1. Petitioner Society has impugned orders of the District Officer Cooperative/Deputy Registrar dated 07.02.2015 and that of Secretary to Government of the Punjab Cooperative Department dated 07.04.2015 whereby the application for carrying out amendments in the By-laws of the society [more commonly referred in the record as the Model Election Rule (“Rules”) was declined.
2. Brief facts are that the Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Punjab, vide letter dated 03.11.2012, directed the District Officers Cooperatives (DOCs) in Punjab to issue directions under Section 44-D of the Cooperative Societies Act, 1925 (“Act”) to the cooperative societies to adopt the Model Election Rules of the Cooperative Housing Societies and then obtain approval from the concerned DOC/DDOC by 31.12.2012. In pursuance thereof, the DOC, Lahore issued letter dated 17.11.2012 to the petitioner society exercising its power under Section 44-D of the Act. The letter directed the petitioner society “to convene Special or Annual General Body Meeting and place the new Model Election Rules before General Body Meeting for approval in toto at priority basis and obtain approval from the undersigned before 31.12.2012 positively.” Petitioner society did the needful, as a result, Model Election Rules were approved and assumed the statutory status of Bylaws of the society under the Act.
3. After sometime the petitioner Society felt the need to amend the under-mentioned By-laws (i.e., Model Election Rules) and, therefore, in the Annual General Meeting of the Society held on 19.10.2014, amendments were proposed in the By-laws. The request for the amendments was declined though the impugned orders, inter-alia, on the ground that the amendments offended the provisions of the Act and the Cooperative Societies Rules, 1927 (“Rules”) and having been framed under the direction of the Registrar under Section 44-D of the Act, were in public interest and could not be altered or amended.
4. Learned counsel for the petitioner argued that Model Election Rules is an internal document of the petitioner society. It was emphasized that these Rules are separate and distinct from the By-laws and the Rules provided under the Act. Hence, Model Election Rules or any amendment therein does not require registration with the Registrar. Therefore, impugned orders passed by Secretary, Cooperative Department, as well as, District Officer Cooperative/Deputy Registrar, assuming that the Model Election Rules are equivalent to By-laws of the Society, are without lawful authority. In support of the above they placed reliance on Sections 10 and 16 of the Act. They also pointed out that Rules as defined under Section 3 (g) of the Act are Rules framed under Section 71 of the Act which are the Cooperative Societies Rules, 1927, hence Model Election Rules are a distinct category of Rules that do not require registration. They also relied on Rules 4, 5 and 6 (3) in support of their contentions. It is argued that Rule 53 is being pressed against the petitioner when the case of the petitioner society does not fall under the said Rule. They also placed reliance on an earlier order of this Court dated 20.10.2014 passed in somewhat connected W.P. No.16946/2013 to submit that the Registrar was under a direction by this Court to register the amendments in the By-laws.
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