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State of U.P. Vs. Vishwanath Kapoor and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1980CriLJ494
AppellantState of U.P.
RespondentVishwanath Kapoor and ors.
Cases ReferredMadho Ram v. State (supra
Excerpt:
- - section 9 gives power to the registrar to register a society and its bye-laws if he is satisfied that the society has complied with the provisions of the act and the rules. 16. it is thus well settled that a company incorporated under the companies act is not created by or under the companies act though it comes into existence in accordance with the provisions of the act. this view of ours is well supported by decision of different high courts in this country......needs reconsideration. the following question has thus been referred to us:whether a co-operative society registered under the co-operative societies act, is a body created by or under state law within the meaning of sub-clause twelfth of section 21 of the indian penal code ?sub-clause twelfth of section 21 of the indian penal code reads as follows:twelfth-every person-(a) in the service or pay of the government or remunerated by fee or commission for the performance of any public duty by the government;(b) in the service or pay of a local authority a corporation established by or under a central, provincial or state act or a government company as defined in section 617 of the companies act, 1956. in view of the wordings of sub-clause (b) of sub-clause 12th of section 21 of the indian.....
Judgment:

T.S. Misra, J.

1. In the instant revision the learned single Judge felt that the law laid down in Madho Ram v. State 1966 All WR HC 421 needs reconsideration. The following question has thus been referred to us:

Whether a Co-operative Society registered under the Co-operative Societies Act, is a body created by or under State law within the meaning of sub-clause Twelfth of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code ?

Sub-clause Twelfth of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code reads as follows:

Twelfth-Every person-

(a) in the service or pay of the Government or remunerated by fee or commission for the performance of any public duty by the Government;

(b) in the service or pay of a local authority a corporation established by or under a Central, Provincial or State Act or a Government Company as defined in Section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956. In view of the wordings of sub-clause (b) of sub-clause 12th of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, we have reframed the question as under:Whether a Co-operative Society registered under the Co-operative Societies Act is a corporation established by or under a State Act within the meaning of sub-clause 12th of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code?

2. The respondents were charged for an offence under Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Sections 409, 120B, 195, 467, 204, 218, 471 and 477 of the Indian Penal Code and the cognizance of the case was taken by the Special Judge, Faizabad. The learned Special Judge on a consideration of the facts and law placed before him, came to the conclusion that it was not a fit case for framing charges against any of the accused persons who were, therefore, discharged under Section 239 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The State of U. P. has preferred this revision against the said order of the learned Special Judge,

3. It seems that before the learned Special Judge it was urged that the accused persons were not public servants within the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, However, on behalf of the State it was contended that the District Co-operative Bank, Faizabad of which Sri Viswanath Kapoor, Advocate was the Managing Director and Sri Jokhan Singh was the Cashier and Allan Khan was the officiating Manager and Mahraj Bux Singh was the Assistant Accountant at the material time, is a corporation established by or under State Act and, therefore/the said accused persons were public servants within the meaning of Section 21 clause 12th, of the Indian Penal Code. The learned Special Judge rejected the contention raised on behalf of the State and observed that the clause 'corporation established by or under' has reference to certain public corporations which are established by or under an Act. According to the learned Special Judge, the District Cooperative Bank, Faizabad is not a corporation within the meaning of clause 12th of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code; nor do the aforesaid persons fall within the scope of Section 124 of the U. P. Co-operative Societies Act and as they are not public servants, Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act is not attracted, hence the court as Special Judge had no jurisdiction to try the case.

4. It appears that before the learned single Judge it was reiterated on behalf of the State that the District Co-operative Bank, Faizabad, is a corporation established by or under the State Act and, therefore, the respondents 1 to 4 were public servants within the meaning of clause 12th of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code and in support of that. contention reliance was placed on a decision of a learned single Judge in Madho Ram v. State 1966 All WR HC 421.

5. In Madho Ram's case (supra) the learned Magistrate had committed Madho Ram to the Court of Session to stand his trial under Sections 216 and 456 of the Indian Penal Code. Madho Ram was an employee of the Provincial Co-operative Union, Lucknow and the main ground on which the order of commitment was sought to be quashed was that the said co-operative Union was not a Statutory body incorporated by an Act and that the petitioner was not a public servant, hence he could not have been charged with the offence under Section 218 of the Indian Penal Code. The petitioner had urged in that case that the 12th clause of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code was not attracted because the Provincial Co-operative Union, Lucknow had not been established by any Central, Provincial or the State Act. The learned single Judge after examining the scheme of the Co-operative Societies Act, observed:

It would thus appear that while the provisions contained in the aforesaid Societies Act do not specifically create or establish any corporation they contemplate the establishment of corporation on the registration of a Society in accordance with the provisions of the Act. On registration of a Society in accordance with the provisions of the Act a corporation is established by virtue of the provisions of the aforesaid Societies Act. The expression 'established by a Central, Provincial or State Act' as used in the 12th clause referred to above is wide enough to cover the establishment by virtue of a Central, Provincial or State Act. In other words a corporation established by virtue of a Central, Provincial or State Act is also a Corporation established by either of the aforesaid Acts. The establishment of the Provincial Co-operative Union, Luck-now, as a corporation is by virtue of the provisions of the Co-operative Societies Act referred to above.

