Ramachandra Raju, J.
1. Writ Petition No. 3308/75 was dismissed in limine at the admission stage. The present writ appeal is filed against it. When the writ appeal came up for final hearing before our learned brothers, Justice Alladi Kuppuswami and Justice K. Jayachandra Reddy, one of us, the Bench referred the matter to a Full Bench. This is how the Writ Appeal is before us.
2. The writ petition is directed against the order dated 19-6-1975 passed by the District Co-operative Officer, the lst respondent herein, in his capacity as the Election Officer of the West Godavari Co-operative Sugars Limited, Surappagudem (Bhimadole), West Godavari District (hereinafter referred to as 'the Society'). The Society was registered in the year 1957 under the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Co-operative Societies Act, 1932 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Old Act'), which was subsequently repealed and re-enacted by the Andhra Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act, 1964 (hereinafter referred to as the 'New Act') which came into force on 25th February 1964. Sri Kommareddy Suryanarayana the lst petitioner in the writ petition (the parties will be referred to as per their description in the writ petition) was appointed by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies as one of the members of the nominated committee of the Society which is to mange the affairs of the Society and was continued upto 30-12-1962. It appears that the Society was not functioning from 31-12-1962 to 2-11-1968 without there being any Committee or persons-in-charge to manage its affairs. Thereafter persons-in-charge were being appointed from time to time upto 1-7-1972 on which date the committee elected for a term of three years to manage the affairs of the Society came into being. During most of the period, from 2-11-1968 upto the date of the election of the Committee, the lst petitioner was also being appointed as person-in-charge either singly or along with others. The lst petitioner was also one of the members of the elected committee which came into being on 1-7-1972 for a term of three years. According to the provisions of the Act, executive management of the affairs of the Society shall vest in a Board of Directors which shall consist of 19 directors as mentioned in bye-law No. 19 of the Bye-laws of the Society and as mentioned in by-law No. 20 the members of the Board shall elect from among themselves a President and Vice President. The lst petitioner was also elected as President of the Board of Directors of the elected Committee which functioned during the period from 1-7-1972 to 30-6-1975.
3. As the term of the elected Committee was to expire by 30-6-1975 and a new Committee had to be elected by the General Body of the Society, the lst respondent was appointed as Election Officer to conduct the elections of the members of the Committee of the Society. The lst respondent called for nominations the last date for filing the same being 18-6-1975. The date 19-6-1975 was fixed for scrutiny of the nominations. The last date for withdrawal of the nominations was 20-6-1975. The election was fixed to take place, if necessary, on 26-6-1975. The lst petitioner filed his nomination for the election of a member of the committee. On 19-6-1975 during the scrutiny of the nominations, the 3rd respondent raised objections to the lst petitioner's nomination alleging that he was appointed by the Registrar of Co-operative Societies as one of the members of the nominated Committee which continued till 30-12-1962. Subsequently he was also nominated by the Registrar as person-in-charge of the Society in October, 1968 and continued in that capacity till 30-6-1971 either singly or along with others. He was thereafter elected as one of the members of the first elected Committee and held office fro 1-7-72 to 30-6-1975 and he became the President of that Committee also. Section 21-C of the Act prescribes a condition that a person who has held office as a member of the Committee for two consecutive terms shall not be eligible for being chosen as a member of the Committee for a third term in continuation. Therefore, the lst petitioner is not eligible to be elected as it would be a third consecutive term for him.
4. To these objections filed by the 3rd respondent, the 2nd petitioner, who was proposer of the lst petitioner, filed counter objection. On considering the objections and counter objections the lst respondent the Election Officer, passed the impugned order by holding that the lst petitioner was a member of the Committee for two terms, viz., as a member of the nominated Committee from 5-1-1958 to 24-11-1961 and as a member of the elected committee from 1-7-1972 to 30-6-1975 and as provided under Section 21-C of the New Act the two terms should be considered as consecutive to each other as there was no elected committee during the intervening period of those two terms and therefore as provided under that section the lst petitioner is not eligible for being chosen as a member of the Committee for a third term in continuation and therefore he is not eligible to stand for the election it is this view taken by the Election Officer which is assailed in the writ petition.
5. Taking that view, the Election Officer rejected the nomination of the lst petitioner. The Writ petition is filed to quash the order of the lst respondent in rejecting the nomination of the lst petitioner and to direct him to include his name in the list of valid nominations filed for the election and allow him to contest the election to the committee. Along with the writ petition a petition was also filed to stay the election of the committee pending disposal of the writ petition. A similar petition for stay was filed along with the Writ Appeal. In the orders passed on the stay petition file din the Writ Appeal, this Court did not grant stay of the election but allowed the election to take place on 26-6-1975, the date given by the Election Officer for the holding of the elections to elect the members of the Committee, on the condition that the election would be subject to the result in the writ appeal. It appears that the elections to the committee was thereafter held on 26-6-1975.
6. The term 'committee' is defined under Section 2 (b) of the New Act as meaning the governing body of a society by whatever name called, to which the management of the affairs of the Society is entrusted. The restriction on consecutive membership of the Committee for a third time is, for the first time, introduced by enacting Section 21-C in the year 1970 by the Amendment Act, 10 of 1970. Prior to the introduction of that provision in the New Act there does not appear to be any restriction on the eligibility for being chosen as a member of the Committee consecutively for any number of terms. It is convenient now to read Section 21-C in full:
'Section 21-c. Restriction on consecutive membership in committee: A person who held office as a member of the committee for two consecutive terms shall not be eligible for being chosen as a member of the committee for a third term in continuation.
Explanation : For purpose of this section :
(i) Where a period, during which there is no elected committee, intervenes between two terms of office of the committee or of any of its members, those two terms shall be regarded as being consecutive to each other :
(ii) a member shall be deemed to hold office for a term, notwithstanding that he has not held the office for a full term.'
7. The main controversy between the parties is with regard to the interpretation to be given to this section ad the applicability of it to the lst petitioner to make him ineligible for the election in question. Admittedly the lst petitioner was a member of the Committee which was nominated by the Registrar in the year 1957 for two years and extended from time to time upto 31-12-1962 and also of the Committee elected on 1-7-1972 for a term of three years upto 30-6-1975, on the expiry of which the present election was sought to beheld and nominations were called for, and in between these two committees here was no committee functioning much less an elected Committee and only person or persons-in-charge were functioning appointed by the Registrar. If the Committee mentioned in the main body of the section can either be an elected or a nominated one, the two terms of the lst petitioner, one of the nominated and the other of the elected committee, would be consecutive as clarified in the Explanation because in between the terms of the two committees there was no elected committee.
8. But it is the case of the petitioners, appellants, as revealed in the Writ petition, that for the application of section 21-C one must have been a member of the elected committee twice, whose terms are consecutive and as the lst petitioner was a member of only one elected committee, the ineligibility mentioned in Section 21-C has no application to him. It is their further case that apart from it, the terms mentioned in Section 21-C must be those which have come into existence subsequent to the Introduction of Section 21-C which means subsequent to the year 70 or at least under the present New Act. The lst petitioner became a member of the committee only once after Section 21-C came into force. Also Section 21-C is unconstitutional and therefore invalid as it offends the fundamental right of freedom of association guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution of India.
9. During the course of the arguments Sri P.A. Chowdary , learned counsel for the petitioners-appellants, has also argued that in the old Act there was no provision of law authorising the Registrar of Co-operative Societies as now provided under the third proviso to Section 31 (1) of the New Act enabling him, to nominate a committee and therefore the first committee to which the lst petitioner was nominated was not a validly nominated committee. Therefore, being an invalid Committee, that committee cannot be taken into consideration for purposes of Section 21-C of the New Act in which case the lst petitioner must be deemed to have been a member of the Committee for only one term for the purposes of the Section 21-C.
10. Therefore, the following points arise for consideration:
1. Whether the Committee in which the lst petitioner was a member during the period from the year 1957 to 1962 was validly nominated by the Registrar?
2. Whether the term 'committee' mentioned in the main body of Section 21-C and in the second part of the Explanation (i) means only an elected committee and it does not mean a nominated committee?
3. Whether it means only a committee coming into existence subsequent to the introduction of Section 21-C or at least under the present New Act.
