S. Obul Reddi, C.J.
1. The writ appeal is directed against the judgment of our learned brother, Alladi Kuppuswami, I. in W. P. No. 2896 of 1973 allowing the writ petition filed for the issue of a writ of prohibition restraining the District Collector (Cooperation) Warangal, from proceeding further in pursuance of his proceedings dated 13-4-73 issued under Section 34 of the Andhra Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act, hereinafter referred to as the 'Act' proposing to supersede the Managing Committee of the 1st Respondent-Society.
2. The question that came up for consideration before our learned brother was whether the District Collector has power to issue the show-cause notice under Section 34. It was contended before our learned brother that the District Collector has no jurisdiction to issue the impugned notice inasmuch as be was not empowered under the schedule (G. O. Ms. No. 38 Planning and Co-operation Department, dated 22-9-1970) to exercise the powers of a Registrar. Our learned brother was of the view that the petitioner-society (1st respondent herein) was not a 'primary Society' within the meaning of G. O. Ms. No. 38 read with Rule 2 (j) of the Rules, and therefore upheld the contention of the Writ petitioner that the Collector had no jurisdiction to issue the impugned notice underSection 34 of the Act. The writ petition was opposed by the appellant who got himself impleaded as the 2nd respondent in the writ petition. As the writ petition filed by the Managing Committee was allowed, the 2nd respondent has preferred this appeal assailing the judgment of our learned brother.
3. Mr. B. P. Jeevan Reddy, the learned counsel appearing for the appellant, contended that it should be decided whether it is the Collector or the Deputy Registrar under G. O. Ms. No. 38 who has been empowered to take action against an erring society under Section 34. According to the learned counsel after the learned single Judge held that the Collector is not the competent authority and it is the Deputy Registrar that is the competent authority under the Act, the authority of the Depuy Registrar to issue a notice under Section 34 is again being assailed in another writ petition on the ground that he has not been empowered under G. O. Ms. No. 38. In short, what the learned counsel for the appellant contends is that it could not have been the intention or object of the Government when it issued G. O. Ms. No. 38 to see that neither of the officers exercises that power under Section 34, and therefore it must be decided as to whether it is the Collector or the Deputy Registrar who has been vested with the jurisdiction to act under Section 34. Mr. M. R. K. Chowdary, the learned counsel appearing for the Society (1st respondent herein) contended that the Society in question is not a 'Primary Society' within the meaning of item No. 2 and of column 3 in serial No. 1 of the Schedule, and therefore the Collector is not competent to issue the impugned notification. He, however, does not rest his oars on the finding recorded by our teamed brother that the Deputy Registrar is the competent authority, but contends that the Deputy Registrar too has no power and if anybody should take action against the 1st respondent-primary society, it is the Registrar of Co-operative Societies and not any authority to whom powers have been delegated under G. O. Ms. No. 38.
4. In short, the question that falls for determination is whether the Collector is vested with the power or authority to initiate and take appropriate action under Section 34 against a primary society. We may, therefore, refer to the relevant provisions of the Act and the rules made thereunder. The expression 'Registrar' as defined in Section 2 (n) means the Registrar of Co-operative Societies appointed under Section 3 (I) and includes any other person on whom all or any of the powers of the Registrar are conferred. The power now exercised under the impugned notice is by a person on whom the powers of the Registrar are conferred under G. O. Ms. No. 38. A schedule is appended to the said G. O. and that Schedule, to the extent material, may be extracted.
Serial No.AuthorityType of Co-operative Societies.Extent of powers conferred.
1.District Collector.(i)District Co operative Central Banks.
All the powers of the Registrar under the Act except those under sections 17, 18 third proviso to sub-section (1) of section 31, sec-tions 38 (7), 34, 60, 64 (1), 86. 115 and 116 and the powers of the Registrar under Rules, 4, 12, 27, 28, 29, 34 (14), 39, 41, 45. 69 and 69.
(ii)District Co-operative Maketing Societies and other District Level Societies other than Co-operative Super Bazars. Centrally sponsored consumer stores and Co-Operative Sugar Factories.
All the powers of the Registrar under the Act- except those nader sections 17, 18 third proviso to sub-seotion (1) of section 31, in so far as the District level societies are concerned seotions 50, 86, 115 and 116 and the powers of the Registrar under rales 4. 12, 87, 28, 29, 34 (14). 39. 41, 45, 59 and 68.
2.Special Oadre Dy. Registrar of Co-operative Societies working as personal Assistants to Collectors.
(i)District Co-operative Central Banks and District Co-operative Marketing Societies.
