Supreme Court Upholds Election of ICSI East India Regional Council Officers

The Supreme Court overturned the judgment of the Calcutta High Court which annulled the election of officers of the Eastern India Regional Council of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India.

The High Court made a serious error in annulling the election on the grounds that the meeting was not chaired by the Vice President., the bench of Justices MR Shah and MM Sundresh observed while allowing the appeal by ICSI and the President-elect against the judgment of the High Court.

Upon election, Mr. Anil Kumar Dubey was duly elected President for the remaining term (for the period from 19.01.2022 to 18.01.2023).

The bench noted that the High Court had relied on Regulation 92(2) of the Company Secretaries Regulations 1982 to conclude that the vice-chairman should have chaired the meeting. Referring to said by-law as well as by-law 117(2), the panel observed that by-law 92(2) only applies in the event of absence and not in the event of a vacancy in the position of president and/or holder of the post.

“There is a distinction between absence and vacancy. Rule 92(2) applies in the event that the President and/or Officer is not disqualified but is absent for any reason Regulation 117(2) applies in the event that the elected member of the regional council has been disqualified if he has been found guilty of any professional or other misconduct and has been fined, such position having become vacant shall be filled by election by electing another person from among its members to fill the position for the remaining period of one year (Regulation 119(2))

The tribunal also noted that under Rule 114(4) of the Rules, if a dispute arises regarding an election to a regional council, the matter may be submitted by the candidate concerned within 30 days from the date of the declaration of the result of the election, to the President and the decision will be final.

“The High Court should not have heard the written application challenging the validity of the election. Even if it does, it should be noted that even under Regulation 114(4), the election can be challenged by the candidate concerned. In the In this case, Respondent No. 1 who challenged the election of officers did not even challenge the election. In these circumstances, the High Court erred in granting the petition in an order contesting the election at the request of respondent no. 1 who did not even contest the election of the officers”, the bench watched while welcoming the call.

Case details

Institute of Company Secretaries of India v Biman Debnath | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 945 | CA 8039 FROM 2022 | November 7, 2022 | Judges MR Shah and MM Sundresh |

Company Secretaries Regulations, 1982; Regulation 92(2) – There is a distinction between absence and position becoming vacant. Article 92(2) only applies in case of absence and not in case of vacancy of the office of President and/or office holder. (Section 4.4)

Company Secretaries Regulations, 1982; Regulations 117(2), 119(2) – Rule 117(2) applies where the elected member of the regional council has been disqualified if found guilty of professional or other misconduct and has been fined. Therefore, in the event of a vacancy in the office pursuant to Regulation 117(2), such office having become vacant shall be filled by election by electing another person from among its members to fill the position for the remaining period of one year (Regulation 119( 2)). (Section 4.4)

Constitution of India, 1950; Section 226 – Company Secretaries Regulations, 1982; Regulation 114(4) – The Calcutta High Court annulled the election of ICSI EIRC officers allowing a motion for writ filed by a person who did not contest the election – In view of Regulation 114(4) of the Settlement, the High Court should not have entertained the brief petition challenging the validity of the election. Even if not, even under Regulation 114(4), the election can be challenged by the candidate concerned – The High Court erred in granting the motion for an order challenging the election at the request of the respondent #1 who didn’t even contest the election of office bearers.

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Elna M. Lemons