4. Whether Section 21-C is opposed to Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution and therefore invalid?
11. Point No. 1 :-- Though this point was, for the first time, raised during the course of the arguments by Sri P.A.Chowdary we allowed it to be argued. It is the argument of Sri P.A. Chowdary that while in the New Act there is provision empowering the Registrar to nominate a committee, there is no such provision in the Old Act and therefore the committee which was nominated by the Registrar before the New Act came into force was not a validly nominated one and therefore it cannot be taken into account. Another argument of Sri Chowdary is that it is not known whether the General Body of the Society constituted any Committee at all before the Registrar nominated its members and from this point of view also it must be held that the committee nominated by the Registrar was not a properly constituted one. It is true that there is no provision in the Act itself of the Old Act for the Registrar of Co-operative Societies to nominate a Committee. Under the New Act there is provision in the Act itself with regard to it under the third proviso to Section 31 (1). Section 31 (1) so far as it is relevant for our purposes may be extracted thus:
:Section 31. Constitution of Committees.
(1) The General Body of a society shall constitute a committee in accordance with the bye-laws and entrust the management of the affairs of the society to such committee.
Provided further that in the case of a society registered after the commencement of this Act the persons who have signed the application for the registration of the society may appoint a committee to conduct the affairs of the society for a period of three months from the date of registration or for such further period ordinarily not exceeding six months as the Registrar may consider necessary, but the committee appointed under this proviso shall cease to function as soon as a committee has been constituted in accordance with bye-laws.
Provided also that where the bye-laws so provide, the Government or the Registrar may nominate all or any of the members of the committee for such period as may be specified therein.
(2) (a) The term of office of the committee or of any of its members shall be for such period, not exceeding three years, as may be specified in the bye-laws.
(b) Notwithstanding anything in clause (a) if for any reason the election of the members of the committee is not held by the time of the expiration of the existing committee the Registrar may for reasons to be recorded in writing direct that the term of office of that committee shall extend up to such time as such election is held, which extension shall not ordinarily exceed one year?
(4) For the purpose of electing members of a committee, the general body :
(i) shall divide the number of members into constituencies and allot seats therefor, where the bye-laws so provide;
(ii) may, in the absence of such bye-laws elect from among all the members of the society.'
12. According to the third proviso to Section 31 (1) as extracted above, it is clear that the Government or the Registrar may nominate all or any of the members of the Committee where the bye-laws of the Society so provide. Therefore, even under the New Act the source of power of the Registrar to nominate a committee with regard to a society is the bye-laws of the society. Bye-laws of a co-operative society are regulations governing the functioning of the Society. Of course they have to be made subject to the provisions of the Co-operative Societies Act under which it is formed and the rules made thereunder. Both under the Old Act and the New Act, rules were framed under the rule-making power given in the Acts, Section 65 of the old Act and Section 130 of the New Act. Some of the subjects on which rules can be made were mentioned in particular in Section 63 of the Old Act. It is provided under Section 65 (3) (d) of the Old Act that the State Government may make rules prescribing the matters in respect of which a society shall make bye-laws and for the procedure to be followed in making, altering and abrogating the bye-laws. It was provided under rule 1 of the Rules framed as provided under Section 65 of the Old Act that any body of persons desired to apply for registration as a co-operative society under the Act shall apply to the Registrar of Co-operative Societies in the form prescribed in the schedule. It is further provided under rule II that with every application for registration, the applicant shall submit a draft of the bye-laws agreed upon by them. The bye-laws shall be consistent with the Act and the Rules made by the Government thereunder and they shall deal with matters specified in clauses (a) to (z) mentioned therein and may deal with such matters incidental to the organisation of the society and the management of its business as may be deemed necessary. The subject matters on which bye-laws may be made are mentioned in clauses (a) to (z) of rule II. The subject matter (u) relates to mode of appointment and removal of the committee and of other officers and the duties and powers of the committee and of such officers. Therefore, a society registered under the Old Act was entitled to make bye-laws for the appointment and removal of the committee. There is a similar provision made in rule 5 of the Rules framed under the New Act. Some of the matters on which bye-laws of a society may be made have been enumerated in rule 5 of the Rules. Matter No. 23 deals with the constitution of the Committee.
13. In accordance with the provisions of the Old Act and the Rules framed thereunder, bye-laws were framed by the Society. These bye-laws are made available to the court at the time of arguments. It is provided under bye-law No. 18 that subject to such resolutions as the General Body may from time to time pass, the executive management of the affairs of the Society shall vest in a Board of Directors which shall consist of nor more than 17 members of whom not more than one shall be from among non-cane grower members. There shall be the nominees of the State Government and two shall be the nominees of the Industrial Finance Corporation. Bye-law No. 19 provides as to how the members of the Board of Directors other than the nominees of the State Government and the Industrial Finance Corporation shall be elected by the General Body for a period of three years from among the members holding not less than 30 shares. A transitory provision was made under bye-law No. 19 which is as follows :
:Notwithstanding anything contained in bye-law Nos. 18 and 19 the Registrar shall in the first instance nominate a Board of Directors not exceeding nine members. They shall hold office for a period of one year or any such further period as the Registrar may consider necessary. The question for a meeting of this Board of Directors shall be five. It shall be competent to the Registrar of this Board of Directors shall be five. It shall be competent to the Registrar to terminate the nomination of any of the members of the Board and nominate another in his place. Any vacancy on the Board of Directors shall be filled by the Registrar by nomination for the unexpired period.'
14. These bye-laws were approved by the Registrar as provided under the Old Act in the year 1957. Therefore, it is clear from the above that there is a provision in the bye-laws of the Society made under the Old Act authorising the Registrar to nominate all the members of the Committee in the first instance. It is under this provision the Registrar nominated the Committee in question of which the lst petitioner was a member. Though there is no provision in the Old Act itself, as in the New Act, for the Registrar to nominate any or all members of the Committee, that provision was made in the bye-laws made by the Society in accordance with the Act and the Rules framed thereunder. Sri Chowdary has argued that the source of power of the Registrar to nominate a committee must find a place in the Act itself and without that he could not have validly exercised that power. We are unable to appreciate this argument of the learned counsel. Even under the New Act there is no power granted to the Registrar by the Act itself to nominate a committee. Even as per the third proviso to Section 31 (1) of the New act that power has to be granted only by the bye-laws. Specific provisions is only made in the New Act for the society to made bye-laws, if it so desires, authorizing the Registrar to nominate any or all members of the committee. Even without any specific provision like that in the Old Act, as provided under the Old Act and the Rules framed thereunder power was given to the society to make bye-laws on matters incidental to the organisation and the management of its business on subject matters specifically enumerated for making bye-laws. The subject relating to mode of appointment and removal of the committee was also mentioned. It is under the power given under this rule, the Society framed bye-laws for its organisation and management of its business and in so framing the bye-laws authorised the Registrar to nominate the managing committee in the first instance. If such a bye-law was passed by the Society, it is understandable how a Committee nominated in accordance with the bye-laws. Nos. 18 and 19 and the transitory provision made under bye-law No. 19 it is clear that the General Body of the Society both constituted the Committee and also authorised the Registrar to nominate the members of the Committee in the first instance fixing its strength as nine members. Under these circumstances, we do not find any substance in the contention of the learned counsel that the nominated Committee of which the lst petitioner was a member was not a properly constituted or nominated committee.
15. Sri P.A. Chowdary has also argued that the bye-laws of the Society have no statutory force and therefore the power given to the Registrar under the statutory provision to bye-law No. 19 to nominate the members of the first Committee could not clothe him with the power to nominate the Committee validly. It is true that the bye-laws of a society have no statutory force. That means they cannot override any provision of law. It only means that a co-operative society cannot make bye-laws contrary to the provisions of the Act or the Rules framed thereunder or any law. So long as the transitory provision to bye-law No. 19 under which provision the Registrar of Co-operative Societies nominated the Committee was not against any law, that would clothe the Registrar with the power, being the one conferred on him by the General Body of the Society to nominate the Committee validly. In this connections, Sri Chowdary has also placed reliance on the decision Co-operative Central Bank Ltd., v. Addl. Industrial Tribunal, A.P. : (1969)IILLJ698SC . There, the question amounting to altering the conditions of service contained in the bye-laws dealing with the conditions of service of the employees of the Banks. In that connection, the Supreme Court said that the bye-laws of the Banks have no statutory force and therefore they cannot override the provision of the Industrial Disputes Act. Therefore, there is no substance in this argument of the learned counsel also.
