For doing a fair thing how can the president of a cooperative bank be crucified? It is unwarranted and hence a division bench of Kerala High Court nullified the exemplary cost imposed by the single bench on the president of the Thelliyoor Service Cooperative Bank in Pathanmthitta district.
The case relates to the president filing a writ petition in the High Court as the secretary was in a physically disabled position. As per the bylaws of the bank, it is the secretary who represents the bank in a litigation. But here the president filed the petition challenging the communication of the electoral officer refusing to accept the list of members eligible to vote. The list was prepared by the managing committee of the bank.
The single bench dismissed the petition saying there was absence of a resolution authorising the president to file the writ. The president then sought the permission of the court to withdraw the petition. But it was dismissed and exemplary cost of Rs 25000 imposed to be paid over to the Kerala Legal Service Authority. The president then filed an appeal.
The Division Bench said that the president has done no wrong. He has been very fair. The division bench said that the president of the bank has not indulged in any vexatious litigation. The division bench noted that the president, who is duly elected by the managing committee of the bank, stands on a better pedestal than any other member. The absence of a resolution empowering the president to represent the bank in a litigation can be cured by a later decision and submitting in the
Court. Nobody has a case that the president was acting against the interest of the bank, the division bench pointed out. The president should not have been crucified in such a situation, the bench said.
The division bench has also clarified that there are situations when the president has locus standi to maintain such petitions. The president filed a petition when he had apprehension that the managing committee will be superseded. The division bench said the imposition of exemplary cost was unnecessary.