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Oriental Metal Pressing Works (Private) Ltd. and ors. Vs. Bhaskar Kashinath Thankoor and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCompany
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberA.F.O.D. No. 540 of 1958
Judge
Reported in(1959)61BOMLR1045
ActsCompanies Act, 1956 - Sections 2(12), 2(13), 2(26), 9 and 312;
AppellantOriental Metal Pressing Works (Private) Ltd. and ors.
RespondentBhaskar Kashinath Thankoor and anr.
Appellant AdvocateM.L. Manekshah, ;P.N. Bhagwati, ;R.P. Bhatt, ;J.R. Joshi and ;B.R. Joshi, Advs., i/b., Amarchand and Mangaldas, Attorneys
Respondent AdvocateH.S. Singh, Adv., i/b., ;Kama and Jaykar, Attorneys, ;P.P. Khambatta, ;Mahendra Shah and ;P.G. Gavde, Advs.
Excerpt:
companies act (i of 1956), sections 312, 345, 2(13) & (26), 9 - transfer of office of managing director by will -- whether such transfer permissible.;section 312 of the companies act, 1956, prohibits the assignment or transfer of the office of a director as well as a managing director, whether by a deed inter vivos or by a will. - - i prefer in the first place to examine the language of the seftion itself and shall turn to an enquiry as to its onject only in so far as it is permissible and required by the well-known cannon of construction that the meaning of the words of a statute is to be found not so much in strictly grammatical or in etymological properity of language, nor even in its popular use, as in the subject, or in the occasion on which they are used and the object to be.....s.t. desai, j.(1) this appeal raises an important question of construction of s. 312 of the new companies act which section now imposes total prohibition against, any assignment of his office by a director. the prohibition applies in case of both a public and a private limited company. the facts are not in dispute nor disputable. the first appellant (original first defendant) is a private limited company incorporated on 21 -5- 1955. prior to that dadoba kashinath thakoor was the sole proprietor of a business of metal pressing works which he carried on in the firm name of oriental metal pressing works. the first appellant company acquired that business as a going concern. the agreement dated 7-7-1955 between dadoba and the compan y states that dadoba was appointed managing director of the.....
Judgment:

S.T. Desai, J.

(1) This appeal raises an important question of construction of S. 312 of the new Companies Act which section now imposes total prohibition against, any assignment of his office by a Director. The prohibition applies in case of both a public and a private limited company. The facts are not in dispute nor disputable. The first appellant (original first defendant) is a private limited company incorporated on 21 -5- 1955. Prior to that Dadoba kashinath Thakoor was the sole proprietor of a business of metal pressing works which he carried on in the firm name of Oriental Metal Pressing Works. The first appellant company acquired that business as a going concern. The agreement dated 7-7-1955 between Dadoba and the Compan y states that Dadoba was appointed Managing Director of the company and was entitled to hold that office for life, Clause 7 of that agreement is as under:

' Mr. Thakoor shall be entitleld by deed inter vivos or by will or codicil to appoint any person to be a Managing Director in his place and stead and in default of such appointment the legal representatives of Mr. Thakoor shall be entitled to exercise the said power. Any appointee as aforesaid shall whilst holding office also be designated as a Managing Director and shall be entitled and to be paid by the Company the same remuneration and to exercise the same powers and authorities as are vested in Mr. Thakoor and the appointee as aforesaid shall have a power of appointing any person to be Managing Director as his successor on the remuneration of not less than Rs. 1,000 (Rupees one thousand) per month and upon some other terms and conditions as are herein contained.'

Under the agreement Dadoba was to be allotted a certain number of fully paid up shares of the company. Article 109 of the Articles of Association of the company is material and is as under :

'109 (a). The said Shri Dadoba Kashinath Thakoor shall be the first Managing Director of the company at a remuneration of Rs. 2,500 per month subject to the said remuneration being increased by the Board of Directors of the Company. He shall be entitled to hold such office for life and will not be subject to clauses 87, 88 and 91 of these Articles.

(b) The said Shri Dadoba kashinath Thakoor may by deed inter vivos by will or codicil appoint any person to be a Managing Directors in his place and stead and in default of such appointment, the legal representatives of the said Shri Dadoba Kashinath Thakoor shall be entitled to exercise the power;

(c) Any appointee as aforesaid shall, whilstholding office, also be designated a Managing Director and shall be entitled to the same remuneration and to exercise the same powers and authorities as were vested in the managing director in whose place and stead he is appointed;

(d) The appointee as aforesaid shall have a power of appointing any person to be a Managing Director as his successor on the remuneration of not less than Rs. 1,000 per month and with the same powers as are vested in Shri Dadoba Kashinath Thakoor.'

Dadoba died on 14-1-1957. By his will executed on 18-8-1956, he appointed his son, the second appellant (original 2nd defendant) to be the Managing Director of the company from the date of his demise. The 1st Respondent to the appeal (plaintiff to the suit) is the brother of dadoba. the 2nd Respondent to the appeal (original 4th Defendant) is another son of Dadoba. The first directors of the Company were (1) Dadoba; (2) Bashkar, and (3) Govind, one of the sons of dadoba. The same persons continued to be directors till 14-1-1957 when Dadoba died. At the time of Dadoba's death, the shares of the company were held as under :

Dadoba ... 1971 shares.Plaintiff ... 845 shares.2nd Defendant ... 844 shares.4th Defendant ... 843 shares.

We have told that Dadoba died leaving 3 sons and his shares were inherited by his three sons as part of his estate.

(2) Dispute arose between the plaintiff and the second Defendant soon after Dadoba's death when the latter assumed the Manging Directorship and Chairmanship of the Board of Directors of the company on the basis of the appointment made by the will of Dadoba. Defendant No. 2 began to act as the Managing Director and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company and also began to draw a salary of Rs. 3,500 per month. The plaintiff addressed letters to the Second Defendant on 23-3-1957 and 29-3-1957 and contended that the 2nd defendant had no right to act as Managing director and/or chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company. He also contended that the second defendant had no authority to call a meeting of the Board of Directors as he had purported to do and that the appointment of Defendant No. 2 as Managing Director of the Company by the will of Dadoba was not valid and not binding on the plaintiff or the Company. Correspondence ensued in the course of which the second defendant contended that he was the managing director and entitled to call meetings and conduct the business of the Company as its managing Director. The plaintiff contended that the power of Dadoba to appoint a Managing Director by his will given by the Articles of Association and the Agreement was invalid, illegal and inoperative on the ground that in the meantime the new Indian Companies Act had come into force and the provisions of that enactment rendered any such power invalid and illegal. The plaintiff also contended that defendant No. 2 was acting in his own interest and in a manner detrimental to the interest of the company. He made reference to the Agenda of a meeting dated 13-5-1957 which included an item viz. 'To consider the provision for bonus to late Shri Dadoba Kashinath Thakoor in his capacity as the Managing Director'. The plaintiff also contended that defendant No. 2 claimed to be the beneficiary under the will of Dadoba and his attempts were to add to the estate of Dadoba to the detriment of the company. In the last week of June, 1957 the plaintiff received a letter dated 28-6-1957 from the second defendant alleging that the plaintiff had ceased to be a Director of the Company under S. 283(g) of the Companies Act and Art. 85 (f) of the Articles of Association of the Company owing to his absence without leave at three consecutive meetings of the Board of Directors and/or at all such meetings for a continuous period of three months. The plaintiff brought a suit for a declaration that he was and continued to be a Director of the first Defendant Company and was entitled to act as such. He also sought a declaration that the appointment of the second defendant as a Managing Director and/or Chairman of the Board of Directors of the first defendant Company was void, invalid and inoperative. He also sought a declaration that the appointment of the third defendant as a Director was invalid. illegal and inoperative. It seems that some time before the suit was filed, the second defendant in the purported exercise of his powers had co-opted the third defendant as a Director of the Company. The plaintiff also sought relief by way of certain injunctions in that suit. He asked for an injunction restraining defendant No. 2 from acting as Managing Director of the Company and for an injunction against defendant No. 3 restraining him from acting as a Director of the Company. He also sought a further injunction restraining the defendants from holding an annual general meeting of the company which was proposed to be held on 28-11-1957. In the suit, he impleaded the company as Defendant No. 1. Defendant No. 3 to the suit (appellant No. 3) as I have already mentioned, was co-opted by defendant No. 2 as a Director of the Company. Various issues were raised by the learned Judge, City Civil Court, who tried the suit. It is not necessary for the purpose of the present narrative to state them and it will suffice to observe that the main question which had to be determined by the leaarned Judge was whether the appointment of Defendant No. 2 as the Managing Director of the Company by the Will of Dadoba was invalid and ineffective in law by operation of S. 312 of the new Companies Act. That section, as I shall have occasion to 'Miscellaneous provisions' and is as under :

'Prohibition of assignment of office by a director.-Any assignment of his office made after the commencement of this Act by any director of a company shall be void.'

It will be convenient here to set out S. 9 of the new Companies Act which is as under :

'Act to override memorandum, articles, etc. Save as otherwide expressly provided in the Act-

(a) the provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the memorandum or articles of a company, or in any agreement executed by it, or in any resolution passed by the company in general meeting or by its Board of Directors, whether the same be registered executed or passed, as the case may be before or after the commencement of this Act; and

(b) any provision contained in the memorandum articles, agreement or resolution aforesaid shall to the extent to which it is repugnant to the provisions of this Act, become or be void, as the case may be.'

The expressions 'director' and 'managing director' are defined in the Act. I shall refer to those definitions a little later when examining one of the arguments urged on behalf of the appellants. It will be noticed that the marginal note to s. 312 suggests that the section lays down a prohibition of assignment of office by a Director and the section is in terms of such prohibition. The learned Judge took the view that the object of the Legislature in imposing the prohibition laid down in S. 312 was that a Director should not be colothed with the power to transfer his office to any person whether by an act inter vivos or by a testamentary instrument. He reached the conclusion that the expression 'assignment' in the section should not be given a restricted meaning but must be a read in a broad sense as applicable also to an appointment of any person as Managing Director of the Company made by his will by a Managing Director to come into effect on his demise. He upheld the contentions of the plaintiff and gave the declarations and the injunctions sought by him. The Company and defendants No. 2 and 3 have now come to this Court in this appeal.

(3) The first and the principal contention of the appellants pressed before us by Mr. Manekshaw, learned counsel for the appllants, is that the appointment of the second defendant as a Managing Director made by Dadoba by his will is not 'an assignment of an office' within the meaning of that expression in S. 312. It is said that what Art. 100 conferred on Dadoba is not any power of aassignment but merely a power of appointment. It is also said that the word 'assignment' means actual transfer. A transfer of office by a Director, it is stressed, can only be by an act inter vivos and in no circumstances by a testamentary instrument. The greatest emphasis has been laid on the factor that on his death Dadoba naturally ceased to be a Managing Director. The argument has been stressed in the form of an interrogation: By will a person can bequeath any property; he can by an act inter vivos transfer any property. But how can a person transfer something which is non-existent? - something he ceased to hold immediately on his demise? It will be noticed that the argument is founded in the context of property and not of an office of a director which is purely personal and is not property. It is impossible to contend, says Mr. Manekshaw, that there could be any assignment when Dadoba's appointment as Managing Director was only for his life and nothing was left for him to give at the point of time of his death. It is said that this is the most crucial question.

(4) At first blush the argument, under the latter head, that a person cannot transfer what he has not got may perhaps seem somewhat attractive from a sheer legal point of view, however repugnant it may be to the object of the Legislature in laying down the absolute bar against the transfer of an office of a Director. But on closer examination I think it defective even from the legal standpoing in paying tooo little attention to a number of relevant and material considerations, which, in my judgment, must weigh with the Court on this question of interpretation of the rule which aims to prevent use and abuse of a power. The argument, if I may so describe it, asks us to apply to the situation before us the maxim Nemo dat cuod non habte-you cannot give what you do not have; you cannot give what you do not have the right to give. The equivalent maxim is assignatus utitur jure auctoris - An assignee is clothed only with the right of his principal. Now, these maxims pithily exdpress one of the leading rules as to titles and tersely state the wellknown general rule that no man can transfer a greater right or interest in property than he himself possesses and if he has none he can give no title whatever to the property which is the subject matter of the transaction.

(5) The principle fo these maxims is indubitably sound and it has bearing firstly on the quantity and secondly on the quality or nature of interest in property which can be assigned by the owner to another party. Now, what Mr. Manekshaw contends for is the same principle but the contention assumes as a major premise an equivalent between the nature of a right or interest in property and the office of a Director which by no stretch of argument can be termed as property or any interest or right in property. Such an equation, to my mind, is impermissible. We have nothing to do with any right or interest in property nor are we concerned with any question of title or transmission of a title which could or could not vest in Dadoba. The question before us is not whether a person can or cannot give what he has not got. The question is whether a Director in a public or private company who is empowered by the Articles of Association of a company to appoint another person in his place and stead by an act inter vivos or by his will can be said to assign that office to the latter when he does so by an act inter vivos or by his will. It has not been possible for Mr. Manekshaw to dispute that if this was done during the life-time of the Director by an act inter vivos it would b an assignment and hit by S. 312. though at one stage of the argument that position was not accepted. But that line had to be abandoned in view of the language of certain sections in the Act and particularly S. 86B of the repealed Act of 1913 and the proviso to the same to which I shall refer a little later. This present argument of learned counsel for the appellants is founded on certain observations of the learned editors of Gore-Browne's work on Companies law and it will be necessay for me to quote the same and examine them when I refer to S. 86B of our repealed Act of 1913. It will suffice here to state that those observations are made in the context of a private company and not a Director of public compay and even in the context of a Director of a private company the opinion of editors of standard treatise on Companies law in England, as I shall point out, is to treat that point as one in dubio. Besides the point has little cogency since there is no section in the English law analogous to S. 312 of our Act of 1956.

(6) We are concerned primarily and principally with the connotation of the expression 'assignment of his office ........by a Director' and the legal inhibition contained in the section which is applicable in case of a Director both in a public and a private company and the question is can he, if the Articles of Association permit it, appoint a person to be the Director of the company in his place and stead by making such appointment by his will or is he prohibited by S. 312 from doing so notwithstanding such Articles since S. 9 renders void any such Articles which are repugnant to any provisions of the Act. Section 312 applies equally to a Director in a public and a private company and I have stressed that aspect because considerable emphasis was laid on behalf of the appellant on the fact that there are cases where an owner of a business transfers it to a private limited company and he is appointed a Managing Director of the company with powers to appoint any person in his place and stead by a deed or will as for instance in the case before us. I am not concerned with the object of giving such powers but with the validity of such powers and the considerations relating to the object of conferring such powers in case of a private company would mostly be irrelevant in the case of a Director of a public company. The prohibition in S. 312 is imposed for an object which I shall point out little later can be gathered from the enactment itself. I prefer in the first place to examine the language of the seftion itself and shall turn to an enquiry as to its onject only in so far as it is permissible and required by the well-known cannon of construction that the meaning of the words of a statute is to be found not so much in strictly grammatical or in etymological properity of language, nor even in its popular use, as in the subject, or in the occasion on which they are used and the object to be attained. Of this more hereafter.

