In view of the above, the submission that Respondent No. 1/plaintiff, after trial, may get compensation/damages as claimed in the Suit is unacceptable basically at the instance of the Appellant as the abrupt action and its effect and its consequences are far reaching not only as it affects only Respondent No. 1/plaintiff, but also Gymkhana which nominated him apart from Appellant's own reputation itself. It is always legitimate acceptance of every member and basically the member of this type, that the MC though have a power, in view of the rule, still required to follow and/or the basic principle of natural justice, fair play and equity at every stage of the proceedings. The formality of completion of show cause notice itself was not sufficient. The issue even if raised, in my view, need to be tackled to avoid unnecessary publicity and/or affects the name and fame of everybody concern, specially when it is the requirement of the time that if certain issues are raised and/or pointed out, has to be tackled by inbuilt procedures, by giving opportunity to all concerned. Such abrupt punishment as sought in the present case, is not the solution and specially it is not permissible mode to decide the issue. Every body needs to follow the procedure, whether private body and/or public body, when it comes to deciding and/or taking away the legal rights and the obligations of any member/person/representatives.
Equivalent Citation: 2014(1)BomCR687, 2014(2)MhLj726,2015(7) ALLMR363
IN THE HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY
Appeal From Order (Stamp) No. 25497 of 2013 with CAAST/25580/2013
Decided On: 21.09.2013
Appellants: Mumbai Cricket Association
Respondent: Mr. Ratnakar Shivram Shetty and Ors.
Respondent: Mr. Ratnakar Shivram Shetty and Ors.
1. Rule, returnable forthwith. By consent heard finally in view of an urgency. Respondents 2 to 18 are supporting members of Appellant-original Defendant No. 1 served privately and in view of averments made in para 4 and as the statement is made that they will file vakalatnama and as the same one Advocate appeared in the trial court, by Tuesday, 24 September 2013. They are formal parties. No separate reliefs claimed against these members. Mr. A.N. Narula, Advocate appeared for Respondent No. 19. Respondent No. 20 has now nominated Respondent No. 1/original Plaintiff served.
2. The Appellant-Mumbai Cricket Association (the MCA), Defendant No. 1, has challenged Order dated 7 September 2013 passed by the Judge, City Civil Court, Greater Mumbai, in favour of Respondent No. 1, Plaintiff, the operative part of which is as under:
Notice of Motion No. 2484/13 is partly made absolute. Defendant No. 1 is restrained by way of temporary injunction from acting upon their decision to expel the plaintiff for a period of five years during the pendency of the suit.
Hearing of the suit is expedited.
3. Respondent No. 1 has filed a Suit against the Appellant and its members and prayed that notice dated 3 June 2013 imposing five years ban from participating in any matter pertaining to the activities be declared illegal and bad in law and prayed to set aside the same. The prayers are also made for an interim relief/protection through a Notice of Motion. The parties have filed reply, rejoinder and surrejoinder. Respondents 19 and 20 joined later. After hearing both the parties on 7 September 2013, the impugned order was passed and, therefore, this Appeal from Order.
4. The Appellant (the MCA) is a registered Association under the provisions of the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and under Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950. The Association is governed by the Memorandum of Association, Rules, Byelaws. The general body of Association consists of not more than 350 ordinary members, Clubs classified in 3 categories. No individual can be the member of the Club/Association. The Wilson College Gymkhana and others are ordinary members of the Appellant and so also Respondent No. 20.
5. Respondent No. 1 has been involved in Cricket administration since many years. He was office bearer of the MCA for several years. He was on various Committees of Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) and was the tournament director of ICC Champions Trophy 2006 and ICC World Cup 2011.
6. There was a T-20 match between India and Pakistan hosted by the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) on 28 December 2012 at Ahmedabad. As per the Appellant, in 2012 Respondent No. 1, was the representative of the Wilson College Gymkhana on MCA. On 28 December 2012, T-20 Match played between India & Pakistan at Ahmedabad, hosted by GCA. Although the MCA was entitled to 150 tickets, there was hardly any demand for the same. The Secretary, Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) requested MCA to give the tickets which were not availed of by MCA Members as there was a demand for the same. Accordingly, 150 tickets were bought/paid for by MCA. Of these only two were booked by a member of MCA on 13-12-2012 and the balance 148 were handed over to one Shapath Shah at the request of the Secretary SCA. MCA received back the amount it had paid for the same.
