M.S. Nesargi, J.
1. In this petition, the petitioner has challenged the correctness and legality of the common order passed by the Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Athni. on 22-8-1970 in Criminal Cases Nos. 10 to 13 of 1970, on his file.
2. The facts giving rise to this petition may be briefly narrated as follows:
The petitioner is an accountant in a Society called Malawad Lift Irrigation Cooperative Society Limited (hereinafter referred to in the course of this order as 'the society'). On 28-8-1969 the Assistant District Co-operative Officer (Lift Irrigation), Belgaum, sent information in writing to Kagwad Police that this petitioner had committed offences of criminal breach of trust and falsification of accounts in the course of the discharge of his duties as accountant of the society and investigation may be undertaken. Ultimately, after investigation, the said criminal cases were instituted by the Police in the Court of the Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Athni, against this petitioner.
3. In Criminal Cases Nos. 10 and 12 of 1970 the petitioner was charged by the learned Magistrate for having committed offences punishable Under Sections 408 and 477 of the Indian Penal Code. In Criminal Cases Nos. 11 and 13 of 1970 he was charged for having committed an offence punishable Under Section 408 of the Indian Penal Code. Before the learned Magistrate proceeded with the trial of these cases, the petitioner filed applications contending that the prosecution against him is bad in law inasmuch as there was no sanction to prosecute him as provided in Section 111 (2) of the Mysore Co-operative Societies Act, 1959. The learned Magistrate disposed of the said application in the said four criminal cases by a common order which is now challenged.
4. At the outset, it must be stated that apart from the one contention put forward by the learned Counsel for the petitioner Mr. T. J. Chouta, and which will be dealt with separately, the rest of the avail- able contentions are covered by a decision of- this Court reported in (1965) 1 Mys LJ 98 (Taluk Industrial Co-operative Society Limited v. Patel C. M. Thimmegowda).
It is laid down in that decision that Section 111 (2) of the Mysore Co-operative Societies Act, 1959, deals with prosecution for the offences only falling under the Act, and what are the offences falling under the Act are stated in Section 109 of the Act and hence Section 111 (2) of the Act does not extend to offences punishable under other laws. In the said case, three criminal cases had been instituted against Patel C. M. Thimmegowda for having committed offences punishable Under Sections 409 and 477-A of the Indian Penal Code and while considering those facts this Court laid down rifle' law as mentioned above.
5. In view of the said decision, Sri T.: J. Chouta, the learned Counsel for the petitioner, urged only one contention whereby he contended that the offence Under Section 477 of the Indian Penal Code alleged against the petitioner falls Under Section 109 (3) of the Mysore Co-operative Societies Act, 1959 and as such the prosecution is bad in law for want of sanction Under Section 111 (2) of the Mysore Cooperative Societies Act.
He argued that the offence Under Section 477 of the Indian Penal Code alleged against the petitioner does tantamount to contending that the petitioner wilfully made a false return or furnished false information to his superior authorities by falsifying the accounts, and, therefore, the offence complained against the petitioner Under Section 477 of the Indian Penal Code falls within the ambit of Section 109 (3) of the Mysore Co-operative Societies Act. Section 109 (3) of the Act reads as follows:
(3) A Co-operative Society or an officer or member thereof wilfully making a false return or furnishing false information, or any person wilfully or without any reasonable excuse disobeying any summons, requisition or lawful written order issued under the provisions of this Act or wilfully not furnishing any information or handing over any documents or property required from him by a person or body of persons authorised in this behalf under the provisions of this Act, shall be punishable with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees.
6. A plain reading of the said Section goes to show that it deals with an officer or a member. It also deals with any person wilfully or without any reasonable excuse disobeying any summons or requisition issued under the provisions of the Act. If at all - without deciding whether an offence Under Section 477 of the Indian Penal Code tantamounts to wilfully making a false return or furnishing false information the charge Under Section 477 of the Indian Penal Code against the petitioner can fall within the ambit of this provision, the petitioner must show that he falls in the category of an 'officer' mentioned in the said provision. But, it is seen that the word 'officer' is defined in Section 2 (g) of the Mysore Co-operative Societies Act as follows:-
'Officer' means the President, Vice-President, Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Manager, Treasurer, Liquidator, Administrator and includes a member of the Committee empowered to exercise any power or perform any function in regard to the business of a co-operative society, or any other person empowered under the rules or the bye-laws to give directions in regard to the business of a co-operative society.
A plain reading of this definition is sufficient to show mat an accountant cannot at all be called an officer as defined above. It is not even averred in the petitions of the petitioner that he had been empowered under the rules or the bye-laws to give directions in regard to the business of the Co-operative Society and hence he would be falling within this definition of an 'officer'. Such contention could not have been put forward by the petitioner in view of the fact that he was working simply as an accountant in the said society. In the result this contention put forward by the learned Counsel for the petitioner has to fail.
7. In view of the foregoing reasons, I find that there is no reason to interfere with the order passed by the learned Magistrate, and, therefore, dismiss this petition.