1. This is an application under Arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution praying for the issue of a writ of mandamus quashing the order in Annexure 2 dated 22-9-1971 and for a declaration that the resolution (Annexure 1) dated 22-8-1971 passed in the meeting of the Jute Marketing Co-operative Society (O. P. No, 3) is illegal and invalid. The Jute Marketing Co-operative Society Ltd., Danpur (O. P. No. 3) (hereinafter referred to as the Society) is a duly registered cooperative society under the Orissa Co-operative Societies Act, 1962 (hereinafter referred to as the Act). It has its registered bye-laws and consists of 5000 members one of whom is the petitioner.
2. In exercise of his powers under Sub-section (5) of Section 12 of the Act, the Registrar of Co-operative Societies, Orissa (O. P. No. 2) called upon the Society to amend certain of its bye-laws in the manner indicated in Annexure 4 within 30 davs of the issue of that notice. A General Body meeting of the Society was convened on 22-8-1971 within the time allowed where amendments as suggested by the Registrar were adopted. A copy of the resolution was for' warded to the Registrar who thereafter registered the amendments by order Annexure 2 dated 22-9-1971. It is the legality of that order registering the amendments which is challenged in this writ petition. The petitioner who is one of the members of the Society contends that in adopting the amendments, the General Body meeting of the Society did not follow the procedure prescribed in Rule 14-A of the Orissa Co-operative Societies Rules, 1965 (hereinafter referred to as the Rules), that notices to the members regarding the holding of the General Body meeting had not been issued in the mannet prescribed by the Rules and the 'relevant bye-laws on the subject with the result that the petitioner who had no notice of the meeting could not attend it; that the proceedings of the General Body meeting were vitiated by reason of some outsiders participating in the meeting and taking part in the voting; and that in suggesting amendments to the bye-laws, the Registrar failed to specify the reasons for the same as required under R. 14-A of the Rules. It is further contended that the proceedings of the meeting were also vitiated by reason of the fact that the Joint Director of Marketing who is a representative of the Registrar had participated in the meeting. Being aggrieved by the order of the Registrar registering the amendments of the bye-laws, the petitioner preferred an appeal under Section 109 (1) (c) of the Act to the State Goovernment complaining of the various irregularities committed in convening and conducting the General Body meeting but the appeal was dismissed by Government as not maintainable (vide Annexure 3). It is thereafter that this writ application has been filed claiming the reliefs already mentioned.
3. Opposite party No. 3 in his counter affidavit denied the allegation that there was no proper service of notice regarding the holding of the General Body meeting. He stated that bye-law 18 (2) of the Society which prescribes the modes of issuing notice for a General Body meeting provides for the issue of notice in either of the three ways, namely, (a) by affixing a copy of the notice for the meeting in some conspicuous place in the area of operation of the Society and id the office of the Society, (b) by circulation of the notice book and getting signature of members in it, or (c) by sending the notice by post under certificate of posting. On receipt of Annexure 4 from the Registrar, the Board of Directors at the meeting held by them on 2-6-1971 decided that the notices regarding convening of the General Body meeting should be affixed at every centre within the area of operation of the Society and in the notice boards in the Society's office at Cuttack and Panchayat Samiti Office and in the offices of the Assistant Registrars of Kendrapara, Jaipur, Cuttack, Banki and Keonjhar, and at the offices of the Deputy Registrars of Cooperative Societies, Cuttack and Keonjhar, and in addition to these, the notice should be published in the consecutive issues of daily Samaj (vide Annexure B-3). In accordance with the decision taken by the Board of Directors in the resolution Annexure B-3, notices were issued and the publication made in the Samaj. It is stated that reasons for the amendments proposed were given in Annexure 4. The allegation that outsiders participated in the meeting is denied and there was no division, the occasion to vote did not arise and consequently the allegation that outsiders participated in the voting is not correct. In the circumstances it is averred that the petitioner was not prejudiced in any way. If at all he is aggrieved, it is open to him to raise a dispute under Section 68 of the Act and consequently he has no right to file this writ application.
4. At the time of hearing of this application, Mr. D. Sahia appearing for the petitioner repeated the several allegations made by him in the petition and on the basis thereof contended that the resolution passed at the General Body meeting of the Society on 22-8-1971 is illegal and that consequently registration of the amended bye-laws by the Registrar is invalid.
5. To appreciate several contentions of the parties it is necessary to make a brief reference to the relevant provisions in the Act and the Rules and the bye-laws. Section 12 of the Act deals with amendment of bye-laws of a society and provides in subsection (1) thereof that no amendment of any bye-laws of a society shall be valid unless such amendment has been registered under the Act. Sub-section (2) thereof deals with cases where it is the Society which takes initiative for amendment of the bye-laws. It provides that every such proposal for amendment shall be forwarded to the Registrar, who, if satisfied that the proposed amendment satisfies the requirements of Clauses (i) to (vi) of Sub-section (2) would register the amendment. Sub-section (3) requires the Registrar to forward to the Society a copy of the registered amendment together with a certificate signed by him. Such certificate is to be conclusive evidence that the amendment has been duly registered. Sub-section (4) states that where the Registrar refuses to register an amendment, he shall communicate file order of refusal together with the reasons therefor to the society. Sub-sections (5) and (6) which are relevant for our purpose may be quoted.
