong admission of a member or non-inclusion of a valid member in the rolls of the society is an issue to be decided before the election process begins and that can be a valid ground to invoke Section 32 (7) (a) of the Act to set right the things and then proceed for the elections and appoint a Person-in-charge to manage the affairs of the society in the interregnum. But, once a decision is taken to hold the elections and the election process commences by issue of notification, Section 32 (7) (a) of the Act has got no role and any dispute in connection with the election, be it of the nomination, of improper electoral roll and other aspects, have to be settled only by way of a judicial adjudication contemplated in Section 61 (3) of the Act. “

Holding Annual General Meeting is Statutory; Election, Not

Sec. 4 of the Societies Registration Act, 1860 postulates holding of Annual General Meeting. These provisions (also the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the society) as to holding Annual General Meetings, are mandatory; and not directory.[95] As per Sec. 2 of the Societies Registration Act the management of the affairs of a society is entrusted with the governing body.  The rules of the society have to direct the details of such entrustment.

It is pertinent to note that the Societies Registration Act, 1860 does not specifically direct ‘election’ of the governing body. But various States’ amendments (and State-Acts) provide for the same. The mode and modalities of formation of the governing body is determinedly left, under Sec.16, to the ‘Rules and Regulations of the society’.

Sec.16 reads:

Governing body defined: The governing body of the society shall be the governors, council, directors, committee, trustees, or other body to whom by the rules and regulations of the society the management of its affairs is entrusted.

Permanent Governing Body and Right of Vote to Life-Members

Holding election in a society being not statutory, it can be demonstrated that the requirements in the definition of a member in Section 15 (payment of subscription and signature in the roll/list of members) do not control the right to vote in the election for governing body and to stand as a candidate (individual membership rights), as it is a matter left for bye laws. 

Sec. 15 reads:

Member defined: For the purposes of this Act, a member of a society shall be a person ….

Disqualified members: But in all proceedings under this Act, no person shall be entitled to vote or be counted as a member whose subscription at the time shall have been in arrears for a period exceeding three months.

The provisions in the bye laws of a Society that permits vote in the election of the governing body of a society to life-members or honourary-members, who have not signed the roll/list of members, or even members in arrears, may be valid. It can as well be argued that in case the bye laws of a society provide for permanent governing body, without an election, the same (so also nomination of governing body by an ‘outsider’) will not be illegal; and it may not be legitimate to argue that the provisions of such bye laws are unreasonable or opposed to public policy on the premise that bye laws of a society or a club is a contract[96] amongst its members.

No Fundamental Right or Common Law Right to Contest Election

            The rights of a person to contest an election or to challenge it is neither a fundamental right nor a common law right; but are statutory rights[97] or rights originate from the bye laws of an association.[98]

Candidature:  An Individual Membership Right

Right to stand as a candidate for election as a Director of the Company is well accepted as an individual membership right.[99] Our courts have held that the general principles governing the individual membership rights, and right of suit, of an individual share holder (or a member) of the company would apply to the members of societies or clubs also.[100]

Definition of ‘Member’ & Right to Vote

The definition of ‘Member’ (in Sec.15) in the Societies Registration Act, 1860 is not exhaustive, as it is ‘for the purposes of this Act’ alone. Further, the words in the second limb of Section 15, ‘but in all proceedings under this Act’ bespeak that the disqualifications, or making restrictions, in voting, and not to count as a member, for subscription-arrears, is confined[101] to the activities enjoined to the members to take part in the meeting (i) to make bye laws (S. 9), (ii) to amend the ‘purposes’ (S. 12), (iii) take decision to ‘amalgamate’ with another society (S.12), (iv) dissolution (S. 13), etc.

Non-Payment of Subscription & Right to Vote in Election

Section 15 of the Societies Registration Act does not direct expulsion or removal of member from the society for nonpayment of subscription; in any case, unless an opportunity of hearing is given to the member. [102]  Section 15 of the Societies Registration Act only lays down that such member cannot be entitled to vote or participate in the meeting. However, that does not mean that notice of the meeting itself should not be issued to him.

T.N. Societies Registration Act Provides for Compulsory Election

Deviating from the (Central) So. Registration Act, 1860, T.N. Societies Registration Act, 1975, Sections 15(4) provides that ‘the term of office of the members of the committee shall not exceed three years from the date of their appointment’. S. 26(4) enables the Registrar to depute an officer to be present at the general meetings of the Institution and the Charitable Society.

In Periyar Self-respect Propaganda Institution, Trichy Vs. State of TN[103] the constitutional validity of these provisions were upheld observing the following:

“By putting an end to the life membership or life offices, there is no putting an end to the right to form an association as such. The holding of an office for a particular tenure or for that matter for life is a matter of internal arrangement amongst members constituting the Institution or the Charitable Society arid certainly it cannot assume the colour of a fundamental right. …..  As rightly contended by the learned Advocate General appearing for the State, neither the Institution nor the Charitable Society, nor the present incumbents of the life offices could claim that they could form associations only with the life offices engrafted in the rules, or if they had already formed, they must be allowed to continue to have that set up and any disturbance thereof would amount to violation of the right to form an association guaranteed under Art. 19(1)(c). If at all, such a right could be characterised as a peripheral or concomitant right which may facilitate the fulfillment of the objectives of the founders of the Institution and the Charitable Society. But, there is no constitutional guarantee that every association formed shall effectively achieve its objectives without interference by law. This is not a case where the composition of the association is being altered. Neither the members nor the association of members could claim that they have a fundamental right to have office for life.”

