D.M. Dharmadhikari, J.
1. In this revision under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure, preferred by the present applicant who is plaintiff in the trial Court, a pure question of jurisdiction of Civil Court has been raised which has been decided against the plaintiff by the trial Court. The learned trial Judge i.e. the District Judge, Balaghat by the impugned order dated 4-4-1995 held that the claim lodged by the plaintiff against the respondent-Co-operative Society (namely, M.P. Rajya Laghu Van Upaj Sahkari Sangh Maryadit) is exclusively referable as a dispute for decision to the Registrar of Co-operative Societies under Section 64 of the M.P. Co-operative Societies Act (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act' for short) and the Civil Court's jurisdiction is expressly barred under Section 82(l)(c) of the said Act.
2. Before considering the contentions advanced on behalf of the plaintiff by the learned Counsel Shri M.M. Agrawal, Advocate, it is necessary to examine the nature of the claim laid in the civil suit. The defendant-Co-operative Society issued a tender notice inviting tender for purchase and sale of Marribulam (Harra), a forest product. The plaintiff submitted his tender for a sum of Rs. 61,301/- to obtain a right to purchase Harra. He deposited earnest money of Rs. 3200/- and bank guarantee of Rupees 12,500/-. A formal contract was entered into between the Co-operative Society and the plaintiff on 17-1-1989. Under the terms of the contract, the plaintiff was required to purchase entire quantity of Harra collected by the society through primary societies attached to it. Under the terms of the contract, the petitioner was bound to collect Harra from the delivery centres of the society. The plaintiffs case is that in the relevant year the defendant-Co-operative Society through the co-operative societies attached to it failed to collect any quantity of Harra and, therefore, the plaintiff could not, in exercise of his right under the contract, obtain any Harra for his trading activity. According to the plaintiff, as the society failed to perform its part of the contract in making available Harra at delivery centres, the plaintiff is entitled to refund of his earnest money and the bank guarantee. On notice being sent by the plaintiff, the society refused to refund the earnest money and the bank guarantee. Instead, the society served a notice for deposit of the balance amount of instalments under the contract. This led to the filing of the suit by the plaintiff for recovery of Rs. 19,505/- and for restraining the defendants from recovering a sum of Rs.47,490/-.
3. On the objection raised by the society with regard to the bar of jurisdiction of civil suit, the learned District Judge framed a preliminary issue and decided the same by holding that the claim raised in the civil suit constituted a dispute touching the business of the society and is clearly referable and exclusively determinable by the Registrar of the Co-operative Societies in terms of the provisions contained in Section 64(l)(c) of the Act.
4. Before setting out the contentions advanced by the parties and considering their merits, it would be necessary to reproduce the relevant provisions contained in Section 64(l)(c) and Sub-section (2) of Section 64 of the Act which read as under:
'64. Disputes.-- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, any dispute touching the constitution, management or business of a society or the liquidation of a society shall be referred to the Registrar by any of the parties to the dispute if the parties thereto are among the following:--
xxx xxx xxx(c) a person other than a member of the society who has been granted a loan by the society or with whom the society has or had business transactions and any person claiming through such a person.
xxx xxx xxx(2) For the purposes of Sub-section (1), a dispute shall include :--
(i) a claim by a society for any debt or demand due to it from a member, past member or the nominee, heir or legal representative of a deceased member, whether such debt or demand be admitted or not;
(ii) a claim by a surety against the principal debtor where the society has recovered from the surety any amount in respect of any debt or demand due to it from the principal debtor as a result of the default of the principal debtor, whether such debt or demand be admitted or not;
(iii) a claim by a society for any loss caused to it by a member, past member or deceased member, any officer, past officer or deceased officer, any agent, past agent or deceased agent or any servant, past servant or deceased servant, or its committee, past or present, whether such loss be admitted or not;
(iv) a question regarding rights, etc., including tenancy rights between a housing society and its tenants or members; and
(v) any dispute arising in connection with the election of any officer of the society or representative of the society or of composite society.'