The learned single Judge, therefore, rejected the contention of Madho Ram that as the Provincial Co-operative Union, Lucknow was not specifically established as a corporation by specific provisions of Co-operative Societies Act, 1912, the employees of the aforesaid provincial cooperative union will not be a public servant. According to the learned single Judge the Co-operative Societies Act contemplates the establishment of corporation on the registration of a Society in accordance with the provisions of the Act and that clause 12th of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code is wide enough to cover the establishment by virtue of a Central, Provincial or a State Act.

6. Sub-clause (b) of sub-clause 12th of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code treats every person in the service or pay of a corporation established by or under a Central, Provincial or State Act as a public servant. The moot question, therefore, is whether a Co-operative Society registered under the U. P. Co-operative Societies Act is a corporation established by or under that State Act. This necessarily involves the question what is the semantic-juristic sweep of the expression 'established' and when that has been answered, there would be the question what is meant by the words 'by the Act' and 'under the Act.'

7. What does the word 'established' in clause 12th of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code mean? 'In Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Third Edition, Vol. I, it has been said that the word 'establish' occurs frequently in the Constitution of the United States and it is here used in different meanings; and five such meanings have been given, one of them being 'to create, to ratify, or confirm'. In Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, the word 'establish' has a number of meanings i. e, to ratify, confirm, settle, to found, to create. In Wesbster's Third New International Dictionary, the word 'establish' has been given a number of meanings, namely, 'to found or base squarely, to make firm or stable, to bring into existence, create, make, start, originate. We are of opinion that for the purposes of sub-clause (b) of clause 12th of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code the word 'establish' means 'to create'. There is a clear distinction between the word 'registered' or 'incorporated' and the word 'established'. If the Legislature was thinking of incorporation of a Company or a Registration of a company, then why the word 'incorporated' or the word 'registered' was not used instead of the word 'established'? A salutary principle of interpretation of words is that the words of Statute must be understood in the sense which the Legislature has in view and their meaning must be found not so much in a strictly grammatical or etymological propriety of] language; nor in its popular use, as in the subject or the occasion oh which they are used and the object to be attained. Mr. Justice Holmes in felicitous language in Town v. Eisner (1917) 245 US 418 had observed:

a word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in colour and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.

The rule in Heydon's case (1584) 76 ER 637 requires four things to be discerned and considered in arriving at the real meaning of a word that is (i) what was the law before the Act was passed; (ii) what was the mischief or defect for which the law had not provided; (iii) what remedy Parliament has appointed; and (iv) the reason of remedy.

8. It appears that by virtue of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1958, 12th clause was inserted in Section 21 of the Penal Code which runs as follows:

Twelfth : - Every officer in the service or pay of a local authority or of a corporation engaged in any trade or industry which is established by a Central, Provincial or State Act or of a Government company as defined in Section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956.

This Act also amended certain provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 in enlarging the concept of criminal misconduct but it did not at all amend any portion of Section 2 of the Act, perhaps the reason being that in view of the enlargement of the definition of 'public servant' in Section 21 of the Penal Code express amendment of Section 2 of the Act was not necessary.

9. By virtue of the amendment in Corruption Laws Amendment Act, 1964 (Act No. 40 of 1964) clause 12th of Section 21, was substituted as follows;-

Twelfth- Every person-(a) in the service or pay of the Government or remunerated by fee or commission for the performance of any public duty by the Government, (b) in the service or pay of a local authority, a corporation established by or under a Central, Provincial or State Act or a Government Company as defined in Section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956.

10. It would thus appear that by virtue of these two amendments the Parliament sought to enlarge the definition of 'Public Servant' so as to include even an employee of the Government Company or a corporation thereto by or under a Central, Provincial or State Act with the avowed object or stamping out corruption at various levels prevailing in the country.

11. Applying the aforesaid test of interpretation in the light of the object sought to be achieved by firstly, inserting clause 12th in the year 1958 and then amending clause 12th in 1964, we are of the view that the term 'established' in clause twelfth of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code connotes 'created'. It does not mean 'registered' or 'incorporated.'

