1. The above group of writ petitions show the good, bad and ugly in cooperative sector of the State. The Andhra Pradesh Co-operative Spinning Mills Limited (the Mill) is incorporated under the repealed Act VI of 1932 and it regulated from Feb. 24, 1964 under the Andhra Pradesh Cooperative Societies Act (VII of 1964). The Mill is governed by a Board of Directors who either are elected or nominated by the State Government for three years (Bye-law No. 14-A). The power to nominate is vested in the Government for it holds 76.16% of share capital of the Mill. Besides, three Directors in the Board, the State Government also nominate Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Mill. In one of the writ petitions filed by G. Kistanna, a member of the Mill, the nomination ordes of the Government of a named Director, Vice-Chairman and the Chairman on Sep. 4, 1979 fof three yean is challenged. In another writ petition lodged on Oct. 6, 1980, the appointment of 'Managing Director' by the State Government in G. O. Ms. No. 262 on May 20, 1980 if assailed. That affects R. Raja-sekhar who is the Manager of the Mill. The Director of Handlooms and Textiles (fee Director) on Sep. 11, 1980 while the formes petition it pending issued 'a show cause notice' to the Chairman and on Oct. 6, 1980 rescinded the order in G. O. Ms. No. 941. The Director's order is challenged in a writ petition lodged on Sep. 3, 1980 by the Chairman.
2. The nomination of Chairman is assailed to hold the Chairman could not have been nominated under Section 21-C of the Act because of the earlier terms of office held by him in two 'committees' to whom the management of the Mill was entrusted. The relevant terms of the anterior 'committees' of the Mill show -- (a) Between October 28, 1966 and Oct. 27, 1969 an elected committee managed the Mill. The Chairman was a member of that elected committee, (b) Between Oct. 28, 1969 and Sep. 7, 1974 following another elected committee managed the Mill. The Chairman was a member of the second committee, (c) Between Sep. 8, 1974 and Sep. 7, 1979, four persons were nominated to act persons in charge. The Chairman was not a member to the committee 'appointed', (d) The Chairman is now one of the five 'nominated' on Sep. 9, 1979 and the order is the subject in two writ petitions.
3. The Director rescinded the order of nomination and held the Chairman was a member of elected committees in terms a and b and without stating anything further surmised the Chairman was not eligible to be 'nominated' by the State Government under Section 21-C of the Act. The order is not self-explanatory. It is apparent the author was in search of a precedent to sustain it, so the Director rounded off the reasoning and said 'similar view was also expressed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in W. A. No. 416 of 1973 on December 31, 1978'. The learned counsel for the Director submitted this Court did not 'decide' the point and the decision cited has no relevance to the facts of the case.
4. It is averred by Kistanna, a member of the (Mill) Society that the Chairman was a member of the committee in term a, also a member in committee in term b, therefore, he could not be nominated to the committee in term d because of Section 21-C of the Act. It is argued on behalf of Mill Manager that the Chairman is 'debarred' to be nominated for he was elected in the first committee a in the second committee b therefore 'so long as the management of the Mill is not intervened by an elected committee the Chairman is ineligible to be nominated' for the committee in c was not an elected committee. It is argued on behalf of the State Government that the Chairman for the term in c the persons who were appointed are not a 'committee' within the meaning of Section 21-C, therefore, it is elaborated that term in d is 'continuation' of terms of office in a and b, in other words, term d is consecutive to the terms a and b, therefore, the Chairman is ineligible to be nominated in the impugned order.
5. These aspects of the arguments turn on the meaning and connotation of expressions 'committee', 'term', 'consecutive', 'continuation' that occur in Section 21-C of the Act.
6. The statement of objects and reasons of amending Act X of 1970 shows that on June 12, 1968 at Madras, a conference of Chief Ministers of the Republic was held and in that conference necessary amendments to the respective Co-operative Societies Acts in Slates was recommended so as to make a provision 'among other matters for curbing growth of vested interests in co-operative societies and to impose a restriction on holding membership in the committee of cooperative societies for not more than two terms'. The State of Andhra Pradesh implemented the recommendation of the conference and amended Act VII of 1964 on July 27, 1970.
7. The meaning of Section 21-C of the Act shorn of all unnecessary details declares any person who held office for two consecutive terms, is not eligible for a third term. In the Explanation the idea introduced is to state between 'two' terms of elected committees if a 'committee' held office being not elected notwithstanding such 'intervention' the 'two' elected committees are deemed to have held office in continuation or consecutively. The expression 'committee' in the context of Explanation and its meaning is of decisive importance. What is the meaning of the 'committee' in the Act? That word in Section 2 (b) is defined to mean a body to whom the affairs of societv are entrusted. It may be called by any name. A committee can be elected com-mittee, committee nominated or an appoint-ed committee.