Validity of Election: Jurisdiction with Courts; not with Registrar.

            Though Section 36(1) of the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975 empowers the Registrar, either of his own motion or on the Application of a majority of the members of the committee of management or on the Application, of not less than one third of the members of the Society to hold an enquiry into the Constitution, working and financial condition of a registered Society, it is held in S. Thamil Arasan President of Chennai Vyasarpadi Nadar Nagar Progressive Association Chennai Vs. R. Narayanan[104] that the Registrar is not competent to enquire into the validity of an election, while performing a mere ministerial function; the jurisdiction is vested with the Courts.

Acceptance of List of Governing Body District Registrar – Effect

If a dispute arises as to whom among the two sets were the lawful members of the Governing Committee, the Registrar has the power to decide upon such a dispute under the Societies Registration Act as an incidental or consequential power in itself. The Registrar has to prima facie satisfy from the materials and evidences. There may not be an elaborate enquiry. However, such an enquiry made by the Registrar and the decision taken from it does not become final and the aggrieved party can take up the matter before a competent court for a decision as to who are the members of the governing body. [105]

Section 25 of So. Regn. Act as Amended by State of U.P

Section 25 of the Societies Registration Act as amended by State of U.P. endows the ‘prescribed authority’ with the right to hear and decide in a summary manner disputes in respect of the election or continuance in office of office-bearers of societies.

Section 25 of the Societies Registration  Act as amended by State of U.P. reads as under:

25(1) The prescribed authority may, on a reference made to it by the registrar or by a 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 election or continuance in office of an office -bearer of such society, and may pass such orders in respect thereof as it deems fit:     
Provided that the election of an office-bearer shall be set aside where the prescribed authority is satisfied –
(a) that any corrupt practice has been committed by such office-bearer; or
(b) that the nomination of an candidate has been improperly rejected; or
(c) that the result of the election in so far 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.
Explanation I. – …………….. ………… …
Explanation II. – ……………… ……..
Explanation III. –  ……………. ………..

But, when disputed questions of fact are involved, summary proceedings under Section 25 of the Act, 1860 will not be a bar for seeking remedy before the Civil Court as the summary proceedings under Section 25 is not an efficacious remedy.[106]

Non-convening of the Meetings: Acquiescence and Estoppel

Non-convening of Annual General Meetings is a serious allegation against the office-bearers of a Society.  But in proper cases courts can invoke doctrine of acquiescence and estoppel.

In TJ Thomas Vs. CS Joseph[107] reliefs were claimed under the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956 read with 3 and 4 of the Kerala Non-Trading Companies Act, 1961 alleging, inter alia, that the respondents were not convening the Annual General Meetings regularly. The prayers were, among other grounds, rejected  because it had come out in evidence that the non-convening of the meetings was due to the inaction on the part of petitioners; that the petitioners, if they were really interested in the affairs of the Sangam, should have taken appropriate steps at the appropriate time and seen that the Annual General Meetings were convened without fail; and that the conduct of the petitioners in this regard would show that they had without demur, acquiesced in the various activities of the respondents.

In Proper Cases Courts Order Election and Appoint Receivers

In K.P. Muhammed Vs. M. Abdurahiman[108] both sides did not want an election to be conducted; and both were aiming at the administration or control of the Society, and for that purpose they were not so eager or anxious to have an election conducted in the manner suggested by the Court. The Kerala High Court, in order to resolve stalemate, ordered election and appointed Receivers to manage its affairs.

If Violation of Bye laws Court Sets Right the Illegalities

In V. Arulkumar Vs. Tamil Nadu Government Nurses Association[109] it is held that the court has to necessarily see as to whether the conduct of elections was in accordance with the Bye laws of the Association. If the same was in total violation of the Bye laws of the Association the court was certainly empowered to set right the illegalities and put the election process in motion to be performed in accordance with the Bye laws. Therefore it was held that the suit was maintainable.

Effect of Failure to File Documents u/s 4 & Court Interference

Non-renewal of the registration of a society may be a bar to avail the benefits offered to registered societies, but the same by itself will not lead the inference that the society is not in existence.[110] 

It is held in Nand Deo Pandey Vs. Committees of Management[111] that properly constituted committee of management was required to continue the proceedings of inquiry against the Principal of a Vidyalaya. The Managing Committee had ceased to be valid due to non-renewal of the registration of the society and non-holding of periodical elections under the provisions of the Societies’  Registration (U.P. Amendment) Act, 1960.

But in Nelson Vs. Kallayam Pastorate[112] it is held that the courts cannot set aside elections on the sole ground of non compliance of certain statutory provisions by it, and that in the event of becoming a society defunct, or failure to file documents under Sec. 4 of the So. Regn. Act, there is no bar for its members to revive its activities and to conduct the election of the office bearers.