16. Points 2 and 3:-- It is provided under Section 21-C that a person who holds or has held office as a member of the committee for two consecutive terms shall not be eligible for being chosen as a member of the Committee for a third term in continuation. The expression 'committee' will take in both an elected committee and a nominated committee. If the legislature intended by the expression 'committee' used there as meaning only an elected committee, they would have said so clearly. When they intended it to be an elected committee, when they said that in between two terms of office of the committee if a period intervenes during which there was no elected committee those two terms should be regarded as being consecutive terms mentioned in the main section. Even in the Explanation when reference is made to the two terms of office there also they said only 'committee' and not 'elected committee' as mentioned in the earlier portion of then for the committee during the intervening period. Therefore, a plain reading of the main section and the explanation together makes it abundantly clear as to what the Legislature meant when they used only the expression 'committee' both in the main section and in the Explanation without using the expression 'elected committee'. They must have meant it to be both an elected committee and a nominated committee. The reason also is obvious when we got the objects and reasons for enacting this provision to disqualify a person to hold office as a member of the committee continuously for three (terms). In the Amendment Act by which S. 21-C was introduced, it was mentioned that at the conference of Chief Ministers and Ministers of the States in charge of co-operation held at Madras on 12th June, 1968, certain recommendations were made for amending the Co-operative Societies Act in force in the States so as to make a provision among other matters for curbing the growth of vested interests in co-operative societies ad to impose a restriction on holding membership in the committee of co-operative societies consecutively for more than two terms. Therefore, the intention of the Legislature in enacting the restriction in Section 21-C of the New Act is to prevent the growth of vested interests in co-operative societies by imposing a break in continuity in office for more than two terms. If that was the object in enacting Section 21-C of the New Act, it is clear that the Legislature would not have intended the holding of office as a member of the committee only with regard to an elected committee and not a nominated committee and that too for the two consecutive terms to take place only subsequent to the introduction of Section 21-C without any reference to the holding of office as a member of the committee prior to the enactment of that section. For the restriction to operate that the Legislature intended both the subsequent and the previous holding of office as a member of the committee is clear from the language used in the Section when it said 'a person who holds or has held office'. This expression used in the section clearly indicates that though the restriction is only for being chosen as a member of the committee for a third term after coming into force of Section 21-C the holding of office as a member of the Committee both at the time the section came into force and also the office held earlier have to be taken into account for the purpose of the two consecutive terms mentioned therein.
17. Whether a particular provision of law is retrospective or prospective in its operation has to be gathered from language used in the enactment and the object and the intent of the Legislature in enacting it. When the language used is capable of only one interpretation giving only one meaning, that meaning should be given irrespective of other considerations. But, if the language used is capable of more than one interpretation without used in the any violence to the language used in the enactment, it ought to be construed, to be consistent with the other provisions of the enactment and to be in accordance with the objects and the Legislature intent in enacting the provision. In the decision Carew & Co Ltd., v. Union of India AIR 1975 S 2280 the Supreme Court said that when two interpretations are feasible that which advances the remedy with the court. From this point of view also, having regard to the Legislative intent in enacting the provision, Section 21-C of the Act, it must be taken that for the purpose of consecutive membership of the Committee, the Committees appointed both before and subsequent to Section 21-C must be taken into consideration. As we have already discussed above on a fair reading of Section 21-C it is capable of only one interpretation viz. that it takes in the committees appointed both subsequent and earlier to the coming into force of that section.
18. Sri Chowdary has also argued that the expression 'the committee' used in Section 21-C can only denote an elected committee. According to the learned counsel, the expression 'the committee' there means a committee constituted by the General Body of the society and to which the management of the affairs of the society was entrusted by the General Body as mentioned in Section 31 of the New Act wherein it is provided that General Body of the Society shall constitute a committee and entrust the management of the Society to such committee and therefore when the expression 'the committee' is used in Section 21-C it means only a committee, to be elected by the General Body and it cannot be nominated committee. It may be as provided under Section 31 of the New Act, the General Body of a society has to constitute a committee in accordance with the bye-laws and entrust the management of the affairs of the society to such committee. But how the members of that committee are to be appointed, either by means of an election by the General Body or by means of nomination by the Registrar, is a different matter. According to the learned counsel, when it is mentioned in S. 31 (1) of the New Act that the General Body of a society shall entrust the management of the Society to the committee constituted by it, it only means the general body electing it. In the definition itself of the term 'committee' it is mentioned that it is the governing body to which the management of the affairs of the society is entrusted. That means once a committee comes into being even by means of nomination of its members by the Registrar, it gets the entrustment of the affairs of the society automatically. There need not be a separate overt act for entrustment as such either on the part of the general body or on the part of the Registrar, as the case may be. It is only as provided under Section 31 the committee has to be constituted by the General Body in accordance with the bye-laws. Provision has to be made in the bye-laws with regard to the composition and structure of the committee. If there is a provision in the bye-laws made by the General Body of the society about it, it amounts to constitution of the committee by the General Body. The appointment of its members, either by the General Body by means of election or by the Registrar by means of nomination as provided under the bye-laws of the society, is a different matter.
19. The records of the Society placed before us reveal that by means of old bye-laws Nos. 18 and 19 and by the new bye-law No. 19, as amended after the New Act came into force, provision was made as to how the executive management of the affairs of the Society shall vest in the Board of Directors consisting of 17 members before and 19 members after the amendment of the bye-laws determining their composition and how they are to be appointed. Therefore by means of those bye-laws the General Body of the Society constituted the committee both under the Old Act and the New Act. The General Body by means of a transitory provision to bye-law No. 19 provided that notwithstanding anything contained in bye-laws Nos. 18 and 19 the Registrar shall in the first instance nominate a Board of Directors not exceeding nine members. Therefore, there is nothing special about the General Body constituting the committee and entrusting to it the management of the affairs of the society to think that the 'committee' mentioned in Section 21-C of the New Act can only be a committee elected by the General Body and it cannot be nominated committee as argued by the learned counsel.
20. Another argument submitted by the learned counsel is that when the Old Act was repealed any committee which functioned under the repealed Act (in the present case the nominated committee to which the lst petitioner was appointed by the Registrar) cannot be taken into consideration under the New Act and when it is mentioned in Section 21-C that 'where a person holds or who has held office as a member of the committee' it means only 'holding or held' under the New Act and the office held under the Old Act cannot be taken into consideration this contention goes against the express provision contained in Section 132 of the New Act containing the provision for repealing and savings. By means of that provision, (1) the Old Act, viz. the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Co-operative Societies Act 1932 and (2) the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Co-operative Land Mortgage Bank Act, 1934 and (3) the Andhra Pradesh (Telengana Area ) Co-operative Societies Act, 1952 were repealed. In the first proviso to the Section it is mentioned that any society existing at the commencement of the New Act which has been registered or deemed to have been registered under the relevant repealed Act shall be deemed to have been registered under the New Act and the bye-laws of such society shall so far as they are not inconsistent with the provisions or the new Act or the Rules made thereunder continue to be in force until altered or rescinded in accordance with the provisions of the new Act and the rules made thereunder. Therefore under this provision the continuity of a society registered under the Old Act is maintained. In the second proviso to that section it is also said that Section 6 of the Andhra Pradesh General Clauses Act, 1891, shall be applicable in respect of repeal of the said enactments and Sections 8 and 18 of the said Act shall be applicable as if the said enactments had been repealed and re-enacted by the Andhra Pradesh Act. Section 8 of the Andhra Pradesh General Clauses Act appears in Chapter II, the Provisions of which are made applicable to future Acts whereas Section 18 occurs in Chapter III, the provisions of which are made applicable to all the Acts. By means of the second proviso to Section 132, Section 8 and 18 are specifically made applicable to the repealed Acts. It is provided under Section 18 of the Andhra Pradesh General Clauses Act that where an Act repeals and reenacts with or without modification all or any of the provisions of a former Act all offices established and appointments made shall be deemed to have been established and made under the petitions so reenacted. From this provision it is clear that the committee constituted under the Old Act and the appointment of the lst petitioner to that Committee by means of nomination by the Registrar must be deemed to have been done under the provisions of the New Act as they are not inconsistent with those provisions. Therefore, holding of office by the lst petitioner as a member of the nominated committee which was constituted under the old Act has to be taken as holing of office under the provisions of the New Act. Therefore, that term of office of the lst petitioner can also be counted for the purpose of Section 21-C of the New Act. If that is so, there is no substance in this argument of the learned counsel also. Therefore, we see no substance in Points 2 and 3 raised on behalf of the petitioner-appellants.