All tha powers of the Registrar under the Act except those under sections 17 and 18, third proviso to sub-section (1) of section 31, sections 32 (7), 34, 30, 60, 64 (1), 86, 115 and 116 and powers of the Registrar under rules 4, 12, 27, 28, 29, 34 (14), 39, 41. 45, 59 and 68.
(ii)Other District Level Societies and Primary Societies other than Co-operative Supec Bazars. Centrally sponsored consumers stores and Co.operstive Sugar Factories.
All the powers of the Registrar under the Act except Those under sections 17 and 18, third proviso to sub-Bastion (1} of section 31, in so far as District and State level societies are concerned sections 50, 86. 115 and 116 and the power of the Registrar under rules 4, 12, 27. 28, 28, 34(14), 39, 41, 46, 59 and 68.
3.Deputy Registrars of Co-operative Socie-ties in charge of Divisions.
(i)District Co-operative Central Banks District Co-operative Marketing Societies and other.
Powers of the Registrar under Sec. tion 6, 7, 8, 16, 81, 62, 70, 71, 72, 73 and 74 of the Act.
(ii)Primary Co-operative Marketing Societies, Urban Banks coming under the Banking Regulations Act.
All the powers of tbe Registrars under the Act except those under sections 17 and 18 third proviso to sub-section (1) of section 31, in so fat as district and State level societies are concerned, sections 32 (7), 34, 50. 64(1), ?6, 86, 116 and 116 and the power of Registrar under rules 4, 12, 27, 28, 29, 34 (14), 30, 41, 46, 59 and 68
(iii)All other primary 80-oietiea except Land Mortgage Banks.
All the powers of the Registrar under the Act except those under sections 17, 18 third proviso to sub-section (1) of section 31, in so far ae District and State level societies an concerned, sections 60, 76, 96, 116 and 113 and the powers of the Registrar under rules 4, 12, 27, 28. 29, 34(14), 39, 11, 46, 69 and 68.4.XXXX XX XX XX5.XXXX XX XX XX
The District Collector is empowered with the powers of the Registrar except those under Sections 17 and 18, third proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 31, in so far as district level societies are concerned, Sections 50, 86, 115 and 116 and the powers of the Registrar under Rules 4, 12, 27, 28, 29, 34 (14), 39, 41, 45, 59 and 68. Section 17 deals with partnership of societies and Section 18 deals with classification of societies. The third proviso to Sub-section (1) of Section 31 deals with bye-laws which provide for nomination by the Government or the Registrar of Members of any Committee for such period as may be specified. Section 50 deals with audit inquiry, inspection and surcharge; and Section 86 deals with appointment of Trustees for Central Land Mortgage Banks by the Registrar or by the Government. Section 115 deals with the power of the Board to supervise and make regulations in respect of Land Mortgage Banks; and Section 116 deals with miscellaneous matters relating to the powers of the Registrar to appoint supervisory staff. It is thus clear that except in so far as the above provisions are concerned which confer certain special powers on the Registrar in respect of certain matters, all other powers vested in the Registrar under the provisions of the Act are conferred upon the Collector. It is not necessary for the purpose of interpreting this G. O. to refer to the rules mentioned to column 4 of the Schedule. It is thus manifest that the Collector has been empowered to exercise the powers conferred upon the Registrar under Section 34 of the Act, that is to say, if he is of the opinion that 'a Committee' is not functioning properly or wilfully disobeys or fails to comply with any lawful order or direction issued by the Registrar, he may issue a notice, afford an opportunity to the committee to make its representations and then pass an order superseding the Committee for a specific period. Therefore, whatever, power the Registrar has, those powers are exercisable by the Collector to the extent conferred upon him while dealing with District Co-operative Central Banks, District Co-operative Marketing Societies and other District level societies and pri-mary societies other than Co-operative Super Bazars, Centrally sponsored consumer stores and Co-operative Sugar Factories.
