Decided on October 30,1992



- (1.)In this writ petition, the only point which arises for consideration is the interpretation of Rule 23-AAA of A. P. Cooperative Societies Rules, 1964 as to whether it connotes a non obstante clause of absolute nature or it is subject to or in addition to the provision contained under clause 20 of the bye-laws of the Society. A member of the managing committee elected during January, 1992, questioned the proceedings initiated by the 2nd respondent herein seeking to supersede the managing committee as it fell below the number required for quorum as without the said requisite quorum, the committee of the society cannot function. Later, of course, the orders dated 1-10-1992 have been passed superseding the same and the prayer in the writ petition has been amended pursuant to order dated 19-10-1992 passed in W.P.M.P. No. 16726/92 which has been ordered. The impugned order depends upon the result of the decision regarding the interpretation of the rule mentioned supra. It is the contention of the petitioner that the bye-laws framed and registered for the society in question, namely, Milk Producers Co-operative Society, Katta-varipalem were framed and registered as contemplated under Section 16 of A. P. Cooperative Societies Act, 1964 and that they govern the functions of the society and that clause 20 thereof empowers the managing committee to receive resignation of any of the members including a member of the managing committee and consider and pass orders thereon, but the 1st respondent usurped their powers purporting to be under newly framed Rule 23-AAA of the Co-operative Societies Rules and accepted the resignation of one of the nominated members of the managing committee, while deciding that 6 of them were disqualified. The managing committee comprises of 11 members of whom 9 are elected and 2 members are nominated. While it is the case of the petitioner that the committee members M/s. A. Venkatasubbaiah and K. Mallaiah submitted resignations to the society on 7-6-1992 and 5-7-1992 and that their resignations were accepted by the managing committee and in their places M/s. Ramanaiah and P. Narasimham were co-opted by the managing committee attended by 7 members by its resolution dated 15-6-1992 and 15-7-1992 and as such there was a valid quorum to transact the business of the society, the contention of the respondents is otherwise. According to the respondents there was no power vested in the managing committee to either receive the resignations or accept the same and the question of co-option being consequential cannot arise at all and that such action of the managing committee being perse illegal and without jurisdiction, it was rightly ignored. The respondents' plea is that since 7 Directors of the managing committee ceased to function on account of the 6 being disqualified for default under Section 21 - A(b) of the Co-operative Societies Act read with Rule 24(l)(b) of the Cooperative Rules and one woman nominated member having resigned the said post, the managing committee cannot function with 4 members who do not constitute the quorum and as such, the action of supersession under Section 34 was inevitable. In the light of this, if the contention of the petitioner is accepted that clause 20 of bye-laws empower the managing committee to receive and accept the resignations, there will be a quorum in the managing committee. On the other hand, if the contention of the respondents is accepted that the managing committee had no power to accept the resignations of 2 members stated and to co-opt two others in their places, there will be no quorum and the impugned order sustains.
(2.)In this writ petition, the grievance of the petitioner is that when clause 20 of the bye-law enables a member to submit his resignation to the managing committee, the managing committee was perfectly justified in entertaining and accepting the same and that the said power is not nullified merely because Rule 23-AAA was introduced under G.O.Ms. No. 397, Food and Agricultural (Co-op IV) dated 24-5-1988. It is the contention raised in the petition that the application of Rule 23-AAA is not absolute, but is only subject to clause 20 of the bye-laws and that harmoniously read, the member can tender his resignation either to the managing committee or to the Registrar concerned at the option of the said member.
(3.)Mr. Pedda Babu, the learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner strenuously contends that the words employed under Rule 23-AAA will not oust the application of clause 20 of the bye-laws governing the society and as such, the resignations which were earlier submitted to the managing committee and accepted thereof and consequential co-option are valid under taw. I need not dwell upon the consequences flowing thereafter as everything revolves around the true interpretation of Rule 23-AAA as to whether it is absolute or conditional. In support of his contention, Mr. Pedda Babu, brings to my notice the bye-laws, particularly, clause 20 thereof of Societies in question, as also the judicial precedents in Aswini Kumar v. Arabinda Bose, AIR 1952 SC 369 and Chandavarkar Sita Ratna Rao v. Ashalata, AIR 1987 SC 117. But, there is nothing in the said decisions which supports the contention of Mr. Pedda Babu. On the other hand, the decision rendered in Chandavarkar Sita Ratna Rao's case is clearly against the proposition propounded by him as in that case, it was authoritatively held by the Supreme Court that words of a statutory provision opening with the words 'notwithstanding anything contained in any law.....' excludes the operation and abrogates any other provision having overriding effect of the said provision containing non obstante clause. In the said case, the question was whether the words notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act had to be construed limiting the same only to tenants having right to create interest in third parties or also other tenants where they were not so empowered, seeking a distinction of a statutory tenant and a contractual tenant. Repelling the said contention, the Supreme Court held that non obstante clause contained under the said provision Section 15-A of the said Act operated absolutely without any condition or qualification or distinction and that irrespective of the tenant being statutory tenant or contractual, a person let into possession as a licensee up to a particular cut-off date acquired the privity of relationship of tenant with original landlord. The decision rendered in Aswini Kumar's case (AIR 1952 SC 369) has got no bearing on the question raised in this writ petition and the same does not support the argument of the learned Counsel for the petitioner.

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