21. Coming to the fourth point, the argument of Sri Chowdary is that it is the fundamental right of the General Body to choose as to who should manage the affairs of the society and that right is being taken away by means of Section 21-C of the New Act by restricting the membership of the Committee for a person to two consecutive terms and that restriction enacted in Section 21-C would amount to an abridgment of the right to form an Association guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution, the only restriction to that right being the one mentioned in the relevant limitation clause (4) of Article 19 and the restrictions imposed on a perform from being a member of the Committee for a third consecutive term, not having anything to do with any one of the limitations contained in clause 4 of Article 19, Section 21-C is unconstitutional. The limitation imposed under Clause (4) of Article 19 to otherwise complete freedom to form an association guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) is the right given to the State for making any laws imposing, to the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India or public order or morality, reasonable restrictions. If the restriction imposed under Section 21-C of the New Act attracts Article 19(1)(c) it is true that that restriction is not one of those restrictions mentioned in clause (4) of Article 19 for imposing which the State can make a law. But the point is whether Article 19(1) (c) of the Constitution has any application to the question before us and the restriction imposed under Section 21-C from becoming a member of the committee for a third consecutive term can be said to the violative of the fundamental rights to form Associations guaranteed under it.
22. We do not think that the right to form a society under the Co-operative Societies Act has anything to do with the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution. The Society in question is a creature of the stature formed under the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act, which we are referring to in this judgment as the Act. It is under the provisions of the Act, the Rules framed thereunder an the bye-laws made in accordance with them by the Society, the Committee is constituted and the appointment of its members are made. According to these provisions the embers of the Committee are to be appointed either by nomination or election. The right of the lst petitioner to contest the election for membership of the committee emanated only out of the provisions of the Act the rules and the bye-laws. That right he cannot claim otherwise than under those provisions. His right to become a member of the Society or a member of the committee is not the common law or a general right given t him to form an association and which is guaranteed under Art. 19(1)(c) of the Constitution. The Act under which the Society is formed confers certain rights and privileges on the societies that is in effect of their members and also impose certain obligations and restrictions on the societies and their members. A person claiming rights under those provisions is also bound by any restrictions imposed thereunder. There is no compulsion to form or become a member of a society under the Act. One is free to form or become a member of a society under the Act or not. A society can also be formed as a right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) without registering it under the Act. But the only disability for such a society which does not get itself registered under the Act is that it will not get the special benefits and the special privileges which have been granted by the provisions of the Act. The restriction on the consecutive membership in the committee in question applies only to societies registered under the Act. It has no application to societies formed and not registered under the provisions of the Act. If a Society is formed and is registered under the Act and its members claim special privileges and advantages conferred by the Act and the Rules famed thereunder, they cannot turn round and say that they are not bound by any restrictions imposed by some provision of the Act or the Rules in the interests of good and fair administration and working of the society on the ground that they are violative of the fundamental right to form Associations guaranteed under Art. 19 (1) (c) of the Constitution and the restrictions imposed are not those contemplated under clause (4) of Article 19 and therefore they are not bound by them.
23. Provision is made under Section 3 of the Act for the appointment of Registrar and other persons for the purposes of the Act. Under the Act and the Rules framed thereunder powers are given to the Registrar and other officers of general supervision over the societies and to hold enquiries into the constitution, working and financial condition of the societies. As provided under Section 4 of the Act a society which has as its main object, the promotion of economic interests of its members in accordance with the co-operative principles can be registered under the Act. As provided under Section 6, an application for the registration of a Society shall be made to the Registrar in such form and with such particulars as may, from time to time, be specified by the Registrar. The application shall be accompanied by four copies of the proposed bye-laws of the society. As provided under Section 7, the Registrar can register the society and its bye-laws if he is satisfied that the application conforms to the requirements laid down by the Act and the Rules; the objects of the society seeking registration are in accordance with Section 4; such society s likely to be economically sound and that its registration may not have an adverse effect on the development of the co-operative movement and the proposed bye-laws are not contrary to the provisions of the Act and the Rules. As provided under Section 19 there are certain restrictions for eligibility for membership of a society. Section 21 deals with disqualification for membership of society for instance, a person shall not be qualified for being admitted as a member if he is an applicant to be adjudicated as insolvent or an undischarged insolvent or if he has been sentenced for any offence involving moral turpitude etc. Under Section 21-A some disqualification are imposed for being chosen as and for being a member of the committee. Under Section 21-C as already noticed, restriction on consecutive membership in a committee for a third term is imposed. Section 26 of the Act also imposes some restrictions on holding of shares in the society. Under Section 43 provision is made for the Government to give loans or advance moneys to a society; subscribe to the share capital of the society; guarantee the repayment of principal and payment of interest on debentures issued by the society; guarantee repayment of share capital of the society and dividends thereon guarantee the repayment of principal and payment of interest on loans and advance of moneys to a society; guarantee the repayment of deposits received by the society and give financial aid in any other form including subsidies to any society. It is provided under Section 33 what where the Government have subscribed to the share capital of a society or have assisted indirectly in the formation or augmentation of the share capital of the society or have guaranteed the repayment of principal and payment of interest on debentures issued by the society or have guaranteed repayment of principal and payment of interest to loans and advances to the society, the Government have the right to nominate to the committee not more than three persons as members or one-third of the total number of members of the committee, whichever is less. As per Section 129 of the Act the societies formed under the Act are granted immunity from the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956, the Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Shops and Establishments Act 1948 and the Andhra Pradesh (Telengana Area) Shops and Establishments Act, 1951. Thus, under the Act while certain special privileges are granted to the societies formed under it, that is to their members, certain restrictions and obligations are also imposed by the Legislature regarding the formation and working of the societies for the purpose of advancing the proper working of the societies. Therefore, the right to form a co-operative society under a Co-operative Societies Act is not a fundamental right. It is a right given under the Act subject to its provisions and the Rules framed thereunder.
24. A similar view was expressed by a Bench of the Court in Writ petition Nos. 4066 of 1970 etc. D/- 18-11-1970 (Andh Pra). The Bench said that the right to vote and stand for election for the committee is entirely governed by the statute and a right which has been given by a statute can also be restricted or controlled by a statute. Sections 21-A (2) and 21-C do not go any further than restricting the rights of members to be members of the committee of the society. These sections do not in any manner affect the fundamental right of a citizen to form an association guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution..
25. In the decision Bidhu Bhusan v. State of West Bengal AIR 1962 Cal 901 the Calcutta High Court has held that Art. 19 (1) (c) which speaks of the right of a citizen to form Associations or Unions refers to the ordinary right which is enjoyed by all citizens. It has no reference to a right which is conferred by a particular statute to act as members of a body which is the creation of the statute itself.
26. Apart from the Committee being a committee of the co-operative society registered under the Act, we do not think the restriction in question imposed on becoming a member of the Committee for more than two consecutive terms violates the fundamental right to form Association guaranteed under Article 19(1) (c) of the Constitution. It is not the case of the petitioners that they are restricted from forming a co-operative society under the Act, or there was any compulsion on them to form a society under the Act or to become members of a society registered under the Act. Simply for the reason that some restrictions are imposed in connection with the working of the Society, that does not amount to curtailing the freedom of forming a society unless the restriction goes to the very root of the matter, which amounts to taking away the freedom to form an Association. In the present case the restriction is only to become a member of the Committee for a consecutive third term. That means one cannot become a member of the Committee for more than two terms continuously. There is no restriction on becoming member of the Committee once again there after for two ore terms. With an interval of one term in between one can become a member of the Committee consecutively for two terms any number of times. This restriction the Legislature in their wisdom thought to be necessary in order to prevent vested rights being established in the Societies which is not very healthy for proper working of the Societies. Therefore, this is not a matter which touches the very right to form a society. We are unable to agree with the argument of Sri P.A. Chowdary that if such restriction is imposed that would be abridging or taking away the right to form a society or an Association. In this connection Sri Chowdary placed strong reliance on two decisions of the Supreme Court. Smt. Damyanti Naranga v. Union of India : 3SCR840 and O.K.Ghosh v. E.X. Joseph : (1962)IILLJ615SC . In the first decision referred to above, the validity of the Hindi Sahiya Samelan Act (1962) was in question. Under Section 4 (4) of the Act apart from persons who are members of the Society, some more members have been added without any option being available to the existing members of the Society to elect or refuse to elect them as members which was the right they possessed under construction of the Society itself. The Supreme Court said that the Act does not merely regulate the administration of the affairs of the society; what it does is to alter the composition of the Society itself. The result of this change in the composition is that the members, who voluntarily formed the Association, are now compelled to act in that Association with other members who have been imposed as members by the Act and in whose admission to membership they had no say. Such alternation in the composition of the Association itself clearly interferes with the right to continue to function as members of the Association which was voluntarily formed by the original founders. The right to form an Association implies that the persons forming the Association have also the right to continue to be associated with only those whom they voluntarily admit in the Association. Any law, by which members are introduced in the voluntary Association without any option being given to the members to keep them out, or any law which takes away the membership of those who have voluntarily joined it, will be a law violating the right to form an Association. Therefore, the Supreme Court said on the fact of that case, that the provision of law by which committee members have been added to the Society without any opinion being available to the existing members of the Society to elect or refuse to elect them as members is violative of Art. 19 (1) (c) of the Constitution. Thus, the facts of that case are clearly distinguishable from the facts before us. In the present case, the only restriction imposed under Section 21-C of the Act is to be a member of the Committee continuously for a third term. This is not a provision which restricts the right to continue the Association with its composition as voluntarily agreed upon by the persons forming the Association. In this case, the Supreme Court referred to their earlier case, which is the second case mentioned above.