(7) The crucial consideration therefore, is not that a person cannot transfer something which he has not got. But it must be as to what is the connotation of the expression 'assignment' in the context of an office of a Director which indisputably, is not property or any right or interest in property. The Legislature has said that a Director cannot assign his office, meaning thereny that he connot transfer it to any other person. It is not questioned and could not be questioned that transfer of the office of a Director in any shape or form is expressly prohibited by the Statute. The crux of the matter. therefore, is what is it that is prohibited when it is enacted that you cannot assign the office of a Director of a company. Now, one thing is clear that in a case of a prohibition or restriction of this nature which is absolute and unqualified, the intention and object of the law-giver is to restrain and prevent a Director from putting some one in his place and stead by any act on his part or doing any act which would have the same effect. The question of course must be : Has the intended object been carried out in a appropriate language capable of bringing out that result? I put to myself the question: Is this word 'assignment' to be read in the narrow sense-in a sense wanting in breadth in which it is used in conveyancing language and by conveyancing men in the context of rights in property where it may mean only a transfer by an act inter vivos or is to be understood in the broad comprehensive sense that the holder of the office is not to givbe it by any act of his in presenti and also not to give it to another by any testamentary disposition or direction or appointment. I have persaps dwelt little longer than I need have done on the argument of learned counsel for the appellants that Dadoba could not transfer what he did not have at the point of time of his death because his office came to an end that very time and therefore, the appointment by him of the second defendant cannot be called an assignment of the office of a Director. The argument would have cogency if there was any dispute about the quantity or quality or the nature of any interest or right in property when such consideration would certainly have had bearing on the enquiry. But in the context of an assignment of an office of the nature before us it has little import.

(8) The argument suffers from a patent weakness and it is this. It is indubitable that a right can be transferred by assignment of the nature of transfer inter vivos or by operation of law provided the transfer of that right is not prohibited by law and it is made in accordance with the requirements of law as to form such as writing, registration etc. In respect of a right not ordinarily transferable, for instance one which involves personal element and which ceases on death or disablement, the law lays down that the right cannot be transferred unless other parties interested in the matter gave their consent to the transference of the right or imposes conditions subject to which alone the right may be transferred as for instance in a case of a company if it is accepted in a meeting of the shareholders. In all such cases there is in the first instance no right of transfer either by an act inter vivos or by a testamentary instrument. But when the right is given and the condition necessary for the exercise of the power of transference is fulfilled as required by law, it is extremely difficult to see how it can be said that there cannot be a transfer of the right by testamentary disposition. To my mind, there is here no justification for any over-refined distinction between appointment and assignment. In the first place, we are not dealing with property. We are dealing with an office which can only be the subject matter of an appointment. Whether you call it an assignment or transfer or alienation or appointment it has the same meaning and the effect is the same. I fail to see how in such a case it can be said that what is done is not a transfer because the right to transfer was not there. Of course it was not there at the inception but it was there when the power to transfer the right was conferred. This, to my mind, is the weakness underlying the argument of learned counsel so strongly pressed for our acceptance.

(9) To turn to the former head of the argument of Mr. Manekshaw relating to the connotation of 'assignment of an office' within the meaning of that expression as used in S. 312. Now, it is well understood that the expressions 'assign' and 'transfer' are often used in our statutes to convey the same meaning and the same sense and that the primary meaning of the word 'assign' is to legally transfer or to legally make over any property or any right. It is equally well understood that the expression 'transfer' is one of wide import and embraces both a transfer by an act inter vivos as well as a transfer by operation of law, that is by sale in execution, forfeiture, insolvency, intestate succession or testamentary disposition. In view of this connotation of the word 'transfer' the argument on behalf of the appellants was that a distinction must be drawn between an assignment of the office of a Director and appointment of another person as a Director by a person holding the office of Director. Learned counsel, however, had to agree that if a Director in a private company appointed for life and clothed with the power to appoint any other person in his place and stead were to exercise that power by an act inter vivos that would be in assignment of an office and hit by S. 312 even though it might be called an appointment. But it was said that appointment by a will in such a case would be sholly a different matter. It would not be within the ambit of the section because that would not be an assignment. The argument of necessity had to rest on the principle 'one cannot give what one has not got'. I have alredy examined that argument.

(10) It has been argued by Mr. Khambatta. learned counsel for the respondents that there is no justification for giving a limited and narrow construction to the expression 'assignment of office' which can mean passing of any right from one person to another. Counsel has referred to Law Lexicons and to Murray's English Dictionary. In wharton's Law Lexicon, 14th Edition, as to the verb 'assign' it is stated that the verb is variously applied and the meaning given in that Lexicon to the word 'assign' is 'generallyto transfer property, especially personal estate, ot set over a right to another or appoint a deputy'. It is common knowledge that the draftsmen of our Indian States do not prefer to use the expression 'assign' in the context of property and have for a long time since the enactment of the Transfer of Property Act chosen to use the expression 'transfer'. wharton defines 'assignee' as a person appointed by another to do an act or perform any business. The expression 'assignment' is defined as transfer of an estate or interest in property'. Mr. Khambatta has strongly relied on the meaning of the verb 'assign' given in Murray's Dictionary and one of the meanings is 'to transfer or formally make over to another'. He has also relied on the meaning given there as 'to appoint authoritatively' as also another meaning which is 'to appoint, designate, ordian, depute'. Counsel has also referred to certain provisions of the Transfer of Property Act. But I do not think it necessary to refer to those provisions because it has not been disputed and could not be disputed by Mr. Manekshaw that the meaning of the experssion 'transfer' includes a transfer by an act inter vivos as well as by a testamentary disposition or direction. Great reliance has been placed by Mr. Khambatta on the meaning of the verb 'assign' as to 'appoint or to designate'. Mr. Khambatta has also argued that the contention on behalf of the appellants in asking the Court to give a restricted meaning to the expression 'assignment' ig nores the existence of a third party viz. the company. It is said that this is not a case of an ordinary assignment between an assignor and an assignee whereby some property is transferred by the assignor to the assignee. Here, what was being done though called an assignment, was really an appointment to the post of the office of a Director and which had the effect of imposing the will of one person on a third party and the third party was affected. This aspect of the matter to my mind, cannot be ignored. It is not a bilateral act pure and simple with which we are concerned in this case. We are concerned with the office of a Director in a company and one person is clothed with the power to appoint another person and the appointee is the thired party. Therefore, the ordinary sense in which the expression 'assignment' may be used in the contedt of transfer of property by an act inter vivos is a concept which need not be introduced in reading the expression 'assignment' in S. 312. Learned counsel has also drawn our attention to the scheme of the Act. He has referred to S. 253 which lays down that only an individual can be a Director of a public or a private company and not any body corporate or association or firm of partners: and he has also drawn our attention to S. 254 which requires that subscribers to the Memorandum of any company can only be individuals and in default of and subject to any regulations in the articles of a company, subcribers of the memorandum who are individuals, shall be deemed to be the Directors of the company until the Directors are duly appointed under S. 255. He has also drawn our attention to S. 155(2). These sections have been referred to for the purpose of showing that the Act does not contemplate any continuity in the matter as must occur if the Director could be a body corporate or an asociation or a firm of partners. It is urged that it is clear from various provisions of the Act that the intention of the Legislature was to prevent the mischief of any Director introducing into the company any other person as a Director at his own volition even though he might have been authorised by an agreement between him and the company to do so and even though the Articles of Association of a company may expressly permit that to be done. Numerous prohibitions have been laid down by the new Companies Act in case of Managing Agents, Managing Directors, Managers and Directors of the Company and other officers of a company. It is not necessary for me to examine the scheme of the Act in any detail since it is now well-understood that the new Companies Act aims at eradicating many serious mischiefs which the principle of perpetual management of companies had caused in the past. The argument of counsel is: Why permit that mischief to continue by reading S. 312 in a narrow sense by attributing any undue restricted meaning to the words 'assignment of his office'? It is stressed that the real meaning of this expression and one to be gathered from the section itself is that a person cannot introduce another person as a Director in that company even though authorised to do so by the Articles of Association of the Company. This it is urged is the effect of reading S. 9 with S. 312. Then it is said that if the argument urged on behalf of the appellants were to be accepted, an inconsistent and incongruous position is bound to arise.

(11) In my opinion, Mr. Khambatta is right when he says that an inconsistent and incongrous position must arise if the argument urged on behalf of the appellants is to be accepted by us. Of course of the Court will not attach any undue importance to this consideration but any inconsistent or incongruous position that might arise has to be borne in mind even in interpreting a statute the language of which is plain and unambiguous. Moreover it is not possible to say that the expression 'assignment' is capable of only one meaning and one meaning alone nor has any such attempt been seriously made before to suggest that the word 'assignment' is capable of only one meaning. The inconsistent aned incongruous position that can arise if the argument for the appellants is accepted is that while a Director cannot during his life time appoint another person as a director in his place and stead, though authorised by an agreement between him and the company and the articles of Association to do so he can do so by an appointment which is to be effective immedicately on his demise. Of course where the language of the section is plain, unambiguous and is not capable of more than one meaning, then ordinarily that meaning would have to be given by the Court. But in such a case uestion of interpretation can hardly be said to arise. There will be no need of interpretation. The language itself being clear and manifest best declares the intention of the Legislature-Absoluta sententia expositore non indiget. But it is not possible to say that the expression 'assignment' which is usually used in the context of property law and which has been pitchforked in a provision relating to the Companies Act in the context of a personal office which is neither an interest nor a right in any property and obviously is not an office of profit can be said to have a plain and simple meaning and which, as Wharton has said, is variously applied even in England.

(12) Learned counsel for the Respondents has also drawn our attention to S. 317 of the Companies Act. That section rules that a Managing Director of a company cannot be appointed for more than 5 years at a time. The argument has been that a Managing Director of a public company if clothed by any agreement between him and the company and the Articles of Association to appoint a successor would have power to make a will and appoint a successor and in such a case on his demise within the period of the allotted span of five years mentioned in S. 317 the appointte would step in as a Managing Director. The suggestion is that in case of a public company such a position would be inconceivable and intolerable. It is not necessary for me however to examine in any detail what would hapen in case of a Managing Director clothed with any power as in the illustration suggested by learned counsel. But it does seem that such a strange and impermissible situation can arise and it does seem that the present argument lends support to the contention pressed on behalf of the respondents.

(13) The next argument of Mr. Khambatta turns on the meaning and effect of Art. 109. It is said that clause (b) of that Article authorised Dadoba to appoint any person to be a Managing Director in his place and stead and in default of such appointment the legal representatives of Dadoba were entitled to exercise the power. It is said that the appointment by Dadoba by an act inter vivos of any person as Managing director in his place and stead would be within the mischief of S. 312 and if he appointed any person to be a Managing Director in his place and stead by a will or Codicil the appointment would be valid if the contention of the other side were to be accepted. The argument here is that there is no warrant for splitting Art. 109 under two heads of 'appointment by Deed' and 'an appointment by will or Codicil'. It is said that if one part of Art. 109 is bad, then the whole of Art. 109 is bad. It is also said that not merely Dadoba but the legal representatives of Dadoba have also been given the power to appoint a Managing Director. The contention is that for this reason the whole of Art. 109 (b) must be treated as bad because it is not divisible. Now, this argument can have force only in case of matters which are not severable. I do not think that an appointment by a Deed inter vivos and an appointment by a will or Codicil are matters which are not severable. aTherefore there is little scope for the present argument urged before us by Mr. Khambatta. There is, however, considerable force in the argument of learned counsel that a restricted meaning should not be given to the expression 'assignment' in the context of the personal office of a Director of Company under our Company law. Evidently, the construction pressed for our acceptance by learned counsel for the appellants relies-to put it in his own words on 'the rule of literal construction'. It has been strenuously urged that S. 312 must be literally construed and so construed the expression 'assignment' must be given the meaning pressed for our acceptance on behalf of the appellants. Not only that, but the argument asks us to put a restricted meaning on an expression ordinarily used in the context of property and rights and interest in property, whereas in the section which we have to interpret, it is not used with reference to property but a personal right involving confidence as a main element as well as the character, credit and substance of the person who is a Director and who is sought to be appointed as a Director in his place and stead. It also involves a third party viz. the company.

(14) We have to construe an expression which is capable of a sufficiently flexible meaning as well as a restricted and narrow meaning. The elementary rule of literal construction as has so often been said, is confined to cases where the language is precise and capabe of but one construction or where neither the history not the cause of the onactment, not the context, not the consequences to which the literal interpretation would lead, show that that interpretation does not embrace the real intention. It has also been repeatedly said that language is so often capable of being used in more than one sense and to adhere rigidly to its literal and prmary meaning in all cases would be to miss its real meaning in many. Words if sufficiently flexible must be construed in the sense which, if less correct grammatically, is more in harmony with the intention of the law-maker. These are well settled principles of interpretation of a Statute.

(15) To turn to examine the object of the enactment. The expression 'director' includes any person occupying the position of Director by whatever name called and 'Managing Director' means a Director who is entrusted with any powers of management which would not otherwise be exercisable by him. and includes a Director occupying the position of a Managing Director by whatever name called. Only an individual can be a Managing Director of a company. It is plain from Art. 109 that the right to appoint a Director was given to Dadoba and the right could be exercised from generation to generation. A company is a perpetual body and the effect of accepting the construction pressed on behalf of the appellants would be that in this private limited company which is a perpetual body the Managing Director was given a right to appoint the future managing director and if the right was not exercised by him, then his legal representatives could execise that right so that the same process of appointment could continue from generation to generation. That to my mind is wholly foreign to the object and scheme of the new Companies law. I entertain no doubt that the object of the mandatory prohibition in section 312 was to prevent any such appointment being operative in the lifetime of the director as well as after his death and the only doubt that must naturally arise is from the fact that my brother K. T. Desai holds a view different from mine. This type of perpetual management whether in the form of a director, manager, managing agent or managing director was an evil which had to be eradicated and the precise object of the whole Act read in the context of section 9 was to eradicate that evil. I do not propose to burden this judgment by referring to the numerous sections of the Act which leave no doubt that such was the intent and object of the law-giver. I shall have occasion to refer a little later to section 86B of the repealed Act of 1913 the language of which when compared with section 312 does throw considerable light on this point. According to the argument of learned Counsel for the appellant, the Legislature, although it has dealt with the matter of appointment of the nature before us made by a director in his life time, has not dealt at all with the matter of such appointment if it is to operate after death. It is said that if there is any lacuna in the Act, it is for the Legislature to remedy the defect. Of course the court cannot reach a casus omissus and no cannon of construction permits the court to cure a lacuna in a Statute. That is simple. But it is equally true that omissions are not to be readily inferred. The court it is firmly established will not wrest the language of a Statute and will not lightly create or infer a lacuna. It will at the same time see 'that the true meaning of any passage is to be found not merely in the words of the passage, but in ascertaining also among other things what was the circumstance with reference to which the words are used, in what context they are used and what was the object which the Legislature had in view.'

