1. This is a petition by a member of the Vyara Agricultural Produce Market Committee, challenging the voters' lists prepared for the election of the Committee to be held on 16-4-1976.
2. Initially there was one common Market Committee for talukas, Songadh and Vyara, but the Government took a decision to establish two separate committees for these two different areas of Songadh and Vyara talukas and this decision was made operative from 22-1-1974. On this decision being implemented, the earlier Market Committee, which was for the composite market area of two talukas, stood dissolved and the first Market Committee for Vyara taluka came to be appointed by the Government by nominating members. The petitioner was one of such nominees of the Government and in that capacity he was the member of the Market Committee.
3. As said above, the first election to elect the members of the Market Committee was to take place on 16-4-76 and one of the preliminaries required to be undergone for the purpose was preparation of three lists. Section 11 of the Gujarat Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1963 deals with the. constitution or composition of Market Committees. Eight agriculturists as defined, in clause (ii) of Section 2 of the Act constitute the first category of members. These agriculturists are to be elected by the members of the Managing Committees of Co-operative Societies (other than co-operative marketing societies) dispensing agricultural credit in the market area. The second category of members, four in number, are to be elected from amongst themselves by the traders holding general licences and as the definition of the word 'trader' occurring in clause (iii) of S. 2, of the Act, even a co-operative society, which carries on the business of buying or selling of agricultuial produce or of processing of agricultural produce for sale also can be a trader. The third category of members, two in number, are to be elected from amongst the members of co-operative marketing societies and they are to be the representative of such 'co-operative marketing societies. The word co-operative marketing society' in defined in cl (v) of S. 2 of the Act
4. The petitioner's contention was that the voters list that were prepared for the purpose of ensuing election were, objected to by him and others, The foremost contention of the petitioner was that various, co-operative societies having traders' licence and therefore, finding place in the second constituency of traders for the purpose of traders representative had wrongly been given a place through the members, of their managing committees in the list of persons, who were entitled to elect agriculturists, to represent the interests of Agriculturists on the committee. It was, further contended by the petitioner that 24 societies set out by him in paragraph 7 of his petition were as a matter of fact all co-operative marketing societies be cause they were engaged in the business of buying and selling of agricultural produce and were holding a general licence for the purpose and so their proper place was in the third constituency of representatives of co-operative marketing societies and not even in the traders' constituency or in the agriculturists. For the purpose of convenience, I shall refer to the three constituencies as the Agriculturists constituency, Traders' constituency and co-operative marketing societies' constituency. As the petitioner's objections were overruled and the Director of Agricultural'. Marketing and Rural Finance, the respondent no. 2, who is the head executive officer dealing with agricultural produce market committees throughout the State did, not heed the representations made to him, the petitioner' had ' moved this Court for quashing of the three lists of voters published by the respondent under Rule 8 of the Gujarat Agricultural Produce Markets Rules, l965. Annexure A, and. to direct the respondents to exclude from the list of voters- of the agriculturists' constituency, members of the Managing Committee of those co-operative societies, which held licence under the Act and to include the members of the unmaking committees of those societies into the list No. 3 regarding the co-operative Marking Societies and exclude representatives of the said societies from the list No. 2 of traders constitution.
5. This petition was admitted and the election was stayed. So, till today the old nominated committee has been managing the affairs of the Vyara Agricultural Market Committee. The special civil application, though expedited, could not be taken up earlier because of the heavy work of this' court.
6. The only material question that is formulated by, Mr. Zaveri and that arises for determination in this petition is whether a co-operative society, dispensing agricultural credit, but holding a traders' general licence under S. 27 of the Act is entitled to enroll itself as a voter only in the list of Co-operative Marketing Society and whether the members of the managing committees of these societies could be the voters in the agriculturists' constituency and/or in the traders' constituency.