7. On 15 December 2012, the Joint Honorary Secretary of MCA wrote to GCA and booked 150 tickets for the Match and in furtherance of such booking, also paid a sum of Rs. 1,50,000/- vide a Demand Draft. On 26 December 2012, the Joint Honourary Secretary wrote to the Honourary Secretary, GCA, instructing him to hand over 150 tickets booked by MCA to Mr. Shapath Shah, a resident of Ahmedabad who was neither a member nor a representative of any member of MCA. As per Respondent No. 1, on January 5, 2012 one Mr. Jayveer Shah, a resident of Mumbai, visited the office of MCA and gave a personal cheque of Rs. 1,50,000/-. MCA accepted the cheque as a reimbursement of the payment made by MCA to book the 150 tickets being the tickets handed over by GCA to Mr. Shapath Shah.
8. This incident, as alleged, raised doubts in the mind of Respondent No. 1- why MCA did not take advance payment, at whose instance were the tickets booked, whether 150 tickets were used for benefit of MCA members, whether MCA ought to have paid Rs. 1,50,000/-, why MCA accepted reimbursement from a third person, whether the MCA funds were misused as different people collected tickets and made payment, Respondent No. 1 felt tickets could have been sold in the black market, Respondent No. 1 decided to seek clarification from MCA. Therefore, addressed an email to MCA on 11.03.2013 and sought clarification on the issue. There was no response. Therefore, again sent an email on 14 March 2013. There was no response again. There is no denial to the receipt of all these emails and nor to the transactions.
9. On 22 March 2013, an Annual General Meeting (AGM) of MCA held. Respondent No. 1/Plaintiff, as there was no response to the emails, raised the issue in the following words:-
Now if you are talking about discipline for the clubs, is it not a problem for the Managing Committee too.
Why was Mumbai Cricket Association's money used for alleged black marketing of tickets in Ahmedabad? I am making this allegation because this is a serious matter.
Mr. Avi Sule was suspended from MCA. What was the charge? He had not deposited the advance taken for Ranji Trophy matches in time. An enquiry was held and he was held guilty.
What is the difference between Avi Sule and the Office Bearers?
At this stage, Mr. Vijay Patil objected to the general reference to Office Bearers and he wanted me to be specific and name the office Bearer if I knew Mr. Nadim Memon and Mr. Deepak Patil too joined in the demand.
The tickets were booked by MCA by a letter signed by the Jt. Hon. Secretary of MCA. When I say Office Bearers, there are two sections of Office Bearers one who sign the correspondence and cheques, the President and Vide Presidents do not sign the cheques. Of course in the absence of the Hon. Treasurer, the Vice President may sign.
As recorded, the Chairman of the AGM promised to conduct an enquiry in the matter.
10. As per the Appellant, between 23 March 2013 to 31 March 2013, the President made enquiries into the allegations alleged of black marketing and ultimately, in a meeting of Managing Committee (MC) of MCA recorded that there was no substance in the allegations. On 1 April 2013 and decided to have an enquiry by issuing a show cause notice to Respondent No. 1/Plaintiff for getting an explanation for the alleged allegations. On 3 April 2013, the report was finalised. On 9 April 2013, the Appellant provided the full information regarding purchase of tickets to Respondent No. 1. On the same day, the show cause notice issued by observing that they found allegations to be false, baseless and were of serious nature and also alleged that due publicity was given. Therefore directly asked proof of the allegations. The unilaterally collected report was not provided to Respondent No. 1 in advance.