5. In assailing the order of the learned trial Judge, the learned Counsel appearing for the plaintiff contends that the provisions of Section 64 read with Section 82 providing bar of jurisdiction of Civil Court should be strictly construed as per the settled cannon of construction. Construing the provisions of Section 64, the argument advanced is that in order to oust the jurisdiction of Civil Court, the dispute must be of one of the types or nature mentioned in Sub-clauses (i) to (v) of Sub-section (2) of Section 64. It is contended that since the present claim or dispute is not covered by any of the Sub-clauses (i) to (v) of Sub-section (2) of Section 64, the jurisdiction of Civil Court cannot be held to be ousted. It is submitted that for the purpose of holding that the dispute is exclusively referable and liable to be adjudicated upon by the Registrar, the claim should be between the parties mentioned in Sub-section (1) of Section 64 and of the nature falling in Sub-clauses (i) to (v) of Sub-section (2) of the said Section. It is argued that the plaintiff had entered into only one contract with the society and it could not, therefore, be held that the 'society has or had business transactions with him' within the meaning of Sub-clause (c) of Sub-section (i) of Section 64. It is also argued that the words 'business transactions' connote plurality of relationship between the parties and one single deal of contract between the parties is not covered by the expression. Reliance is placed on a Single Bench decision of this Court delivered by Shri A.P. Sen, J. (as he then was) in State Bank of India Employees' Co-operative Housing Society Ltd. v. Nawal Shankar Dave, 1972 MPLJ 71. The other limb of argument advanced on behalf of the plaintiff is that Sub-section (2) of Section 64 contains the categories or types of disputes which alone are referable and the use of the word 'include' in the opening part of Sub section (2) is intended to make the list exhaustive and not illustrative of the disputes which are referable to the Registrar, The South Gujarat Roofing Tiles Manufacturers' Association v. State of Gujarat, AIR 1977 SC 90 in support of the contention that the word 'include' in the opening part of Sub-section (2) should be construed as exhausting the categories of dispute referable under the said Section between the parties mentioned in Subsection (1) of Section 64.
6. It is submitted, relying on the decision of A.P. Sen, J. (supra), that for want of plurality of transactions between the parties another learned single Judge of this Court, Shri H.G. Mishra, J. (as he then was) in Kundansingh Dolatram v. State of M.P., 1079 MPLJ 203 has held that jurisdiction of Civil Court is not barred by the provisions of Section 64 read with Section 8I(l)(c) of the Act.
7. The first limb of the argument advanced on behalf of the petitioner/plaintiff based on the interpretation of the provisions of Sub-section (1) of Section 64 of the Act may first be taken up for consideration and decision. It is not disputed on behalf of the plaintiff that the dispute 'touches the business of the society' within the meaning of Subsection (1) of Section 64. This aspect was not disputed and rightly so, because collection and sale of forest produce is one of the main objects of the society for which it is formed. Shivdayal, J. (as he then was) in the case of The Regional Co-operative Marketing Society Ltd. v. Sitaram, 1972 MPLJ (Note 3) had an occasion to construe the words 'touching the business' used in Sub-section (1) of Section 64, Relying on the definition contained in Corpus Juris Secundum, Vol. 12, the learned Judge said that 'the word 'business' when used 'in its broad, its broader, or in its broadest, sense, in its more general or common use', carries with it a very broad meaning. Understood even in the narrower sense, it must be said that where, in connection with the business dealings of a society, a Manager takes an advance but does not account for it, the dispute touches the business of the society'.
8. As far as the word 'touching' used in Sub-section (1) of Section 64, Shivdayal, J. placed the following interpretation:
'The word 'touching' is of wide import. Here, the defendant being its Branch Manager, the dispute is one touching the business of the Society. That expression is not restricted in its scope so as to be confined to a dispute which is connected with or concerned with or has relation to the business of a cooperative society. That expression is not restricted to the dealing with the members of the society but also includes business which the co-operative society is empowered to transact under the law.'
9. On the expression 'touches the business of the society', the authoritative pronouncement of the Apex Court can be seen which assigns a narrower meaning to the word business' used in Section 19(1) of Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1961. The Supreme Court in the case of Deccan Merchants Co-operarative Bank Ltd. v. Dalichand Jugraj Jain, AIR 1969 SC 1320 construed the words 'touching the business of the society' as under :--
'The word 'business' in Sub-section (1) of Section 91 has been used in narrower sense and it means the actual trading or other similar business activity of the society which the society is authorised to enter into under the Act and the Rules and bye-1aws.'