27. In the decision O.K. Ghosh v. E.X. Joseph, : (1962)IILLJ615SC rule 4 of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules 1955 prohibiting any form of demonstration by Government servants was considered. The Supreme Court said that it is violative of the Government Servants rights under Article 19(1)(a) and (b) of the Constitution. But at the same time the Supreme Court said that in so far as the said rule prohibits a strike, it cannot be struck down for the reason that there is no fundamental right to resort to strike. The Supreme Court said that though the Government servants can be subjected to rules which are intended to maintain discipline amongst their ranks and to lead to an efficient discharge of their duties, there is no direct or proximate or reasonable connection between the recognition by the Government of the Association and the discipline amongst, and the efficiency of, the members of the said association. Rule 4-A provides that no Government servant shall participate in any demonstration or resort to any form of strike in connection with any matter pertaining to his condition of service, whereas rule 4-B lays down that no Government servant shall join or continue to be a member of any service association of Government servants (a) which has not, within a period of six months from its formation, obtained the recognition of the Government under the rules prescribed in that behalf or (b) recognition in respect of which has been refused or withdrawn by the Government under the said Rules. The Supreme Court said that it is not disputed that the fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 19 can be claimed by Government servants. The validity of the impugned rule has to be judged on the basis that the employees are entitled to form Associations or Unions. It is clear that Rule 4-B imposes a restriction on this right. It virtually compels a Government servant to withdraw the membership of the Service Association of Government servants as soon as recognition accorded to the said Association is withdrawn or if, after the Association is formed, no recognition is accorded to it within six months. In other words, the right to form an Association is conditioned by the existence of the recognition of the said Association by the Government. If the Association obtains the recognition and continues to enjoy it, Government servants can become members of the said Association; if the Association does not secure the recognition from the Government or recognition granted to it is withdrawn. Government servants must cease to be the members of the said Association. That is the plain effect of the impugned rule. This restriction cannot be said to be in the interest of Public Order or can it be said to be a reasonable restriction. That is how the Supreme Court has observed. Here also it is a case where the impugned rule in effect amounts to taking away the right guaranteed under Al 19(1) (c) of the Constitution to form association.
28. These two cases are clear cases of restricting the right to form an Association guaranteed under Art. 19 (1) (c) of the Constitution. These cases do not help the petitioners to contend that the restriction with which we are concerned in the present case amounts to restricting the right to form an Association guaranteed under Article 19(1) (c) of the Constitution.
29. Now, we will refer to some of the cases relied upon by the respondents to show that a restriction, like the one imposed under Section 21-C of the Act, by itself would not amount to imposing any restriction on the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19(1) (c) of the Constitution to form an Association.
30. In the decision Tika Ramji v. State of Uttar Pradesh, : 1SCR393 under the U.P Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act power was given to the Cane Commissioner under Section 15 for declaring reserved and assigned areas. In pursuance of that power the Cane Commissioner issued a notification ordering that where not less than 3/4th is of the cane growers of the area of operation of a Cane Growers Co-operative Society are members of the Society the occupier of the Sugar Factory for which the area is assigned shall not purchase or enter into agreement to purchase cane grown by a cane grower except through such Cane Growers' Co-operative Society. In this case the provisions of the Act and the notification issued under it were questioned by a cane grower, who did not join the Cane Growers Co-operative Society, as infringing his fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution. The Supreme Court said that there is no compulsion at all on any cane grower to become a member of the Cane Grower's Co-operative Society. Similarly no cane grower is prevented from resigning his membership of a Cane Growers' Co-operative Society. These are voluntary organisations which a cane grower is entitled to join or not at his choice. The cane grower, moreover, is not prevented absolutely from selling his sugarcane. The only person to whom he cannot sell the sugarcane is the owner of the factory, but that does not prevent him from selling his sugarcane to any other person or for any other purpose, viz., the manufacture or production of gur etc. Other than sugar. Therefore, it cannot be urged that the provisions of the U.P. Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act and the notification are violative of Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution.
31. In the decision All India Bank Employees' Association v. National Industrial Tribunal, : (1961)IILLJ385SC the question arose whether Section 34-A of the Banking Companies Act, according to which a banking company cannot be compelled to disclose either the quantum of its secret reserves or their nature or the provision made for 'bad and doubtful debts and for other reasonable and necessary provision' in the proceedings under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, when the banking company claims that such information is of confidential nature contravenes Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution. The argument advances on behalf of the employees in the industrial dispute is that when Art. 19 (1) (c) guarantees the rights to form an Association, the guarantee also implies the fulfilment of every object of an Association so formed and therefore there is a constitutional guarantee for every association for effectively achieving the purpose for which it is formed without interference by law except on grounds relevant to the preservation of public order or morality set out in clause (4) of Article 19(1)(c). The Supreme Court said that they are clearly of opinion that this has to be answered in the negative. As affirmative answer would be contradictory of the scheme underlying the text and the frame of the several fundamental rights which are guaranteed by Part III and particularly by the scheme of seven freedoms guaranteed by sub-clause (a) to (g) of clause (1) of Article 19. With regard to the right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) the Supreme Court said that if an association was formed for the purpose of carrying on business, the right to form it would be governed by sub-clause (c) of clause (1) of Article 19. As regards its business activities however, and the achievement of the object for which it was brought into existence, its rights would be those guaranteed by sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of Article 19; while the property which the association acquires or possesses would be protected by sub-clause (f) of claue (1) of Article 19 subject to legislation within the limits laid down by clause (5) of Article 19. The Supreme Court has also further said that the right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) does not extent to concomitant right to effective collective bargaining or to strike. Therefore, the provision exempting the banking company from disclosing secret reserves or the provision made for bad and doubtful debts in proceedings under the Industrial Disputes Act cannot be said to be a contravention of Article 19(1) (c) of the Constitution.
32. In the decision D.A.V. College v. State of Punjab, : AIR1971SC1737 by a notification issued under Section 5 (i) of the Guru Nanak University, Amritsar Act certain colleges were compulsorily affiliated to the Guru Nanak University. It was contended that the compulsory affiliation of the college to the University affects their fundamental right of freedom of association as guaranteed under Article 19cv and therefore the notification issued under Section 5 (1) compulsorily affiliating them to the University is bad. The Supreme Court observed like this :
'The right to form an association implies that several individuals get together and form voluntarily an association with a common aim, legitimate purpose and having a community of interest. It was sought to be suggested that the compulsory affiliation with the University affects the aims and objects of the Association, as such its freedom is infringed. There is in our view a fallacy in this argument which an earlier occasions had also been repelled. In the All India Bank Employees' Association v. National Industrial Tribunal, : (1961)IILLJ385SC it was observed that the right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) does not carry with it a concomitant right that the Associations shall achieve their object such that any interference in such achievement by any law would be unconstitutional unless it could be justified under Article 19(4) as being in the interests of public order or morality. The right under Article 19(1)(c) extends inter alia to the formation of an Association or Union.'