'12. (5) Where in the case of an apex society, Central Society, Co-operative Bank or Financing Bank or in the case of any other society assisted by the State or General Government in any of the forms specified in Sub-section (1) of Section 31, the Registrar is of the opinion that an amendment of the bye-laws of any such society is necessary or desirable in the interest thereof, he may, in the prescribed manner, call upon the society to make such amendment within such period as he may specify in that behalf.
(6) If the society fails to make the amendment within the period aforesaid the Registrar may, after giving the society a reasonable opportunity of being heard, register the amendment and shall forward to the society a copy of the Registered Amendment together with a certificate signed by him; and such certificate shall be conclusive evidence that the amendment has been duly registered.' The manner in which the Registrar is to call upon a society to make amendments referred to in Sub-section (5) is provided in Rule 14-A of the Rules which runs thus:
'14-A. Procedure for amendment of bye-law under direction by Registrar.
(1) Where it appears to the Registrar that amendment of the bye-laws of a society referred to in Sub-section (12) of the Orissa Co-operative Societies Act is necessary, he shall indicate the reasons therefor, and issue a notice calling upon the Committee of such society to convene a general meeting to consider such amendment;
(2) The notice referred to in Sub-rule (1) shall specify-
(a) the text of the bye-laws as existing and the bye-laws as proposed for amendment, or the new bye-laws as proposed to be incorporated; or the existing bye-law which is proposed for deletion, and
(b) the period within which such amendment should be sent to the Registrar for registration after getting it passed by the general meeting.
(3) Where a society files an objection to the proposed amendment, such an objection shall be only considered by the Registrar and if the Committee desires to be heard, it shall be given an opportunity of being heard. The Registrar may, after considering the representation of the society, register the amendment'
The manner of convening a general body meeting of the society is provided in bye-law 18 which is Annexure A(3) to the counter.
'Notice of the meeting of General Body.
(1) 15 days notice shall ordinarily be given to members before a meeting of the General Body is convened.
(2) Notice for a General body meeting may be given to member in one or more of the following ways, namely,
(a) by affixing a copy of the notice for the meeting in some conspicious place in the area of operation of the society and in the office of the society.
(b) by circulation of the notice book and getting signatures of members in it or
(c) by sending the notice by post under certificate of posting.
(3) In the case of amendments to bye-laws of the society notice shall be sent to each of the members in due time either by circulation or otherwise and such notice shall give the members a reasonably clear idea of the nature of the amendments proposed.'
6. This being a case where it is the Registrar who had taken initiative for getting certain bye-laws of the Society amended, the provisions of law applicable are Sub-section (5) of Section 12 of the Act and Rule 14-A of the Rules. Annexure 4 to the writ application is the notice issued by the Registrar calling upon the Society to amend its bye-laws Nos. 1, 3(i), 5(2), 6(2), 7(1), 17(2), 17 (3), 21, 22, 23 and 43. In this notice so issued he had indicated the bye-laws as they then existed, the amendment proposed and the reasons for the amendment thereby satisfying the requirements of Rule 14-A (1) and (2) (a). As required under Rule 14-A (2) (b), he called upon the Society to get the amendments passed by the general body meeting within thirty days from the date of receipt of the notice. We, therefore, do not find any flaw in the 'notice issued by the Registrar. In pursuance of this notice, a General Body meeting of the Society was actually convened and as is clear from Annexure 1 to the writ application the amendments proposed by the Registrar were adopted at the meeting and a copy of the resolution was duly forwarded to the Registrar who registered the same. No exception can, therefore, be taken to the action of the Registrar in registering the amendments when he received a resolution of the General Body of the Society adopting the amendments. We are, therefore, unable to accept the contention of Mr. Sahu that the Registrar either in suggesting they amendments or in accepting and registering the same has acted contrary to the provisions of the Act and the Rules.
7. The question then is whether the Society in passing the resolution adopting the bye-laws has committed any irregularity or illegality, and if so, whether that would vitiate the registration of the amendments ordered by the Registrar. The broad grounds on which the legality of the General Body meeting held on 22-8-1971 is attacked by Mr. Sahu are these: (1) That notice to the members had not been served as required under Clause (3) of bye-law 18, (2) that certain outsiders participated and voted at the meeting; and (3) the proceedings are vitiated by reason of the Joint Director of Marketing as representative of the Registrar participating in the proceedings. We are told at the Bar that the Registrar is a member of the Society in his official capacity and that it is open to him to participate in the deliberations thereof either by himself or through a representative and that the Joint Director of Marketing attended the meeting of the General Body as a representative of the Registrar. If that be so, no exception can be taken to the fact that the Joint Director of Marketing attended and took part in deliberations of the General Body meeting. The other two grounds raise disputed questions of fact which cannot be decided in a proceeding of this nature. It is a matter relating to the internal working of the Society and if any irregularities are alleged in respect of such working, it is open to the aggrieved party to res-resort to remedies provided in the Act itself. That is not a matter of on which the extraordinary jurisdiction of the High Court under Arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution can be invoked.
8. The writ petition, therefore, fails and dismissed, but, in the circumstances, without costs,
S.K. Ray, Ag. C.J.
9. I agree.