Veteran Sailors Forum is Private Body managed by Navy
We have interviewed Ex-L/Tel 93588 Rominder Singh of Indian Navy, who joined Navy in 1967 and left the Navy in 1979 after completion of active service and was not kept in Fleet Reserve due to reasons known only to Navy. He attended 7th AGM of VSF (Veteran Sailors Forum) at New Delhi on 12 July, 2015 but his resolution listed at item XXI – Non-Pensioner was not allowed to be moved by the President of the VSF. Therefore, he had to walk out from the meeting in protest. Following are the series of questions and answers we had in a session with him.
Q. What is VSF
A. VSF is short form of Veteran Sailors Forum
Q. Is VSF a Private of Govt body
A. VSF is registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Therefore, VSF is purely private body
Q. Who is eligible to manage this body.
A. Who so ever has contributed their designations or names to the Memorandum of Association and to the Rules of the association / Forum is the preliminary Governing Body to manage the affairs of this registered private body. There after also the same designated officials and 3 persons duly elected in the AGM will constitute the Governing Body of the VSF.
Q. Is this group of Naval Officers managing the VSF illegal or legal.
A. The group of Naval Officers managing the VSF are legal as per present constitution of the VSF.
Q. If the VSF is private body, then why it is managed by Naval Officers.
A. Any Govt (central or state) or their officials can become the Governing Body of the Society but they have to have the members of the body, who shall elect their representative and those representatives shall become the part of the Governing Body.
Q. How shall the decision be taken, if large number of members are of Navy and only few are from Sailors.
A. The decision of the Governing Body shall always be taken by majority vote of members of Governing Body only.
Q. When Sailors are not having any say in the Governing Body or in the AGM, then why it is called a body to look after the welfare of sailors.
A. When a body is constituted, some one have to take up the responsibility of managing it. Otherwise it cannot function. The sailors are not having the say because they have not convinced the present Governing Body of the pros and cons of not functioning constitutionally. What ever the sailors say as grievance in the AGM, the officers take note of it and they try to resolve it. But if their senior officers do not want to agree then they cannot see the welfare and cannot convince their seniors. How can one go against the wishes of his senior, in Navy.
Q. Officers are enjoying in looking after the welfare at their own choice and sailors are still suffering
A. In fact the officers have put their leisure time and also the job on risk to look after the welfare of the sailors. In our view the sailors should be thankful to officers.
Q. How the Officers are putting their job to risk. It is not possible that officers will look after by putting his job to risk. Is VSF the Officers or different from Officers.
A. Any Society registered under the Societies Registration Act is, and it enjoys the status of a legal entity apart or separate from the members constituting the same and is capable of suing or being sued. The sailors are the members and the Officers are not members. Officers are there to manage the Society and therefore they are in the Governing Body. The officers have no right to vote. Therefore, they never allow ex-sailors to exercise their vote. Refer Satyavart Sidhantalankar vs Arya Samaj Bombay AIR 1946 Bom 516.
In addition, Any person agreeing to serve under the society or in any of its institutions must be deemed to hold the post under the society and not to hold any civil post either under the union or the state, even if its management is by Government and cannot get the protection of Article 311 of the Constitution. Refer KC Thomas vs RL Gadeock AIR 1970 Pat. 163 (DB)
Q. What is the proof of your answers. Is it laid down in any book of law or you are just saying out of your grievances only.
A. Bare Act with short comments edition 2014 on The Societies Registration Act, 1860 (21 of 1860) with state amendments published by Professional Book Publishers, Delhi was shown by the interviewee. We have taken a snap of it’s page 4 and relevant content is marked with pen.
Q. Since the VSF is managed by Naval Officers and have not allowed you to move the Resolution, what steps you are going to take and how do you plan to convince the Naval Officers to support your cases in courts.
A. I will certainly take legal routes only to get this problem resolved. Initially, I will send letters and legal notices and will also attend other meetings. I will also complain / send notices to respective Government authorities. If no change happens within short time, I will initiate legal action as per the legal provisions under The Societies Registration Act, 1860. In fact, there remains no other way or let the Navy advise me the way they want to look after welfare of my category of Non-Pensioner patriot of free India.
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