(16) There is another aspect of the same question. We are not dealing with a codifying enactment but with an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to Companies and certain other Associations. It is well-settled that in an enactment of this nature, it is legitimate to refer to the previous state of the law for the purpose of ascertaining the intention of the Legislature. Many provisions of the Indian Companies Act of 1913 were adopted from analogous provisions in the English Companies Acts. A number of provisions in our Companies Act of 1956 have been adopted from the English Act of 1948. It is also true that there are numerous sections in which the language of the English enactment has only partially been adopted. There is no section in the analogous English enactment similar to section 312 of our Act which as I have already said, enforces prohibition of assignment of office of a director and that prohibition is absolute and unqualified. Under our repealed Companies Act. ther eas some analogous provision in section 86B, the relevant part of which was as under:-

'If in the case of any company provision is made by the articles or by any agreement entered into between any person and the company for empowering a director or manager of the company to assign his office as such to another person, any assignment of office made in pursuance of the said provision shall notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the said provision, be of no effect unless and until ti is approved by a special resolution of the company :

Provided that the exercise by a director of a power to appoint an alternate or substitute director to act for him during an absence of not less than three months from the district in which meetings of the directors are ordinarily held, if done with the approval of the board of directors, shall not be deemed to be an assignment of office within the meaning of this section : x x x x x'

That sec;tion was one of a group of secs 86A to 86I which were inserted in 1936 in the Companies Act of 1913. The corresponding provision in the English enactment was section 151 of the Act of 1929. Section 204 of the English Act of 1948 was in part materia with section 151 of the earlier English enactment. Section 151 of the English enactment was as under :-

'If in the case of any company provision is made by the articles or by any agreement entered into between any person and the company for empowering a director or manager of the company to assign his office as such to another person, any assignment of office made in pursuance of the said provision shall. nothwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the said provision be of no effect unless and until it is approved by a special resolution of the company.'

It is noticeable and it is of some importance to observe that the first proviso to our section 86B which I have quoted above did not find place in sec 151 of the English Act of 1929 nor did it find place in the later English enactment of 1948. Section 86B laid down certain restrictions on the powers of a director down certain restrictions on the powers of a director or a manager of a company to assign his office as such to another person. The restriction was that even though the Articles of the Company might have permitted it, no such power could be edercised unless and until the assignment was approved by a special resolution of the company. The proviso engrafted a matedrial rule on the section. The effect of the proviso was that the power to make a temporary appointment of an alternate or substituted director to act for him which could be exercised without any special resolution of the company and it was sufficient if the Board of Directors gave its approval to the same. Such a case, the proviso expressly stated, would not be deemed to be an assignment of office. It is clear from the language of the proviso that the Legislature took the view that there was ample scope for the suggestion that even such a temporary appointment of alternate and substituted director for a short period may be regarded as an assignment of office by a director. Therefore, one thing is clear from the language of that proviso read with the section that it was though possible that a temporary appointment for a short period of a substituted director to act for him during his temporary absence made by a director could fall within the meaning of the expression assignment of office'. It is implicit in the proviso that even though the Articles of Association may permit it, a director or a manager of a company had no right to put in his place and stead another person as a director even during his temporary absence. I have referred to that section to show what the intention of the Legislature was even under the provisions contained in sec 86B. Although Articles of Company do in some cases empower a director to appoint an althernate or a substituted director, the Legislature did not approve of any such right being created in favour of a director by an agreement between the director and the company or by recognising that right in the Articles of Association and laid down conditions which were restrictive of that right. It is a well-established principle of construction that when one finds a proviso to a section the presumption is that but for the proviso the enacting part of the section would have included the subject matter of the proviso. Of course that presumption need not arise where it is clear that the proviso was inserted only ex abundanti cautela. A comparison of section 86B and the first proviso to the same with the language of section 312 with which we are here concerned seems very instructive. In section 312 the Legislature not being content with the restriction imposed under the old section, decided to lay down an absolute and unqualified prohibition against the assignment of the office of a director in any circumstance and the only qualification that it has made is contained in section 313 the relevant part of which is as under:

'313. Appointment and term of office of alternate directors.-

(1) The Board of Directors of a company may, if so authorised by its articles or by a resolution passed by the company ingeneral meeting, appoint an alternate director to act for a director (hereinafter in this section called 'the original director') during his absence for a period of not less than three months from the State in which the meetings of the Board are ordinarily held.'

Now, I have already pointed out that section 86B followed the language of section 151 of the English Act of 1929 and section 204 of the English Act of 1949 is in pari materia with section 151, and neither that section not the earlier section 151 contained any proviso of the nature engrafted on section 86B of our Act of 1913. I have referred to the sections of the English enactment for the purpose of showing that the language of section 86B without the proviso had been borrowed from the English Act of 1929. I may observe that section 204 of the english Act of 1949 does not impose any rigid bar on the assignment of his office by a director but the condition it imposes is that there should be a special resolution of the company. A curious and somewhat interesting position emerges if one turns to the standard text books on the English Companies Act. The not of the editors of Palmer's Company Precedents uder section 204 of the Act of 1949 of the Act of 1949 is as under :

'The precise connotation of a power 'to assign office' as mentioned in the section is not clear. It is not thought that it would refer to a provision for the appointment of a successor; see for example paragraph (4) of From 255 ant.'

Now, From 255 is in respect of a peculiar type of Managing Directorhip and the person who holds that directorship is referred ot in England as a Gopverning Director. It is not necessary for me to examine the From 255 which is given in Palmer's Company Precedents. No clear opinion seems to have been expressed by the editors but they say that it is not thought that section 204 would refer to a provision for the appointment of a successor by a governing director. They also say that the precise connotation of a power 'to assign office' is not clear. Therefore, one thing is certain that the Editors of that Book were not inclined to state any definite opinion about the meaning of the expression 'to assign office' in section 204 and left the matter as one in dubio . Since the greatest reliance has been placed by Mr. Manekshaw, learned Counsel for the appellants, on certain observations made by the editors of the fortyfirst edition of Gore-Browne's Text Book of Companies law I shall set out those observations in extenso :

Where in the case of a private company, the vendor of a business to the company is appointed a director by the Articles, he is frequently styled a 'governing director', and has conferred upon him all the powers of a Board of Directors. with a right from time to time to appoint a successor during his life or by his will. or for his legal personal representatives to make such appointment after his death. In connection with such powers to appoint a successor the question whether its exercise constitutes an 'assignment' of the office within section 204 may arise. That section renders the assignment of the office of director as such to another person of no effect unless and until it is approved by a special resolution of the company. It is difficult to see how a deceased person or his legal personal representatives could assign an office, and possibly in no case would the exercise of a power to appoint a successor under such an Article constitute an 'assignment' of the office, unless the appointment is made by the governing director during his life. The point is however, a doubtful one and it would be advisable for any person appointed as successor under such a power to obtain the support of a special resolution.' I do not think these observations are helpful in interpreting section 312 of our Act of 1956 . The argument on behalf of the appellants leans heavily on the very insecure foundation fo these observations of the learned editors made in the context of a section (204) which does not contain anv proviso similar to that under the repealed section 86B of our Act if 1913. What is more important is that sec 204 is not in part materia with section 312 with which we are really concerned and which lays down a stricter prohibition on the powers of a director. It is also noticeable that in England this point is not one of particular importance because there is no provision in the English Act similar to our section 312 which imposes and absolute prohibition on the assignment of the office of a director. All that is required there is a special resolution of the complany. None of the two statements of the learned editors of Palmers company precedents or Gore - Brownes work calm the high authority of the illustrious authors of the works and the editors also have left the matter in doubt. It is well known that Buckley who was later Lord Wrenbury was conservative in the matter of expressing his opinion and the editors of that work have been conservative in the matter of expression of opinions and that is one reason why Buckleys work has been very often referred to by courts both in England and India. Now the editors of the present edition of Buckleys work on Company law have made a significant note under section 204 and the note is this:

Quere, what is meant by the expression as signment of office, used in this section which reproduces section 151 of the 1929 Act.

Mr. Manekshaw says that the expression quere only means that a question is put by the editors. To my mind, it is more than that. It is a question of the nature of objection. It is used at times to question accuracy of what has been said or written by another. In any case one thing is plain that the opinions of these editors expressed in the context of a rule which is different from the rule laid down in section 312 would be slender support for the construction urged on behalf of the appellants.

(17) We have here an express and unqualified rule in section 312 which is manifestly intended to set at nought the mischief which must result if a director of a company public or private were to be permitted to exercise the power of introducing another person of his own choice as a director in his place and stead by assigning his office in favour of such person. The expression assignment so dear to the heart of English conveyancing or transfer of any property or any right or interest in property but in the context of making over of an office of director byone person to another. The expression is capable of being variously applied and I see no reason and no principle why its connotation should be confined to transference of any right by an act interevivos. It is an expression of larger import than that. In reference to something which is not property or right or interest in property it can certainly mean making over or setting over of any right by one person to another or appointment to an office by one person of another when the person holding the office makes if over to another by appointing him to hold that office. The argument pressed for our acceptance. as I have already mentioned. could not go to the length of suggesting that a director can during his life time make over his office to another can during his life time make over his office to another person by calling it an appointment and not an assignment. It makes no different to my mind whether he does it in his life time by an act inter vivos or by a will so that it operates from the date of his death. In eitther case it is an appointment to the office of directed. In the course of the arguments I put it to learned counsel for the appellants if he could suggest any reason why the Legislature should deem it necessary to prohibit a director of a company from appointing another person as a director in his pllace and stead by an act inter vivos. that is during his lifetime and should not been it necessary to prevent him from doing so by a will. No answer was given save that it would be entering the region of speculation. It would be strange indeed to attribute to the Legislature the intention to create the anomatous position that must arise if it were to be accepted that section 312 prohibits appointment by a director to his office of another person in his place and staed by an act inter vivos and yet permits such appointment to be made by him by his will. Moreover this incongruous position can arise not only in case of a director in a private company but also in case of a director in a public company if the construction urged on behalf of the appellants is to be accepted. To take the simple illustration of a case where by Articles of Association of a public company the promoters or managing agents are given the power to appoint one or more ex officio directors for life. Such a power would be valid under Section 255 of the Companies Act so long as the number of the such directors does not exceed one third of the total number of directors of the company Section 255 is as under.

'255 Appointment of directors and proportion of those who are to retire by rotation -

(1) Not less than two thirds of the total number of directors of a public company or of a private company which is a subsidiary of a public company shall.

(a) be persons whose period of office is liabel to determination by retire ment of directors by rotation and

(b) Save as otherwise expressly provided in ths act, be appointed by the company in general meeting.

(2) The remaining directors in the case of any such company and the directors generally in the case of a private company which is not a subsidiary of a public company, shall in default of and subject to any regulations in the articles of the company also be appointed by the company in general meeting.

So if the regulations in the Articles of the company empower the promoters or managing agents to appoint a director or directors within the number permissible under sub section (2) for the life time of such director or directors the appointment would be valid. Now in such a case if the Articles were to provide that a director or directors so appointed will have the power to appoint another person to his or their office of director by an act inter vivios of by will the position would be that the appointment by an act inter vivos would be void while the appointment by will would be valid if the construction which we are asked to put on the expression assignment were to be accepted. It is inconceivable to my mind that such is the object or effect of section 312 of the Act of 1956 It seems indubitable to me that any such appoitnment of a director in a public company by will is within the prohibition imposed by the section. Cadid questio it is within the amibit of the prohibition in case of appointment of a director in a private company. The only answer to this suggested by learned counsel for the appellants was that secion 317 prevents appointment of a managing director of a public compnay for a term exceeding five years at a time. But that section has no bearing of his office by a director. It is extremely difficult for me to see why an intention should be attributed to the law given of laying down a rule the effect of which would be to rule that a director in a public or priavate company, authorised by the Articles of the company cannot make any such appointment five minutes before his death - that would be by an act inter vivos - and yet he cann do it by inserting a clause to that effect in his will It was however, said that section 255(2) has the effect of permitting appointment of a director in a public or private company being made by a third person who may be a total outsider and not a director of the company and the argument was that an appointment made by such third person cannot be called an assignment of the office of director. The argument ran that there was no difference between any such appointment made by a third party and an appointment made by a third party and an appointment made by a person who happens to be a director. The argument to my mind is not sound. The section speaks of assignemtn of his office by a director and the prohibition is evidently imposed on a person who is a director. It is the office held by a person as a director that is not permitted to be assigned by any act on his part. Therefore there is a difference between an appointment made by a third party and one made by a director. In the former case it cannot be said that there is an assignment of his office by the person exercising the power. On a consideration of the whole matter it seems to me that having regard to the nature of the office of a director it cannot make any difference whether the act is called an assignment of his office by a director or transfer of his office by a director or appointment by such director of another person to that office in his place and stead either by a deed or will. I fail to see any reason why we should recognise the over refined distinction sought to be made in case of an appointment by will by attributing any restricted and technical conveyancing meaning to the expression assignment of the nature suggested on behalf of the appellants. This is not a matter of doctrinare tenchincalities but a matter to be considered on broad principles and rules of interpretation.

(18) I have not yet made any reference to another argument urged before us by learned counsel for the appellants. It has been argued that section 312 speaks only of a director ad the prohibition imposed is against the assignment of office of a director and not against the assignment of office of a managing director. Section 312 is one of a group of three sections headed miscellaneous provisions. Chapter II of the companies act deals with Directors. Learned counsel for the self appellants has drawn our attention to certain sections where the legislature has referred to a director and certain sections where reference is made to a managing director. The suggestion is that in respect of every provision of law affecting a managing director the framers of the act have taken care to lay down separate rules affecting them and where they have only referred to a director, the rule is only applicable to a director through a managing director being a director the rule may also apply to him. But that it is said would be in a distinguishable capacity as a director and not as a managing director. An examination of the relevant provisions of the companies Act would show that such is not the position. There are sections which apply to a director and are equally applicable to a managing director. Moreover in section which speaks of a director the Legislature has taken special care to state necessary qualifications to the rule there stated if the section is not to apply to the case of amanging director. Before I examine one or two of such sections I should refer to the definitions of director and managing director which are as under:

Section 2(13) director includes any person occupying the postion of director, by whatever name called.