COURT INTERFERENCE UNDER ‘REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT, 1951

Trial of Election Petition is Different from Trial of a Civil Suit

In Kailash v. Nanhku, AIR  2005 SC 2441, our Apex Court held that the trial of an election petition is entirely different from the trial of a civil suit, as in a civil suit trial commences on framing the issues while trial of an election petition encompasses all proceedings commencing from the filing of the election petition up to the date of decision. Therefore, the procedure provided for the trial of civil suits under CPC is not applicable in its entirety to the trial of the election petition. For the purpose of the election petition, the word ‘trial’ includes the entire proceedings commencing from the time of filing the election petition till the pronouncement of the judgment. Relying on Kailash v. Nanhku it is observed in Kalyan Singh Chouhan v. C P  Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127 that the applicability of the procedure in Election Tribunal is circumscribed by two riders :

  • firstly, the procedure prescribed in CPC is applicable only “as nearly as may be”, and
  • secondly, the CPC would give way to any provisions of the Act or any rules made thereunder.

Therefore, the procedure prescribed in CPC applies to election trial with flexibility and only as guidelines.

Election Law – Technical to Safeguard the Purity of the Election Process

In Harcharan Singh v. S. Mohinder Singh, AIR 1968 SC 1500, our Apex Court pointed out that the election dispute was a statutory proceeding that required strict compliance, observing as under:

  • “The statutory requirements of election law must be strictly observed. An election dispute is a statutory proceeding unknown to the common law; it is not an action at law or in equity. …… The primary purpose of the diverse provisions of the election law which may appear to be technical is to safeguard the purity of the election process, and the Courts will not ordinarily minimise their operation.” (Quoted in Kalyan Singh Chouhan VS C. P.  Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127).

Election Petition is not an Action at Common Law, Nor in Equity

In Jyoti Basu v. Debi Ghosal,  AIR 1982 SC 983, also it was pointed out that an election petition was not an action at Common Law, nor in equity. The Supreme Court observed as under:

  • “A right to elect, fundamental though it is to democracy, is, anomalously enough, neither a fundamental right nor a Common Law Right. It is pure and simple, a statutory right. So is the right to be elected. So is the right to dispute an election. Outside of statute, there is no right to elect, no right to be elected and no right to dispute an election. Statutory creations they are, and therefore, subject to statutory limitation. An election petition is not an action at Common Law, nor in equity. It is a statutory proceeding to which neither the common law nor the principles of equity apply but only those rules which the statute makes and applies. It is a special jurisdiction and a special jurisdiction has always to be exercised in accordance with the statute creating it. Concepts familiar to Common Law and Equity must remain strangers to Election Law unless statutorily embodied. A Court has no right to resort to them on considerations of alleged policy because policy in such matters, as those, relating to the trial of election disputes, is what the statute lays down. In the trial of election disputes, Court is put in a straight jacket. …… We have noticed the necessity to rid ourselves of notions based on Common Law or Equity. We see that we must seek an answer to the question within the four corners of the statute.” (Quoted in Kalyan Singh Chouhan v.  CP  Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127).

Strict Pleading; and Evidence in Strict Adherence to Pleading

In Gajanan Krishnaji Bapat v. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe, AIR 1995 SC 2284, our Apex  Court held that the court cannot consider any fact which was beyond the pleadings of the parties; and that the parties have to take proper pleadings and establish by adducing evidence that by a particular irregularity/illegality the result of the election has been materially affected. Our Apex Court, further, held as under:

  • “To say the least, it was not a desirable or a proper course to be adopted in an election petition where, as pointed out by this Court in JagannathVs. Jaswant Singh (1954 SCR 892), the statutory requirements of the law of election must be strictly observed.”

Pleadings play an important role in election petitions – Section 83 of the Act mandatory and requires

It was held in Gajanan Krishnaji Bapat v. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe, AIR 1995 SC 2284, as under:

  • “Since, pleadings play an important role in an election petition, the legislature has provided that the allegations of corrupt practice must be properly alleged and both the material facts and particulars provided in the petition itself so as to disclose a complete cause of action.  Section 83 of the Act provides that the election petition must contain a concise statement of the material facts on which the petitioner relies and further that he must set forth full particulars of the corrupt practice that he alleges including as full a statement as possible of the name of the parties alleged to have committed such corrupt practices and the date and place of the commission of each of such corrupt practice. This Section has been held to be mandatory and requires first a concise statement of material facts and then the full particulars of the alleged corrupt practice. So as to present a full picture of the cause of action.”

Pleading and Affidavit in Election Cases – to prevent fishing or roving enquiry

In Gajanan Krishnaji Bapat v. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe, AIR 1995 SC 2284, 1995 SCC (5) 347 it was held that a petition leveling a charge of corrupt practice was required, by law, to be supported by an affidavit and the election petitioner was also obliged to disclose his source of information in respect of the commission of the corrupt practice. This became necessary to bind the election petitioner to the charge leveled by him and to prevent any fishing or roving enquiry and to prevent the returned candidate from being taken by a surprise. (Samant N. BalakrishnaVs. George Fernandez and others (AIR 1969 SC 1201 was referred to.)

