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Narayana Pillai Vs. Easwara Pillai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.A. No. 590/1956 (E)
Judge
Reported inAIR1961Ker258
ActsCo-operative Societies Act, 1912 - Sections 18 and 43; Travancore-Cochin Co-operative Societies Act, 1951 - Sections 24, 60 and 61; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) - Sections 9
AppellantNarayana Pillai
RespondentEaswara Pillai
Appellant Advocate R. Kesava Pillai and; A.S. Narayanan Asan, Advs.
Respondent Advocate T.K. Narayana Pillai and; D. Narayanan Potti, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredRadhey Lal v. E. I. Rly. Co. Ltd.
Excerpt:
- - ..it is essential to recognise clearly that in neither of these forms of incorporation is the legalperson identical with any single human being. the company may become insolvent, white its members remain rich......in this second appeal. it is admitted that the plaintiff was a member of the co-operative society. plaintiff stated that he had advanced certain loans to the society before he became a member of the society and that he was in the employ of the society for over three years for kmuneration promised, and that, on account of allthese, amounts are due to him besides what he has remitteed as share value to the society.he has filed this suit for settlement of accounts and recovery of the amounts that may be found due from the co-operative society. the learned munsiff held that since the plaintiff is a past member of the co-operative society the suit is barred by section 60 of the travancore-cochin co-operative societies act, 195l. when the matter was taken in appeal, the learned.....
Judgment:

M. Madhavan Nair, J.

1. The plaintiff, whose suit for recovery of certain sums from a co-operative society has been dismissed by both the Courts below, is the appellant in this Second Appeal. It is admitted that the plaintiff was a member of the Co-operative Society. Plaintiff stated that he had advanced certain loans to the Society before he became a member of the society and that he was in the employ of the Society for over three years for Kmuneration promised, and that, on account of allthese, amounts are due to him besides what he has remitteed as share value to the Society.

He has filed this suit for settlement of accounts and recovery of the amounts that may be found due from the Co-operative Society. The learned Munsiff held that since the plaintiff is a past member of the Co-operative Society the suit is barred by Section 60 of the Travancore-Cochin Co-operative Societies Act, 195l. When the matter was taken in appeal, the learned Subordinate Judge upheld the Munsiff. Hence this Second Appeal by the plaintiff.

2. There is one vital defect in the frame of this suit, viz., that the Co-operative Society against whom the claim is made, has not been made a defendant in the suit. The learned counsel for the appellant Contended that the members of the managing committee of the Co-operative Society have been impleaded as defendants and as such the Society is adequately represented in this suit, and relied on Radhey Lal v. E. I. Rly. Co. Ltd., ILR 5 Pat 128 : (AIR 1926 Pat 40) in support. There the defendant was described as 'Agent of the East Indian Railway Co.'.

The learned Judges held that the suit being against a Railway Company the proper name under which the company should have been sued was the name and style under which the company carried on its business; though the plaintiffs had not chosen to describe so in the plaint, they had in, their application for issue of process described the defendant as the East Indian Railway Company and the Company itself entered appearance and. contested the suit; and that in such circumstances the Company was understood by all concerned as the real defendant in the case, and allowed the suit to be proceeded with accordingly.

In this case it is not even averred in the plaint that the defendants have been impleaded as representatives, of the Co-operative Society. In the-cause-title of the plaint, only the personal addresses-of the individual members of the managing committee of the Society have been given.

3. Section 24 of the Travancore-Cochin Cooperative Societies Act, 1951 enunciates:-

'The registration of a society shall render it a body corporate by the name under which it is registered with perpetual succession 'and a common seal, and with power to hold property, to enter into contracts, to institute and defend suits and other legal proceedings and to do all things necessary for the purposes for which it was constituted.'

It follows therefore that the Co-operative Society registered under the Act is a Corporation. It has a legal personality. It has to be sued in its corporate name, only. It is an elementary proposition of jurisprudence that the legal personality of a corporation is different from the personality of the individual members who constitute the corporation. In Salmond on Jurisprudence, llth Edition, at page 360, it is observed:-

'A corporation aggregate is an incorporated1 group of co-existing persons, and a corporation sole is an incorporated series of successive persons.......

It is essential to recognise clearly that in neither of these forms of incorporation is the legalperson identical with any single human being. A company is in law something different from its share-holders or members. The property of the company is not in law the property of the share-holders. The debts and liabilities of the company are not attributed in law to its members. The company may become insolvent, white its members remain rich. Contracts may be made between the company and a share-holder, as if between two persons entirely distinct from each other'.

The liability of the Co-operative Society Cannot therefore be equated to the liability of the members of its Managing Committee. Nor are the members of the Managing Committee competent to represent the Co-operative Society. The claim in the suit being one against the Co-operative Society only, the person against whom the decree is sought has not been made a party to the suit and as such the suit is unsustainable.

4. The learned counsel for the appellant strenuously contended that the view taken by the courts below that the suit is barred by Section 60 of the Co-operative Societies Act is not correct, at least as regards the loans advanced by the plaintiff to the Society before he became a member thereof. Apart from the unsustainability of the suit for non-joinder of the Society as a defendant, this contention also is unacceptable.

No doubt it is stated in paragraph 4 of the plaint that the plaintiff has advanced some loans to the Society before he became a member of the Society; but it has been promptly denied in the written statements of the contesting defendants. The plaint does not disclose the dates of the loans or the amounts advanced or the amounts that are due to the plaintiff on account of the loans.

The learned counsel for the appellant is not in a position to give any details with regard to the alleged loans advanced by the plaintiff. He could only say that the accounts of the society would disclose them and as such the suit ought to have been listed for trial. Under Rule 2 of Order 7 C. P. C., 'where the plaintiff seeks the recovery of money, the plaint shall state the precise amount claimed' lay him.

In this case not only the amount is not stated but even the dates of the transactions are significantly omitted in the plaint. It was submitted by the defendants in their written statements that this suit is a vexatious suit instituted as a counterblast to the reference made by the defendants against the plaintiff for recovery of Rs. 6500/- odd. The uncertainty in the allegations made in the plaint lends colour to the above statement of the defendants. Anyhow no Court can enter an adjudication on such vague and uncertain averments. All the other claims made in the plaint relate to the dealings of a past member with the Co-operative Society. Section 60 of the Co-operative Societies Act, 1951 enacts:-

'If any dispute touching the business of a registered society ..... arises ..... between a member, past member or person claiming through a member, past member or deceased member and the society, its committee or any officer, agent or servant of the society ..... such dispute shall be referred to the Registrar for decision'.

And Section 61 enacts that any decision passed by the Registrar in such a reference shall be final. These provisions arc apparently imperative. They provide that all disputes between the past member and the Co-operative Society shall be referred to the Registrar for decision. They, therefore, enact an implied bar to the cognizance of such suits by the Civil Courts within the meaning of Section 9 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The concurrent decisions of both the Courts below on this point are correct.

5. In the circumstances even if I am to direct the joinder of the Co-operative Society as a defendant in the suit, it can serve no useful purpose.

6. The Second Appeal fails and it is dismissedwith costs.


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