Construing the word 'touching', this is what the Apex Court has said:
'Although the nature of business which a society does can be ascertained from the objects of the society, it cannot be said that whatever the society does or is necessarily required to do for the purpose of carrying but its objects is part of its business. The word 'touching' is very wide and would include any matters which relates to or concerns the business of a society, but it is doubtful whether the word 'affects' should also be used in defining the scope of the word 'touching'. The question whether a dispute touching the assets of a society would be a dispute touching the business of the society would depend on the nature of the and the rules and bye-laws governing it.'
10. The above two cases, therefore, are helpful in coming to the conclusion, which is also not. disputed, that the dispute in the present case based on a contract entered into by .the society with the plaintiff in the course of its essential business of dealing in forest produce-is a 'dispute' which clearly 'touches' the business of the society. O.N. Bhatnagar v. Rukibai, (1982) 2 SCC 244 : (AIR 1982 SC 1097).
11. The main emphasis of the argument advanced on behalf of the plaintiff is that although the dispute touches the business of the society, the plaintiff as a non-member cannot be held to have or had business transactions with the society. It is argued that one single contract of business or dealing with the society is not covered by the expression 'has or had business transactions' as used in Sub-clause (c) of Section 64(1) of the Act. Heavy reliance placed on the decision of A.P. Sen, J. (as he then was) in the case of State Bank of India Employees' Co-operative Housing Society v. Nawal Shankar Dave, 1972 MPLJ 71 and of Shri H.G. Mishra, J. (as he then was) in the case of Kundan Singh Dolatram v. State of M.P., 1979 MPLJ 203. At the outset, it may be pointed out that the decision by A.P. Sen, J. is clearly distinguishable on facts. That was a suit filed by the plaintiff Nawal Shankar Dave and another for ejectment of the society from a portion of land alleged to have been encroached upon and falling outside the property conveyed under the deed executed between the parties. It is on those facts that A.P. Sen, J. observed as under:
'Section 64(l)(c) employs the expression 'has or had business transactions' and the use therein of the word 'transaction' in the plural clearly suggests a 'continued course of dealing' i.e. a trading or commercial activity between a society and a non-member giving rise to a dispute which still remains outstanding. Now, the mere acquisition of a certain piece of land by the defendant-society by means of a deed of conveyance in its favour would not be any such business transaction within the ambit of that section, as the purchase of land for a price need not of necessity be a trading or commercial activity, i.e. one entered with the motive of earning profits which is a sine qua non of any business, profession or trade.'
Hon'ble A.P. Sen, J. in the same judgment then concluded that the mere act of encroachment by a housing society of an area outside its purchase, apart from being not a dispute touching its business, cannot be regarded as one arising as a result of any business transaction that it has or had with its vendors within the meaning of Section 64(l)(c) of the Act.
12. The decision of H.G. Mishra, J. to a great extent helps the contention advanced on behalf of the plaintiff that one single transaction or contract entered into by a non-member even in relation to the main business or trade activities of the society would not be covered within the expression'business transactions' so as to make the dispute referable exclusively to the Registrar and oust the jurisdiction of Civil Court. In the case of Kundan Singh Dolatram, 1979 MPLJ 203 (supra) decided by Shri H.G. Mishra, J. the plaintiff instituted a suit against the society which was a marketing society by name M.P. State Sahkarl Bipanan Sangh Maryadit, Bhopal for claiming refund of money paid to the society for supply of foodgrains. Relying on the decision of A.P. Singh, J. in the case of State Bank of India Employees' Co-operative Society (1972 MPLJ 71) (supra), H.G. Mishra, J. held as under:
'The second postulate is 'a person' other than a member of the society must be such with whom the society has or had business transaction. The attempt of the learned counsel for both the parties was to bring a case within the second postulate of the aforesaid provision. In the first postulate the words 'a loan' have been used whereas in the second postulate the words 'business transactions' have been used. The principle that singular includes plural and plural includes singular cannot be pressed into service while construing Clause (c) of Section 64(1) of the Act because when in the same clause in the context of loan the contemplation of the Legislature is that of a single transaction of loan, then in the same clause when the word 'transactions' has been used it cannot be construed to mean a single business transaction. In view of the wordings of Clause (c) of Section 64(1) of the Act, the words 'business transactions' cannot be construed so as to cover case of a person other than a member who may have a single transaction with the society. Plurality of transactions is sine qua non for attracting the second postulate to the situation. Moreover, the use of the word 'transactions' in plural clearly suggests a 'continued course of dealing i.e. a trade as held in State Bank of India Employees Cooperative Housing Society Ltd., Raipur v. Nawal Shankar Dave (1972 MPLJ 71) (supra) by A.P. Sen, J. (as he then was).'