THE ISSUE RAISED:
11. The contents of the show cause notice are as under:
Prof. Ratnakar Shetty
Wilson College Gymkhana,
Sub: Notice for allegations of black marketing
With reference to the remarks made by you at the AGM on 22nd March in the General Body before the members present for the alleged Black Marketing of the Match Tickets for the T20 Match in Ahmedabad by the Office bearers/Managing Committee Members of the Mumbai Cricket Association, I would like to inform you, that I have made the required enquiry into the said allegations of black marketing by the office bearers/committee members regarding the same and have found your allegations baseless and false.
In the Managing Committee at the meeting held on 1st April, the members unanimously felt that the allegations made by you were of serious nature and the members were personally embarrassed by your said remarks in the AGM and as per press reports appearing after the AGM. Therefore, the committee decided to send you a notice for providing the specific proof for the allegations of black marketing made by you at the AGM.
Accordingly this notice is being issued as per the decision of the Managing Committee requesting you to submit the specific proof for the allegations made by you in writing.
You are therefore required to submit the specific proof in support of your allegations from the receipt of this notice.
If you fail to respond to this notice, it will be assumed that you have nothing specific to provide in support of your allegations made in AGM dated 22nd March 2013.
For and on behalf of
12. On 16 April 2013, Respondent No. 1 replied to the show cause notice and denied the allegations/charges so levelled. The reference was made to the earlier queries dated 14 March 2013, of which reply was given on 9 April 2013 on the date of issuance of show cause notice in question. Respondent No. 1 specifically stated as under:
As far as the first para of the notice is concerned, I wish to clarify that I have not made any allegations of black marketing against any Office Bearers or members of the Managing Committee for that matter hence there is no question of providing evidence for what I did not allege. I would never belittle a position I myself held in this august body for close to two decades....
I wish to reiterate that I had never made any allegations of black marketing against any office Bearer of the Association. I did make the statement that it is quite like that an individual who was not a member of MCA and got 150 tickets could have indulged in black marketing.
Respondent No. 1 reiterated that he never made allegations of black marketing against any office bearer, but not denied the statement that "It is quite likely that an individual who was not a member of MCA and got 150 tickets could have indulged in black marketing.".
THE PENALTY PRE-DETERMINED.
13. A meeting of the Managing Committee was held on 25 April 2013. They have not accepted the statement/reply given by Respondent No. 1/Plaintiff. The CD recording of the AGM was heard by the Committee members AGAIN and ultimately decided to take the impugned action. On 14 May 2013, another meeting of the MC was again held and they decided to take action against Respondent No. 1 under Rule 31(h) read with Rule 33 of the Bye-laws. On that day itself, the punishment was unanimously decided that he (the noticee) would be debarred for a period of five years for making the allegations. However, to give opportunity, to bring on record the proof in support of allegations and if he failed to do so, the President would implement the decision of the MC with or without modification as he would deem fit. The decision also taken to direct Respondent-Wilson College Gymkhana to depute another representative in place of Respondent No. 1/plaintiff. This itself means, the decision was concluded on 14 May 2013 itself.
14. The recording of the AGM was heard by the Appellant's officers as well as Respondents on 28 May 2013. By another communication on 29 May 2013, Respondent No. 1/Plaintiff contended that he had not made any allegations against the office bearers and committee members and pointed out the relevant portion of his comments. The Appellant's President not accepted the explanation and on 3 June 2013 they have communicated the decision which they have already taken on 14 May 2013 and debarred Respondent No. 1/plaintiff for five years by invoking rules in question. On 26 June 2013, Respondent No. 1/plaintiff replied through his Advocate to the communication and on 28 June 2013, filed the Suit along with the Notice of Motion.
15. In the mean time, Wilson College deputed some other person. There is no challenge to that aspect. Respondent No. 1 now has been nominated by Respondent No. 20, therefore, is a member of MCA though not through Defendant No. 19.
The Rule and the uncontrolled power of Managing Committee:
16. The basic rule as referred and quoted by both the learned senior counsel appearing for the parties read as under:
31- The powers of the Managing Committee shall be
(h)- To inflict penalties on any member or any of its representatives and its person or any person for the infringement of the Laws of Cricket or the rules and regulations of the Association or for acting in any manner whatsoever against or prejudicial to the interest of the Association in the opinion of the Managing Committee.