33. In the decision, H. Bhagat v. Asst. Registrar,. Co-operative Societies, Barh, : AIR1968Pat211 under the rule-making power conferred by Section 66 of the Bihar and Orissa Co-operative Societies Act (6 of 1935) the Government of Bihar made Rules 37, 38 and 39. Rule 37 provided for division of a Co-operative Society if the members of the Registered Co-operative Society resolve to divide themselves into two or more registered Societies. Rule 38 provided for voluntary amalgamation of Societies. Rule 39 however, conferred power on the Registrar of Co-operative Societies to compulsorily amalgamate registered Societies under the Act if he is satisfied that it would be in the interest of those Societies. On the question whether Rule 39 infringes, the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution, the Patna High Court said :
'The power of individual members to form association and unions as provided in Article 19(a)(c) is not taken away. No one is compelled to become a member of the Co-operative Society or to continue as a member of the amalgamated Society if he wishes to resign from such a new Society. Rule 39 deals with the power of the Registrar over the incorporated body, namely, the registered co-operative society, which has a separate legal existence from that of its members as provided in Chapter III of the Act. If a legal corporation is brought into existence by virtue of an Act, any provision in the Act regulating the functions of the Corporation including the power conferred on appropriate authorities to supervise the functions of the corporation, cannot be said to invade the fundamental right of the members of the corporation.'
34. Therefore, so long as there is no impediment to form an Association or to become a member or having become a member to continue or not as a member of Association, no provision of law can be said to infringe the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (c) of the Constitution merely because such a provision seeks to regulate the functioning and administration of the Association in the day to day working and in the process imposes some restrictions, more so when they are conceived in the best interests of the Association. It is only in cases where a provision of law actually amounts to curtailing the right to form an association in the sense mentioned above, that can be said to be violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution. As we have already discussed above, the restriction imposed under Section 21-C on any person from becoming a member of the Committee of the Society for more than two consecutive terms cannot be said to amount to curtailing the right or freedom of a person to form an Association. As mentioned above, the Legislature in their wisdom thought that such a restriction is necessary in order to prevent any person from acquiring any vested interest in the Society, which is not a healthy sign for proper and efficient working of the society in the best interests of all its members. Therefore, Section 21-C of the Act is not violative of the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution not only for the reason that the right to form a Co-operative Society under a Co-operative Societies Act is not a fundamental right and it is only a right given under the Act subject to its provisions and the Rules framed thereunder, but also on the ground that the restriction like the one imposed under Section 21-C prohibiting a person from becoming a member of a Managing Committee of a Society consecutively for more than two terms cannot be said to be the one which either in reality or in substance amounts to restricting the right to form an Association guaranteed under it.
35. The appellants fail on al the points. Therefore, there are no merits in the writ petition. Accordingly the writ appeal is dismissed with costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 250/-.
37. In view of the representations made by the learned counsel appearing on either side that there is no direct authority on the question raised herein as regards the effect and validity of Section 21-C of the Andhra Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act, 1964 (hereinafter referred to merely as 'the Act'), I propose giving my own reasons with respect to that aspect of the matter.
38. The relevant facts are given in a succinct form in the judgment of my learned brother, as not to need a detailed reiteration
39. The extraordinary jurisdiction of this court under Article 226 of the Constitution is involved by the lst petitioner seeking the issuance of a writ of certiorari for quashing the order dated June 19, 1975 of the District Co-operative Officer-cum-Election Officer. The West Godavari Co-operative Sugars Limited Surappagudem, West Godavari District the lst respondent, rejecting his nomination.
40-41. The lst respondent as the Election Officer issued a notice to all the members calling for a general body meeting of the West Godavari Co-operative Sugars Limited, Surappagudem, registered under the Co-operative Societies Act to elect the Managing Committee members on June 26, 1975. Pursuant to the said notice, the lst petitioner filed his nomination to the post of the member of the committee to be elected from among the members. On an objection taken by the 3rd respondent, the petitioner's nomination was rejected by the lst respondent, the Election Officer on 19-3-1975. The Election Officer found that the petitioner held office as a member of the nominated committee of the Society from 5-1-1958 to 24-11-1961 and as a member of the elected committee of the said Society from 1-7-1972 to 30-6-1975 and considering those two terms as consecutive to each other held that the petitioner is ineligible for being chosen as a member of the Committee for a third term in continuation under Section 21C of the Act. Seeking the quashing of that decision, the petitioner filed W.P. No. 3308 of 1975 which was dismissed in limine by my learned brother Chinnappa Reddi, J, on the ground that the lst petitioner has another remedy to question the election including the rejection of the nomination paper by way of an election petition. Aggrieved by that decision the petitioner preferred an appeal W.A. No 483/75 and a Division Bench before which the matter came up for disposal directed the appeal to be posted before a Full Bench. That is how this matter has come up before us.
42. Sri P.A. Chowdary, learned counsel appearing for the appellants contended before the Division Bench as well as before us that on a proper interpretation of Section 21-C of the Act, it is only the person who has held office as a member of the elected member for two consecutive terms that is rendered ineligible for being chosen as a member of the Committee for the third term and the petitioner was not a member of an elected committee at any time prior to 1972. Therefore, the inhibition embodied in Section 21-C does not apply to a case where a person is a member of a nominated committee. The learned counsel appearing on the other side placing reliance upon a decision of the Division Bench of this court dated 18-11-1970 in W.P. No. 4066 of 1970 and batch contended that Section 21-C applies both to elected and nominated members of the Committee. The Division Bench seemed to have inclined to doubt the correctness of that decision and directed the matter to posted before the Full Bench.
43. The point that arises for determination is whether the expression 'committee' occurring in Section 21-C of the Andhra Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act, 1964 refers to an elected committee as contended by the appellants or as nominated committee also as contended for by the respondents.
44. As the controversy is centered around the effect and the meaning of the aforesaid section we shall read the same in so far as it is material:
'21-C. Restriction on consecutive membership in committee :
A person who holds or who had held office as a member o the committee for two consecutive terms shall not be eligible for being chosen as a member of the committee for a third term in continuation.' Explanation : For purposes of this section:
(i) Where a period, during which there is no elected committee, intervenes between two terms of office of the committee or of any of its members, those two terms shall be regarded as being consecutive to each other.
(ii) A member shall be deemed to hold office for a term, notwithstanding that he has not held the office for a full term.'
45. The expression 'committee' as occurring in Section 21-C and as defined in Section 2 (1) of the Act do not throwaway light upon the question raised in this case viz., whether that expression in Section 21-C refers to an elected committee only or whether it refers to a nominated committee also. The expression therefore is susceptible of bearing more than one construction. The dubiety or ambiguity of that expression necessitates finding out the intention or the object or policy of the framers of the enactment or the reasons for the enactment.
46. Section 21-C was inserted by way or an amendment by Section 5 of the Act 10 of 1970. The Statement of Objects and Reasons in so far as it is material for the bill which became law may be read now:
'At the Conference of Chief Ministers and Ministers of the States in charge of co-operation held at Madras on 12th June, 1968, certain recommendations were made for amending the Co-operative Societies Act in force in the States so as to make provision for the following, among other matters, namely for curbing the growth of vested interest in Co-operative Societies, imposing restriction on holding membership in the Committees of Co-operative Societies consecutively for more than two terms.'
It is this that is reflected in Section 5 of the Act 10 of 1970. Therefore, if the Objets and Reasons for the introduction of this Bill which became law namely that a view to curb the growth of vested interests in co-operative societies, it is enough to impose restrictions on holding membership in the committee of Co-operative Societies consecutively for more than two terms, is to be borne in mind while interpreting Section 21-C as reflecting the intention of the Legislature, there is no difficulty in construing the expression 'committee' as referring not merely to an elected committee but also to a nominated one as well.
47. Article 2245 and 246 read with Entry 32 in List II State List of the Seventh Schedule appended to the Constitution empower the State Legislature to make law with respect to the subject matter of 'Co-operative Societies'. The executive power of the State is vested in the Governor under Article 154 and rendered exercisable by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the Constitution. The executive power of the State under Article 162 extends to the matter with respect to which the Legislature of the State has power to make laws. The Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head shall have to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions. (Article 163). The same pattern obtains in the se of Union also. A parliamentary system of Government with a cabinet is thus introduced in India through the aforesaid provisions.
48. The crux of the cabinet Government was graphically described by Bhagihot as early as the year 1967 in his book. 'The English Constitution' thus :
'The efficient secret of the English Constitution may be described as the close upon, the nearly complete fusion of the executive and legislative powers. ........ A cabinet is a combining committee of hyphen, the legislative part of the State to the executive part of the state. In its origin it belongs to the one in its functions it belongs to the other.'