13. The abovequoted decision of Hon'ble H.G. Mishra, J. is no doubt helpful in construing the meaning of the expression 'business transactions' used in Sub-section (1) of Section 64, but cannot be held to be a binding precedent in view of the decision of the Apex Court in the case of Keshava Narayan v. Mandal Co-operative Marketing Society, 1970 MPLJ 770, where in a suit of a similar nature as in the instant case the dispute was held to be covered by the provisions of Section 64(1) of the Act and the jurisdiction of Civil Court is held to have been ousted. In the case of Keshava Narayan (supra) before the Supreme Court, the plaintiff therein had filed a suit against the society for the price of wheat, pulses, etc. supplied by him to the society. It was held by the Supreme Court that such a dispute touches the business of the society and is referable to the Registrar. The expression 'touching the business' has been held to mean 'in reference or in relation to, respecting, regarding or concerning the business of the society'. In that case, the society had purchased certain food stuffs from the appellant and the suit by the plaintiff was for recovery of his outstanding dues.
14. Even on a fair construction of the words 'business transactions', the words cannot be construed to mean a business contract or a deal. The word transaction is from the verb 'transact' which according to dictionary meaning means 'to carry through, accomplish, execute, do or to carry on' Corpus Juris Secundum, Vol. 87 explains the word transaction as derived from the Latin words 'trans' and 'ago' meaning to carry on or 'agere' meaning to drive. It is not a legal and technical word, but rather it is common and colloquial; a general word of comprehensive import, broad and flexible in meaning. It further explains the word thus :
'The word is applicable generally to business affairs and to doings, proceedings, and negotiations affecting property rights, contracts, and agreements, and in the transfer of titles, etc.'
It is further explained in Corpus Juris Secondum as under:
'A 'transaction' is that combination of acts and events, circumstances and defaults, which, viewed in one aspect, results in the plaintiffs right of action and, viewed in another aspect, results in the defendant's right to action. As so defined, the term properly embraces an entire occurrence out of which a legal right springs, or upon which a legal right is predicated, and the term applies to every variety of affairs which forms the subject of negotiation, interviews, actions or contracts between the parties, and embraces and has reference to all the acts, or groups of related acts, which go to make up one entire project, system, or deal, and includes all the facts and circumstances out of which the injuries complained of arise, and it includes every method by which one person can derive impressions or information from the conduct, condition, or language of another. The term applies to any dealings of the parties resulting in wrong, without regard to whether the wrong be done by violence, neglect or breach of contract, and is not limited in meaning to a commercial negotiation or contract, but includes tortious or delictual doings as well,
'Transaction' may comprehend a series of many occurrences, depending not so much on the immediateness of their connection as on their logical relationship, immediateness is tested, not by closeness of time, but by logical relationship. A 'transaction' may and not in frequently does, includes a series of occurrences extending over a great length of time; and the word is not confined to what is done at a single time, in one day or at one place'.
15. Understanding thus the dictionary and legal meaning of the word 'transactions', it cannot be read narrowly to mean as synonymous to the word 'contract'. In fact, in one contract there may be many business transactions. For the purpose of the instant case, submission of tender, execution of agreement, deposit of earnest money and bank guarantee and demanding the forest produce are all business transactions in the course of the contract entered into between the parties. It has, therefore, to be held that the plaintiff has or had 'business transactions' with the co-operative society within the meaning of Section 64(1)(c) of the Act. The first contention advanced on behalf of the plaintiff based on the above provisions contained in Sections 64(l)(c) of the Act, therefore, is rejected.