The learned Judge has read and relied upon Rule 15 also in paragraph 17.
No detail procedure prescribed before imposing penalty:
17. There are no other rules and/or regulations than above which deals with the procedure to be followed by the Appellant before and/or after inflicting the penalties on any member and/or its representatives or any person. There is no prescribed format and/or form of any show cause notice provided. There is no definition of the word "penalties". There is no provision for the issue of show cause notice and/or its reply by the aggrieved person. There is nothing to show that the MCA and/or its managing committee required to hear and/or give personal hearing to any person/member against whom they want to inflict penalty. In totality, the Appellant's rules are silent with regard to the procedure to be followed before inflicting undefined penalty which MC if opined in case they found it to be "against and/or prejudicial to the interest of the Association". The plain reading of the rule so relied and referred, therefore, is nothing but general power conferred upon the managing committee to take action on its members once they formed the opinion. There is nothing to show that once the MC takes such decision and inflict any penalty, the person aggrieved may approach to any Appellate forum and/or make representation to withdraw the action/penalty. These lacuna's in the rule itself, in my view, necessitated to follow the principles of natural justice at every stage, before imposing any penalty upon the member.
No individual can be member of MCA:
18. The power and authority of AGM cannot be equated and/or given to the MC of any society/Association, but even if provided as in the present case, the Court need to consider in totality the effect of such powers though, as contended, that it is nothing but a private Association of members, who knowing fully the terms and conditions and accepted the membership and, therefore, have no choice but to follow and/or bound by the same. I am inclined to observe that to accept this submission, it is necessary to consider the scheme and purpose of this Association and the criteria/category of the members, who can participate and raise issues in the AGM. Admittedly, no individual person can be a member of the MCA. It is only the representative or nominee of the Gymkhana/Clubs who are affiliated to the MCA can forward/nominate their representative to the MCA. This itself means individual person has no independent and/or private role to play in any of the activities of MCA. The allegations so read and referred, even if any, admittedly not against the Gymkhana, which has nominated Respondent No. 1/plaintiff. The issue so raised by the plaintiff in his individual capacity and/or on behalf of the Gymkhana need to be tested first. Whether it is possible to dissect such individual from the Club/Gymkhana is another angle to be gone into before taking any action which affect not only the rights of the individual, but also the Gymkhana who has nominated him.
19. Rule 31(h) so quoted above distinguishes "any member", "its representative", "any person". This itself means, MCA recognizes all these three classes as a separate class against whom if they want to inflict any penalty, they must form opinion that the action so initiated is against and/or prejudicial to the interest of the MCA. Therefore, a person, who is authorised, being a representative of Gymkhana, if raises, based upon the admitted position on record, certain issues which is in the interest of the MCA and as there was no explanation available on the day when the issue was raised, apart from no reply to the e-mails prior to the AGM and when enquired by other members, referred and pointed out the concerned officers names, in view of admitted transaction involving the third person in question. Therefore, on the day when the issue was raised, there was no justification available, neither explanation was given in the AGM itself.
The media publication benefited to whom:
20. The media and paper publications of such issue, ultimately, affected the plaintiff, as he was deprived of his rights and obligations as a nominated member, from the date of impugned action till the order passed by the Court, who leaked it, is again required to be tested, considering the object, sought to be achieved by such publications and by shom. Not only the alleged allegations but it's publicity triggered the action and became a foundation in favour of MCA for the impugned action.
The predetermined decision based upon private inquiry report:
21. The query so raised is the bone of contention. As per the MC, they ultimately enquired and collected the material and came to a particular conclusion. We are not concerned even with that also but having once collected the report and they come to the particular conclusion that there was no black marketing, instead of placing all those materials before the person or at least informing it in advance to the person who had raised the issue, the MC took the decision in May 2013 to impose penalty of five years ban.