Section 2(26) managing director means a director who by virtue of an agreement with the company or of a resolution passed by the company in general meeting or by it Board of Directors or by virtue of its memorandum or articles of association. is entrusted with any powers of managment which would not otherwise be exercisable by him, and includes a director occupying the postion of a managing director by whatever name called. The definition of 'managing director' makes it abundantly clear that a managing director is necessarily a director entrusted with powers of management and that the expression managing director includes a director occupying the position of a managing director by whatever name called. In a certain sections the Legislature has drawn a distinction between a director and a managing director by express words of qualification and it is impossible to say that the expression director wherever it is used in the Act excludes a managing director. The definition of director is rather comprehensive than restrictive. Now these expressions which are definied by the Legislature are always to be read in their context and as is usual in modern legislative practiced section 2 which gives definition begins with the words Unless the context otherwise requres. The expression director is not to be read in sec 312 or any other section as if it could apply only to a person who is a director and not to one who is also a managing director or to put it slightly differently as if it excluded per se a director whi is also a managing director. When question arises whether the expression director in any section is to be understood in a comprehensive or exclusive sense in would be necessary to examine the scope and ambit of the particular section and the nature and object of the rule and the context in which it is used. Now as I have already pointed out section 312 is one of the sections under the heading of miscellaneous Provisions. that itself to my mind is some indication that the expression director is used in the sections under that head in a comprehensive and not an exclusive sense. What is more important is that there is ample support to be derived for the view that the expression director in these miscellaneous provisions is used in a general sense. Secition 313 must evidently apply to a managing director although only the expression director is used there. Then if section 314 used it scrutinised it is clear that the Legislature having used the expression director has expressly made reference to a managing director. Now one thing is quire clear that secs. 312 and 313 are more to be read as dealing with a matter of the same nature and that the expression director in those sections must have the same meaning. Section 307 also lends support to the same view and it is not possible to rule out consideration of that section by saying that a managing director is also a director, and that it must be read as applicable to a manaiging director only in his capacity of a director and not of a managing director. The point is whether the expression is always used in the exclusive sense contended for on always used in the exclusive sense contended for on behalf of the appellants. I may permit myself to refer to section 86B of the repealed Act for the purpose of examing the present argument. That section applied both to a director and a managing director. Section 2(24) of the Act of 1956 defines manager to mean.

'an individual (not being the managing agent) who, subject to the superintendence, control and direction of the board of directors has the management of the whole, or substantially the whole of the affairs of a company and includes a director or any other person occupying the position of a manger by whatever name called and whether under a contract of service or not.

Section 86B to which I have already made reference placed certain restriction on the powers of a director as well as a manager of a company. Section 383 of the Act of 1956 rules that the provisions of section 312 shall apply in relation to a manager of the company as they apply to director thereof. If we accept the argument urged on behalf of the appellants the effect of the rule read with section 312 would be that the manager of a company who is a paid employee or servant of a company can by his will appoint his another person to occupy the post of manager after his death if the Articles of Association of the after his death if the Articles of Association of the company authorise him to do so. It is exteremly difficult for me to see that such could be the intention or object of the law maker. the prohibition in section 312 applies equally to a director as to a manager and not only in a private company but also in a public company. No reason whatever could be suggested why the Legislature should have wanted to exclude a managing director and that too of a public as well as a private company from the salutary prohibiton laid down in section 312. Here also it was said on behalf of the appellants that section 317 lays down that a managing director of public company cannot be appointed for more than five years at a time and that it does not apply to a private company. I do not think that advances the contention urged on behalf of the appellants. I need not pursue the examination of some other sections which, to my mind, support the view that the expression director when used without any qualifying words is to be read in a comprehensive sense as inclusive of a managing director and not in the exclusive sense in which we are asked to read it. These considerations, in my jedgment, lead to the result that the expression director in section 312 includes a managing director of a public or a private company.

(19) Another phase of the argument of behalf of the appellants on the question of construction of the expression assignment in Section 312 was that Article 109 only amounts to delegatioin of power by the directors to one of then viz. Dadoba. I have read the relevant Articles 105 to 109 of the Articles of Association of the company more thanonce and I see no support whatever in them for the present argument. There is nothing in those articles which even faintly suggests anything like delegation nor any exercise by Dadoba of any delegated power. The present argument must therefore fail.

(20) For all these reasons, the conclusion seems to me inescapable that the expression assignment of his office cannot be read in the narrow restricted sense in which we have been asked to read it on behalf of thhe appellants and section 312 must be read as applicable to a director including a managing director and in the comprehensive sense in which it would include appointment by any testamentary disposition or direction. In my jedgment the learned Judge was right in the conclusion reached by him.

(21) I now turn to examine another contention urged before us by Mrl.; Manekshaw. It has been argued that in any even the plaintiff ceased to be a director of the company because he failed to attend certain meetings of the directors and became disqualified from acting as a director by operation of Art. 85(f) and sec 283(g). A few dates and facts are necessary to dispose of this contention. there was a meeting of the Board of Directors soon after the death of Dadoba which was in the nature of a condolence meeting and it was attended by the plaintiff. that was on 13-2-1957 On 14-2-1957 the second defendant sent out a notice calling a meeting of the Board of Directors of the company for 14-2-1957. by his letter dated 23-3-1957 which had been sentout by the second defendant. A notice dated 27-3-1957 convening a meeting of the Board of Directors was sent by the second defendant as a managing director of the complany. A notice dated 4.5.1957 was also sent by the second defendant describing himself as a managing director.

A notice dated 21-5-1957 was also sent by the second defendant as a managing director of the company. So also a notice dated 23-5-1957 was sent by the second defendant as the Managing Director of the company. It will be seen that all but one of the notices relating to the convening of the meeting of Board of directors were sent by the second defendant as Chairman or managing director and at all relevant period the plaintiff protested against the right of the second defendant to convene any meeting in his capacity as Managing Director or Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company. Since I have taken the view that the appointment of the second defendant as the Managing Director was invalid and bad in law, it must follow as a necessary corolllary to that conclusion that conclusion that the second defendent had in law no power to convene any meeting as a managing director of the company and if he did so, those meetings were not duly and legally convened meetings and if they were not duly and legally convened meetings. it cannot be said that the plaintiff absented himself from any properly convened meeting of the Board of Directors of the company. I must point out that it was also argued by Mr. Manekshaw that in any event the second defendant had continued all along to be a director of the company and even if it be held by the court that the had no right to convene the meetings as a managing director of the company, he had the right ot convene those meetings a director and on that ground the plaintiff should be disqualifed because he had failed to attend the meetings as required by the Articles of Association and by the provisions of law. I do not think this argument is tenable. In express terms the meetings were called by the second defendant in his alleged capacity as a managing director and there is nothing on the record to show that he called those meetings imply as a director of the company. It is not, therefore, necessary to examine this argument at any length. The meetings being called by him in the exercise of a capacity which he did not have were had and it is not open to him now to fall back on his position as a director of the company. I may also refer to Article 94 of the Articles of Association of the company which deals with the question as to whenn a director may summon a meeting. that article lays down that the managing director may at any time and shall upon request of any Director convene a meeting of the directors is primarily with the managing director and the second defendant in terms called those meetings as managing director. mr. manekshw has also drawn out attention to Form No. 184 from Palmers company Precedents and relied on the following observation.

In the absence of any article otherwise providing or a contrary practice established by the directors it would seem that any director may summon a meeting.

there is nothing before us to show that any contrary practice has been established and Art 94 iis the relevant article which must be taken into consideration in this matter. There is no other article in the Articles of Association of the company which can be said to deal with the matter. the present contention fails and must be negatived.

(22) There remains to consider one more contention urged before us by Mr. Manekshaw It is said that the appointment of the third defendant has been erroneously declared by the trial court to be had in law. It is not necessary to refer to what I have already said in my indugment about the appointment of the second defendant as a managing director being invalid and bad in law, If his appointment was invalid and bad in law, he had no power to appoint the third defendant as a director by co option., That contention also must be rejected.

(23) In the result I agree with the conclusion reached by the learned Judge that the plaintiff was entitled to the reliefs sought by him. I would hold that the appeal fails and should bbe dismissed with costs.

K.T. Desaj, J.

(24) A point of law involving the construction of Section 312 of the companies Act, 1956 arises in this appeal. One Dadoba Kashiuath Thakoor was carrying on business at Bombay under the name and styule of the Oriental Metal Pressing works. On 26-5-1955 a private limited company was floated named the Oriental Metal Pressing Works Ltd. the subscribers to its Memorandum were Dadoba, his son Govind who is the second defendatn in the suit, and his brother Bhasker who is the plaintiff in the suit. One of the principla objects of the company was to acquire and take over as going concern the business then carried on at Bombay by the siad Dadoba Kashinath Thakoor under the name and style of Oriental Metal Pressing works, and enter into an agreement in that connection and to carry into effect such agreement. After the company was formed, a meeting of the Board of directors was held on 7-7-1955. At that meeting Dadoba was appointed as Chairman of the company for the period at the remuneration and upon the other terms and conditions contained in the draft agreement which was placed before the meeting of the Board of Directors which was to be entered into by the company with Dadoba. It was resolved at that meeting that the company should enter into that agreement On that very day, an agreement was entered into between the company on the one hand and Dadoba on the other in terms of the said draft. By clause I of the agreement of was provded that Dadoba was appointed Managing Director of the company with powers and upon the terms and subject to the conditions thereafter set out By. Clause 2 of the agreement it was provided that he was to hold the said office of Managing Director for life from the date of the incorporation of the company. By cl.4 of that agreement it was provided that Dadoba as such managing Director shall; be one of the Principal Officers of the company and subject to the control and supervision of the Directors he shall have the general control and management of the business and affairs of the company. Clause 7 of that agreement, which is material for the purpose of the present appeal runs as follows:

Mr. Thakoor (Dadoba) shall be entitled by deed inter vivos or by will or codicil to appoint any person to be a Managing Director in his place and stead and in default of such appointment the legal representatives of Mr. Thakoor shall be entitled to exercise the said power. Any appointee as aforesaid shall whilst holding office also be designated as a Managing Director and shall be entitled to be paid by the company the same remuneration and to exercise the same powers and authorities as are vested iin Mr. thakooor and the appointee as aforesaid shall have a power of appointing any personn to be Managing Director as his succesor on the remuneration of not less than R.s 1,000 ( Rs. One thousand) per month and upon the same other terms and conditions as are herein contained.

Article 109 of the Articles of Association of the company also provided as follows.

'109 (a) The said Shri Dadoba Kashinath Thakoor shall be the first manaing Director of the company at a remuneration of Rs. 2,500 per moth subject to the said remuneration being increased by the Board of directors of the Company. He shall be entitled to hold such office for life and will not be subject to cls. 87, and 91 of these Articles.

(b) The said Shri Dadoba Kashinath Thakoor may be deed inter vivos or by will or coodicil appoint any person to be a Managing Director in his place and stead and in default of such appointment, the legal representatives of the said Shri Dadoba Kashinath Thakoor shall be entitled to exercise the power.

(c) Any appointee as aforesaid shall, whilst holding office, also be designated a managing director and shall be entitled to the same remuneration and to exercise the same power and authorities as were vested in the Managing Director in whose place and stead he is appointed.

The said Dadoba continued to be the Managing Direcor of the company right up to the date of his death. On 18-8-1956 the said Dadoba made his last will and testament. The relevant provision of that will so far as it concerns the present appeal is as under:

I am the Managing Director of The oriental Metal Pressing Works Private Limited of the remuneration and subject to the terms and conditions contained in an Agreement, dated the 7th dat of July 1955 and made between the said compnay of the one part and mysefl of the other. Under the Articles of Association of the said company and under the said Agreement dated the 7th day of July 1955 I am entitled by deed inter vivos or by will or codicil to appoint any person to be a Managing Director in my place and stead. Accordingly I hereby appoint my said son Govind Dadoba Thakoor to be a Managing Director of the said Company from the date of my demise.

The said dadoba died on 14.1.1957 Govind Dadoba, the second defendant claimed that he had been validly appointed as a Managing Director of the company under the provisions contained in the will of the said Dadoba set out above. It is this appointment of govind as the Managing Director of the company which is sought to be challenged by the plaintiff in the suit.

(25) The plaintiff contends that this appointment is bad having regard to the provisions contained in Section 312 of the Companies Act 1956. That section provides as follows:

Any assignment of his office made after the commencement of this Act by any director of a company shall be void.

Reliance has also been placed upon the provisions contained in Section 9 of the Act. that section runs as follows:

9. Save as otherwise expressly provided in the Act - (a) the provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the memorandum or articles of a company or in any agreement executed by it, or in any resolution passed by the company in general meeting or by its Board of directors whether the same be registered, executed or passed as the case may be before or after the commencement of this Act: and

(b) any provision contained in the memorandum articles, agreement or resolution aforesaid shall to the extent to which it is repugnant to the provisions of this Act, become or be void, as the case may be.

Is not disputed that the appointment that was mady be Dadoba by his will was an appointment that fell within the terms of Article 109 and the terms of the agreement referred to by me above. What is contended is that to the extent that this Article and the agreement provide for such an appointment being made by a will, the provisions contained in the Article and in the agreement are void in law and are inoperative and that the power in law and are inoperative and that the power thereby confered cannot be exercised. It is urged that the expression director in sec 312 is wide enought to cover a Managing Director and that the appointment of the second defendant. who was already a director of the company, as the Managing director was void by reason of the provisions contained in Section 312 of the Act. It may be mentioned here that Govind the second defendant is and has continued to be a Director of the company since the date of incorporation.

(26) It is streneously urged by Mr. Maneksha, the learned counsel for the appellants that section 312 of the companies Act. 1956 has no application to the facts of the present case. H says tha the only thing done by Dadoba by his will was to appoint Govind, who was already a director of the company. as the Managing Director and that the appointment was to take effect from the date of the demise of Dadoba. He says that in order to invoke the provisions of section 312 it is necessary that there must be an assignor, that such assignor must be the holder of the office of a director and that he should assign his office as such director. He says that Govind was already a director of the company and that there cannot be an assignment of the office of a director to a person who already holds that office. He further says that there cannot be the assignment of his office by a director to operate after his death. The argument is that office of a director is personal to the holder and that his office would, in any event end with his death. Mr. Maneksha urges that the office of a director is by its very nature such that it must of necessity cease, so far as the holder is concerned, on his death and that it is an office which cannot be assigned by will which can only operate on the death of the holder. He says that the words of the section read in their context must necessarily refer to an assignment of office by an act inter vivos.

(27) As against these weighty arguments, it has been contended that the expression assignment is an expression of wide import. Diverse meanings of the expressions assignment assignee, assigns, appearing in various dictionaries and lexicons were cited at the Bar and it was urged that as the word assignment would include and assignment by a will or a testamentary instrument. there was no reason why the ambit of the section should be confined to an assignment only by act inter vivos. It was further urged that this section was enacted in order to prevent the ill effects which might result from the assignmnet of his office by a director and that if the expression assignment was wide enough to cover an assignment by a testamentary writing. full effect should be given to that expression. It is said that if persons are permitted to appoint others as directors by will and if ther persons so appointed could equally have the power to appoint others by will, there would result a perpetuity to prevent. Reference in this connection was made to the provisions of law contained in S. 68B of the Indian Companies Act. 1913 Section 86B was introduced by the Legislature in the year 1936 that section provided inter alia as follows.