16. The other limb of argument advancedon behalf of the plaintiff needs closer examination and proper interpretation of the provisions contained in Sub-section (2) of Section64. The contention advanced is that in theopening part of Sub-section (2) the use of thewords 'dispute shall include' and thereafterenumeration of categories of disputes underSub-clauses (i) to (v) therein is a clear legislative intent that it is only the above mentioned categories of disputes in Sub-section (2)which alone are referable to and exclusivelytriable by the Registrar of Co-operativeSociety, and the other kinds of disputes notincluded in Sub-section (2) are outside hisjurisdiction. In this respect, it is contendedthat a provision which results in ouster ofjurisdiction of the established Civil Courtshould be strictly construed and an inferenceof ouster should not readily be drawn from aprovision of law unless there is a clear intention expressed in it.
17. The use of the word 'include' in a legislative provision is generally extensive and not restrictive or exhaustive. It can be read as restrictive and exhaustive only if the words used are 'means and includes depending upon the context in which the words are used. The word 'include' cannot be read as restrictive or exhaustive unless the context contained in the provision and the purpose of the Act clearly evince such an intention. The context and purpose of the Act, therefore, is relevant for construing whether the word 'include' is restrictive or exhaustive. See the following passages from Principles of Statutory Interpretation by Justice G.P. Singh, Sixth Edition, 1996, Pages 133, 134 and 135:
'. . . .all definitions given in an interpretation clause are therefore normally enacted subject to the qualification 'unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context' or 'unless the context otherwise requires'. Even in the absence of an express qualification to that effect such a qualification is always implied, However, it is incumbent on those who contend that the definition given in the interpretation clause does not apply to a particular section to show that the context in fact so requires. An argument based on contrary context which will make the inclusive definition inapplicable to any provision in the Act cannot be accepted as it would make the definition entirely useless.... In view of this qualification, the Court has not only to look at the words but also to look at the context, the collocation and the object of such words relating to such matter and interpret the meaning intended to be conveyed by the use of the words under the circumstances.
It is, therefore, necessary to see the context in which the words 'include' is used. Sub-section (2) cannot be read in isolation from Subsection (1) of Section 64. Both the subsections have to be read together in the light of legislative intent to be gathered from other relevant provisions of the Act to ascertain whether the disputes referable to Registrar, on which jurisdiction of Civil Court is barred, are restricted to categories of disputes contained in Clauses (i) to (v) of Sub-section (2). The decision in the case of South Gujarat Roofing Tiles, AIR 1977 SC 90 is distinguishable. In that case the word 'includes' in the relevant entry in the Schedule to the Minimum Wages Act, in the context, was read in the sense of 'means'.
18. On closer examination of the provisions contained in Section 64, it appears that Sub-section (1) of Section 64 is complete in itself. It contains in the opening part of Sub-section (1) the kinds of disputes broadly categorised which are referable to Registrar. It also contains categories of persons who can be parties to such disputes. Thus, Sub-section (1) is complete in itself with regard to nature of disputes and the parties to it for the purpose of conferring exclusive jurisdiction on the Registrar for adjudication. The legislative intent of incorporation of Sub-section (2) to Section 64 appears to be to categorise certain disputes specifically as ex abundanti cautela i.e. by way of an abundant caution so that they may not be misunderstood as not included in the broadly categorised disputes in Sub-section (1) of Section 64. Sub-section (2) although not expressed so, appears to be in the nature of an Explanation appended below Sub-section (1). If it is not so read as an Explanation, Sub-section (1) containing general categories of disputes referable to Registrar would become otiose or useless.
19. The argument, therefore, that onlydisputes categorised in Clauses (i) to (v) ofSection 64(2) are alone referable cannot beaccepted as that would whittle down the scopeof subjection (1) of Section 64 and frustrate thevery purpose of broad categorisation of disputes therein. It cannot be lost sight of that inenacting Section 64 the legislative intent obviously is to provide a self-contained disputeresolving mechanism through the hierarchyof original and appellate co-operative Courts.It is difficult to infer from the provisions ofSection 64 as a whole that a dispute of thepresent nature which directly concerns ortouches the main trading activity of the cooperative society concerned is not within thejurisdiction of co-operative Court although itis covered in one of the broadly classifiedcategories of disputes under Sub-section (1) ofSection 64.
