Kerala High Court: A Division Bench comprising of V. Chitambaresh and R. Narayana Pisharadi, JJ. allowed a writ appeal challenging imposition of exemplary costs for the sole reason that the bank was not represented by its Secretary.

The appellant herein had filed a writ petition under Kerala Co-operative Societies Act, 1969 challenging the Electoral Officer’s refusal to accept list of members eligible to vote. Since the bank’s Secretary had some physical disability, the President of appellant bank was authorised to file the petition. When it was pointed out that there was no written resolution of the Managing Committee in this regard, the President sought permission to withdraw the petition to enable a properly framed writ petition to be filed by the Secretary representing the bank. However, the learned Single Judge declined the same and dismissed the petition imposing cost of Rs 25,000. Aggrieved thereby, the present writ appeal was filed.

The Court opined that while a co-operative bank or a society must normally be represented by its Secretary as stated in its bye-laws, the President who is duly elected by the members of the Managing Committee of bank stands on a better pedestal than any other member even without a resolution. He can maintain a writ petition in his personal capacity as he is the head of ‘committee’ under Section 2(e) of the Act. Further, absence of resolution empowering the President is a curable defect.

Reliance was also placed on the judgment in Ashok Kumar Mittal v. Ram Kumar Gupta, (2009) 2 SCC 656 where it was held that costs should not be imposed to create a corpus for the State Legal Services Authority. 

In view of the above, the impugned order was set aside.[Thelliyoor Service Co-Operative Bank Ltd. v. State Co-Operative Election Commission, 2018 SCC OnLine Ker 7418, decided on 20-12-2018]

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