The Civil Court's power and the private body's action:
22. Considering the power of MC, in view of above rule and being a private body in normal circumstances, the Court's interference is quite limited, but the ultimate result is nothing but to debar the nominated members for long period, required to be tested on the foundation of principles of natural justice, fair play and equity as admittedly, there is no other procedure prescribed before inflicting any penalty.
23. Rule 31(h), in my view, cannot be read in isolation and/or as a foundation to debar and/or to take such drastic action in such fashion, specially when MCA is nothing but the Association of representatives of Gymkhana/clubs of Mumbai and Thane District. The role of MCA and its members revolving around the cricket and all connected aspects is well known. The reputation of MCA, therefore, should not be disturbed merely because some queries were raised by the member. The justification, if not available at the relevant time but found later on to be false and baseless, by holding private inquiry, though admittedly the tickets were sold and handed over, though at the instance of other member, but to the third person just cannot be overlooked. Had it been the normal practice and/or the procedure established by the MCA, probably there would not have been any discussion on the issue. The Plaintiff, Respondent No. 1 being involved in the Association for long and having knowledge of the practice and procedure of selling advance tickets and its effect, if raised certain queries, as per the Appellant, that amounts to disreputation of name and fame of MCA.
No notice of proposed penalty at any time:
24. The seriousness of this, therefore, in my view also ought to have been handled and tackled by following the basic principles of law but not only completing the formality by issuing such predetermined vague show cause notice, without mentioning the proposed punishment/penalty.
The purpose of show cause notice:
25. The purpose and object of show cause notice and its contents is always with an intention to give full opportunity to the noticee at all stages. This is not only question of raising appropriate defence at appropriate time, but also to put forward his defence/case, at every stage, specially when there is denial to the charges so raised and/or at least there was no admission to the charges so made. There is no third person/party involved in the proceedings. A situation like this means the person who raised/charged other side is only authority to decide the case to whom they have charged against. The situation is that the charger himself is the decision maker. Respondent No. 1/Plaintiff's defence decided not to be accepted. Based upon the rule, the unanimous decision only required to be declared by completing the formality of opportunity. It is necessary to note here, therefore, it is not only the question of implementing the majority decision by imposing pre-determined punishment but the question the way in which the Appellant proceeded with the matter.
The administrative decision having civil consequences:
26. No restriction and/or not bound by any boundaries was the attitude of the Appellant, because, as contended, they are private body and governed by their private Bye-laws and the Rules. The decision which they have taken from their point of view may be administrative decision or order, but the same decision, if takes away and/or affects the legal rights of the party and the consequences of which are quite serious in nature. In this matter Respondent No. 1/plaintiff would lose and/or deprive of his right to be the nominated member and so also his obligations and right to participate in the business/activities of the MCA which has an element of public interest at least for the game of cricket is concerned.
27. The learned senior counsel appearing for Respondent No. 1 has relied upon decision of a Division Bench of this Court in Cricket Association of Bihar vs. Board of Control for Cricket in India & Ors. in Public Interest Litigation No. 55 of 2013 dated 30 July, 2013, where, based upon various Supreme Court judgments, dealing with the rights of such private bodies dealt with the aspect of passing appropriate order in writ jurisdiction and/or Public Interest Litigation if there is an element of public interest and/or public involvement made out. There is no bar to pass appropriate order, if case is made out.
The civil dispute between two private parties.
28. Strikingly, we are dealing with legal rights between two private parties, as sought to be contended by the learned senior counsel appearing for the Appellant also, as Respondent No. 1/plaintiff, in his individual capacity, has challenged the action of MCA. It is relevant to note that Civil court's jurisdiction, in a situation like this, in no way curtail merely because one party is a private body and the dispute is against it's member. The writ jurisdiction, power and/or public interest litigation, court's power has various other facets apart from superior court's power to pass appropriate order on the basis of material available on record, but when it comes to deciding the disputed question of facts and civil rights between the two parties, the Civil Court's power, in my view, is also unlimited. If case is made out, the Court is empowered to pass order within the frame work of law.
29. The Court, therefore, required to consider action and/or inaction of one private party against the another affected and/or aggrieved party, whether it is a private body and/or public body and/or two individuals. The concept "in accordance with law", therefore, definitely take care of basic elements revolving around the principles of natural justice, fair play and equity.