'86B If in the case of any company provision is made by the articles or by any agreement entered into between any person and the company for empowering a director ir manager of the company to assign his office as such to another person. any assignment of office made in pursuance of the said provision shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the said provision be of no effect unless and until it is approved by a speical resolution of the company.

This provision was enacted as a remedial measure this remedial measure being found insufficient. the legislature when it passed the consolidating and amending Act of 1936 laid down by S. 313 that after the commencment of the Act the assigment of his office by any director would be void.

(28) The question that fails for consideration in the present case is whether the assignment that is contemplated by the section is the assignment of his office held by a director whose term has not expired or whether it contemplates the appointment of a person to fill that office after the holder of that office is to cease to hold it by reason of lapse of time or by reason of his death. In my view, when the legislation uses the expression assignement of office it is of the essence that the offico was one which not merely the assigner was holding at the moment of the assignment, but was one which he would have continued to hold if the assignment had not been made, In the case of an appointment which is to take effect the period of the office of the assignor expires by reason of lapse of time or death, it would be inappropriate to use the expression assignment of his office. If a person has the power to appoint another as a director after the appointor ceases to be a director by reason of lapse of time or death, it would be purely the exercise of the power of appointment and not an assignment of his office. In the present case the appointment of Govind as a Managing Director was to take effect after the period of office of Dadoba was to expire on the death of Dadoba and it cannot be said that there is an assignment of his office by Dadoba with in the meaning of s. 312.

(29) In determining the meaning to be attached to the words assignment of his office XXX by any director of a company within the meaning of S. 312 one has to bear in mind the scheme of the Act. Under the Act the office of a director is personal to him. Section 253 of the companies Act. 1956 in terms provides that no body corporate association or firm shall be appointed direcotr of a public or private complany and only an individuals. Not merely that but by S. 280 of the Companies Act. 1956. an age limit for directors is sought to be provided in the case of a public company and of a private company which is subsidiary of a public company except in cases provided by S. 281 When the legislature was dealing with the question of the assignment by a director of his office as a director in the context of the company law of 1956. It was only dealing with the assignment of an office which must of necessity in all events terminate on the death of the assignor. The assignment by a director of his office canot possibly operate beyond the period for which the assignor could have held that office. It that period is limited to the life of the assignor there is no scope for effecting an assignment by means of a testamentary instrument, which must of necessity operate to the death of the person executing that instrument. In this view of the matter, it is not of the expression assignment and it is not necessary to consider whether an assignment in the abstract can or cannot be effected by a testamentary instrument.

(30) Even if the expression assignment was wide enough to include an assignment by devise i.e, by means of a will or testamentary instrument. having a regard to the context in which that expression is used it cannot refer to any assignment that may be made by a testamentary instrument. It can refer only to an assignment by act inter vivos. It is urged that the expression assignment has not been used in the context of property law and that it is used in connection with an office. It is undoubtedly true that the expression assignment has been used in connection with an office, which the assignor must cease to hold on his death, that it is possible to say that the section only contempaltes an assignment by act inter vivos. The appointment of Govind as a Managing Director by Dadoba by his will does not fall within the ambit oof s. 312.

(31) It is then urged that the the expression assignment may be equated with appointment and that in the context in which that expression is used in S. 312 of the companies Act. The parties involved are not merely the assignor and the assignee, but a third party viz., the company and that equae the company the assignment must of necessity operate as an appointment to the office of a director. It is no doubt true that when an assignment by a director of his office is permitted by an agreement with the company or under theArticles of Association of thw company it must of necessity result in the appointment of the assignee as a director of the company. But that does not mean that every appointment must result in the assignment of his office by a director. the power of appointment can be exercised by a person who is not a director. Such appointments are contemplated under the company law and do take place. The power may be reserved to third parties to appoint directors. See British Murac Syndicate Ltd. v. The Alperton Rubber Co., Limited, (1915) 2 Ch 186. Sometimes a vendor who sells his property to a company may be given a right to appoint directors by the articles. Sometimes a person who advances moneys to the company may be given a right to appoint his nominee on the Board. It is usual for banking companies and finance Board. It is usual for banking company and finance corporations making loans to companies to acquire a right to appoint a representative on the Board of Directors to see to the proper utilisation of the funds for the purpose for which they are lent. Debenture holders are often given such a right so far as the Act is concerned power is given to the Government in certain circumstances and in the case of certain companies to appoint directors. It is not every appointment that is covered by S, 312 The section is operative only when that appointment is made by a director by the assignment of his office.

(32) It is urged by the learned counsel for the appellants that in the present case the second defendant was the holder of the office of a director that he had been a director since the date of the incorporation of the company and that there could not possibly be an assignment to him of the office of a director which he alreadyy held. It is urged that director which he already held. It is urged that S. 312 is applicable to these cases where the office of a director is assigned by the holder of that office to a person whi is not a dirctor of the company. there is considerable force in this argument of Mr. Manecksha. It is urged on behalf of the respondents. That the expression assignment of his office by any director in S. 312 is wide enough to cover the case of the assignment of the office of a Managing Director. It is no doubt true that a managing director is a director, But the converse is not ture. A director need not be a managing director All cases of transfer of the office of a managing director are not covered by the section. It may be possible for a person who is amanging director to appoint another person who is a director to be the managing director of the company, he himself ceasing to be the managing director and remaing only as a director. In such a case, there can only be an assignment of the office of a managing director without there being an assignment of the office of a director. The section as it is worded, is not wide enought to cover such an assignment. There are separate provisions of the Act dealing with directors and managind Directors. A director is defined by a S. 2(13) of the Act to include any person occupying the postion of director, by whatever name called. A managing directo is defined by S. 2(26) of the Act to mean a director who by virtue of an agreement with the company or a resolution passed by the company in general meeting or by its Board of directors of by virtue of its memorandum or articles of association, is entrusted with any powers of management which would not otherwise be exercisable by him, and includes a director occupying the postion of a managing director, by whatever name called. Sections 267 269 316 and 317 deal with managing directors. It is not necessary for the purpose of the present case to consider the effect of these sections. It is sufficient to say that in a case where an assignment of his office by a managing director to another operates as an assignment by such managing director of his office as a director to another person, who does not hold any office as a director it would fall witin the ambit of the provisions contained in s. 312 In cases where there is no such assignment of the office of a director they would fall outside the ambit of that section. In the present case, the person appointed was already a director. The person appointed was to hold office from the date of the demise of the person appointing and in my view it is not possible to say that there was any assignment of his ooffice by a director within the meaning of S. 312 of the Act.

(33) Some support for the conclusion to which I have reached may be derived from a statement by the editors of gore Borwnes Hand book on Joint Stock companies 41st Edition, at P. 341, 342 and of Palmers Company Precedents. 17th Edition at page 736. There the editors were dealing with the provisions contained In S.204 of the english companies Act. 1948. that section is in these terms:

'204 if iin the case of any company provision is made by the articles or by any agreement entered into between any person and the company for empowering a director or manager of the company to assign his office as such to another person, any assignment of office made in pursuance of the said provision shall notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the said provision, be of no effect unless and until it is approved by a special resolution of the company.

In connection with this section, the edictors of Gore Brownes Hand book of Joint stock companies observe at pages 341 and 342 as follows:

'Where in the case of a private company the vendor of a business to the company is appointed a director by the Articles, he is frequently styled a governing director and has confered with a right from the powers of a board of directors, with a right from time to time to appoint and remove other directors and with a power to appoint a successor during his life. or by his will of for his legal personal representatives to make suchh appointment after his death. In connection with such powers to appoint a successor the questions whether is exercise constitutes an assignment of the office within S. 204 may arise. That section renders the assignment of the office of director as such to another person of no effect, unless and until it is approved by a special resolution of the company. It is difficult to see how a deceased person or his legal personal representative could assign an office, and possibly in no case would the exercise of a power to appoint a successor under such an Article constitute and assignment of the office unless the appointment is made by the governing director during his life.''

After expressing themselves in these terms, they further proceed to observe that the point was, however, a doubtful. One and that it would be advisable for any person appointed as successor under such a power to obtain the support of a special resolution.

(34) In Palmers company Precedents, 17th Edition, at P. 874 the editors of that work observe in connection with S. 204 as follows:

The precise connotation of apower to assign office as mentioned in the section is not clear. It is not thought that it would refer to a provisions for the appointment of a successor.

The editors of Buckley on the companies Acts, 13th Edition, have in connection with S. 204 merely observed at page 401 as follows:

'Quaere, what is meant by the expression assignment of office used in this section which reproduces S. 151 of the 1929 Act.

the editors of Palmers company precedents and gore Brownes Hand book on joint Stock companies prefer to express their individual opinions of the subject. The editors of Buckley on companies Acts have chosen to remain silent.

(35) It is urged on behalf of the respondent that in construting the provisions of S. 312 which appear in a consolidating and amending act, the court must consider the mischief which was sought to be avoided and the evil which was sought to be remedied. It is well known that persons when making advances to companies or persons when transferring properties to companies reserve to themselves the power to appoint directors by act inter vivos as well as by will. As observed by the learned editors in Palmer's Company procedents, 17th Edition, at page 736.

The most natural persons, by reason of their interest, to fill the office of director, as well as the most competent, are generally the original owners of the business, and accordingly the articles of a private company commonly provide that some of one of suchh owners shall be the directors. The terms of their tennure of office vary. Sometimes it is provided that the owner or owners shall be entitled to hold office, for instance, for so many years, or for life, provided be or they continue to hold a certain number of shares sometimes an owner is empowered at any time, and from time to time, to act, so long and whenever he chooses, as sole director and at his discretion to appoint and remove other directors. Occasionaly an owner is empowered to authorise his executors or trustees whilst holding a certain number of shares, to appoint directors and to define and restrict their powers and give them their share qualification.

Reservation of such powers had been so extensive and so common that in Form No. 255 contained in Palmers company Precedents 17th, Edition at pages 374 to 736 there is an express clause which runs as follows:

If the said A B dies whilst he holds the office of governing Director he may be his will or any codicil thereto appoint any person to be Governing director in his place, and direct and determine within the limit of this article what shall be the powers, authorities and discretions of such governing director, and his remuneration and qualification, and how long he shall be entitled to hold office, and in default of such direction and determination such appointee shall only have the powers of an ordinary Director.

Now, what I have to consider in this case is the extent to which this was regarded as an evil by the legislature and the extent to which the legislature has sought to ind erefere with the freedom of persons to enter into contracts with companies when transfering properties in companies or lending moneys to companies. As I have already stated it is well known that powers of appointment were being conferred which could be exercised by a testamentary instrument. In there anythhing in the Act ot show that the exercise of such a power to appoint direction by testamentary instruments has been rendered void by the legislature? Now, so far as the power to appoint a director by a person who does not hold the office of a director bby will is concerned one does not find a single sectiion in the Act whichh prohibits such an appointment in to. The restrictions which have been put by the legislature on the powers of appointment of directors are contained in Chapter II . Section 235 which deals with appointment of directors provides as follows:

'255 (1) Not less than two thirds of the total number of directors of a public company, or of a private company which is a subsidiaryy of a public company, shall.

(a) be person whose period of office is liable to determination by retirement of directors by rotation and

(2) The remaining directors in the case of any such company, and the directors generally in the case of private company which is not a subsidiary of a public compnay, shall, in default of and subject to any regulations in the articles of the company also be appointed by the company in general meeting.

This provisions makes it abundantly clear that so far as a public company and a private compnay which is a subsidiary of a public company are concerned. two thirds of the directors have to be appointed by the company in general meeting. There is a letter imposed to that extent upon the powers of appointment. As regards the remaining one third, it is provided that such appointments can be made in accordance with the regulations in the articles of the company, and it is only in those cases where there is absence of a provision in the articles of the company that such appointment have to be made by the company in general meeting. As regards a private company which is not a subsidiary of a public company, that section provides that all the directors of the company have to be appointed in accordance with the regulations in the articles of the company, and its only in default of any provision therein contained that they are to be appointed by the company in general meeting. The result is that the power to appoint directors in accordance with the articles, whether it vests in a stranger or in the directors, whether it is exercisable by act inter vivos or by will has been kept intact and has been preserved quae a public company and a private company which is a subsidiary of a public company to the extent of one third of the directors and quae a private company which is not the subsidiary of a public company, to the fullest extent If such a power is of preserved, there is nothing in the policy of the Act or the scheme of the Act which can make me infer that when suchh a power of appointment is vested in a director, the same cannot be exerciised by will. It is no doubt true that when as a result of the exercise of such a power by act inter vivos there is the assignment by the appointing director of his office as a director then S. 312 will supervese and nullify the said appointment. There is nothing in the scheme of the Act whichh would lead tio the conclusion that the legislature by S. 312 sought to render a testamentary appointment by a director invalid.

(36) As regards the scheme of the Act, it may be observed that there are various provisions in the Act dealing with the assignment of his office by the holder thereof. Section 312 is the section which deals with assignment by a director of his office. Section 343 is the section whhich deals with transfer of his office byy a managing agent. That section provides as under.

A transfer of his office by the managing agent of a company shall not take effect unless it is approved both by the company in general meeting an by the Central Government.

In the case of transfer of his office by a managing agent there is no total prohibition, but safeguards are provided in the shape of an approval by the company in general meetin and an approval by the company is general meeting and approval by the Central Government. So far as managers of companies are concerned S. 388 provides that the provisions of S. 312 shall apply in relation to the manager of a compnay, as they apply to a directo thereof. It is somewhat interesting to observe that when the legislature was considering the case of a amanging agent, iit has thought fit to enact two other sections which deal wiith the question of succession to the office of a managing agent by inheritance of device. Section 344 runs as follows:

Any agreement made by a company other then a private company whichh is not a subsidiary of a public company, with its managing agent after the commencement of this Act shall be void in so far as it provides for succesion to the office by in-heritance or device.

Section 315 and as follows:

345 (2) where the office of the managing agent of a company is held by an individual at the commencement of this act and the managing agency agreement provides for succession to the office by inheritance or device no person shall succeed to the office an the death of the holder thereof, unless the succession of such person thereto is provided by the Central Government and that government shall not accord such approval unless in its opinion, such person is a fit and proper person to hold the office of managing agent of the company.

