In the present Age, We have seen that Cooperative Societies are also gaining wide acceptance particularly in the field of acquisition of properties where the Cooperative Society is formed for acquisition of the Property. A question which arises is whether HUF can become a member of the Cooperative Society. In this regard, it is pertinent to refer to the following provisions of the Cooperative Society As per Section 2(c) of Cooperative Societies Act,1912, ‘member includes a person joining in the application for the registration of a society and a person admitted to membership after registration in accordance with the by-laws and any rules;.
Thus, it appears that any person joining in the application for registration of a society can be a member of the Cooperative Society. The word “person” has not been defined the Cooperative Societies Act, 1912 and therefore the definition as given under the çeneral ClausesAct, 1897 will apply and as we have seen in the case of Companies hereinabove, the definition being an inclusive definition, the word “person” for the purposes of Cooperative Societies Act, 1912 can be deemed to include “Hindu Undivided family” also and consequently it can be concluded that a HUF can become member of a Cooperative Society.
However, several States have their separate Cooperative Societies Act and one such State is Maharashtra where the provisions of Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960 are applicable and Section 22 of the Act specifically excludes certain categories of persons from being a member and HUF is in the excluded category.
22. Person who may become member:
(1 ) Subject to the provisions of section 24, no person shall be admitted as a member of a society except the following that is to say—
(a) an individual, who is competent to contract under the Indian Contract Act, 1872;
(b) a firm, company or any other body corporate constituted under any law for the time being in force, or a society registered under the societies Registration Act, 1860;
(c) a society registered, or deemed to be registered, under this Act;
(d) the State Government or the Central Government;I
(e) a local authority;
(f) also public trust registered under any law for the time being in force for the registration of such trusts;
Thus in respect of the each State, it is better to check the provisions of the relevant State Cooperative Societies Act prior to taking membership in any cooperative Society.