1. The main question requiring determination for the decision of this petition under Arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution relates to the manner of election of the President, the Vice-President and the Managing Director of the Gurdaspur Central Co-operative Bank Limited, Gurdaspur (hereinafter referred to as the Bank). According to the petitioner who was himself elected as one of the Directors of the Bank, the election of the said three office-bearers of the Bank must be by secret ballot--a proposition which is controverted on behalf of respondents Nos. 1 to 12 of whom the first three are Government officials charged with administering the Punjab Co-operative Societies Act and respondent No. 4 is the Managing Director who was elected as such on the 24th of December 1969, in a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Bank whereat the method adopted for election was by show of hands.
2. This petition must fail Clause (a) of Rule 1, Rule 2 and Rule 3 of the Rules contained in Part I of Appendix 'C' to the Punjab Co-operative Societies Rules, 1963 are in these terms:--
'1. In this Appendix, unless the context otherwise requires-
(a) 'election' means election to the committee;* * * *'
'2. No person shall be eligible for election as a member of the committee if he is subject to any disqualification mentioned in the Act and rules framed thereunder'.
'3. The election shall be held by secret ballot and a voter shall exercise his vote only in favour of one candidate'.
Clearly these Rules envisage election to a 'committee' which is thus defined in Section 2(b) of the Punjab Co-operative Societies Act:
'2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:--
* * * * * (b) 'committee' means the governing body of a co-operative society by whatever name called to which the management of the affairs of the society is entrusted.'
The governing body of the Bank admittedly consists of the Board of Directors and once all the seats on the Board are filled, the 'election to the committee' as envisaged by clause (a) of R. 1 is over. For any other type of election, i.e., election of office-bearers to be chosen from amongst the members of the Board, the Rules in Appendix 'C' have no application and it is conceded by learned counsel for the petitioner that there is no other specific provision in the Punjab Co-operative Societies Act or in the Rule made thereunder, according to which it may be incumbent on the person appointed to carry out the election of office bearers to resort to secret ballot; nor can election of the office-bearers by show of hands be objected to on the ground that the method adopted is unusual or unreasonable. It is a method well recognised amongst democratic institutions and even though the method of secret ballot has obvious advantages over it, it has not been discarded as outmoded, irrational or undemocratic.
3. In view of the above observations it cannot be held that the election of the office-bearers of the Board of Directors contravenes any law or principle of natural justice and the petitioner cannot therefore, be held entitled to have it set aside. The petition is accordingly dismissed but with no order as to costs.
4. Petition dismissed.