1. The petitioner, a Cooperative Society, was registered in the year 1958 at Delhi under the Bombay Cooperative Societies Act, 1925 (hereinafter referred to as the Bombay Act) as extended to the State of Delhi. This Society has a branch office at Calcutta. Some time in August, 1970, the opposite party instituted a suit against the petitioner in the Citv Civil Court at Calcutta claiming damages amounting to Rupees 43,370/- for alleged breach of contract. In its written statement the Society raised inter alia a question as to the maintainability of the suit in view of Section 70of the Bombay Act. Section 70 of the Bombay Act reads as follows:--
'No suit shall be instituted against a society or any of its officers, in respect of any Act, touching the business of the society, until the expiration of two months next after notice in writing has been delivered to the Registrar or left at his office, stating the cause of action, the name, description and place of residence of the plaintiff and the reliefs which he claims, and the plaint shall contain a statement that such notice has been so delivered or left.'
2. The plaint of the instant suit does not contain any such statement as required by Section 70 of the Act and admittedly no notice of the intended suit was served on the Registrar. 'Registrar' has been defined in the Bombay Act as meaning a person appointed to perform the duties of Registrar of Co-operative Societies under that Act. Of the issues framed in the suit, Issue No. 7 which raises the question of maintainability of the suit runs as follows:
'Is the suit hit by Section 70 of the Bombay Co-operative Societies Act, 1925 ?'
The learned Judge of the court below after hearing both sides disposed of this issue holding that in view of the provisions of Section 3 of the Multi Unit Cooperative Societies Act, 1942 which is a Central Act, Section 70 of the Bombay Co-operative Societies Act has no application and that the suit was therefore maintainable. The present Rule was issued at the instance of the defendant Society questioning the correctness of this decision.
3. Mr. Roy, learned Advocate for the petitioner, contended that Section. 3 of the Multi Unit Co-operative Societies Act 1942 can have no application in this case. This is an Act, as its preamble indicates, 'for the incorporation, regulation and winding up of Co-operative Societies with objects not confined to one province'. Section 3 of this Act which according to the court below excludes the operation of Section 70 of the Bombay Act, provides in substance that a society registered in one State after the commencement of the Central Act in accordance with the law relating to co-operative societies for the time being in force in that State 'shall be deemed in any other State to which its objects extend to be duly registered in that other State' under the law there in force relating to co-operative societies. Mr. Chowdhury, learned Advocate for the opposite party, argued that by virtue of this deeming clause the provisions of the Bengal Cooperative Societies Act. 1940 (Bengal Act XXI of 1940) should govern the activities of the Society in West Bengal and the Bengal Act not having any provision similar to Section 70 of the Bombay Act, the suit must be held to be maintainable. We have already referred to the purpose of the Central Act which provides only for the incorporation, regulation and winding up of co-operative societies with objects not confined to one State. It is true that in view of the provisions of the Central Act such a Society is to be deem-ed as registered in the State where it is functioning though not actually registered there, but this must be only for the limited purposes of that Act. No question as to the incorporation, regulation or winding up of the defendant Society arises in the instant suit. In our opinion, the legal fiction introduced by the deeming clause cannot be extended beyond the scope and purpose of the statute. Section 3 of the Multi Unit Co-operative Societies Act. 1942 cannot therefore have any application in a suit like the present one where the plaintiff has put forward a claim for damages against the Society. We hold that Section 3 of the Multi Unit Co-operative Societies Act, 1942 does not exclude the operation of Section 70 of the Bombay Act in this case.
4. The Rule is, therefore, made absolute and the impugned order is set aside. The Court below will now dispose of the suit in accordance with law.
5. There will be no order as to costs.
6. I agree.