49. Mukherjea, C.J, in Ram Jawaya v. State of Punjab, : 2SCR225 observed thus :
'Our Constitution, though federal in its structure, is modelled on the British Parliamentary system where the executive is deemed to have the primary responsibility for the formulation of governmental policy and its transmission into law though the condition precedent to the exercise of this responsibility is its retaining the confidence of the legislative branch of the State. The executive function comprises both the determination of the policy as well as carrying it into execution,. This evidently includes the initiation of legislation, the maintenance of order, the promotion of social and economic welfare, the direction of foreign policy, in fat the carrying on or supervision of the general administration of the State.'
At page 237 :
'................ The Cabinet enjoying, as it does, a majority in the legislature concentrates in itself the virtual control of both legislative and executive functions; and as the Ministers constituting the Cabinet are presumably agreed on fundamentals and act on the principle of collective responsibility, the most important questions of policy are all formulated by them.'
50. What is therefore manifest is that the responsibility for the formulation of governmental policy and its transmission into law including the initiation of legislation are squarely placed upon the executive under our Constitution and the Cabinet concentrates in itself the virtual control of both legislative and executive functions. The initiation of legislation takes in within its fold the introducing of bills into the legislature by the executive. Therefore, the Statement of Objects and Reasons for the introduction of the bill furnishes the court with reliable extrinsic evidence as regards the purpose of object or reason for an Act.
51. In Kochuni v. State of Madras and Karen, : 3SCR887 Justice Subba Rao (as he then was) resorted to the Object and Reasons of the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Bill to conclude that the object of the insertion of Article 21-A was to secure agrarian reform and that expression used in that Article should be interpreted with his object in view. The learned Judge, after referring to the holding of the Supreme Court in Aswani Kumar Ghose v. Arbinda Bose, : 4SCR1 held:
'That the Statement of Objects and Reasons is not admissible as an aid to the construction of a statute. But we are referring to it only for the limited purpose of ascertaining the conditions prevailing at the time the bill was introduced and the purpose for which the amendment was made.'
Therefore, the Objects and Reasons of a bill can be looked into for the purpose of ascertaining the purpose for which an amendment was made.
51-A. In Express Newspaper Ltd., v. Union of India, : (1961)ILLJ339SC it was observed by Justice Bhagwati with regard to the Statement of Objects and Reasons attached to a bill thus :
'It is only when the terms of the statute are ambiguous or vague that resort may be had to them for the purpose of arriving at the true intention of the Legislature.'
52. In Shiv Narayan v. State of Madras, : 1967CriLJ946 Justice Ramaswami speaking for the Supreme Court observed with respect to a rule of interpretation thus :--
'It is a sound rule of interpretation that a statute should be so construed as to prevent the mischief and to advance remedy according to the true intention of the makers of the statute. In construing therefore, Section 2 (c) of the Act and in determining its true scope it is permissible to have regard to all such factors as can legitimately be taken into account in ascertaining the intention of the legislature, such as the history of the statute, the reason which led to its being passed, the mischief which it intended to suppress and the remedy provided by the statute for curing the mischief. That was the rule laid down in Heydon's case (1584) 3 WR 16 = (76 ER 637), which was accepted by this court in Bengal Immunity Co. Ltd., v. State of Bihar : 2SCR603 .'
53. In Commissioner of Income-tax v. Sodra Devi, : 32ITR615(SC) , Justice Bhagwati referring to the ambiguity of the term 'individual' in Section 16 (3) (a) of the Income-tax Act, 1922 observed thus :
'In order to resolve this ambiguity therefore we must by necessity have resort to the state of the law before the enactment of the provisions; the mischief and defect for which the law did not provide the remedy which the legislature resolved and appointed to cure the defect and the true reason of the remedy within the meaning of the authorities referred to above.'
54. Referring to the recommendations of the Enquiry Committee His Lordship proceeded to observe at page 839:
'These recommendations were duly considered by the Government and as result thereof Act IV of 1937 was enacted introducing Section 16 (3) of the Act. What was intended to be done by the legislature in enacting this amendment may be gleaned to a certain extent from the Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Bill which eventually became the amending Act. Though it is not legitimate to refer to the Statement of Objects and Reasons as an aid to the construction or for ascertaining the meaning of any particular word used in the Act or Statute (See Aswani Kuar Ghose v. Arabinda Bose, : 4SCR1 ); nevertheless this Court in State of West Bengal v. Subodh Gopal Bose, : 1SCR587 referred to the same for the limited purpose of ascertaining the conditions prevailing at the time which actuated the sponsor of the Bill to introduce the same and the extent and urgency of even which he sought to remedy.'
55. Chief Justice Gajedragadkar, observed in Sheik Gulfan v. Sant Kumar, : 3SCR364 thus :
'If two constructions are reasonably possible, the Court would be justified in preferring that construction which helps to carry out the beneficial purpose of the Act.'
56. Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England in Volume I at page 61 had thus to say :
'The most universal and effectual way of discovering the true meaning of a law, when the words are dubious, is by considering the reason and spirit of it, or the cause which moved the legislator to enact it.'
57. Francis J. Mc. Caffray in his 'Statutory Construction' said at page 18:
'There is little difference, if any between spirit and reason and the purpose of the law.'
58. Maxwell on 'The Interpretation of Statutes' (Twelfth (1969) Edition) at page 86 is of the view that the object or policy of the legislation often affords the answer to problems arising from ambiguities which it contains.
59. In American Jurisprudence (Volume 50) at page 279 Paragraph 298 deals with the subject-matter of 'Policy' thus:
'In construing a law of doubtful meaning or application, the policy which induced its enactment, or which was designed to be promoted thereby, is a proper subject for consideration where such policy is clearly apparent or can be legitimately ascertained. Indeed, the proper course in all cases is to adopt that sense of the words which promotes in the fullest manner the policy of the legislature in the enactment of the law, and to avoid a construction which would alter or defeat that policy, where the construction in harmony with the policy reasonably consistent with the language used. Even the literal meaning of the terms employed should not be suffered to defeat the manifest policy intended to be promoted.'
60. When the intention of the framers of the Act is not discernible through the ascertainment of the meaning of the words employed by them through interpretative process, resort is to be had to the process of construction. The distinction between the construction and interpretation is explained by Earl T. Crawford in the book 'Construction of Statutes' at page 240 thus :---
'Strictly speaking, construction and interpretation are not the same, although the two terms are often used interchangeably. Construction, however, to be technically correct, is the drawing of conclusions with respect to subjects that are beyond the direct expression of the text, from elements known and given in the text, while interpretation is the process of discovering the true meaning of the language used. Thus the Court will resort to interpretation when it endeavours to ascertain the meaning of a word found in a statute, which when considered with the other words in the Statute, may reveal a meaning different from that apparent when the word is considered abstractly or when given its usual meaning. But when the court goes beyond the language of the statute and seeks the assistance of extrinsic aids in order to determine whether a given case falls within the statute. It resorts to construction. The process to be used in any given case will depend upon the nature of the problem presented. And, as is apparent, both processes may be used in seeking the legislative intent in a given statute.'
If the legislative intent is not clear after the completion of interpretation, then the court will proceed to subject the statute to construction.'
At page 291 of the same volume under heading 'The spirit and reason of the law' the learned author observed thus :
'Closely related to the rule which permits the court to consider the effect of the statute, is the rule which allows consideration of the spirit and reason of the law. The effect of a suggested construction indicates, as we shall see later, whether it is in accord with the actual intent of the legislature. Actually, there seems to be but little distinction between the spirit and reason of the law and the law's purpose, or scope. While the purpose of a statute is the reason for its enactment, the spirit or reason of the law is, perhaps strictly speaking more closely connected to the legislative intention.
Since the intention of the legislature constitutes the law of its enactments, it is the intention rather than the literal meaning of the statue which controls or as is generally said the spirit of the statute will prevail over strict letter. Consequently, cases which do not come within the strict letter of the statute, if within the spirit, will fall within the scope of the statute, and cases within the letter of the statute, if without its spirit, will not come within its operation. But this principle is not applicable if the statute is clear and unambiguous, so that there is no doubt concerning the legislative intent.'
Travaux Preparatories -- The Preparatory Material of an Act.
61-62. The rigor of an exclusively literal interpretation of a statute is sought to be mellowed down by having resort to the objects of statute in the light of the surrounding circumstances in which it was enacted through the application of what has come to be known as the 'Mischief Rule' propounded in 1584 in Heydon's case, (3 Co. Rep. 7-A) in the following words :
'............... That for the sure and true interpretation of all statutes in general (be they penal or beneficial, restrictive or enlarging of the common law) four things are to be discerned and considered.
(1st) What was the common law before the making of the Act.
(2nd) What was the mischief and defect for which the common law did not provide.
