It gladdens us to see Indian Cooperative emerging as platform for clash of ideas. Indian Cooperative piece “Constitution Amendment: NCUI wakes up” has attracted thought-provoking reactions from two persons- Shri I C Naik and Shri Meghavath. We present below their dialogue for readers benefit since the issue pertains to adoption of Constitutional amendment by the states
Ishwer Naik :
It is unfortunate that half of the time provided for the States to incorporate amended Constitutional provisions has elapsed without visible progress. There is a definite area of confusion in case of Maharashtra Housing Societies as the tenure of the Board for older societies (registered prior to the year 2000) it is three years and for rest 5 years. The reason is the tenure is fixed under the Bye Laws and the Act and Rules are silent. The State Government has to include provision of the Board’s tenure in the Act itself as soon as possible,
Consequent to the Constitutional amendment in my opinion, the cooperative federations and unions will not be coming under the ambit of Cooperative legislation. These institutions cannot have member economic participation which is one of the Constitutional features of a cooperative society. Initially, the NCUI itself should be prepared to get registered under general societies/associations registration act.
The wide spread allegations of interference of the “State” can be suitably addressed by empowering Cooperative Bodies like District Cooperative Federations, State level Federations, Central Federations with a liberty to become its members as the Primary Society may decide.
If any Society does not become member Registrar plays the role which such federations would have played. It could be a good idea to keep State interference to a minimum by such federations taking up Arbitrator’s Role within Cooperative Principles. So a fresh look should be given under each State Law to deemphasize the importance of role of the State Registrar and his hierarchy in the management of Cooperatives Constitutional Spirit is also that. It is moving towards higher level of self- rule by Cooperative Sector.
In order to continue the federal cooperative bodies, the RCS office should be a State Level Cooperative Society as defined under 243ZH (h) and the RCS should play the role of Chief Executive of that society. The RCS Society may have branches at sub levels. The RCS society should have constitutional wings such as Election, Audit, Training and Offenses & Penalties apart from Incorporation, Regulation & Winding-up. Except RCS the entire establishment should be appointed by the RCS society.
Ishwer Naik :
State Level Apex Society for every Sector (say Housing, Bank,Agriculture,Credit etc) should take over substantial role which is currently played by Registrar (including the whole Hirearchy up to district and ward level) National Federation of each Sector must play Role at National and International level reducing the Role of Union Ministry ( or expanding ).
Reiterating my earlier comment, only those federal societies which have the Constitutional features like Voluntary formation, Democratic member control, Member economic participation, Autonomous functioning and Professional management can be continued under the cooperative legislation and those federal societies which are lacking above features can be continued under the non- cooperative legislation.
Any contravention for political or bureaucratic benefits shall not sustain in the court of law. Further, a separate election body is necessary as nomination of members to the vacant position in the board of a cooperative society is allowed only when the remaining period of such board is less than two and half years. It should be construed that such vacant position in case of remaining period of the board is more than two and half years, the interim election is imminent.