An enquiry under the provisions of the H.P. Co-operative Societies Act, 1968 ( Amended 2006) and the H.P. Cooperative Societies Rules, 1971 is an official examination/investigation of a specific point or points during the conduct of which the relevant books of accounts, and other documents in possession of the society or any of its officers, members, agents etc. are examined and relevant information or explanation regarding the specific point or points is obtained from the society/ its officers, members, agents or servants etc. This is a statutory inquiry and covered under section 67 of the H.P. Cooperative Societies Act, 1968. This is conducted by the Registrar himself, or by a person authorized by him in writing.
In latter's case, the findings on specific point or points supported by documentary or other evidence are submitted to the Registrar, who, on the basis of the findings may order surcharge proceedings as envisaged under section 69 of the ibid Act. The Registrar himself or he may direct any person authorized by him in writing to inquire into the conduct of persons who were entrusted with the organisation or management of the society and has caused deficiency in the assets of the society by breach of trust or wilful negligence or has misappropriated or fraudulently retained any money or property belonging to the society.
The surcharge proceedings may be initiated on the basis of the inspection report, audit report etc. as well. If above irregularities are found committed inthe winding up process of a cooperative society the surcharge proceeedings may also be ordered against the delinquent officers of the society.
Apart from statutory inquiries under sections 67 and 69 of the ibid Act, the Registrar on receipt of general complaints from public, members or officers of the society may also hold fact finding inquiries to get information.
For the acts of breach of trust, fraud, causing willful deficiencies in the assets etc. the persons are not only criminally but civilly liable also. Under section 69 of the ibid act orders are passed to restore the money or property with interest at justified rates. If the Registrar is satisfied on affidavit, enquiry or otherwise that any person with intent to delay or obstruct the enforcement of any order that may be made against him under section 69, is about to dispose or alienate his property or its part thereof, he may, unless adequate security is furnished direct the conditional attachment of the said property or such part thereof as he thinks necessary and such attachment shall have the same effect as if made by a competent civil court as provided for under Rule 95.
Note: In exercising the functions under the Act, the Registrar, the arbitrator or any other person deciding the dispute or person entitled to hold any enquiry have all the powers of Civil Court as provided for under section 71 of the H.P. Co-operative Societies Act, 1968