(32) The prvisions of sub section (1) shall not apply to a private company which is not a susbsidiary of a public company.

these provisions make it clear that the elgislature contemplate in the case of amanging agent the question both of transfer of his office by a managing agent and of the succession to that office by inhertance or device. The legislature in the case of a director of a company has not sought to legislate specifically for succession to the office by inheritance or devise. The question is whether the legislature or having done so, the court should so interpret section 312 as to see in it the expression the will or the intentionof the legislature to legislate also is connection with succession to the office of a director by inhertaance or device. I see no warrent for doing so. The words used in the section are not wide enough to include the case of appointment of a direcot by will or by a testamentary instrument and I do not see anything in the scheme of the Act which would enable me to give an extended meaning to those words in furtherance of what is stated to be the object of the legislature which I, speaking for myself, am unable to see. The provisions contaiined in section 312 are provisions which are intended to take away the rights thitherto exercised by directors of companies. If there is to be any interference with such rights and if any of such rights are inteded to be taken away, the legislature must use appropirate language. Where such alnguage has not been used by the legislature, it is not for the court to speculate about the intention of the legislature and attemtp to give effect to it. In the view which I take of thhe matter, thhe appointment of the 2nd defendant as a managiing director from the date of the demise of Dadoba is a valid appointment as a managing director and is not rendered void by S. 312 of the companies Act, 1956.

(37) Mr. Maneksha urged that S. 312 does not apply to private companies. I am unable to see how the operation of the provisions of section 612 can be so excluded. whereever the legislature has thought it fit not to apply any particular provisions of the Act to a private company or to apply a particular provision of the act only to a public company or to a private company which is a susidiary of a public company it has expressly stated so. In the chapter in which S. 312 appears s. 315 also appears. That section in terms says that section 316 and 317 shall not apply to a private company unless it is a subsidiary of a public company. there is no such reservation in connection with S. 312 and there is nothhing in the language of S. 312 which would exclude its operating in relation to private companies.

(38) It has also been urged by Mr. Manekshaw that the provisions of Article 109 of the Articles of Association of the company tantamount to a delagation of the power of appointing a managing director by the directors of the company. Article 105 of the Articles of the company provides that the directors may, from time to time, appoint one or more of their body to be Managing director or Managing Director of the company, either for a fixed term or without any limitation as to the period for which he or they is or are to hold such office. and may from time to time (subject to the provisions of any contract between him of them and the company) remove of dismiss him or them from office and appoint another or others in his or their place of places. The power conferred on Dadoba is an express power conferred by the Articles of Association themselves and cannot be regarded as a power which arises by virtue of any delegation by the directors of thie power. The instrument giving rise to the power of the directors to appoint a managing director and to the power of Dadoba to appoint a managing Director is one and the same. The source of the power being the same, it is not possible to say that the directors having derived their power under that instrument have thereafter delegated it to Dadoba.

(39) It has been urged on behalf of the respondents that Article 109 contains provisions which are rendered void under section 312. It is said that Article 109 deals with the power of Dadoba, who was the managing director for life, to appoint by deed inter vivos a managing director in his place and stead, that such appointment is rendered void under. Sec. 312 and thhat if that be so no other power under Article 109 can be exercised. In my view, this argument is not well founded. The power to appoint by will is severable from the power to appoint by deed inter vivos. One power can be exericsed without exercising the other.

(40) The next point that has been urged onbehalf of the appellants is that the plaintiff has ceased to hold his office as a director. Reliance has been placed for thhis purpose on section 283(1)(g) of the Companies Act, 1956, and Article 85(f)(g) runs as follows:

'283(1) the office of a director shall be vacated if * * * *

(g) he absents himself from three consecutive meetings of the Board of directors, or from all meetings of the Board for a continuous period of three months, whichever is longer, without obtaining leave of absence from the Board.

Article 85(f) is to the same effect. After the death of Dadoba various meetings of the Board of Directors of the company had been called by the second defendant. On 19th March 1957 the second defendant purporting to act as a director of the company called a meeting of the Board of Directors of 25th March 1957. On 23rd March 1957 the plaintiff addressed a letter to the second defendant protesting agaiinst the action of the second defendant in calling that meeting. He contained that under the Articles of Association of the company the second defendant was not entitled to call a meeting of the Board of directors of company. In the course of the letter it was stated that as the second defendant was neither the Chairman nor the Managing Director, he was not entitled to call a meeting of the directors. The plaintiff did not attend that meeting. On 27th Marchh 1957 the second defendant purporting to act as the managing director of the company called a meeting of the Board of Directors of the company on 2nd April 1957. On 29th March 1957 the plaintiff addressed a letter to second defendant contending that the notice convening the meeting on 2nd April 1957 was invlaid as the second defendant was neither the Chairman nor the Managing Director of the company and was not entitled to call a meeting of the Directors wiithout the consent or concurence of the plaintiff. the plaintiff did not attend the meeting of the Board of Directors on 2nd April 1957. On 4th May 1957 the plaintiff addressed a letter to the second defendant reiterating his earlier stand. The plaintiff did not attend that his meeting. On 21st May 1957 the second defendant purporting to act as such manaign director called a meeting of the Board of Directors of 29th May 1957. The notice was duly served on the plaintiff. On 23rd May 1957 the second defendant as such Managing Director issued another notice stating that the meeting of the Board of Directors of 29th May 1957 was postponed to 31st May 1957. The said notice was dule served on the plaintiff. The plaintiff did not attend the meeting. If these meetings had been validly convened, it is not disputed that the plaintiff would cease to be a director of the companyy with regard to the prvosions contained in Article 85(f) and section 283(1)(g) of the companies Act. 1956. Artcile 94 of the Articles of Association of the company which deals with the summoning of meetings of the Board of Directors provides as follows:

'94. The Managing Director may at any tiime and shall upon the of request of any Director convene a meeting of the Directors.

As I have already held that the second defendant was duly appointed as a managing director of the company at the time when the notices for calling these meetings were given by the second defendant and these meetings were called, he had the right under the provision of the Articles to call such meetings. Such meetings were validly convened and held. The plaintiff absented himself from these meetings without leave of absence from the Board of Director s and in my judgment he ceased to be a director of the company. On 28th June 1957 a letter was rightly addressed by the company to the plaintiff stating that the had ceased to be a director of the company.

(41) It is urged by Mr. manekshaw that even if the contention of the plaintiff was correct that the second defendant had not been validly appointed as amanaging director of the company the second defendant was admittedly a director of the company and had a right as suuch director to call a meeting of and had a right as such director to call a meeting of the Board of Directors of the company and that the meetings that had been convened by the second defendant were validly convened meetings of the Board of Directors and that plaintiff havind absented himself therefrom had ceased to bea director. He strongly relies upon a pssage in Palmers company Precedents, 17th Edn. appearing at page 581 where it has been stated that in the absence of any article otherwise providing or a contrary practice established by the directors it would seem that any director may summon a meeting. It is not anyones case that there was any contrary practice established by the directors as regards the calling of the meeting of the Board of Directors. Apart from article 94, there is no other article dealing with the calling of a meeting of the Board of directors and if in fact there had not been a validly appointed managing director, a director would have the right to calll a meeting of the Board of Directors of the company. It is, however, urged on behalf of the respondents that the meetings other than the meeting called by the notice, dated 19th march 1957 were meetings convened by the second defendant in his capacity as the managing director of the company in the exercise of the powers conferred upon him under Article 94 of the Articles of Association and not in the exercise of his right as a director to cal a meeting of the board of Director is the absence of the Managing director and the the plaintiff was under no obligation to attend any meeting convened by the second defendant purporting to act as a Managing Director of the company. Mr. Manekshaw urged that if the second defendant had a right as a director to call a managing director would not render the notices converning the meetings bad. The plaintiff could very well have attended the meetings without prejudice to his contention that the second defendant was no a managing director. There is considerable force in Mr. Manekshwas argument. However, in the view which I take of the matter that the second defendant was a validly appointed Managing director of the company, it is not necessary to determine whether if he had not been so appointed the meetings convened by the second defendant as a managing director could be said to be valid ly convened.

(42) The last point that arises for consideration is regards the validity of the appointmennt of the thrid defendant. As the plaintiff ceased to be a right of appoint a director in the place and stead of the plaintiff and the appointment of the thhird defendant is valid in law.

(43) In the view which I take of the matter, the decree would be that the appeal be allowed with costs. and that the suit be dismissed with costs.

S.T. Desai, J.

(44) since we are equally divided on certain points stated below by us, this appeal will have to be heard by one or more of the other judges of this cout as the Hob'le the Chief Justice may be pleased to direct. The points on which we are equally divided are :-

(1) Whether the second appellant was validly appointed Managing Director of the first appellant company,

(2) Whether the first respondent (Plaintiff) ceased to be a director of the company and

(3) Whether the thrid appeallant has been validly appointed a Director of the company.

Mudholkar, J.

(45) This matter has come before me under clause 36 oof the letters patent on a different between Mr. Justice S.T. Desai and Mr. Justice K. T.Desai I have to answer the points on which they have differed, and I shall presently state these points.

(46) The appellants before me are original defendats 1 to 3 The suit was instituted by the plaintiff respondent No. 1 for obtaining three declarations that he is and continues to be a director of the 1st defendant company that the second defentands appointsment as the Managing Director of the 1st defendant company was void and that the appointment of the thrid defendant as a Director of the company is invalid, illegal and inoperative. The plaintiff has also asked for grant of injuctions restratining the defendants from preventing the plaintiff from acting as a director of the company and for restraining the defedsnatns 2 and 3 from acting respectively as Managing director and director of the company. the suit was decreed by the City Civil court which held that the second defendant was not validly appointed as Managing Director for the first defendant that the plaintiff has not ceased to be a director of the company and that the appointment of the third defendant as a director of the company was illegal and ineffective.

(47) The first defendant is a private limited company incorporated under the Indian companies Act. Prior to the incorporation of the company, the business carried on by it was being carried on by Dadoba, the father of the 2nd and the 4th defendant and the brother of the plaintiff, and this business was sold by Dadoba to the company. That was on 21st May 1955. On 7th July 1955 an agreement was entered into between Dadoba and the company, whereunder Dadoba was appointed Managing Director of the company. Clause 7 of that agreement which is relevant runs as follows:

Mr. Thakoor shall be entitled by deed inter vivos or by will or codicil to appoint any person to be a managing Director in his place and stead and in default to such appointment the legal representatives of Mr. Thakoor shall be entitled to exercise the said power. Any appointee as aforesaid shall whilst holding office also be designated as a Managing Director and shall be entitled to be paid by the company the same remuneration and to exercise the same powers and authorities as a re vested in Mr. Thakoor and the appointee as aforesaid shall have a power of appointing any person to be Managing Director as his successor on the remuneration of not less than Rs. 1,000 (Rupees one thousand )per month and upon the same other terms of fully paid up shares of the company. The terms of the agreement are embodied in Article 109 of the Articles of Association of the company. The relevant part of the Article is clause (b) and it runs as follows: The said Shri Dadoba Kashinath Thakoor may by need inter vivos or by will or codicil appoint any person to be a Managing Director in his place and stead and in default of such appointment the legal representative of the said Shri Dadoba Kashinath Thakoor shall be entitled to exercise the power.

Dadoba died on 14th January 1957, Prior to his death, he had executed a will whereunder he appointed one of his sons, the second defendant, to be the Managing Director of the company from the date of his demise. It may be mentioned that Dadoba has left three sons: the second defendant Govind, the 4th defendant Haris, and one Deepak, who is a minor and is not party to this suit. Dadoba held 1971 shares in the company, while the second ^ the fourth defendants held 844 and 843 shares respectively. The present plaintiff was also a director of the company and holds 845 shares. The shares held by Dadoba have devolved, according to the plaintiff, on this three sons.

(48) By virtue of his appointment as Managing Director under Dadobas will, the second defendant assumed Managing Directorship of the company and commenced to draw a sum of Rs. 3,500 per month as his salary, as provided for under the Articles of Association. The plaintiff challenged the validity of his appointment as a Managing director and also of his right to convene meetings of the Board of Directors. The plaintiff refused to attend these meetings on the ground that the second defendant was not validly appointed Managing Director and had no right to convene a meeting. Enventually the second defendant informed the plaintiff thaty he ceased to be a director of the company because of his failure to attend three consevutive meetings of the Board of Directors and also because of his refusal to attend any meeting for three months. In his place the third defendant Harish was appointed as Director by the 2nd Defendant.

(49) According to defendants No. 1 to 3 the appointment of the second defendant is vaild, because Dadoba who made the appointment was given a power to make that appointment both under the agreement entered into between him and the company and the Articles of Association of the company. They also asserted that the meetinngs of the Board of Directors were lawfully convened byy the second defendant and that the plaintiff by his failure to attend three consecutive meetings as well as to attend any meeting for three months, had incurred a forfeiture of his rights to hold the office of the Direcotr under the Articles of Association. They further contended that because of the vacancy caused by the cessation of the plaintiff as Director, the thrid defendant was appointed a Director by the second defendant under the powers conferred on him by the Articles of Association and that his appointment is valid.

(50) The learned Judge of the City Civil court upheld the plaintiffs contentions and negatived those of defendants Nos. 1 to 3 on all these points and decreed the plaintiffs suit. At this stage, I may mention that the fourth defendant not only did not contest the plaintiffs claim but actually sppported it. That is also his stand in this appeal.

(51) It is quite clear from clause 7 of the agreement as also from clause (b) of Article 1009, thhat Dadoba was empowered to appoint another person as Managing Director in his place. The fact that such power was conferred on Dadoba by the agreement and the Articles of association is not disputed. It is however, contended by the plaintiff that subsequent to the comint into force of the Indian companies Act, 1956, the assignement of the office of Managing Director is prohibited, and that consequently the assignment made by Dadoba of that office which alleged to have become effective upon Dadobas death on 14th January 1957 in favour of the second defendant in his will is void. In the second place the plaintiff contends that the will executed by Dadoba has not been proved that caveats have actuallly been entered, and that until the executor of the will obtaines the probate thereof, the second defendant cannot be permited to assert in thhis suit the right which he claims to have obtained under the will.

(52) As regards the second point, it is sufficient to observe that though it was raised before the city Civil Court it does not appear to have been raised before the Division Bench of this court, which geard the appeal from the decision of the City Civil cout. The learnbed Judges of the Division Bench have differened on three points which are as follows:-

1. Whether the second appellant was validly appointed Managing Director of the first appellant compnay,

2. Whether the first respondent (plaintiff) ceased to be a director of the company, and

3. Whether the third appellant has been validly appointed a Director of the Company.

They have not set out any other points of difference. Under clause 36 of the Letters Patent, I have to confine my opinion to these three points and I do not think that it is open to me to consider any point have other than these three points. If the plaintiff thinks it fit so to do, he can raise the point before the Division Bench after my judgment containing the opinion on the points of difference goes back to it.

(53) Coming to the main point in the case, the argument of the plaintiff is that Section 312 is very widely worded and it has enacted a prohibition on the assignment of his office by a director, including that by a Managing Director, to any persons, not only by a deed inter vivos but alos by a will section 312 reads thus.