In CR  Mahesh v.  R  Ramachandan, (2017 –  Kerala) it is held that specific pleading is necessary with regard to the corrupt practice in an election petition and in the affidavit under Section 123(4) of the R P Act, 1951. When there is no specific pleading to that fact, no specific denial is necessary and the above decision is not binding in this case.

Wide latitude cannot be left in the pleadings – No wild goose chase allowed

In Gajanan Krishnaji Bapat v. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe, AIR 1995 SC 2284, 1995 SCC (5) 347, the impropriety is described as under:

  • “In the pleadings a wide latitude was left by the election petitioners to lead evidence on any of the various ‘possibilities’ detailed in the election petition. The ‘vagueness’ of the pleadings even after amendment shows that the election petitioners were out on a wild goose chase and trying to fish for evidence so as to be able to fasten some liability on the returned candidate or his election agent at least in some case.”

Pleadings and Issues are to Narrow the Area of Conflict

It is held in Kalyan Singh Chouhan v.  CP  Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127, that the pleadings are to help the court in narrowing the controversy involved and to inform the parties concerned to the question in issue, so that the parties may adduce appropriate evidence on the said issue. It is pointed out that it is a settled legal proposition that  ‘as a rule relief not founded on the pleadings should not be granted’ and emphasised that  a decision of a case cannot be based on grounds outside the pleadings of the parties. The pleadings and issues are to ascertain the real dispute between the parties to narrow the area of conflict and to see just where the two sides differ. The Apex Court expressly referred the following decisions:

  • Sri Mahant Govind Rao v. Sita Ram Kesho, (1898) 25 Ind. App. 195;
  • M/s. Trojan & Co. v. RM. N.N. Nagappa Chettiar, AIR 1953 SC 235;
  • J.K. Iron & Steel Co. v. The Iron and Steel Mazdoor Union, AIR 1956 SC 231;
  • Raruha Singh v. Achal Singh & Ors.; AIR 1961 SC 1097;
  • Ram Sarup Gupta v. Bishun Narain Inter College,  AIR 1987 SC 1242;
  • Gajanan Krishnaji Bapat v. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe, AIR 1995 SC 2284;
  • Om Prakash Gupta v. Ranbir B. Goyal, AIR 2002 SC 665;
  • Kashi Nath v. Jaganath, (2003) 8 SCC 740;
  • Ishwar Dutt v. Land Acquisition Collector, AIR 2005 SC 3165;
  • Bachhaj Nahar v. Nilima Mandal, AIR 2009 SC 1103, and
  • State of Maharashtra v. Hindustan Construction Company  Ltd., (2010) 4 SCC 518.

No Adjudication If No Issue

In Kalyan Singh Chouhan v.  CP  Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127, the Apex Court held that no courts decide a suit on a matter/point on which no issue has been framed. It is to ascertain/shorten the area of dispute and pinpoint the points required to be determined by the court, so that no party at the trial is taken by surprise. The court referred following decisions:

  • Sayad Muhammad. v. Fatteh Muhammad20 (1894-95) 22 Ind. App. 4 (PC)
  • Raja Bommadevara Venkata v. Raja Bommadevara Bhashya (1902) 29 Ind. App. 76 (PC);
  • Siddik Mohd. Shah v. Saran, AIR 1930 PC 57;
  • Sita Ram v. Radha Bai, AIR 1968 SC 535;
  • Gappulal v. Thakurji Shriji Dwarkadheeshji, AIR 1969 SC 1291; and
  • Biswanath Agarwalla v. Sabitri Bera, (2009) 15 SCC 693).

With reference to the following decisions, in Kalyan Singh Chouhan v. CP Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127,   it was also pointed out that there may be exceptional cases wherein the parties proceeded to trial fully knowing the rival case and led all the evidence not only in support of their contentions but in refutation thereof by the other side; and in such an eventuality, it would not be permissible for a party to submit that the proceedings stood vitiated. The decisions were the following:

  • Nagubai Ammal v. B. Shama Rao, AIR 1956 SC 593;
  • Nedunuri Kameswaramma v. Sampati Subba Rao,23 AIR 1963 SC 884;
  • Kunju Kesavan v. M.M. Philip & Ors.,24 AIR 1964 SC 164;
  •  Kali Prasad Agarwalla v. M/s. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd., AIR 1989 SC 1530;
  • Sayed Akhtar v. Abdul Ahad,26 (2003) (7) SCC 52; and
  • Bhuwan Singh v. Oriental Insurance Co., AIR 2009 SC 2177.

No pleading in respect of the ‘remaining 4 tendered votes’

The Supreme Court observed in Kalyan Singh Chouhan v. CP Joshi, AIR 2011 SC 1127,  that during the trial of an election petition, it was not permissible for the court to permit a party to seek a roving enquiry; and that the party must plead the material fact and adduce evidence to substantiate the same. In this case the issue raised was pertaining to 6 improperly received votes mentioned in the election petition. Though there was no pleading  either in the election petition or in the written statement a new matter in respect of the ‘remaining 4 tendered votes’ came up. The Supreme Court held that before the court permitted the recounting, the following conditions were to be satisfied:

  • “(i) The Court must be satisfied that a prima facie case is established;
  • (ii) The material facts and full particulars have been pleaded stating the irregularities in counting of votes;
  • (iii) A roving and fishing inquiry should not be directed by way of an order to recount the votes;
  • (iv)  An opportunity should be given to file objection; and
  •  (v) Secrecy of the ballot requires to be guarded.

