Decided on November 22,1954



- (1.)THE petitioner is employed as a worker in a textile mill at Ahmedabad. He is also a member of opponent No. 4 which is the Ahmedabad Majoor Sahkari Bank Ltd. Under by-law 4 of this society all the textile workers residing in the city of Ahmedabad or the district of Ahmedabad were entitled to become members. An amendment was moved to this by-law at the general meeting of the society and by this amendment the right to join the society was limited only to those textile workers who were members of the Majoor Mahajan Sangh, a trade union functioning in Ahmedabad. This resolution was passed on September 28, 1952, and the amendment was sanctioned by the Registrar on July 18, 1953, The petitioner appealed to Government against the order of the Registrar sanctioning this amendment and the appeal was dismissed on October 15, 1953, and the petitioner has come before us, and the relief which he seeks is to quash the order passed by the Registrar sanctioning the amendment, or in the alternative to compel the Registrar to refer a dispute, which he says exists between him and the Society touching the constitution of the Society under Section 54 of the Co-operative Societies Act, to arbitration.
(2.)THE contention of Mr. Gokhale is that the order of the Registrar was bad inasmuch as it contravened the provisions of Section 7. Section 16 provides that no amendment of the by-laws of a society shall be valid until approved by the resolution of a general meeting and registered under this Act for which purpose a copy of the amendment shall be forwarded to the Registrar, and Sub-section (2) provides that if the Registrar is satisfied that any amendment of the by-laws is not contrary to this Act or to the rules, he may register the amendment. Therefore, the Registrar is not competent to register any amendment of a by-law which is contrary to the Act or to any of the rules, and Mr. Gokhale's submission is that this amendment is contrary to Section 7. Section 7 provides for conditions of registration of a co-operative society and the conditions are that there must at least be ten persons who are qualified to be members, and there are further conditions laid down with regard to a society, the object of which is the creation of funds to be lent to its members?and the society we are concerned with is a society which falls in that category?, and the further conditions are that all the persons forming the society must reside in the same town or village or in the same group of villages and they must be members of the same tribe, class or occupation. The second condition has a proviso and that is that the Registrar is given the power to direct otherwise. There is a further provision in Section 7 which deals with admission of members after the registration of the society and that provision is that no person shall be admitted to the membership of any such society after its registration unless such person fulfils the requirements of Clause (a) or (b) as the case may be.
(3.)NOW, this society undoubtedly consisted of more than ten persons and all the persons reside in Ahmedabad and they also all belong to the same occupation which is textile workers. What is urged by Mr. Gokhale is that Section 7 does not make it permissible for the society to prohibit a person of the same occupation to become a member of the society. Mr. Gokhale says that when the society was started any textile worker in Ahmedabad could become a member. As a result of this amendment only those textile workers can become members who belong to a particular trade union. Now, there is more than one trade union in Ahmedabad and the consequence of accepting this amendment is that the textile workers who may choose to join other trade unions will not be qualified to become members of the society. It is clear that Section 7 (1) (b) does not require that all the members of a particular occupation should be members of a co-operative society. The prohibition is against permitting persons of another occupation from joining the society. But so long as you have ten persons, and so long as you have the ten persons residing in a particular town or village, and so long as you have those ten persons belonging to the same occupation, there is nothing to prevent those ten persons starting a co-operative society. Section 7 does not require that all persons belonging to a particular occupation in a particular place must join before a co-operative society can be started. In other words, it would be open to the textile workers of a particular mill to start a cooperative society on their own. It is not necessary that textile workers of all the mills must join before they could get registration under Section 7, and even with regard to the qualification of a person who should be admitted after registration all that Section 7 (1) (b) requires is that admission should not be thrown open to any person who does not satisfy the requirements of cls, (a) and (b ). In other words; no person should be allowed to become a member who does not reside in the same town or village as the members who originally belonged to the society at the time of registration or who should not be carrying on the same occupation as members who originally did at the time of registration.

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