7. Mr. Zaveri, the learned advocate for the petitioner placed the matter very elaborately and fairly before me. S. 11(1) of the Act in the relevant part reads as follows:-
'll (1) Every market committee shall consist of the following members, namely,
(1) eight agriculturists who shall be elected by members of managing committees of co-operative societies (other than co-operative marketing societies) dispensing agricultural credit in the market area:
(11) four members to be elected in the prescribed manner from amongst themselves by the traders holding general licences. . (III) two representatives of the cooperative marketing societies situate in the market area and holding general licences, to be elected from amongst the members (other than nominal, associate or sympathiser members) of such societies by the members of the managing committees of such societies: Provided that where the number of co-operative marketing societies so situate does not exceed two, only one representative shall be so elected:'
We are presently concerned with Clause (I) of Section 11(1). The petitioner's contention to that as a matter of general principle, one and the same person. either a living person or a juristic person, could not have , representation in more than one constituency. Mr. Zaveri in this connection submitted that the paramount idea of establishing the Market Committee and as a matter of bet in enacting the Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1963, was to regulate buying and selling of agricultural produce so that the down trodden agriculturists were not exploited to great economic detriment , of theirs by shrewd and organised traders. He, therefore, submitted that the Legislature had made a provision for having as many as eight agriculturists on the committee whereas it had reserved only four seats for the traders' representatives. Mr. Zaveri's argument, therefore, was that one and the same body as a matter of principle cannot have representation in more than one constituency. Whatever may be the basic concept and principle, the courts of law in the first instance are to be guided by the text of the law and aid of the possible or probable intention of the Legislature is to be had if and only if the text of the statute is in any way susceptible of wider or narrower connotation. In other words, a court of law is bound to gather the intention of the Legislature only from the text of the words used and unless repugnant to the text, the words read in the comity of all provisions. should have their natural and ordinary meaning uninhibited by any such high flown considerations. Keeping this wellentranched principle of Interpretation in mind, I propose to examine the scope and ambit of S. 11(1), (i) (ii) and (iii) as quoted above.
8. The idea of the Legislature is that any eight agriculturists as defined In Clause (ii) of S. 2 of the Act, that is, any person ordinarily engaged in the production or growth of agricultural produce, but not doing a trader's or a broker's business in the agricultural produce, can offer himself to be elected from that category. The voters are said to be members of the Managing Committees of the Co-operative Societies dispensing agricultural credit in the market area with the exception of the co-operative marketing society as defined in Clause (v) of S. 2 of the Act for the obvious reason that such co-operative marketing societies are given a separate representation. Any co-operative society dispensing agricultural credit in the market area and which is not a co-operative marketing society as defined in Clause (v) of S. 2 of the Act is entitled to have the members of its Managing Committee to compose the first constituency, entitled to elect eight agriculturists. The Legislature even in the year 1963 when this 'bill was introduced in the Gujarat Legislature and when it passed the law in the year 1964 was not oblivious of the fact that good many co-operative societies in the State dispensing agricultural credit in the market area were holding traders' licence. The 1963 Act had at its precursor the 1939 Act, styled as the Bombay Agricultural Produce Market Act, 1939. Still the Legislature in its wisdom did not specifically state in Clause (i) above, that the agricultural co-operative societies dispensing agricultural credit in the market area will not be entitled to have their members of Managing Committee in the voters' list, if they were holding general licence. Mr. Zaveri wants us to read Clause (i) with the added phrase 'And not holding general licences on the strength of the assumed intention of the Legislature, to keep the three constituencies in water-tight compartments. If the Legislature had in its mind the intention attributed by Mr. Zaveri to it, there was nothing to prevent the Legislature from saying so expressly. The first argument of Mr. Zaveri, therefore, that the agricultural co-operative societies (other than cooperative marketing societies) dispensing agricultural credit in the market area, but holding general licence are to be excluded from the first category is difficult to be upheld. To me it appears that there is no rule of law or logic that one man who is a voter in one constituency in one capacity cannot be a voter in another constituency In another capacity. In the first constituency of agriculturists, all the members of the Managing Committee of the Co-operative Society dispensing agricultural credit for the market area are made voters individually. As far as the second constituency of traders is concerned, the very co-operative society dispensing agricultural credit in the market area is to be there in its capacity as the society as one individual trader and would have only one vote. As far as the first category is concerned, every co-operative society of that type would have as many votes as there are members of the Managing Committee of it, it is, therefore, not true to say that every society would have a double representation. In the first category, the members of the Managing Committee because of their membership of the Managing Committee are individual voters, but in the second category of traders' constituency, society qua society is one voter. it therefore, difficult to say that there is double representation for one and the same body of a co-operative society. The first argument of Mr. Zaveri,. therefore, that various co-operative societies holding general licences were wrongly given representation in the first constituency through the members of their managing committee is untenable.
9. Mr. Zaveri's second contention was that the various societies entimerated by the petitioner in paragraph 7 of his petition, were co-operative marketing societies, because they won fulfilling the requisites of a co-operative marketing society as defined in CL (v) of S. 2 of the Act. I reproduce below that clause for ready reference:,
'(V) 'Co-operative marketing society' means a society registered or deemed to be registered as such under the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act, 1961 and engaged in the business of buying or selling of agricultural produce or of processing of agricultural produce and holding a licence. (emphasis is supplied by me)'.