The Court referred following decisions:

  • Dr. Jagjit Singh v. Giani Kartar Singh,  AIR 1966 SC 773;
  • Suresh Prasad Yadav v. Jai Prakash Mishra,  AIR 1975 SC 376;
  • M. Chinnasamy v. K.C. Palanisamy,  AIR 2004 SC 541;
  • Chandrika Prasad Yadav v. State of Bihar, AIR 2004 SC 2036;
  • Tanaji Ramchandra Nimhan v. Swati Vinayak Nimhan,  AIR 2006 SC 1218;
  • Gursewak Singh v. Avtar Singh,   AIR 2006 SC 1791; and
  • Baldev Singh v. Shinder Pal Singh, (2007) 1 SCC 341).”

No Amendment of pleading After the Time Limit

In VS Achuthanandan v. PJ Francis, AIR 1999 SC 2044, it was held that material facts are preliminary facts which must be proved at the trial by a party to establish existence of a cause of action; and that no amendment of the pleading is permissible to introduce such material facts after the time limit prescribed for filing the election petition, the absence of ‘material particulars’ can be cured at a later stage by an appropriate amendment.

Evidence led, beyond the pleadings without objections from the opposite side, the court could have evaluated worth of that evidence,

In Gajanan Krishnaji Bapat v. Dattaji Raghobaji Meghe, AIR 1995 SC 2284, 1995 SCC (5) 347, it is held as under:

  • “Of course, since evidence was allowed to be led, though beyond the pleadings without any objectionsfrom the opposite side, the court could have evaluated and analysed the same to determine the worth of that evidence.”

[1]   1999 (1) BomCR 546; 1998-3 Mh. LJ 204

[2]      AIR 1952 SC 64

[3]      Laxman Singh Vs. State of U P: 2014 – 9 ADJ 242

[4]      AIR 1957 SC 304

[5]      Referred to in Bar Council Of Delhi Vs. Surjeet Singh: AIR 1980 SC 1612

[6]      AIR 1980 SC 1612.

Referred: Pundlik Vs. State of Maharashtra: AIR 1975 MP145;

Bhupendra Kumar Jain Vs. Y. S. Dharmadhikari, AIR 1976 MP 110.

[7] AIR 1975 MP145 (Oza J.)

[8] AIR 2005 SC 3746

[9]  AIR 1961 Punj 429; referred to in Bar Council Of Delhi Vs. Surjeet Singh: AIR 1980 SC 1612. Electoral Roll is a fundamental factor: Devassy Vs. Asst. Registrar of Cooperative Societies: ILR 1976 (1) Ker. 95.

[10]    See also: Gopalan Vs. Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies 1985 Ker LT 446; Joseph Vs. Kothamangalam Co-op. M. Society Ltd: 1994 (1) Ker LT 828

[11]    P Nalla Thampy Thera Vs. B L Shanker: AIR1984 SC 135

[12]    (1954) SCR 892

[13]    Referred to in Ram Sukh Vs. Dinesh Aggerwal: AIR 2010 SC 1227; Ram Phal Kundu Vs. Kamal Sharma : AIR 2004 SC 1657; Indrajit Barua Vs. Election Commission Of India: AIR 1986 SC 103;  P Nalla Thampy Thera Vs. BL Shanker AIR 1984 SC 135; Samant N Balkrishna Vs. George Fernandez ; AIR 1969 SC 1201; Kumaranand Vs. Brij Mohan Lal; AIR1965 SC 628; Mahila Krishna Kumari Vs. Mahila Sakun Bhatnagar: AIR 1972 MP 155; Jagannath Dalai Vs. Rama Chandra Nahak: AIR 1959 Ori 26.

[14]    Md. Majid Hussain Vs. Md Aqueel, AIR 2015 AP 21, that See also: Tanaji Ramchandra Nimhan Vs. Swati Vinayak Nimhan: AIR  2006 SC 1218.

[15]    1995-5 SCC 347

[16]    Manish Kansal Vs. State of U P: LAWS(ALL)-2015-5-194

[17]    A. S. Krishnan Vs. M. Sundaram: A. I. R. 1941 Bom. 312; See also: Shridhar Misra Vs. Jaihandra, AIR 1959 All 598;   Satyavart Sidhantalankar Vs. Arya Samaj, Bombay, AIR 1946 Bom 516 ; NagappaVs. Madras Race Club, AIR 1951 Mad 831.

[18]    (1952) SCR 218; AIR 1952 SC 64.