'Prohibition of assignment of office by director - Any assignment of his office made after the commencement of this act by any director of a company shall be void.

Mr. Maneckshaw who appears for the contesting defendants, who hereafter will be referrred as defendants, says that what is prohibited by this section is an assignment, that is, a transfer made inter vivos and that the appointment or nomination of a person to an office by a will is not prohibited by it. Further, according to him, the prohibition enacted by this section relates only to the transfer of the office ofa director, and not to that of a Managing Director. Also according to him, what the section forbids is the transfer of an office to a person who is not a director, and that consequently it cannot apply to the appointment by a Managing Director of a director to the office of the Managing director.

(54) The first question which falls for consideration is whether the word assignment as used iin section 312 to be constured widely so as to invlude a transmission of an office of a managing director by will, as conteded for by Mr. Khambata on behalf of the plaintiff, or narrowly, so as to mean only trnasfer inter vivos, as conteneded for by Mr. Manekshaw. It was contended by Mr. Khambata that the courts must bear in mind the object which the legislature had in view in enacting the section, and accord to the word assignment an appropriate meaning so that that object would be carried out and not frustrated. According to Mr. Manekshaw, every statute which takes away the rights of a citizen must be strictly construed. and that the words used by it should nto constured and that the words used by it should not be constured unduly widely. But it is not follow from that that the courts duty of the court to give statute. It is the primary duty of the court to give effect to a law made by the legislature, and when the language used by the legislature is not clear it is open to the court to look into the history of the legislation that led up to the enactment of that law of the particular provision which it has to interpret and to consture the language used by the legislature keeping in view the historical background. In this connnection, I would point out that in the Indian Companies Act of 1913 as originally enated there was no prohibition against transfer of an office by a director. It was for the first time that the legislature by enacting the Amending Act of 1936 added section 86-B which places a restrictiion on the assignment of office by a director. The relevant portion of that section is as follows:

If in the case of any company provision is made by the articvles or by any agreement entered into between any person and the company for empowering a director or manager of the company to assign his office as such to another person any assignment of office made in pursuance of the said provision shall notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the said provisions, be of no effect unless and until it is approved by a special resolution of the company.

Provided that the exercise by a director of a power to appoint an alternate or substitute director to act for him during an absence of not less than three months from the district in which meetings of the director are ordinarily held if done with the approval of the board of directors, shall not be deemed to be an assignment of office within the meaning of this section.

This provision was the predecessor of section 312 of the present Act, whereunder the transfer of office by a director is completely prohibited. From the fact that the legislature thought it fit to go further and to engraft an entirely new provision in the existing Act, it is clear that the legislature had decided upon a certain policy, and that policy was to prevent wholly the transfer of an office of a director. It is this policy which the courts must bear in mind and effectuate while construing the new provision.

(55) It has, however, argued by Mr. Manekshaw that though the legislature may have thought it fit fto prohibit the transfer of the office of a director, it may not have wnated to do likewise with respect to the office of a managing director. No doubt, the argument proceeded, the managing director enjoys much higher powers than an ordinary director, but so does a managing agent, and transfer of a managing agents interest is not forbidden. Therefore according to him, it would not be proper to place wide construction on the word director as well as assignment. Section 343 of the Act does show that a managing agents office is capable of being transferred, but that office cannot take effect unless it is approved both by the company in general meeting and by the central Government. Thus though a transfer of this office is not prohibited, it is expressly restrictions is to safeguard the interest of the company. Then again the managing agents have an interest in the company which is in the nature of property. Therefore, the right to transfer it, which is an ordinarily an office is not transferable. It has been observed by K.. T. Desai J. that there are various of office by the holder thereof, but this fact shows that the transferability of the office had to be provided for. No doubt this could be done by Statute or by a contract which is nnot repugnant to the provisions of a statute of is not contrary to public policy. Here the legislature in its wisdom has enacted a total prohibition in respect of the transfer of the office of a director and has not made any exeception with respect to the office of a managing director.

(56) Then it was contended by Mr. Manekshaw that since thrid parties are often given aright to nominate directors and managing directors, the courts need not look askance at a provision madde in an agreeement or in the articles of association of a company which permits an existing managing director to transfer his office to another. It is true that financiers, amangiing agents, Government etc., are ordinarily given such power to safeguard their interest, but the object underlyiing the prohibition with respect to directors and managing directors is apparently, to prevent the establishement of perpetual succession at the will of successive directors of managing directors. There is no danger of this being done where the power to nominate is exercised by a third party from time to time. Apart from that, even if the conferral of power in third parties to make such nominatiions is open to objection, it cannot be disputed that the legislature, which is aware of the existence of several evils, has the right to select any of them and provide for their suppression though not of others.

(57) Since it is the policy of the legislature to prohibit the transfer of an office of a director, it follows that it will not be proper to construe the language of Section 312 in such a way as to give only a partial effect to the policy by holding that all that was prohibited by the section was a transfer inter vivos and that it dit not apply to a transfer by a will. If we look at provisio to section 86 B we find therein a reference to the power to appoint a director. The main section, however, refers to the power to assign the office of a director and the assignment of the office of a director. Reading the section and the provisio together, it is clear that the legislature when it spoke of such assignment or power to assign understood each of the expressions to include the power to appoint. It did not use in the sense they are used in the law of property. The argument advanced on behalf of the defendant before the Division Bench that thhe power of assignment of an must alwasy be distingusihed from the power of appointment or for nomination of another to as office does not therefore appear to be sound.

(58) A reference to Murrays Dictionary as well as to Wharrans Law Lexicon indeed shows, as was pointed out by Mr. S.T. Desai that one of the meanings of the word assign, is to appoint designate, ordiate depute. One of the meanings of the word assignment is appointment to office, nomination, designation. The word assign therefore is not of a narrow cannotation at all.

(59) As If have already stated, the legislature, when it used in section 86B the expressions assign his office and assignment of office was fully conscious of the fact that the words assign and assignment include appointment or power to appoint. The legislature consolidated the law relating to companies and amended certain provisions of the pre existing law and enacted the companies Act of 1956 and it used to same words assign and assignment in S. 312 It would therefore be reasonable to conclude that by repeating these words, the legislature intended that they should be accorded the same meaning which was asseribable to them under the old law viz., section 86 B of the Act of 1913. Upon this view, the word assignment used in section 312 must not be construed in the narrrow sense in which it is used in connection with the law of property , but in a wisder sense.

(60) It is however strenuously argued by Mr. Manekshaw that the assignment by a director of his office by a will does not fall within the provisions of section 312, because assignment must necessarily be of an existing interest only, and the interest of a director would automatically cease upon his death, and there is thus nothing left for him to transfer or assign. This argument, if accepted would lead to further difficulties for the second defendant because on that basis it could be held that even in the absence of a provision such as section 312 of the comapnies act a director would not be able to appoint his successor by a will to take his place. With this part of the matter I shall deal presently. At the moment, however, it would be sufficient to say that the words assign and assignment would include appointment by any mode, whether by deed inter vivos or by a will. If the words are so construed, the question whether the appointers interest subsisted when the appointment could take effect becomes immaterial.

(61) I may mention that Mr. Manekshaw refered me to section 345 of the companies Act and section 31-A of the Insurance Act of 1938 for the purpose of showing that wherever the legislature intended to prohibit something from being done by a will it has said so expressly, and that since the legislature has not said expressly that the assignemtn prohibited by section 312 includes also one made by will, it must be held that the appointment to an office made by a will is permissible though one made by will, inter vivos may not be. In the first place, the legislature has not referred in this section to the modes of transmission of office prohibited by this section. It is only upon the construction sought to be placed on the word assignment that the argument iis founded, and as already stated that construction is not correct. It may further be pointed out that even Mr. Manekshaw conceded that the expression assignment of office would also include appointment to the office, provided it was made inter vivos and was not to one who is a director. Once the concession is made as to the scope of the expression, the controversy must be deemed to have ended, because, as already pointed out, the mode of exercising the power is noty in any way limited by section 312, and therefore any mode permitted by law can be resorted to. As regards the person in whose favour of a director. It is true that the appointment of a person who is already a director as a director will be meaningless, but such an appointment, if purported to be made, will fail not only because it is meaningless, but also because of section 312. Which enacts a total prohibition of transmission of a directors office. Thus the two limitatations attached to the concession made by Mr. Manekshaw must be left out of account. Finaly, if this argument is accepted, it would lead to the curious result that what a person cannot do during his life he can, in a sense, do so after his death. I have no doubt that the legislature could not have inteded to bring about such a curious result.

(62) Apart from these considerations, I may refer to the observation of Lord Goddard, C. J. Lines v. Hersom, (1951) 2 K.B. 682:-

A statute as we know has to pass through committee in both Houses of Parliament and amendments are moved from time to time, and it is quite possible to find that an amendment which is moved to an early section in the statute may be worded in one, way, while an amendment which is moved to a later section having exactly the same idea is worded in another way; but it does not at all follow that the legislature intends something different because the language of the two sections is not exactly the same. I may also refer to the following statement of law in Maxwells Interpretation of Statutes, 10th Edition, at page 326: 'But just as the presumption that the same meaning is inteded for the same expression in every part of an Act is as we have seen not of much weight so the presumption of a change of intention from a change of language (of no great weight in the construction of any documents) seems entitled to less weight in the construction of a statute than in any other case, for the variation is sometimes to be accounted for by a mere desire to avoid the repeated use of the same words, sometimes by the circumstance that the Act has been complied from different sources, and sometimes by the alterations and additions from various hands which Acts undergo in their progress through parliament. Though the statute is the language of the three estates of the realm, it seems legititate in construing it, to take into consideration that it may have been production of many inds and that this may better accound for any variety of style and phraseology which is found than a desire to convey a different intention. Even where the variation occurs in different statutes, the change is often not indivative of a chnage of intention, though, where the variation occurs in two different statutes, the presumption of a change of meaning is rather stronger.

From these observations it would be clear that the omission to use the words by a will in section 312 does not indicate that assignment or transmission of office by will is not prohibited by sec,. 312 Had the words inter vivos been mentioned in the section the matter would have stood differently. But the legislature, as already stated, has contended itself by merely stating that any assignment is prohibited. These words are comprehensive enough to include every assignment or transfer of the office of a director or of the appointment by a director of a person to the office of a director iin his place, whether by a deed inter vivos or by a will.

(63) I will make a brief reference here to opinion s of text book writers on the company law in England upon which reliance was placed before me By Mr. Manekshaw, though he was at pains to explain, he had cited them before the Divison Bench only upon the suggestion of the Judges constituting it, It may be mentioned that the provisions of S. 204 of the English Coampanies Act, 1848, to some extent correspond of S. 312 of the Indian Companies Act. In that section aslo the word assignment has been used. While commenting on that section, Gore Browne inhis hand book on Joint Stock companies observes at pages 341 and 342 as follows:

That section (s. 204) renders the assignment of the office of directors as such to another person of no effect, unless and until it is approved by a special resolution of the company. It is difficult to see how a deceased person or his legal personal representative could assign an office, and possibly in no case would the exercise of a power to appointment of the office, unless the appointment is made by the governing director during his life.

After making these observations, the editor of the book expressed the opinion that the question was a doubtful one and that iit would be advisable for any person appointed as successor under such a power to obtaiin the support of a special resolution.

(64) In palmers Company precedents 17th edition at P. 874, the editors of that wordk observe while commenting on S. 204 as follows:

The precise connotation of a power to assign office as mentioned in the section is not clear. It is not thought that it woould refer to a provision for the appointment of a successor.

The editors of Buckley on the companies Acts, 13th Edition have while commenting on s. 204 stated as follows:

'Quaere, what is meant by the expression assignment of office used in this section, which reproduces S. 151 of the 1929 Act.

As pointed out by Mr. Justice K.T.Desai, the Editors of Palmers Company precedents and Gore Brownes Hand Bokk on joint stock Companies prefer to express their individual opinions on the subject. The editors or Buckley on companies Act have chosen to remain silent.

(65) In my opinion, the fact that a doubt is entertained by some the authors as to theprecise scope and meaning of the word assignment and the fact that according to the editors of one of the books the word assignment must be given a narrow meaning is not very relevant for the purpose of interpreting that word occuring in s. 312 of the Indian Company Act. It may be mentioned that S. 204 of the english Companies Act does not enact a complete prohibition on a transfer of the office of a director It merely places a restriction on such a transfer.

(66) A reference was also made by Mr. Manekshaw to Form No. 255 in Palmers Company precedents, 17th editors at pages 734 to 736 relvant portion to which runs thus.

If the said A B dies whilst he holds the office of governing Director he may by his will or any codicil thereto appoint any person to be Governing director in his place, and direct and dtermine within the limit of this article what shall be the powers authorities and discretions of such Governing Director, and his remuneration and qualification, and how long he shall be entitled to hold office, and in default of such direction and determination such appointee shall only have the powers of an ordinary director.

It is no doubt true that in England the practice still prevails of conferring on a Governing Director (who corresponds to a managing director in India) power to appoint any person to be governing Director in his place by a will. It is not possible to ascertain whether ths form, which has no statutory authority was evolved before the provisions of S. 204 were enacted or afterwards.

(67) In these circumstances, I do not think that much assistance can be gained by reference to these opinions and this form.

(68) The next question to be considered is whether the prohibiton enacted in S. 312 is limited to the assignment of an office of a director only, or whether it also extends to the office of a Managing Director Now, there is not doubt that a Managing director enjoys greater powers than a mere director of a company. It would stand to reason that what is prohibited in the case of a director should also be deed there may be greater reasons and stronger grounds for prohibiting the assignment of an office which carries with it is greater powers than one which does not carry withh it such powers.

(69) The word ' driector' has been defined in S. 2(13) of the Act as follows:

':Director includes any person occupying the postion of director, by whatever name called'

It is not disputed that managing Director are a species of directors. Therefore, the expression managing Director would clearly fall within the definition of director. It is not doubt true that the expression Managing Director has also been defined in the Act. The definition in s. 2(26) is as follows:

Managing director means a director who, by virtue of an agreement with the company or of a resolution passed by the company in general meeting or by its Board of Directors or by virtue of its memorandum of articles of association, is entrusted with any powers of management which would not otherwise be exercisable by him, and includes a director occupying the position of a managing director, by whatever name called.