30. Merely because in view of rule 31(h), the unanimous decision is taken by the majority and in view of the managing committee's opinion, a case is made out to impose such penalty, this itself means that the other side is entitled to raise objection to such unilateral opinion so formed. The formality of show cause notice, and it's related aspects, therefore, required to be tested and can be tested in court of law when it takes away and/or affects the civil rights.
The power of Appellate Court:
31. The learned trial Judge has considered various other factors also and passed the impugned order. The order is perverse and/or illegal and/or irregular is again required to be tested by the Appellate Court, if case is made out, but the power of Appellate Court is also quite limited, if the decision so taken and/or the discretion so exercised by the learned Judge is within the frame work of law and the record.
The opportunity should be given.
32. The question is not only that Respondent No. 1/plaintiff never asked for details and/or opportunity even of personal hearing, but the question is the decision taken by the Appellant based upon the material which they have collected privately and without disclosing it, based upon the same, issued the impugned show cause notice and insisted to produce contra material. This itself means, no explanation whatsoever was sought, based upon the material which they have collected as promised in the AGM. They relied upon the material as a foundation and straight away charged Respondent No. 1 without even providing material which they collected unilaterally. Admittedly, those materials were not available when the query was raised, neither there was any explanation provided on the date when the issue was raised. The Appellant just cannot extract the minutes/statement and recorded in the AGM, without referring to the earlier e-mails whereby Respondent No. 1/plaintiff enquired about the incident. Admittedly, the incident was not in dispute. The justification, given after completing the unilateral inquiry and thereafter provided the explanation to the query so raised. The approach reflects the pre-determined mind of the Appellant because the issue was raised in AGM itself. As there was no reply at the relevant time as insisted by the other members considering the transaction in question the probable named persons were those who were in the office. The quoted answer therefore, utilised against Respondent No. 1/plaintiff and in the MC meeting itself in May 2013 they decided to impose penalty.
The prejudged & predetermined action & the show cause notice:
33. Firstly, the apparent lacking part is the non-supply of material so used, secondly, no prior explanation sought and thirdly, no quantum of penalty referred and/or pointed out and/or any explanation sought for the same. The concept "penalty" itself has various facets. It covers and include major as well as minor penalties. These terms are normally defined and explained even in normal contracts and/or bye-laws and/or rules. The Appellate forum is also missing. The rules are silent in all these aspects. Therefore, it is the requirement of law and basically the principle of natural justice that the quantum of punishment/penalty should have been declared in advance by giving clear picture to the aggrieved person or to the party the effect of such action/notice. The reasonable fair opportunity, in my view, contemplates for this purpose also. There was no explanation to the charges but the insistence was to produce the evidence. I am inclined to observe that in totality the show cause notice itself was vague and intended just to complete the formality of giving opportunity to impose the pre-determined penalty, by prejudging the alleged charges.
34. The Apex Court in Oryx Fisheries Private Limited vs. Union of India and ors., MANU/SC/0921/2010 : (2010) 13 SCC 427 reiterated the importance of the show cause notice in the following terms:
27 It is no doubt true that at the stage of show cause, the person proceeded against must be told the charges against him so that he can take his defence and prove his innocence. It is obvious that at that stage the authority issuing the charge-sheet, cannot, instead of telling him the charges, confront him with definite conclusions of his alleged guilt. If that is done, as has been done in this instant case, the entire proceeding initiated by the show-cause notice gets vitiated by unfairness and bias and the subsequent proceedings become an idle ceremony.
32. Therefore, while issuing a show-cause notice, the authorities must take care to manifestly keep an open mind as they are to act fairly in adjudging the guilt or otherwise of the person proceeded against and specially when he has the power to take a punitive step against the person after giving him a show cause notice.
33. The principle that justice must not only be done but it must eminently appear to be done as well is equally applicable to quasi-judicial proceeding if such a proceeding has to inspire confidence in the mind of those who are subject to it.