[19]    Charan Lal Sahu v. Giani Zail Singh: AIR 1984 SC 309; Referred to in Mithilesh Kumar Sinha Kaka Joginder Singh Vs. Returning Officer for Presidential Election: Dr Shanker Dayal Sharma: AIR1993 SC 20; P Nalla Thampy Thera Vs. B L Shanker: AIR  1984 SC 135. Also See: Satya Narain Vs. Dhuja Ram: AIR 1974 SC 1185; U S Sasidharan Vs. K Karunakaran: AIR1990 SC 924; Jyoti Basu Vs. Debi Ghosal: AIR 1982 SC 983: Sukumarakurup Vs. District Judge: AIR 1998 Ker 332; Ram Shankar Chaudhary Vs. Rama Shankar Singh: 1978 JLJ  401.

[20]    Sukumarakurup Vs. District Judge: AIR  1998 Ker 332

[21]    2005-1 CTC 399, (2005) 2 Mad LJ 102. See also: V. Arulkumar And Ors.  Vs. Tamil Nadu Government Nurses Association (Government Recognised): 2015-5 CTC 17: (2015) 5 Mad LJ 673.

[22]    Ram Pal Singh Vs. State of U P: LAWS (ALL)-2015-5-99.   Referred to: Ram Pyare Lal Vs. State of U.P. 2015-3 ADJ 577;  Also See: Vimla Devi Vs. Deputy Director of Education, 1997-3 ESC 1807;  2010 (1) ADJ 262

[23]   2007-7 ADJ 414; 2007-3 All LR 14; MANU/UP/2165/2007

[24]    Referred to in Satya Narain Tripathi Vs. State of U P: 2008 – 2 ADJ 222, 2008-71 ALLLR 698 .

[25]    Committee of Managt. Arya Kanya Pathshala Inter College Vs. State of UP: 2011- 2 ADJ 65; Gopal Y Unkal Vs. Karnataka Vidya Vardhaka Sangha, Dharwad, Dist: KarCCR 2018 2 1880

[26]    AIR 1965 Ker 68. Quoted in Rajeev Saumitra Vs. Neetu Singh: 2016-198 Comp Cases 359.

[27]    2016 3 UAD 656

[28]    See: Shyam Narain Shukla, Committee of Management Vs. State of UP: 1995-25 All LR 100; 1995-1 LBESR 174.

[29]    Kurukshetra University Vs. Vinod Kumar: AIR 1977 Pj & Hr 21;

        Sarup Singh Vs. State of Punjab: 1990-1 LLJ 285.

        See with respect to statutory tribunal: Annamalai Vs. R Doraiswamy: 1982 ACJ 371.

[30]    Ramesh Kapur Vs. Punjab University:  AIR 1965 Punj 120; Rakesh Kumar Vs. J & K State Board of School Education: AIR 1992 J&K 22.

[31]    Enderby Town Football Club Ltd. Vs. Football Association Ltd. (1971 Chancery Div. 591)

[32]    Quoted in J K Aggarwal Vs. Haryana Seeds Development Corporation:  AIR 1991 SC 1221.

[33]    AIR  1976 P & H 69.

[34]    K V Vijayakumar Vs. Joint Registrar of Co Operative Societies: AIR  1996 Ker 150

[35]    Pritam Singh Vs. S. Ranjit Singh: AIR 1965 Punjab 39.

[36]    AIR 1995 SC 1344.

[37]    (2011) 13 SCC 774

[38]    (1954) SCR 892. Also See: Jayanta Samal Vs. Kulamani Behera: 2004 13 SCC 552

[39]    AIR  2016 SC 1094.

[40]    AIR 1952 SC 64

[41]    (1976) 3 SCC 211

[42]    AIR 1978 SC 851.

[43]    AIR 1996 SC 1595

[44]    AIR 2001 SC 3982;

        Followed in Ahmednagar Zilla SDV P Sangh Vs. State of Maharashtra, (2004) 1 SCC 133

[45]    (1996) 6 SCC 303

[46]    AIR 2000 SC 2977

[47]    2008 (Supp.) O.L.R. 251

[48]    2015-3 Ker LT 299.

[49]    AIR 2014 Mad 34

[50]    (2006) 8 SCC 487. 

[51]    (1998) 8 SCC 703.

[52]    (2004) 12 SCC 73; Also see: Harcharan Singh Vs. Mohinder Singh: AIR 1968  SC 1500; Mohinder Singh Gill Vs. The Chief Election Commissioner: AIR 1978  SC 851; Jyoti Basu Vs. Debi Ghosal: AIR  1982  SC  983; Harikrishna Lal Vs. Bau Lal Marandi: 2003-8 SCC 613; Shyamdeo Pd. Singh Vs. Naval Kishore Yadav: 2000-8 SCC 46; Election Commission of India Vs. Ashok Kumar : AIR 2000 SC 2977.

[53]    AIR 1977 SC 1703.

[54]    AIR  2016 SC 1094: Referred: Ponnuswami Vs. Returning Officer: AIR 1952 SC 64;  Shri Sant Sadguru Janardan Swami Vs. State of Maharashtra: 2001 (8) SCC 509; Nanhoo Mal and others Vs. Hira Mal: 1976 (3) SCC 211.

[55]    AIR 1977 SC 1703.

[56]    See also: Abdul Latheef C.K. Vs. K.M. Haneefa:  2015-3 Ker LT 299.