The above definition of a co-operative marketing society with the emphasis as indicated by me above calls for three requisites of a co-operative marketing society. The first requisite is that it must be a society registered or deemed to be registered under the Gujarat cooperative Societies Act, 1961. Its registration must be 'as such thereby as a co-operative marketing society. Mr. Zaveri submitted that the two words 'as such mean that the society must be registered under the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act or must be deemed to be registered as such, that is, as a co-operative societies under the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act. Mr. Zaveri's submission is not right. The meaning which he wants to derive can be had even without the words 'as such'. Had the Legislature wanted that the society should be a society registered under the Co-operative Societies Act, 1961 or deemed to be registered under the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Act, 1961, the use of the words 'as such' is not-necessary. Therefore, it is inevitable to hold that the Legislature has used the words was such' not redundantly or by way of tautology but with a specific purpose. The word 'such' is a demonstrative pronoun When we replace the pronoun by a noun, we have to read the words 'as such' to mean as a co-operative marketing society.
10. In this connection Mr. Zaveri urged that S. 9 of the Co-operative Societies Act, which deals with resietration, does not deal with registration category wise or classification wise. It is no doubt true that S. 9 which speaks of registration does not speak of the society's categorisation, but the provisions of law are to be read not divorced of the context. S. 12 that follows soon thereafter is to be read in conjunction with S. 9 and S, 12 itself lays down that the Registrar has to classify all societies into such manner and into such classes as he thinks fit and the classification of a society under any head of classification by the Registrar shall be final. The classification obviously in to be made at the time of registration, soon after registration. Rule 4 of the Gujarat Co-operative Societies Rules enjoins on the Registrar to maintain a register under S. 10 of the Act and it shall be in form B. It is obvious that this register is to be prepared and an entry is to be made therein soon on the registration of the society. The Form B itself has a column 6 captioned an follows:
'Clam of society as per section'
Mr. Zaveri in this connection urged that there was no section in the Act, which directly refers to the class of the society, and, therefore, column 6 in redundant it is not so. The fact that under S. 10 the register is to be kept, the fact that S. 10 follows the footsteps of S. 9, the fact that form B in a part of the Rules which have statutory force and the fact that S. 12 following soon thereafter speaks of the classification by the Registrar go to show that clam of society as per section in column 6 of Form B is a classification given to it by the Registrar under S. 12. Mr. Zaveri, however, in this connection urged that it was open to the Registrar to go on changing the classification. This is not true, because S. 12 itself says that classification once given shall be final. It is, therefore, evident that a co-operative society can be given the classification of a co-operative marketing society at the time of its registration and, therefore, the requirement of co-operative society as occurring in CL (V) of S. 5 clearly provides that a co-operative marketing society in order to be labelled as a cooperative marketing society must have that label given to it soon on its birth by the Registrar by virtue of powers conferred on him by section 12, which Powers once exercised are final. Mr. Zaveri's contention that there is no Provision in the Act to register a society as a co-operative society is not the correct submission. The 24 societies enumerated in paragraph 7 of his petition admittedly are not registered as co-operative marketing societies and, therefore, the first of the three essentials is lacking in that regard. If it be so, the, petitioner's contention that those societies would have a place only in the third category falls through.
11. In this connection. the respondent No. I relied upon his notification Annexure 1, appended to the affidavit in-reply filed by the respondent No. 1. However, the said notification is not happily worded. The Registrar of Co. operative societies, who classifies societies under S. 12 does so in his capacity qua Registrar under the Co-operative societies Act. He has not to bother with the provisioner of the Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1963. Factually what has been stated in Annexure I may be true, but to classify a society for the purpose of S. 11 of the Agricultural Produce. Markets Act is not a happy way of expressing the things, in the legal way. However, I am not required to pronounce any opinion on the validity or otherwise of that Annexure.
12. I have interpreted clauses (I), (11) and (III) of S. 11(1) of the Act above for the purpose of guidance of the authorities and the would be election for the purpose of Vyara Agricultural Produce Market Committee is to be carried out in accordance with it.
13. As far as the petition is concerned, the prayer that is set out in, the petition cannot be granted. The petition is, therefore, liable to be dismissed and is hereby dismissed. Rule is accordingly discharged with no order as to cost.
14. Rule discharged,