But as this expression falls within the more general expression director, it is to be accorded its special meaning only when the context in which it is used so requires. From the fact, therefore, that expression Managing Director is defined in the Act, it cannot be concluded that the definition of the word director is any way curtailed and that it cannot be deemed to include a managing director. It was contended by Mr. Manekshaw that if it was inteded that S. 312 shoudl apply to Managing Directors also, the legislature would have said so expressly. He also said that wherever the legislature wanted to do so, it has mentioned both directors as well as managing directors in certain sections of the Act, and that the failure of the legislature to mention expressly managing Director in S, 312 must be deemd to indicate that that section was not intended to apply to his case. In support of his argument, he has referred to sections, 269, 303, 305, 311 and 316. Section 269 deals with the appointment of managing or whole time director. That section is clearly intended to apply only to that particular kind of directors and is not one which is intended to apply to directors in general. S. 303 deals with register to directors, managing agents, secretaries and treaasurers etc. It provides that a body corporate shall maintain a register of its directors, managing Directors managing Agents, secretaries and treasureres etc. Here the provision requires that a managing director should also be shown as such (and not merely in his capacity of director) in the register, and that is why the legislature did not limit itself to using the word director, for including the word managig director S. 305 deals withh the duty of directors etc. to made certain disclosuires. Every director, managing director etc.. must disclose certain particulars to the public relatiing to the office of any other body coporate which such person owns. But the reason why the legislature uses the expression managing director also in this section is that the disclosure that his to be made by a person within 20 days of his appointment. In order to cover the case of a director who subsequently become managing director and has in the man while acquired an interest in any other body corporate, it was necessary to make a special mention of managing director also. As regards s. 311 and 316, a mention is made of managing directors, only and the word director is not used in those sections, because those sections are intended to apply only to managing directors and not to managing directos. On the other hand, it would be dear that the legislature has in a number of sections contended itself by ysing the word director only. It cannot be disputed that those sections are intended to apply to all directors including managing directors. In this connection, I mar refer to S. 282, 283, 290, 297, 300 and 312. Mr. Manekshaw had conceded that in all these sections the word director has to be construed so as to include the managing direcot also. Now. S. 2, the defining see states: unless the context otherwise requires, every word or expression defined therein shall have the meaning given to it in the definition. In S. 312 the word director alone appears, and therefore unless the context shows that it is to be given a narrower or different meaning, it must be given the meaning which is contained in the definition. Mr. Manekshaw has not been able to show from the context any reason why the word director used in s. 312 should be accorded a meaning narrower than or different from the one given in the definition. He has on the other hand contended that the word director should not be deemed to include managing director, unless there were good reasons for doing so. I am afrain there is no warrant for that proposition. It is not supported by any canon of constrution. The rule of construction that a general provision must when inconsistent with a speical one, Act is to be given its full meaning or not. I therefore hold that the prohibition enacted in s. 312 applies not merely to the assignment or transmission of the office a director but also to that a Managing Director. I therefore come to the conclusion also prohibits the transmission of the office of a director as well as a managing director whether inter vivos or by will.

(70) The next question whihc falls for consideration is whether it prohibits the transfer of the office by a managing director to a director. As already pointed out, Mr. Manekshaw has argued that a managing director being merely a director with some additional powers the transfer by him of his office to a person, who is already a director cannot be regarded as transfer of the office of the director, which would be meaningless but that it is only a transfer of the rights of a managing director of his right of managment. He therefore, contended that such a transfer would not be hit by 312, inasmuch as that section does not expressly prohibit the transfer of the right of management. It is no doubt true that a managing director is a director who has the right of management and who is charged with certain responsibilities. It is conceivable that a managing directors purports to effect a transfer only on his right of management and nothin more, or he transfers all his rights. Whether he has done one or the other would depend upon the construction of the document by which he makes the transfer. Therefore, what we must ascertain here is whether Dadoba, when he assigned his right of management, or the totality of his rights as a managing director.

(71) Before doing so, I would, however, like to make on observation, and it is this. s. 312 speaks merely of the assignor, or the appointer, and not the assignee or the appointee. What it says in terms is that a director cannot assign his office. It does not say that a director cannot assign the office to persons belonging to a particular class and that it is open to him to assign his office to person belonging to another class. what is, therefore, to be considered, is what is it that the director is prohibited from doing? That is to say, what is the kind of assignment which a director is precluded from making, and not what is the classof persons in whose favour be cannot make an assignment.

(72) What has thus to be ascertained is the power which Dadoba was entitled to exercise under the agreement and under clause (b) of Art 109, and what Dadoba did in the exercise of that power. The relevant words of clause 7 of the agreement and clause (b) of Art. 109 are conferring the identical power and therefore it is not necessary to consider these two clauses separately. I will, therefore, content myself by keeping in view clause (b) of Art. 109. Now, that clause says that Dadoba may, by deed inter vivos or by will or codicil, appoint any person to be a Managing Director in his place and stead. Now, the words appoint any person are very important. By using these words an unrestricted or unlimited power was conferred on Dadoba in the matter of making an appointment to the office of Managing Director. This clause did not confine Dadobas power to appoint only a director to the office of managing director. Now, if S. 312 is construed to prohibit the appointment of a person as managing director, who is not already a director, as contended for by Mr. Manekshaw, even then the source of Dadobas power to make an appointment must be held to be repugnant to the provisios of S. 312 If, on the other hand, S. 312 is interpreted as prohibiting the appointment by a managing director of a director as a managing director in his place, then no further question arises.

(73) S. 9 of the Act expressly provides that the provisions of the Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the articles of a company, or in any agreement executed by it, and that any provision contained iin the articles of the company, to the extent to which it is repugnant to the provisions of the act, becomes void. Now, in order to consider whether a particluar provision in an agreement or articles of association is saved or is rendered void because of any repugnancy to a provision of the act, what the court msut examine is the provision itself This provision as I have already pointed out, is wide in its terms and is, therefore, even on the argument of Mr. Manekshaw, repugnant to the provisions of S. 312 Mr. Manekshaw, however, argued that the provision would be rendered void only to the extent of the repugnancy, and that that part of he provision which is not repugnant to any of th eprovisions of the Act would be saved. He further said that though the conferral of any wide power to appoint any person as managing director may be repugnant to the provisions of S. 312, the power to appoint a director to the office of the Managing director, which would fall within the power conferred on Dadoba under clause (b) of Art. 109 will not be repugnant to that section, and will therefore be saved. I am afraid this argument cannot be accepted, because it would involve reading in the clause some words which are not there. It would have been a different matter, if clause (b) of Art 109 had read appoint a director or any ohter person to the office of a managing director. No doubt, the power to appoint any person conferred by this clause would include power to appoint a person, who happens to be a director. But that is not the consideration as to whether the power conferred by that clause is saved by s. 9, or is rendered void by it. We must read the cluase as it is, and we must give the fullest meaning to what is said there, and then consider provision of the act. Looking at thre clause that way. it is clear that unqulaified or unlimited power confierred on Dadoba to appoint any person to be a managing director is wholly repugnant to the provision of S. 312, and is therefore void. From this it would follow that on the date on which the new companies Act came into force, the source of Dadobas power to make an appointment dried up, in asmuch as the conferral of the power to appoint aperson as managing director was rendered void. According to the defendants Dadoba exercised this power in appointing the second defendant as a managing director in his place by will. As the source of the power had dried up Dadoba possessed no power which he could effectively exercise by his will.

(74) At this place, it would be convenient to mention another argument advanced by Mr. manekshaw. He contended that clause (b) confers two kinds of powers on Dadoba one is to make an appointment by a deed, and the other, to make on under will or codicil, and that even though the power to make an appointment inter vivos is affected by S. 9 of the Act, that to make an appointment by will or codicil is not so affected. It would be mere repetition to state that s. 312 applies both to appointment inter viivos as well as to any one by will or codicil. Apart from that, I am of opinion that clause (b) does not confer two powers, but only, one, and that is the power to make appointment. No doubt, it prescribes two modes in which that power can be exercised, that is, by deed inter vivos, or by will or codicil. But there is a difference between the conferral of a power to do a thing and prescribing ways or modes in which that thing could be done. Merely because a thing could be done in two or more different ways, it cannot be sadi that two or more different powers to do that thing were conferred.

(75) One more argument advanced by Mr. Manekshaw must be considered. He says that while interpreting Clause (b) of Art. 109. we must also bear in mind the provisions are considered, it would be clear that only a director can be appointed as a managing director, and therefore the words any person used in clause (b) must be interpreted to mean only a director. Art 105 deals with the power of the directors to appoint a managing director. It no doubt says that the directors power will be confined to appoint only one of them as a managing director. This article deals with the powers of separatly dealt with in Cl.(b) of Art. 109 There is nothing in the latter cluase to indicate that the provisions thereof are in any way controlled by Art 105. This article if I may say so, embodies, the relevant terms of the agreement. The agreeent makes no reference to the powers of the directors to appoint a managing director, and therefore it would not be correct to hold that what was not in the contemplation of the parties at the time of the agreement ought to be borne in mind while construing clause (b) of Art. 109 Art 106 specities the provisions to which a Managing Director shall not be reckoned as Director for the purpose of determining the rotation of retirement of the Directors, or in fixing the number of Directors to retire. Here again, the Article deals with the matter which is independent of Art. 109, and there is no reason why the language used in cl (b) of Art. 109 should be deemded to be controlled by anything said art. 106.

(76) Earlier in my judgment I have said that I shall deal with Mr. Manekshaw's argument to the effect that where a managing Director makes the appointment of another as managing director in his place or stead after his death, there can be no effective transmission of office by assignment, because whatever interest Dadoba had had ceased to exist at his death. In connection with this argument, Mr. Khambatta referred to a Madras case, which says that the law knows no vacum, and that as soon as the managing director, who makes the assignment or appointment of another managing director, died. the assignee or the apointee takes his place and that there is no hiatus. Mr. Manekshaw rightly pointed out that the maxim that law knows no vacum applies to succession to property, and not to succession to office. I will, therefore proceed on the basis that Dadobas interest as a managing director ceased at the moment of his death, and that in a narrower sense he could not assign that iinterest ot any one by will. But, as already stated, the word Assignment must be understood in a wide sense, so as to include the power to appoint another in one's place.

(77) However, even if one proceeds on the basis of the argument of Mr. Maneshaw, the result would be almost the same. Now, a will speaks from the death of the testator. The excerise by a person of a power to appoint by will becomes irrevocable only from the moment of death inasmuch as the will is liable to be revoked till death. A power to make appointment by will cannot, therefore, be deemed tohave been exercised effectively,until it has been so exercised irrevocably. We have seen that the agreement and the articles of association empowered Dadoba to appoint another person 'in his place and stead' as a managing director. the term in this regard, therefore, contemplated Dadoba's continuing to be a managing director, till he exercised the power to make the appointment. dadoba was to be a managing director for life, and therefore he ceased to be one uon his death. since, as already observed, the will operates from death, the power is deemed to have been exercised effectively by Dadoba at the moment of his death. It is true, as contended by the defendants, that Dadoba had no interest left and held no office which he could transfer after the moment of his death. It is true, as contended by the defendants, that Dadoba had no interest left and held no office which he could transfer after the moment of his death. The term in Art. 109, clause (b), it must be rememberede, allowed him to appoint another as managing director only in his place and stead'. This means that he was entitled to substitute another person for himself. Such a substitution is possible only when at the point of time the substitution came into effect Dadoba continued to be a managing director. It was not within the competence of Dadoba to so make an appointment as to being substitution into effect after he ceased to be a managing director. In my opinion, if the exercise of the power became effective only after Dadoba's death, there was nothing existing at the time of his death upon which that power could operate, because at the moment of death he ceased to be a managing director. The conclusion to be drawn from this, therefore, is that the substitution permitted by clause 7 of the agreement and in Art. 109, clause (b) of the articles could be made only during the lifetime of Dadoba and while he continued to be a managing dictor. No doubt, the agreement does refer to the exercise of the powers to make an appointment by will or codicil; but by reason of the use of the words 'in his place and stead', effect cannot be given to those words which gave him power to make an appointment by will or codicil. I therefore hold that though Dadoba has exercised his power by will; but no effect can be given to the exercise by him of the power, for the reason that at the moment the exercise of the power could become effective Dadoba had ceased to have any interest left.

(78) For all these reasons, therefore, agreeing with S. T. Desai, J. I hold that the appointment of the second defendant by will as the managing director was imalid. Accordingly I answer the first question in the negative.

(79) Now, coming to the second question on which the learned Judges of the Division Bench have differed, my answer is also in the negative.

(80) The amtention on behalf of the defendants is that the plaintiff, by his failure to attend certain number if meetings, has forfeited his office of director. Now, if the meetings are validly convened by someon who is empowered to convene them, a director by failing to attend them, may incur a forfeiture of the office of the director. But here the person who convened the meetings as managing director had no right as such to convene them. It is, however, contended by Mr. Manekshaw that meetings of the Board of Directors could be convened by any director, and that since all the meetings during the period in question were convened by the second defendant, who was at least a director then, the plaintiff, by his failure to attend those meetings, has incurred forfeiture. There is no provision in the Act or in the articles which entitles any director to call a meeting. Article 94 of the articles runs thus:

'The managing Director may at any time and shall upon rquest of any Director convene a meeting of the Directors. It ashall not be necessary to give notice of a meeting of the Directors to a Director who is not in Bombay. Questions arising at any meeting shall be decided by a majority of votes, and in case of an equality of votes, the Chairman shall have a second or casting vote'.

It is implicit in this article that a meeting can be convened only by a managing director, and that when a director wants a meeting to be convened, he must request the managing director convene it. This article thus negatives the right of a director to convene a meeting. Mr. Manekshaw has said that if there is no managing director in existence, it would create an impasse if the Court were to hold that no meetings could be convened by a director. Perhaps, such a result would ensue; but even so there is no ground for holding that despite the provisions of Art. 94, any directors has a right to convene a meeting. Where there is no managing director, the remaining directors can, by acting jointly, convene a meeting. It may of course happen that there is a disagreement among the directors about this matter; but if there is such disagreement, the parties must necessarily have recoiurse to the Courts of Law. This is what always happens where there is a conflict of rights and disagreement among the parties about any matter.

(81) Since, in my opinion, the plaintiff has not forfeited his office of a director, it follows that no question arose for appointing another in his place. Furthermore, a vacancy in the office of the director could be filled either by a managing director making an appointment, or by the directors doing so. Here, as already stated, the second defendant, who purported to make the appointment of a director, had no right to make the appointment. Accordingly, my answer to the third question is also in the negative.

(82) The papers may now be sent back to the Division Bench with my answers. The matter will be dealt with further by the learned Judges constituting the Bench, including the question of costs.

Final Judgment (24-2-1959) of the Court consisting of S. T. Desai and K. T. Desai JJ. was delivered by

S.T. Desai, J.

(83) In this appeal from the judgment of Judge Chitale of the City Civil Court, my brother K. T. Desai and I disagreed on three points. As we were equally divided. the points were referred by the directions given by My Lord the Chief Justice to our Brother Mudholkar for his decision. He has now delivered his judgment and he agrees with me on those points. Those three points must, therefore, be decided according to the opinion of the majority of the Judges.

(84) In the result, the appeal fails and will be dismissed with costs.

(85) Appeal dismissed.


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