Bombay HC directs Charity Commissioner to conduct an enquiry
A Bombay High Court bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice R D Dhanuka has directed the Charity Commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the documentary material provided by South India Assemblies of God Society to prove that it was registered under the relevant Act in 1951. The Society had claimed before the HC on the basis of certain documents that it was granted registration under the Societies' Registration Act, 1860.
Earlier, the South India Assemblies of God Society had applied to the Charity Commissioner for a certified copy of its Registration Certificate and also for copies of Trust Deed, Constitution and Byelaws. In response to a query under the RTI Act, it was informed in December, 2011 that an effort was being made to trace the record. The Society filed a petition in the Bombay HC seeking a direction to the authorities to reconstruct its records and issue a registration certificate.
The HC observed, "….. in our view, the claim of the petitioner that it was registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, in 1951 and seeking a reconstruction of the record, including the issuance of a copy of the Registration Certificate, would have to be addressed to the Charity Commissioner…….The petitioner has relied upon documentary material. The nature and authenticity of the documentary material would have to be assessed by Charity Commissioner. This would require an enquiry purely into matters of fact and it should be undertaken by the Charity Commissioner.”
The Charity Commissioner has been directed to conduct an inquiry within a period of three months and arrive at a final decision.