(3rd) What remedy the Parliament hath resolved and appointed to cure the disease of the commonwealth, and;
(4th) The true reason of the remedy; and then the office of all the Judge is always to make such construction as shall suppress the mischief, and advance the remedy ........... according to the true intent of the makers, pro bono publico.'
This approach clearly contemplate a wide enquiry into the policy and purpose behind the statute.
63. Lord Denning, M.R., in Engineering Industry Training Board v. Samuel Talbot (Engineers) Ltd., (1969-1 All ER 480) said :
'We no longer construe acts of Parliament according to their literal meaning. We construe them according to their object and intent.'
The proposition in Heydon's case might have been adequate to deal with the limited kind of legislation that then existed. They need to be broadened and adapted to meet the conditions of today as our Supreme Court did in cases mentioned above.
64. The judicial committee of the Privy Council referred to extraneous matter in British Coal Corporation v. R., 1935 AC 500 = (AIR 1935 PC 158) when they examined the resolution of the Commonwealth Conference in order to interpret the Statute of Westminister, 1931. In Edward v. A.G. for Canada, (1969) 2 AC 413 a report in Hansard of a Parliamentary debate was consulted. In Dullewe v. Dullewe, (1930 AC 123) a report of the Commission on the mischief to be remedied was consulted.
65. The observations of Lord Blackstone in Riverwear Commissioners v. Adamson, (1877) 2 AC 743 are very instructive.
'In all cases, the object is to see what is the intention expressed by the words used. But from the imperfection of language, it is impossible to know what that intention is without inquiring further and seeing what the circumstances were with reference to which the words were used and what was the object appearing from those circumstances which the person using them had in view for the meaning of words varies, according to the circumstances with respect to which they were used.'
66. Justice Venkatarama Iyer, said in R.M.D.C. v. Union of India, : 1SCR930 :
'Now, when the question arises as to the interpretation to be put on an enactment, what the court has to do so is to ascertain 'the intent of them tat make it' and that must of course be gathered from the words actually used in the statute. That, however, does not mean that the decision should rest on a literal interpretation of the words used in disregard of all other materials. The literal construction ........... has .............. but prima facie preference. To arrive at the real meaning, it is always necessary to get an exact conception of the aid, scope and object of the whole Act .............. to decide the true scope of the present Act, therefore, we must have regard to all such facts as can legitimately be taken into account in ascertaining the intention of the legislature such as the history of the legislation and the purpose thereof, the mischief which it intended to suppress .................. '
67. The deep-rooted common law tradition of judicial hostility to legislative innovation resulting in the literal interpretation of a statute has been admirably brought out by Dean Roscoe Pound in a brilliant article 'Common Law and Legislation' published in XXI Harvard Law Review at page 383. The following passage at page 384 is very instructive.'
'It may be well, however, for judges and lawyers to remember that there is coming to be a science of legislation and that modern statutes are not to be disposed of lightly as off-hand products of a crude desire to do something, but represent long and patient study by experts, careful consideration by conferences or congresses or associations, press discussions in which public opinions focused upon all important details, and hearings before legislative committees. It may be well to remember also that while bench and bar are near weary of pointing out the deficiencies of legislation, to others the deficiencies of judge-made law are no less apparent. To economists and sociologists, judicial attempts to force Benthamite conceptions of freedom of contract and common law conceptions of individualism upon the public of today are no less amusing or even irritating than legislative attempts to do away with or get away from these conceptions are to bench and bar.'
68. Julius Stone in his 'Legal System and Lawyers' Reasonings at page 351 said :
'In principle, the court should be free to inform itself concerning the social context of the problems involved from all reliable sources. Such sources could be of various kinds; but whatever the limits of the range, it is difficult to see in principle why British Courts should exclude rigidly and a wholesale all reference whatsoever to the legislative travaux preparatories. Moreover, this is the last thing that would be expected from a theory of interpretation which claims to be centered on the intention of the legislator. Yet we see confronted by the rigid British canon (not followed in the United States) or on the Continent, that travaux preparatories however clear and decisive on the point at issue, are never to be consulted in aid of interpretation, a canon which the Australian High Court has applied on constitutional issues of major importance.'
The learned author in his classic work 'The Province and Function of Law' at page 200 said:
'But the common lawyers, despite the growing importance of legislation, has not acquired the technique of handling legislative materials in a similarly creative manner to that in which he handles case law. Our Judges do not yet argue by analogy from statutes as they do from cases.'
The 'Inarticulate Major Premise'.
69. Holmes was of the view that social policy is the 'Inarticulate Major Premise' for Judicial decision.
'Sociological jurisprudence insists, as a matter of value that the social advantage of the rule is its major test, since the welfare of society is the general aid of the law. The judge applying this test depends not only upon his impression of public opinion or the 'felt necessities of the time', but also upon the widest possible fund of experience.'
(From 'The Judicial Process and Social Change' by Davis and Foster at page 129).
Sociological Briefs ----- Brandeis Brief :
'In the United States, the 'Brandeis brief' has had great vogue coming into prominence after being used in Muller v. Oregon, (1908) 208 US 412. The Brandeis technique of marshaling social and economic data in the brief presented to the Court in argument to support the constitutionality of a statute was addressed to 'Judicial notice' Brewe, J., who spoke for the Court in that case, referring to the brief filed by Brandeis stated that we take judicial cognizance of all matters of general knowledge.'
This Brandeis brief compilation of data is designed to indicate the actual or probable social effects of legislation and it was recognised as a valid aid to judicial review of legislation. The principle underlying in that though propounded in the context of interpretation of a constitution can as well be extended to the interpretation of a statute.
70. The propositions deducible from the foregoing discussion may now be recapitulated.
(1) The Common Law canons of interpretation in the back-ground of traditional judicial hostility towards legislative innovations with their emphasis on individualism resulting in literal interpretation of statutes are hardly sufficient without a corresponding broadening of their basis to meet the needs and challenges of modern legislation which registers a shift in emphasis away from individualism especially when it is utilised as an instrument of social control.
(2) Despite the growing importance of legislation as an instrument of social control, the common lawyer has not acquired, (not to seek of not having perfected) the art and technique of handling legislative materials in the same creative manner as he does with case law. We have yet to learn to argue by analogy from statutes as we do from cases.
(3) It is the intention of the legislature that constitutes law of the enactment. When that intention is not capable of being ascertained through intrinsic evidence by the ascertainment of the meaning of the expressions employed in the statute, through the interpretative process, resort should necessarily be had to extrinsic evidence through the process of construction. That necessitates a reference to Travaux Preparatories -- the preparatory material of an Act, including 'Objects and Reasons'.
(4) The responsibility for the formulation of Governmental policy and its transmission into law including the initiation of legislation is squarely placed upon the executive in our Constitution and that initiation of Legislation consists in introducing bills in the Legislation by the Executive, with a statement of objects and reasons. No source is more authentic or authoritative for the ascertainment of the intention of Legislature than that.
(5) The State has been utilizing the devise and framework of Co-operative Societies for ushering in some of the welfare functions. Even without the assistance of 'objects and reasons' I could have come to the conclusion that the intention of the Legislature in this amendatory legislation underlying Section 21-C of the Act is only to curb the growth of vested interests in Co-operative Societies. That intention of the Legislature can be given effect to by the judiciary only by construing the expression 'Committee' in Section 21-C of the Act as referring to not only an elected committee but also to a nominated committee of the Co-operative Society. Sociological approach towards legislative problems emphasises the need to secure the implementation of the social policy through the type of construction of statutes.
71. I may at this stage dispose of a point raised by Sri P.A. Chowdary that the committee of which the lst petitioner was a member during the period from the year 1957 to 1962 was not a validly nominated one by the Registrar.
72. The Election Officer by the impugned order found under point No. 1 after perusal of the minute book of the Society that the petitioner was one of the members of the nominated committee of the society from 5-1-1958 to 24-1101961. There is a remedy by way of an election petition available to the petitioner as against the impugned order rejecting the nomination. That is the proper forum to canvas about the existence or the non-existence of the Committee during that period. There is no material before me to express any opinion on that aspect and the Election Officer based his conclusion on the basis of the contents of the minutes book of the society. Moreover the question of interpreting and applying Section 21-C for which purpose this Full Bench was constituted is predicated on the assumption that there was a nominated committee of the Society in existence between 5-1-1958 to 24-11-1961 as found by the Election Officer and, as such, I do not consider it to be proper to go behind that finding of the Election Officer.
73. Appeal dismissed.