12. A Co-operative Society is a Society formed voluntarily by individuals and got registered under the Co-operative Societies Act. Section 6 of the U. P. Co-operative Societies Act lays down the conditions under which registration can be effected. Section 9 gives power to the Registrar to register a Society and its bye-laws if he is satisfied that the Society has complied with the provisions of the Act and the rules. A Society when so registered becomes a body corporate by the name under which it is registered with perpetual succession and a common seal. Can such a Society which is registered under the Societies Act be said to be a corporation established by the Act or a corporation established under the Act? In other words will such Society be said to be a Society created by the U. P. Co-operative Societies Act or created under the said Act?

13. A body created by or under an Act is a creature of the Statute. It is created by or under a Statutory provision and has no independent existence. To cite some' illustrations, Section 3 of the Life Insurance Corporation Act has established the Life Insurance Corporation. Thus the Life Insurance Corporation is a corporation established by the Central Act and any person in its service is a public servant. Similarly, Oil & Natural Gas Com-1 mission Act, 1959 has established the Oil' & Natural Gas Commission as a body corporate, it is also a case where a corporation is established by the Act; hence any person in its service will be a public servant. So also Industrial Finance Corporation is established by Section 3 of the Industrial Finance Corporation Act, 1948,

14. We may now give illustrations of Corporations established under the Act. Road Transport Corporation is established under the Road Transport Corporation Act. Similarly, State Electricity Board has been established under the Electricity Act. It was pointed out in Vaish Degree College v. Lakshmi Narain AIR 1976 SC 888 that a body or authority created by a statute is a Statutory body but even a body or authority which is created under Statute, as for example, State Transport Corporation which is created by the State under the State Road Transport Act, 1950, would also be a statutory body. In the one case, the body is created by the statute itself, and in the other case the body is created by the State under the statute. But they are all statutory bodies. The difference between the Statutory body and an incorporated Company or a registered Society is quite obvious. A Statutory body owes its existence to a Central or State Act having its objects and power denned thereby; whereas a Company incorporated under the Companies Act stands on a different footing. It is regulated by its Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association. The provisions of the Companies Act which speak of the incorporation of the Company do not speak of the incorporation as the creation of a Company but they speak of a Company being Incorporated with a reference to the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association. In Wenlock v. River Dee Co. (1885) 10 AC 354 (363) Lord Watson said:

Whenever a corporation is created by an Act with reference to the purposes of the Act, and solely with a view to carrying those purposes into execution not only the objects which the corporation may legitimately pursue must be ascertained from the Act itself, but the powers which the corporation may lawfully use in futherance of those objects must either be expressly conferred or derived from reasonable implication from its provisions.

15. Noticing the distinction between a Company incorporated under the Companies Act and a statutory body it was observed by the Supreme Court in Vaish Degree College case (supra) that a Company makes rules and regulations in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act, the statutory body on the other hand makes rules and regulations by and under the powers conferred by a Statute creating such bodies. Regulations in Table-A of the Companies Act are to be adopted by a Company, Such adoption is a Statutory requirement. A company cannot come into existence unless it is incorporated in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act. A company cannot exercise powers unless the company follows the Statutory provisions. The provision in the Registration Act requires registration of instruments. The provisions in the Stamp Act contain provisions for stamping of documents. The non-compliance with Statutory provisions will render a document to be of no effect. The source of the power for making rules and regulations in the case of corporation created by Statute is the Statute itself. A company incorporated under the Companies Act is not created by the Companies Act but comes into existence in accordance with the provisions of the Act. It is not a Statutory body because it is not created by the Statute. It is a body created in accordance with the provisions of the Statute.

16. It is thus well settled that a Company incorporated under the Companies Act is not created by or under the Companies Act though it comes into existence in accordance with the provisions of the Act. So also Co-operative Society is formed by certain individuals. It is not created by the Co-operative Societies Act, rather it is a body created in accordance with the provisions of the Act. It is registered when an application for it is made by the individuals forming the Society and on its registration it becomes a body corporate having perpetual succession and a common seal and to be known by the name under which it is registered. It is self-governed body but it is not a statutory body as it is not created by the Co-operative Societies Act. The question to be asked is if there is no Statute, would the institution have any legal existence. If the answer is in negative, then it is a Statutory body. But if the institution has its separate existence of its own without any reference to the Statute concerned, but is merely governed by the Statutory provisions, it cannot be said to be Statutory body. Under these tests a Co-operative Society cannot be called a Statutory body.

17. In our opinion a Co-operative Society registered under the Co-operative Societies Act is not Corporation established by or under a Central, Provincial or the State Act. This view of ours is well supported by decision of different High Courts in this Country.