35. Going by the aforesaid test any man of ordinary prudence would come to a conclusion that in the instant case the alleged guilt of the appellant has been prejudged at the stage of show cause notice itself.
40. In Kranti Associates MANU/SC/0682/2010 : (2010) 9 SCC 496: (2010) 3 SCC (Civ) 852, this Court after considering various judgments formulated certain principles in SCC para 47 of the judgment which are set out below: (SCC pp. 510-12) "(a) ....(l)
(m) It cannot be doubted that transparency is the sine qua non of restraint on abuse of judicial powers. Transparency in decision making not only makes the judges and decision makers less prone to errors but also makes them subject to broader scrutiny. (See David Shapiro in Defence of Judicial Candor (1987) 100 Harv. L. Rev. 731-37)."
Detail reasons in view to grant such interim order:
35. In the present facts and circumstances, the Court is required to go into the details of various facets of show cause notice as well as action so initiated based upon the material placed on record by both the parties, because the issue was also raised that the Court cannot grant ad interim relief, the effect of which is nothing less than granting decree as prayed in the Suit. If case is made out, pending the Suit, the Court can pass mandatory order. In the present case, the learned trial Judge has granted the relief by partly allowing the Notice of Motion. The Appellate Court also required to consider, therefore, whether a case is made out to interfere with the reasoned order so passed on the foundation of material/evidence on record or not. By providing reasons, if ad interim relief and/or interim relief is granted and as there is no bar to pass such order, even though in a way it amounts to partly granting the decree. The additional reasons so provided by the Court, but based upon the material/documents available on record, just cannot be overlooked merely because the Court has passed the order by referring to various other documents as well as rules which, as contended, not argued and/or referred. The basic aspect in such matter always is that the Court if required to give reasons, based upon the material available which the Court think is proper to appreciate and/or evaluate, there is nothing wrong in it as it is nothing but to justify the order, interim and/or final, by providing appropriate reasons.
36. By referring to Rule 15 of expulsion the learned Judge observed that the Plaintiff has been expelled for a period of five years. In the operative part also the word "expelled" is used. He read both these rules to support operative order so passed. This itself, in my view, no way a case to interfere with the order. In AGM, in view of rule 15, by its 2/3rd a majority, can expel any member, but at the same stroke, the same rule provides and permit such expelled member to apply on the basis of support of 2/3rd majority members to revive the membership. The expulsion and or the bar of five years, at least for five years, the effect is same. Such drastic action of expulsion is permissible only through AGM. Having right to re-apply after two years, the decision to debar the member for five years or MC, without giving any leverage and/or opportunity to apply for re-membership is definitely a drastic action which, in view of the plain reading of rule, as well as, the procedure so followed by the MC is contrary to the settled principle of natural justice. The action is unsustainable. However, as at this stage the issue is to interfere with the order so passed and as the scope is quite limited, but as the case is made out, I see there is no reason that the Court cannot pass such order. The impugned action was apparently arbitrary, pre-determined, illegal as against the basic principle of natural justice and the law.
The private body should also follow the principle of natural justice:
37. In view of the above, the submission that Respondent No. 1/plaintiff, after trial, may get compensation/damages as claimed in the Suit is unacceptable basically at the instance of the Appellant as the abrupt action and its effect and its consequences are far reaching not only as it affects only Respondent No. 1/plaintiff, but also Gymkhana which nominated him apart from Appellant's own reputation itself. It is always legitimate acceptance of every member and basically the member of this type, that the MC though have a power, in view of the rule, still required to follow and/or the basic principle of natural justice, fair play and equity at every stage of the proceedings. The formality of completion of show cause notice itself was not sufficient. The issue even if raised, in my view, need to be tackled to avoid unnecessary publicity and/or affects the name and fame of everybody concern, specially when it is the requirement of the time that if certain issues are raised and/or pointed out, has to be tackled by inbuilt procedures, by giving opportunity to all concerned. Such abrupt punishment as sought in the present case, is not the solution and specially it is not permissible mode to decide the issue. Every body needs to follow the procedure, whether private body and/or public body, when it comes to deciding and/or taking away the legal rights and the obligations of any member/person/representatives. Therefore, in view of above reasons, I see there is no case made out to interfere with the order.
