M.P. Thakkar, J.
1. An Association of members of the legal profession practising before the various authorities constituted under the Gujarat Cooperative Societies Act of 1951, known as 'Co-operative Bar Association' has been obliged to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India as the members of the Bar apprehend criminal prosecution under Sub-section (2) of Section 145 of the Act for forming themselves into an Association bearing a name which includes the word 'Co-operative', upon an impossible interpretation being placed in regard to the provision contained in Section 146(1) by the competent authority.
2. The facts are not in dispute. The petitioner Association has been formed by the members of the legal profession in order to deal with problems generally affecting the members of the profession with particular regard to those who are practising before the various authorities constituted under the Act. It does not carry on any business or any trade. Even so the respondents insist that the petitioner Association is not legally entitled to carry on its activities under the name which includes the word 'Co-operative'. This stand has been taken in the light of the prohibition contained in Section 146(1) which reads as under:
146. (1) No person, other than a society registered, or deemed to be registered, under this Act, and a person or his successor in interest of any name or title under which he traded or carried on business at the date on which this Act comes into force, shall without the sanction of the State Government, function, trade or carry on business under any name or title of which the word 'Co-operative, or its equivalent in any Indian Language forms part.
3. On a plain reading of the provision it is clear that what is prohibited by the said provision is the carrying on of a 'trade' or business' under any name or title wherein the word 'Co-operative' or its equivalent in any Indian Language forms part. Evidently the prohibition has been enacted so that persons carrying on trade or business may not deceive those who are dealing with them into believing that they are governed by the provisions of the Act. Be that as it may, the prohibition is restricted to those who carry on a 'trade' or a 'business' meaning thereby a commercial activity with an eye on profit There is no prohibition against the carrying on of activities as members of a Bar Association with a view to promote the professional interest of those who are practising before the various authorities constituted under the Act and in order to deal with the problems faced by them. The objects of the petitioner Association as disclosed in the object-clause of the Constitution, Annexure 'D', are as under:
The objects of the Association shall be as follows:
1... To promote the well-being of the practice of Co-operative Law.
2... To make suitable representations before the appropriate authorities as and when necessary.
3... To watch the progress and development of co-operative movement and law and to make suggestions to appropriate bodies and authorities with a view to realise aforesaid objects.
4... To be generally useful to the members of the Association.
5... To undertake such activities as may be necessary in view of the aforesaid objects.
There is no manner of doubt that the petitioner Association h not carrying on any business activity or trading activity of a commercial nature with profit as its goal. Under the circumstances, the respondents had no legal right to call upon the petitioner Association to refrain from carrying on its activities under the name and style of 'Co-operative Bar Association'.
4. The petition is, therefore, allowed. It is declared that the petitioner Association is not guilty of any contravention of Section 146(1) of the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act, 1951, and the respondents are restrained from taking any action against the petitioner Society or its members for carrying on its activities under the nims and style of 'Co-operative Bir Association' so long as the petitioner Association does not indulge in any business or trading activities. Rule is made absolute. There will be no order regarding costs.