[57] Kalyan Kumar Gogoi Vs. Ashutosh Agnihotri:AIR 2011 SC 760

[58]    Md Majid Hussain Vs. Md Aqueel, AIR 2015 AP 21, that See also: Tanaji Ramchandra Nimhan Vs. Swati Vinayak Nimhan: AIR  2006 SC 1218.

[59] 1995-5 SCC 347

[60] [1966]3 SCR 623. Referred to in Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Vs. K S Gandhi: 1991 AIR-SCW 879.

[61]    Shaji K. Joseph Vs. V. Viswanath AIR  2016 SC 1094

[62]    In Re: T Balaji Rao Naidu Garu Vs. State: AIR 1933 Mad 103 (PC).

[63]    Daver Vs. Lodge Victoria No. 363 SC Belgaum, AIR 1963 SC 1144;

        Shridhar Misra Vs. Jaichandra Vidyalankar:   AIR 1959 All 598.

[64]    Raghubar Dayal Misra Vs. Shankar Lal: AIR  1934 All 876.

[65]    Kalyan Kumar Gogoi Vs. Ashutosh Agnihotri:AIR 2011 SC 760. Referred to in: Ashok Vs. Rajendra Bhausaheb Mulak: 2012-12 SCC 27;  Ravinder Kumar Rawal Vs. V.K. Sood: ILR 2011-2  P&H 704. See also: Jagan Nath Vs. Jaswant Singh (1954) SCR 892; Jayanta Samal Vs. Kulamani Behera: 2004-13 SCC 552

[66]    Saheed Sporting Club Vs. Kalyan Ray Choudhury : 2008 CLT Supp 338. AIR 1963 All 518 referred to.

[67]    (2008) 11 SCC 740.

[68] Quoted in G.M. Siddeshwar Vs. Prasanna Kumar: AIR  2013 SC 1549.

[69]    Chandrakant Mahadev Patole Vs. State of Maharashtra: 2010 All MR 457

[70]    Sarbjit Singh Vs. All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society: ILR 1989-2 Del 585:

[71]    V. Arulkumar Vs. TN Government Nurses Association: 2015-5 CTC 17

[72]    Shri Sant Sadguru Janardan Swami Vs. State of Maharashtra AIR 2001 SC 3982;  Ahmednagar Zilla SDV.  Vs. State of Maharashtra, 2004-1 SCC 133; Pundlik Vs. State of Maharashtra: AIR 2005 SC 3746;  Dev Prakash Balmukund Vs. Babu Ram Rewti Mal: AIR 1961 Punj 429 referred to in Bar Council Of Delhi Vs. Surjeet Singh: AIR 1980 SC 1612. Electoral Roll is a fundamental factor: Devassy Vs. Asst. Regtr.: ILR 1976 (1) Ker. 95.; See also: Ajmer Vs. Radhey Shyam Dani: AIR 1957 SC 304; Gopalan Vs. Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies 1985 Ker LT 446; Joseph Vs. Kothamangalam Co-op. M. Society: 1994 (1) Ker LT 828.  See Contra view Supreme Court Bar Association Vs. B.D. Kaushik: (2011) 13 SCC 774;  Shri  Sant Sadguru Janardan Swami Vs. State of Maharashtra: AIR 2001 SC 3982; Radheshyam Vs. Chairman, Sahakari Samiti, : AIR 1976 MP 156; Ram Swaroop, Dohare Vs. Ayukta Sahkarita: AIR 1996 MP 187.

[73]    Umakant Singh Vs. Bindra Chaudhary AIR 1965 Pat 459; Referred to in Bar Council of Delhi Vs. Surjeet Singh: AIR 1980 SC 1612;

[74]    Manish Kansal Vs. State of U P: LAWS(ALL)-2015-5-194

[75]    East Bengal Club Vs. Paltu Mukherjee : 2011-1 Cal HN 184

[76]    Umakant Singh Vs. Bindra Chaudhary AIR 1965 Pat 459; Referred to in Bar Council of Delhi Vs. Surjeet Singh: AIR 1980 SC 1612. Also: Parmeshwar Mahaseth Vs. State of Bihar, AIR 1958 Pat 149:   Referred to in Bar Council of Delhi Vs. Surjeet Singh: AIR 1980 SC 1612.

[77]    Bar Council of Delhi Vs. Surjeet Singh: AIR 1980 SC 1612.

[78]    Bar Council of Delhi Vs. Surjeet Singh: AIR 1980 SC 1612

[79]   Maksudan Raut Vs. State of Bihar: AIR 1983 Pat 186. Followed in Satya Narain Singh Vs. State of Bihar: AIR 1984 Pat 26. See also: R. Nanjundegowda Vs Revenue Secretary-Ii, Bangalore: AIR 2006-6 (Kar)(R) 523; Nand Parkash Vohra Vs. State of H P: AIR 2000 HP 65.

[80]    Bar Council of Delhi Vs. Surjeet Singh: AIR 1980 SC 1612; Kanglu Baula Kotwal Vs. Chief Executive Officer, Janpad Sabha, Durg: AIR 1955 Nag 49; Ramgulam Shri Baijnath Prasad Vs. Collector, Guna, AIR 1975 MP 145 (Oza J.)  referred to.