The interim order alike final order can be passed by the Court:
38. The Court/Judge, though not made the submissions, may give additional reasons, based upon the material available on record and the law in the field, nothing wrong in it. It should be within the frame work of law. The case laws, as recorded, were kept in mind and passed the reasoned order. Therefore the Judge/Court has not dealt with each judgment separately is also unacceptable submissions and no case to interfere with the order. The judgment and order of the Court is always subject matter of challenge in higher court and not only the Advocate's submissions made or not made.
39. Therefore, I am inclined to observe that this is one of those cases, where the parties should sit together and settle the matter. It will be in the interest of all.
Permitted to file nomination:
40. The Appellants' annual bye-election is declared on 20 August 2013. The last date to nominate member/representative was 17 September 2013. The trial Court Order is of 7 September 2013 by which Appellant/Defendant No. 1 restrained by way of temporary injunction from acting upon their decision to expel the Plaintiff for a period of five years during the pendency of the Suit. In view of the urgency the matter was mentioned before this Court as Appeal from Order and Application for stay filed/preferred by the Appellant (Defendant No. 1) on 13th September 2013. The circulation was sought on 16.09.2013 at . After hearing both the learned senior counsel appearing for the parties, by consent, the interim order was granted in favour of the Appellant by the trial Court, has been expended by recording as under:
2. The learned senior counsel appearing for the Appellant (original Defendant No. 1) and the learned senior counsel appearing for Respondent No. 1 (original Plaintiff) makes a statement that the impugned order dated 7-9-2013 has already been stayed by the court below till today and be continued. Therefore, the stay is continued till 21.09.2013.
3. By consent, stand over to 20 September 2013.
41. The matter was listed in view of urgency on 20 September 2013 for final hearing and after concluding of hearing, dictation of judgment started on 20.09.2013 at second session and completed on 21.09.2013 in first session.
42. In view of the statement, the parties exchanged a letter and thereby agreed to extend the date for acceptance of nomination of Respondent No. 1(plaintiff) till 23.09.2013. As I have dismissed the Appeal, therefore, the submission is made by the learned counsel for the Appellant to continue the same arrangement for further two weeks. The learned counsel for Respondent No. 1/plaintiff, however, opposed the same basically for the reasons that the election date is 18.10.2013. The nomination date for election is 11.10.2013. Considering the reason so recorded and in view of above stage of election in question, I am not inclined to accept the case of the Appellant to continue the arrangement for two weeks including the stay of the judgment in question. The matter was, by consent, heard in view of urgency so expressed. Therefore, further stay would definitely affect the right of Respondent No. 1/plaintiff even as till this date, he has not been accepted as a nominated member. Unless his membership is accepted and declared accordingly, it will be difficult for him to participate and/or file nomination for the election in question even by 11.10.2013. But if his representative/nomination is accepted, in view of the confirming decision given today by this Court, no prejudice will cause to the Appellant as it would be subject to the decision and/or order of higher court as the Appellant proposes to challenge. The Appellant to accept the nomination in question of Plaintiff/Respondent No. 1. In my view, the acceptance of nomination of Respondent No. 1/plaintiff, if subject to decision/order of higher court, that will serve the interest of all and it will avoid further complication and/or eleventh hour rush at all level. The order of stay to the impugned order dated 7.9.2013 passed by the trial Court and continued by this Court on 16.090.2013 stands vacated. Therefore, the submission of the Appellant to stay this order passed by the Court for above reason also stands rejected. Resultant order:
(i) Order dated 7 September 2013 passed by the Judge, City Civil Court, Greater Mumbai stands confirmed.
(ii) The Appeal is accordingly dismissed. Rule is discharged. No costs.
(iii) In view of dismissal of AO, Civil Application (Stamp) No. 25580/2013 also stands dismissed.
The parties to act on an authenticated copy of this order. Certified copy expedited.