MANNUR SERVICE CO OPERATIVE BANK LTD Vs. ALVI HAJI
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
MANNUR SERVICE CO-OPERATIVE BANK LTD.
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(1.) The dispute is regarding the maintainability of the suit, and it arose this way. In execution of an award obtained by the 1st defendant, a cooperative society registered under the Kerala Cooperative Societies Act, 21 of 1969 (briefly the Act), against the son of the plaintiff certain movables were attached from the residence of the plaintiff. A claim laid by the plaintiff before the 2nd defendant who is the Sale Officer under the Act did not succeed. The suit was hence instituted for declaring the plaintiff's exclusive right over the property attached in execution of the award. The first defendant inter alia contended that the civil court has no jurisdiction to entertain the action. That question was heard preliminarily and the court answered in favour of the plaintiff.
(2.) Bar of jurisdiction of civil courts is provided in S.100 of the Act in the following terms:
"No civil or revenue court shall have any jurisdiction in respect of any matter for which provision is made in this Act."
It is apparent that jurisdiction is ousted only in respect of any matter for which provision is made in the Act. In other words, if the Act makes no provision to resolve the dispute in respect of any matter the civil court has jurisdiction to entertain a suit. Two alternative cases were put forward by the revision petitioner in support of his case that S.100 is attracted. He referred to S.69 of the Act. I need not extract the whole provision because reliance is placed only upon clause.(b) of sub-s.(1) of S.69, which I may read:
"69 (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force if a dispute arises -
x x x x x
(b) between a member, past member or person claiming through a member, past member or deceased member and the society, its committee or any officer, agent or employee of the society; or.
x x x x x
such dispute shall be referred to the Registrar for decision, and no court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or other proceeding in respect of such dispute."
Under S.69(1) reference to the Registrar lies only if a dispute arises over the matters enumerated in clauses (a) to (h). The expression "dispute" is defined in S.2(1) of the Act in the following terms:
" 'dispute' means any matter touching the business, constitution, establishments or management of a society capable of being the subject of litigation and includes a claim in respect of any sun payable to or by a society, whether such claim be admitted or not;"
While drafting the definition of the expression 'dispute' the two expressions 'means' and 'includes' which convey somewhat contradictory concepts have un apply been used. The result of the use of both the expressions may not be of much consequence in the context of this case, and I am not pursuing that matter further. "Dispute "as defined in the Act takes in two categories of. actions. The first category consists of matters touching the business, constitution, establishments or management of a society capable of being the subject of litigation. Then the inclusive definition in the latter part of the provision covers a claim in respect of any sum payable to or by a society whether such claim be admitted or not. This is a simple suit for establishing the plaintiff's title to certain properties attached in execution of an award. One fails to understand how such an action can attract either of the categories covered by the expression "dispute". Thus the argument advanced on the basis of S.69(1)(b) has only to be rejected.
(3.) The alternative case put forward by the revision petitioner rests on R.90(3) of the Kerala Cooperative Societies Rules, 1969. Sub-r.(3) provides that where a claim or an objection is preferred, the party against whom an order is made may institute a suit within six months from the date of the order to establish the right which he claims to the property in dispute but, subject to the result of such suit, if any the orders shall be conclusive. The suit made mention of in the rule is according to the revision petitioner a suit before the Registrar of Cooperative Societies. The argument, though ingenious, has no basis in law. The revision petitioner could not point out any provision in the Act or in the Rules framed under the Act providing for the institution of a suit before the Registrar of Cooperative Societies in a claim matter. T am told that the expression "suit" is not defined in the Rules. I have, however, no doubt that the suit contemplated therein is a suit before the ordinary court of the land. In the context in which the expression "suit" has been used no other reasonable construction can be put. Sub-r.(3) of R.90 also does not bar a suit of the present nature; and the lower court was right in holding that the suit is maintainable.
I confirm the order under challenge and dismiss the revision with costs.;
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