18. In : (1960)IILLJ207Ker (Arumugham v. Kadulundy Co-operative Urban Bank), a question arose as to whether a Co-operative Bank registered under the Madras Co-operative Societies Act was a Statutory body created by the Act. Section 4 of that Act enables a Society to be registered under the Act. A financing Bank is a registered society under Section 2 (c) of that Act and a registered Society means, a Society registered or deemed to be a Society registered under the Act. The Court held that a body which is the creature of a Statute, such as the University under the Kerala f University Act, is different from a body which is registered in pursuance of a Statute or is recognised by it.

19. Relying on a decision of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in : (1959)ILLJ618MP (Ram Nath Sharma v. State of Madhya Pradesh) it was held by the learned Judge that the Bank was not a Statutory body but only banking corporation registered under the Act and its bye-laws did not have Statutory force.

20. In the case of Ram Nath Sharma v. State of Madhya Pradesh : (1959)ILLJ618MP it was held;

There are on the other hand a number of Banks or banking or commercial corporations not created by Statute, but incorporated or registered under it, and subject to it, and such rules and regulations as might be made under it. There are controlling authorities empowered to enforce the special law on the corporations. These controlling authorities are State as defined in Article 12 and, if they abuse their powers or violate any provision of the law, the aggrieved corporation can seek a remedy by way of a writ, but the employee or a third party contracting with the corporation cannot seek the remedy of a writ, against it, because the offending corporation is not State as defined in Article 12 of the Constitution and exercises no public Functions.

In : AIR1970Cal557 (Shanti Ranjan Bhattacharaya v. The State) the petitioner was tried for an offence under Section 409 of the Indian Penal Code. He was a Secretary of Mahasakti Samabaya Samiti a registered Co-opertive Society. While working as such Secretary the petitioner was said to have committed criminal breach of trust in respect of a huge sum. The petitioner in that case raised an objection before the Special Court that the said court had no jurisdiction to try the case, inasmuch as he was not a public servant within the meaning of Twelfth Clause of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code. The learned Special Judge found that the petitioner was a public servant. The matter was then carried before the High Court and the same plea was reiterated on behalf of the petitioner. The Division Bench held that a registered Co-operative Society is not Corporation established under the Co-operative Societies Act. The clause 'Corporation established by or under', has reference to some 'public corporation established either by or under some statutes.' It was noticed that under Section 14 of the Cooperative Societies Act a registered Cooperative Society is a body Corporate for the purposes enumerated in Section 19 but it did not become a corporation established by or under Co-operative Societies Act; Sarkar, J. further observed in that case that so far the Co-operative Society is concerned the purpose for which the Society is constituted is to discharge certain functions under the Co-operative Societies Act. It does not by itself establish any corporation strictly so-called though after the Society is set up and it is registered under the Co-operative Societies Act the fact of such registration may grant certain rights of corporate bodies to the Co-operative Society itself. But from that it does not necessarily follow that a corporation and a Co-operative Society Act are synonymous terms. In this view of the matter it appears to me that a Co-operative Society does not become a corporation because for some specific purposes it functions as a corporate body. It will appear from Section 19 of the Cooperative Societies Act that this power of a Corporate body is given to the Co-operative Society for certain specific and limited purposes as provided under the Act. Proceeding further the learned Judge observed.

On analysing Section 21 also it will appear that both from the language of the twelfth clause and from the scheme of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code that legislature did not intend to cover those cases where a person holds office for any particular private company or society for the benefit of that company or society only. It is significant that in Section 21 clause 12 (b), the Government Company under Section 617 has been included thereby excluding by necessary implications other private companies though they function as body corporate. In this view of the matter 12th clause cannot be attracted to the instant case.

In 1972 Cri LJ 558, (Somsetti Lakshimi Narsimayaya v. State of Andhra Pradesh), the Andhra Pradesh High Court took a similar law in holding that a registered co-operative Society is not a 'corporation established by or under Co-operative societies Act.' It held-

the clause 'corporation established by or under' has reference to some public corporation established either by or under some statutes.

There is thus ample authority for the proposition that a Co-operative Society registered under a Co-operative Societies Act is not established by or under the Co-operative Societies Act. A society registered in accordance with the provisions of the Co-operative Societies Act is a corporation which comes into existence in accordance with the provisions of that Act, but it is not established by the Act or pursuant to the Act or by virtue of the Act or under Act. The observation of C. B. Capoor, J. in Madho Ram v. State (supra) to the contrary is, with respect, not sound. In our view Madho Ram's case (supra) does not lay down the correct law on the point.

21. Our answer to the question referred to is, therefore, as follows;

A co-operative society registered under the U. P. Co-operative Societies Act is not a Corporation established by or under a Central, Provincial or State Act.

22. Let the papers be laid before the Hon'ble single Judge with this answer.


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