NATWARLAL BALABHAI SHAH Vs. DAKOR CO SALE AND GINNING AND PRESSING SOCIETY LIMITED
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
NATWARLAL BALABHAI SHAH
DAKOR CO OPERATIVE SALE AND GINNING AND PRESSING SOCIETY LIMITED DAKOR
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A. R. BAKSHI, S. T. DESAI -
(1.)DESAI C. J. This petition arises out of certain proceedings which were initiated under the Bombay Co-operative Societies Act 1925 and the question that we have primarily to answer relates to the meaning and effect of section 54 of the Act. The first respondent is the Dakor Co-operative Cotton Sale and Ginning and Pressing Society Ltd. whose main business is to purchase cotton produce of cultivators to get the cotton ginned and pressed and then sell the same. The work of ginning and pressing cotton into bales was done for the Society by a partnership firm the Siddharth Ginning and Pressing Factory (hereafter to be referred to by us as the Siddharth Factory) in which the four petitioners and four others were partners. Besides being partners in the firm of Siddharth Factory the four petitioners were carrying on their separate business in the firm name of Balabhai Lallubhai. There was considerable controversy as to whether the firm of Balabhai Lallubhai was a joint Hindu family are partnership firm. But it is not necessary for us to go into that question in view of one of the contentions of the petitioners which in our opinion must succeed. Two claims wore preferred by the Society one against the firm of Balabhai Lallubhai and the other against the firm of Siddharth Ginning and Pressing Factory. On this petition we are only concerned with the claim of the Society against the latter firm. That claim related to the price of 204 bales of cotton that had been gained and pressed and stored in the godown of the Siddharth Factory. There was an agreement between the Society and the Siddharth Factory executed on 29-1-56 in respect of the work of ginning and pressing cotton to be done by the Siddharth Factory for the Society. The claim was awarded. We are not concerned on this petition with the merits of the claim.
(2.)Before the Registrars nominee a contention was raised that he had no jurisdiction to entertain the claim of the Society against the Siddharth Factory or any of its partners. It will be convenient to state here that at one time the Society obtained an order of attachment of the interest of the four petitioners as partners in the Siddharth Factory. The outside partners filed a suit and were successful and an order of injunction was passed against the Society restraining it from taking any action which would affect them. The contention of Mr. Shastri before us is that the Siddharth Factory was not a member of the Society and only the firm of Balabhai Lallubhai was a member of the Society and argument has proceeded that section 54 does not confer any jurisdiction on the Registrar or his nominee to decide a dispute between a Society and a Firm where only some of the partners of that firm can be said to be members of the Society. That section is as under:
54 (1) (a). If any dispute touching the constitution or business of society arising between members or past members of the society or persons claiming through a member or past member or between members or past members or persons so claiming and any officer agent or servant of the society past or Present or between the society or its committee and any officer agent member or servant of the society (past or present) it shall be referred to the Registrar for decision by himself or his nominee or if either of the parties so desires to arbitration of three arbitrators who shall be the Registrar or his nominee and two persons of whom one shall be nominated by each of the parties concerned.
(3.)A dispute shall include claims by a society for debts or demands due to it from a member or past member or the heirs or assets of a past member as well as claims by a member or past member or the heirs of past member for any debts or demands due to him from the society whether demands be admitted or not:
Provided that if the question at issue between a society and a claimant or between different claimants is one involving complicated questions of law and fact the Registrar may if he thinks fit suspend proceedings in the matter until the question has been tried by a regular suit instituted by one of the parties or by the society. If no such suit is instituted within six months of the Registrars order suspending proceedings the Registrar shall take action as laid down in paragraph (1) of this section. (b) Notwithstanding anything contained in clause (a) any dispute regarding the election of any office bearer of a society may within one month from the date of declaration of the result of such election be referred by any candidate at such election or any members of the society to the registrar for decision by himself or his nominee. (2) Where any dispute is referred under sub-section (1) for decision by the Registrars nominee or to arbitration of arbitrators the Registrar may at any time for reasons to be recorded in writing withdraw such dispute from his nominee or the arbitrators as the case may be and may decide the dispute himself or refer it again to any other nominee appointed by him for decision: Provided that no such dispute shall be withdrawn except on any of the following grounds : (i) the Registrars nominee or the arbitrators have failed to decide the dispute within two months or such further period as may be allowed by the Registrar; (ii) the proceedings before the Registrars nominee or any of the arbitrators are vitiated in consequence of corruption or misconduct on the part of the Registrars nominee or any of the arbitrators as the case may be.
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