B.N. Nigam, J.C.
1. Askaran filed Civil Suit No. 824 of 1947 against Pushkar Co-operative Sale and 'Supply Union Ltd., through its Secretary seeking a decree setting aside the award, dated 28-4-1947 passed by the arbitrator against the plaintiff. The suit was contested and the learned Subordinate Judge dismissed the suit with costs. Against thatjudgment and decree, Askaran has come up inappeal.
The facts, in brief, are that the plaintiff was the Manager and Treasurer of the defendant society, but was not a member thereof nor a shareholder. In connection with certain transactions in respect of wheat-flour certain losses were incurred by the defendant society, which approached the Registrar who, by his order dated 12-9-1946, referred the matter to arbitration. The plaintiff questioned the procedure followed during the arbitration proceedings and also urged that arbitration proceedings were illegal and ultra vires and the arbitrator had no jurisdiction to pass the award. In the appeal, I have heard the appellant in person and the learned counsel for the respondent.
2. It appears to me that the reference to arbitration way not valid. Section 43(2) of the Cooperative Societies Act II of 1912 reads:
In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may-
(1) provide that any dispute touching the business of a society between members or past members of the society or persons claiming through a member or past member or between a member or past member or persons so claiming and the committee or any officer shall be referred to the Registrar for decision or if he so directs, to arbitration.'
The question for my determination is whether a dispute between a society and an officer of the society can be referred to the Registrar for decision or appointment of an arbitrator.
The learned counsel for the respondent has referred me to Co-operative Society, Dhingranwali v. Muhammad Din, AIR 1939 Lah 301. In that particular case it was not disputed that the Registrar had the authority to refer the matter to an. arbitrator for decision in accordance with the rules framed under the Co-operative Societies Act. It, therefore, appears to the probable that the plaintiff in addition to being a treasurer of the Co-operative Society was also a member of the Society. The learned counsel has also relied on Dinajpur Sama-baya Bank Ltd. v. Benoy Bhusan Mukherji, 41 Cal WN 667. This was a case in which the officer, who was not a member of the society, had stood surety for the debt advanced to a member of the society and it was held that it would not be right to say that the proceedings before the arbitrator were ab initio void for want of jurisdiction. Earlier it was stated:
'But in the present case, it cannot be said that there was want of jurisdiction ab initio since the proceedings started with a dispute between the Committee and a member and jurisdiction would not cease simply because a non-member was also a party to the dispute.'
Thus the ruling cited by the learned counsel is no authority for the proposition that a dispute between a committee and its officers can be referred to theRegistrar.
3. The learned counsel for the respondent has next urged that the committee actually consists of and represents the interests of all the members and if a dispute between the members and an officer could be referred to the Registrar, a dispute between a committee and its officers could also be referred. I am unable to agree with the learned counsel. I am of opinion that the mention of the members and persons claiming through them refers to members in their individual capacity and not in their collective capacity which is described as 'a committee *. Had it been the intention of the Legislature that disputes between the committee andits officers should also be referred to the Registrar, it would not have been difficult at all to provide that any dispute touching the business of the society between its members, officers and the committee could be referred to the Registrar. An officer, who is not a member of the committee, is really a stranger to the society and I am of opinion that a dispute between a committee and its officers not being members could not be referred to the Registrar. In support of my conclusion I may refer to Mohammad Sharif v. Union Bank Ltd.. AIR 1932 Lah 53.
4. The dispute not having been referable toIthe Registrar, the question of the proceedings becoming valid as the appellant submitted to the arbitration proceedings, does not arise.
5. No other point has been pressed before me.
6. I, therefore, accept this appeal and declare the award, dated 28-4-1947 a nullity. Theplaintiff's suit will be decreed with costs in boththe courts.