[81]    2011-1 Cal HN 184

[82]    ILR 1989-2 Del 585

[83]    See: Shri Sant Sadguru Janardan Swami Vs. State of Maharashtra: AIR 2001 SC 3982

[84]    Ram Pal Singh Vs. State of U P: LAWS(ALL)-2015-5-99

[85]    AIR 1980 SC 1612

[86]    Relied on in: Sanjeev Kumar and Vs. Registrar of Co-Operative Societies LAWS(DLH)-2015-8-175.

[87] 1982-2 Kant LJ 313

[88] AIR 1980 SC 1612

[89] Devassy Vs. Asst. Registrar of Cooperative Societies: ILR 1976 (1) Ker. 95; Gopalan Vs. Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies 1985 Ker LT 446; Joseph Vs. Kothamangalam Co-op. M. Society Ltd: 1994 (1) Ker LT 828).

[90]    AIR 2004 SC 1329; followed in  Pundlik Vs. State of Maharashtra: AIR 2005 SC 3746

[91]    AIR 2001 SC 3982

[92]    See: Supreme Court Bar Association Vs. B.D. Kaushik: (2011) 13 SCC 774;   Shri  Sant Sadguru Janardan Swami Vs. State of Maharashtra: AIR 2001 SC 3982; Radheshyam Vs. Chairman, Sahakari Samiti, : AIR 1976 MP 156; 2008 (4) MPLJ 353 (Ram Singh Vs. State of MP and others); Ram Swaroop, Dohare Vs. Ayukta Sahkarita: AIR 1996 MP 187

[93]    Shri Sant Sadguru Janardan Swami Vs. State of Maharashtra: AIR 2001 SC 3982

[94]    1999(2) ALD 319 (DB)

[95]    Sarbjit Singh Vs. All India Fine Arts & Crafts Society: ILR 1989-2 Del 585.

[96]    Board of Trustees, Ayurvedic & Unani Tibia College Vs. The State: AIR 1962 SC 458; 

Siddheshwar Sahkari Sakhar Karkhana Vs. Commissioner of I T: AIR 2004 SC 4716;

Hyderabad Karnataka Education Society Vs. Registrar of Societies: AIR 2000 SC 301;

Co- op. Central Bank Vs. Addl. Industrial Tribunal, Andhra Pradesh: AIR 1969  SC 245; 

Naresh Chandra Sanyal Vs. Calcutta Stock Exchange Assn Ltd. : AIR 1971  SC 422;

Damyanti Naranga Vs. Union of India: AIR 1971 SC 966;

Daman Singh Vs. State of Punjab AIR 1985 SC 973.

Municipal Board Vs. Rizwan Beg: AIR 1964 All 544: Referred to:

Alty Vs. Farrell (1896) 1 QB 638;

Kruse Vs. Johnson, (1898) 2 QB 91,

Scott Vs. Pilliner, (1904) 2 KB 855,

Repton School Governors Vs. Repton Rural District Council, (1918) 2 KB 133;

Chester Vs. Bateson, (1920) 1 KB 829;

Attorney General Vs. Denhy, 1925 Ch 596.

[97]    Jyoti Basu Vs. Debi Ghosal AIR 1982 SC 983

[98]    Satya Narain Tripathi Vs. State of UP: 2008 – 2 ADJ 222; 2008-71 All LR 698.

[99]    Nagappa  Chettiar Vs. Madras Race Club: AIR 1951 Mad 831;

        C L Joseph Vs. Jos: AIR 1965 Ker 68; 

        Star Tiles Works Vs. N. Govindan: AIR 1959 Ker  254

[100] A. S. Krishnan Vs. M. Sundarum: AIR 1941 Bom 312;

        Satyavart Sidhantalankar Vs. Arya Samaj, Bombay, AIR 1946 Bom 516; 

        Nagappa Vs. Madras Race Club, AIR 1951 Mad 831;

        Shridhar Misra Vs. Jihandra, AIR 1959 All 598. 

[101] See: Sec. 9-14, 17 and 20

[102] Shri Sarbjit Singh Vs All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society : ILR (1989) 2 Delhi 585.

[103] AIR 1988 Mad 27

[104]           2005 (1) CTC 399 : 2005 (2) MLJ 102. Referred to in Theni Melapettai Hindu Nadarkal Uravinmurai Vs. The District Registrar: 2007 6 MLJ 1528.

[105] AP Aboobaker Musaliar Vs. Dist. Registrar (G), Kozhikode: (2004) 11 SCC 247.See also:  CMZ Musliar Vs. Aboobacker: ILR 1998-2 Ker 76. Gyan Bharti Shiksha Sadan Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2014 5 ADJ 263

[106] Nagri Pracharini Sabha Vs. Vth Additional District and Sessions Judge, Varanasi: 1991 Supp (2) SCC 36

[107] ILR1988-1 Ker 429

[108] LAWS (KER)-2013-3-137

[109] 2015-5 CTC 17

[110] Committee of Management  Vs. Commissioner, Kanpur Region: 2008 -1 AWC 695; 2008 -1 ADJ 706; 2008-70 All LR 368.  

[111]              AIR 1991 SC 413

[112] AIR 2007 SC 1337.


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