20. In effect, even without Sub-section (2) containing the categories of certain disputes in clauses (i) to (v), those are included in the nature of disputes broadly classified in subsection (1) of Section 64. The, disputes categorised in Sub-clauase (i) to (v) of subsection (2) are also disputes touching the constitution, management or business of the society, as mentioned in Sub-section (1) of Section 64. In the opening not of Sub-section (2), mention of them as (SIC) in Sub-section (1) becomes necessary only by way of an Explanation to the main Section 64(1). See; the following passage from the Principles of Statutory Interpretation, by Justice G.P. Singh, Sixth Edition, Pages 151, 152 and 153 :
'An Explanation is at times appended to a Section to explain the meaning of words contained in the Section .....An Explanation may be added to include some thing within or to exclude something from the ambit of the main enactment or the connotation of some word occurring in it. ... An Explanation, normally, should be so read as to harmonise with and clear up any ambiguity in the main section and should not be so construed as to widen the ambit of the Section. It is also possible that an Explanation may have been added in a declaratory form to retrospectively clarify a doubtful point in law and to serve as a proviso to the main Section or ex abundanti cautela to 'allay groundless apprehensions'.....'
21. For the aforesaid reasons, the contention advanced on behalf of the plaintiff cannot be accepted that although the present dispute raised by the plaintiff 'touches the business of the society and is covered by Subsection (1) of Section 64, it being not included in any of the specified categories of disputes in clauses (i) to (v) of Sub-section (2) of Section 64, is not referable to Registrar. As held above, the dispute 'touches the business' of the society within the meaning of Sub-section (1) of Section 64. The plaintiff is a non-member of the society and is held to 'have or had business transactions with the society' within the meaning of Clause (c) of Sub-section (2). The dispute is therefore clearly referable to Registrar for its adjudication. Since the nature of dispute is covered by the provisions of Sub-section (1) it does not matter, for the purpose of its exclusive adjudication by the Registrar, that it does not fall in any of the categories of disputes mentioned in Clauses (i) to (v) of Sub-section (2) of Section 64. On a reasonable construction of (sic) provisions both of Sub-sections (1) and (2), the disputes covered by Sub-section (1) between the parties mentioned in Clauses (a) to (f) therein together with all categories of disputes enumerates in Clauses (i) to (v) of Sub-section (2) of Section 64 are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Registrar and the jurisdiction of Civil Court with regard to such disputes is expressly barred under Sub-section (1) (c) of Section 84 of the Act.
22. The last submission made on behalf of the plaintiff that in any case if the jurisdiction of Civil Court is held barred, the plaint was liable to be returned to the plaintiff for presentation before the Registrar, deserves to be accepted. In the case of Keshava Narayan v. Mandal Co-operative Marketing Society, 1970 MPLJ 770, in paragraph 6, the plaint was directed to be returned by the Supreme Court in similar circumstances by making the following observations:--
'It was finally contended that in any event the High Court was not justified in dismissing the suit and the plaint should have been returned for presentation to the appropriate Court. Assuming that the Registrar of Cooperative Societies is not a Court within the meaning of Order 7, Rule 10, Code of Civil Procedure, the High Court would still have been justified in directing that the claim made before the Civil Court should be returned to that the appellant may be entitled to present that claim before the Registrar and ask for condonation of delay, if any, in presenting the claim before the Registrar. Counsel for the respondents raised no objection to the order that the plaint instead of being dismissed be returned for presentation to the Registrar'.
23. Consequently, the revision fails and is hereby-dismissed by confirming the order dated 4-4-95 passed by the District Judge, Balaghat. The plaint, however, shall be returned to the plaintiff for its presentation before the appropriate Registrar under the provisions of the Act along with an application for condonation of delay. On such a representation, the Registrar shall consider the question of condonation and decide the dispute in accordance with law. In the circumstances, there shall be no order as to costs. The parties shall appear before the Civil Court on 16-5-1996 for consequent action and necessary orders.