5. The expression 'Committee' is denned in Section 2 (b) and it means the governing body of a society by whatever name called, to which the management of the affairs of the society is entrusted. This definition' of 'committee' makes it absolutely clear that, by whatever name a society may be called, whether as a 'primary society' or a federal society' or a 'district level society' the Col-lector can exercise the powers conferred upon him under Section 34. Those powers are also conferred upon Special Cadre Deputy Registrars of Co-operative Societies who work as Personal Assistants to the Collectors. That is also clear from the schedule in so far as Ms powers in respect of District Co-operative Central Banks, District Co-operative Marketing Societies, and also District level societies and primary societies other than Co-operative Super Bazars, Centrally sponsored consumers Stores and Co-operative Sugar Factories are concerned. In other words, the powers of the Collector and his Personal Assistant are co-extensive that is to say, concurrent jurisdiction has been conferred upon both of them. It is for that reason that the powers conferred upon the above two categories of officers are not conferred upon the third category of officers viz., Deputy Registrars of Co-operative Societies in charge of Divisions. The language used in Column 4 against the authorities mentioned in Serial Nos. 1 and 2 viz. the Collectors and Special Cadre Deputy Registrars is the same as used in column 4 in respect of the Deputy Registrars in Serial No. 3 therefore, what applies to the Collectors and Special Cadre Deputy Registrars in so far as the powers conferred upon them applies to the Deputy Registrars also. All the powers that are conferred upon the Collector and the Special Cadre Deputy Registrar of Co-operative Societies are not conferred upon the Deputy 'Registrar of Co-operative societies in charge of a Division. Apart from not conferring powers upon the Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies under Sections 17, 18 thirdproviso to Sub-section (i) of Section 31, powers under Sections 32 (7), 34, 50, 64 (1), 76. 86, 115 and 116, powers are also not conferred upon him under some of the rules specified therein. The reason is obvious. The Government did not think it necessary having conferred powers upon the Collector and Special Cadre Deputy Registrar to vest the same powers again in the Deputy Registrar of Co-operative Societies in charge of a Division. In other words, there has been a judicious allocation of the powers between the Collector and his Personal Assistant on one hand and the Deputy Registrar in charge of a Division on the other. We are, therefore, of the view that the Collector or the Special Cadre Deputy Registrar who acts as the Personal Assistant to the Collector is the competent authority to initiate action under Section 34 and also pass orders in accordance with the requirements of Section 34 and not a Deputy Registrar in charge of a Division.
6. The learned counsel for the 1st respondent Society, Mr. M. R. K. Chowdary, placed reliance upon the definition of the ex-pression 'Primary Society' and 'Federal Society' to show that the 1st respondent-Society is not a 'primary society' and therefore the Collector has no jurisdiction to issue the impugned notice. Definitions by themselves have no special significance in this case in view of what we have expressed above. That apart, 'federal society' as defined in Section 2 (e) means a society to which similar class of societies are affiliated. What Mr. Chowdary contends is that the primary Society of his client (1st respondent herein) conforms to the definition of a 'Federal Society' as it has some constituents consisting of primary societies. The expression 'Federal Society' as defined means only a society formed as such i.e. as a federal society with all its constituents or federating units being primary societies. There is no place for individual members in a federal society or for the members of a financing Bank or the Government 'Primary Society' has been defined in Rule 2 (j) of the rules which means a society whose membership consists of (i) individuals, (ii) individuals and Government or (iii) individuals and the financing Bank.
7. It is not in dispute that the primary society in question consists of individual members, individuals and Government; and individuals and the financing Bank. Though it satisfies the requirements of a 'primary Society', what Mr. Chowdary contends is that the 1st respondent-society cannot be construed as a 'primary society' for the reason that it has a few similar societies as its members. The mere fact that some similar societies are also admitted as members of the 1st respondent-primary society will not by itself take it out of the definition of a 'primary Society'. Further, it is for the Registrar, under Section 18 of the Act, to classify the societies with reference to their objects, areaof operation, membership or any other matter specified in the rules. The 1st respondent-Society was registered as a 'Co-operative Marketing Society' and at no time did it move the Registrar for its classification as a 'Federal Society'. But it has been the case throughout in the writ petition that the society in question comes within the category of a 'primary society' which falls within the definition of 'Federal Society' as defined in Section 2 (e). If that were so, there was no reason why the 1st respondent-society did not approach the Registrar, who alone is the competent authority, to classify it as provided in Section 18. Rule 12 (6) further provides that if any question arises as to the classification of a society, the question shall be referred to the Registrar whose decision thereon shall be final. Under Rule 12 (5), a federal society could further be classified as (a) an apex society; (b) Central Society; and (c) Primary Society. This classification makes it further clear that even if a particular society is a federal society, it could be brought under the heading of a 'primary society'. It, therefore, follows that it is not clear whea a particular society can be termed a 'federal Society' and when it can be termed as a 'primary society'. As already adverted to by us, a 'Committee' means the Governing body of a society by whatever name called, to which the management of the affairs of the society is entrusted; and irrespective of the fact whether the 1st respondent-Society comes within the meaning of a 'Federal Society' or a 'primary society' since its managing committee comes within the meaning of a 'Committee' as defined in Section 2 (b), the Collector has power under Section 34 to proceed against it. We, therefore, uphold the impugned notice issued by the Collector.
8. In the view expressed by us, we set aside the judgment of our learned brother and allow the appeal. No costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 100/- (Rupees one hundred only).