8. It is argued on behalf of the State Government, Section 21-C contemplates an elected committee and a nominated committee but not appointed committee (to denote persons in charge). Further, it is elaborated that appointed committee may be entrusted the management. Still, so, it is stressed 'the context requires' (Section 2 (b) ), the meaning of the word should be given differently from what is provided in the definition. This plea was sought to be supported from the ratio in the decision Usanna v. Superintendent of Excise, (1980) 1 Andh WR 78, where persons in charge when appointed as a committee, it was held are not a 'committee' as defined in Section 2 (b) of the Act. This conclusion was reached for three reasons because of Clause (2) of Section 30, persons in charge cannot be removed; because Rule 22 prescribes entrustment of the management to an elected body and also because under Section 34, the Registrar cannot supersede a body appointed as person in charge. These three-fold grounds were referred to infer that persons in charge when they are entrusted management of a society they are not 'committee' under Section 32 (7) (a). In Usanna's case. Section 21-C was not considered and was not in point. A Full Bench decision of this Court in K. Suryanarayana v. W. G. Coop. Sugars Ltd., : AIR1976AP340 , where this Court considered the meaning of the expression 'committee', was not considered in Usanna's case. The correctness of the reasoning, therefore, it is unnecessary to discuss further for the Full Bench decision in K. Suryanarayana's case covers the issue raised at the debate in the instant case.
9. In the case, the Registrar of Cooperative Societies appointed Suryanarayana as a member of a nominated committee which was entrusted the management of Sugar Co-operative Society till Dec. 30, 1962. Again Suryanarayana was nominated as person in charge in Oct. 1968 and held office till 30-6-1971. Later, he was elected and was a member of committee from July 72 to July 30, 1975. This Court, on the above fads, observed the expression 'com-mittee' will take an 'elected committee' and also 'a nominated committee', therefore, Suryanarayana was held ineligible in elections to the term following July 30, 1975. The expression 'committee' in this regard, it was elucidated in the Explanation of the section, when 'reference is made to the two terms of office..... they (the legislature) said only 'committee' and not 'elected committee'.
10. The reasoning in Full Bench case shows as a postulate for the decision of the case accepted to be 'committee' as defined in the Act. Apart from the reasoning in the case, two provisos to Clause (1) of Section 31 put the question beyond controversy. There is no difference between a nominated com-mittee (second proviso to Section 31) and ap-pointed committee (first proviso) except nomination is made where bye-laws of the society provide for doing so. In Suryanarayana's case : AIR1976AP340 (FB), nominated committee was held (question No. 2) to be a committee. By a parity of reasoning, the appointed body is also a committee within the meaning of Section 21-C of the Act. In the course of the debate, none of the contenders have argued that in essence or in content there is any distinction between the two (nomination and appointment) from the standpoint of enrrustment of management to a committee. There is, however, some hiatus in the reasoning and the conclusions reached in the Full Bench case. I wish to avoid reference to that gap and leave it to be decided in a more appropriate case in future.
11. The result of the above discussion is in terms a and b the Chairman was in the 'committee' and he was not there in committee c, therefore, in term d, committee is neither a consecutive nor a continuation committee. In that view, the Chairman of the Mill was not improperly nominated in the Government order on Sep. 4. 1979 for three years.
12. The next question touches the appointment of Mill Manager whether he was appointed a Managing Director of the Mill The language employed in G. O. Ms. No. 262 and in G. O. Rt. No. 683 on April 3, 1980 is incoherent but the wording of Government orders are never decisive of the question. The bye-law No. 24 of the Mill prescribes as to who can be appointed a Managing Director. Rajasekhar cannot be appointed is accepted by all concerned as Managing Director of the Mill. It was, across the Bar, ascertained from the learned counsel whether there was any appointment order to show the Manager of the Mill was appointed 'Managing Director' of the Mill. Rajasekhar, it is represented on behalf of the State, was a 'Director' and a 'Manager' but never was he appointed as Managing Director. In the counters of the State Government and that of the Manager. however, it was averred, Mill Manager and the Managing Director 'are synonymous terms' but the averment in the pleadings, however, was explained more as a flourish in assertion and that plea raised in the manner in the counters was abandoned.
13. The next question requires to be considered is the ambit and validity of a Circular No. E/9560/80-81 issued by the Mill Manager. In that circular, the Manager recited 'some files lying with Chairman' are causing 'impediment to the day-to-day administration'. The Manager, therefore, directed the Ministerial Officers 'not to put up any office files without prior permission and tacit approval of the Mill Manager. They (the staff) should also note that no information should be furnished to the Chairman without knowledge of the Mill Manager. The Chairman will obtain files and information personally contacting the Mill Manager'. The directions are further infused with the ex cathedra tone and exhortation to whom it is addressed they are 'warned' to observe the circular; otherwise 'punishment' will follow. This, circular., il is argued by the Chairman, the Mill Manager was incompetent to issue when Bye-law No. 26 of the Mill entrusts the Chairman 'to have overall control over the management over the affairs of the Mill'. It is beyond the powers of Manager, so it is stressed to have evolved such a 'practice' and in doing so, the Manager usurped the powers.
14. The range of the Chairman's powers, is understood to be, 'overall control' of the Mill In the context of that 'control' the circular and its tone smack at discipline. It was argued on behalf of the Manager that the circular was issued lor 'smooth administration of the Mill'. It is difficult to understand such a noisy circular in innocuous terms or bereft of its teeth. The content of the circular conveys that the Manager is putting 'things straight' for he finds them disarrayed. The Manager arrogated in doing so in himself the supreme authority of the Mill and ordered how the business of the Mill is to be regulated. The Chairman is the administrative head was lost sight of or perhaps in a fit of bravado was ignored. It is not necessary to delve in further facts as to what prompted the Manager to issue the circular for in location of power, motives are irrelevant. Suffice it to conclude the circular cannot be sustained. It can be dealt only in one way by the Courts and accordingly it is quashed and silenced.
15. In the result G. Kistanna's writ petition is dismissed. The two writ petitions of the Chairman are allowed as indicated. No costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 150/-, in each.