The unrelenting efforts of Sahakar Bharati finally paid off on Monday when Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur ordered the co-operative department to prepare a bill incorporating the features of Autonomous Co-operative Act (as prepared by Sahakar Bharati) in the coming budget session.
A jubilant Sahakar Bharati state chief Vivek Jyoti said “the bill would be made into an act, hopefully in the budget session which begins from 24th February and ends on 2nd April”. Sahakar Bharati has been demanding an autonomous co-op act for last one and half years but it was three days before when the CM finally took note of it and asked the concerned officer to prepare a draft of the bill to be introduced in this session, said Jyoti.
One of Sahakar Bharati founding members and the first one to inform Indian Cooperative about the development Satish Marathe said the autonomous co-op bill would aim at stopping govt interference in co-operatives.
The co-op registrar would only be concerned with the registration of co-operatives and all such co-ops in which the govt has neither any financial stakes nor involvement of its staff-members would be free from its clutches, explained Marathe.
Marathe said the HP State Co-operative Societies Act, 1968 would be amended and brought in consonance with the 97th constitutional amendment.
The CM’s letter on the issue (a copy is with us also) to the Secretary Cooperation in the govt of Himachal Pradesh read “May bring the bill in consultation with the Law Department in the budget session”
The CM office further wrote “the Secy. (Co-operation) to the Govt of H.P. is therefore requested to please take further necessary action in the matter as per observations of the Honorable Chief Minister under intimation to this office as well as the quarters concerned.”
The letter written to the Chief Minister by Sahakar Bharati underlined that the enactment of the Constitution (Ninety Seventh Amendment) Act, 2011 which made the formation of cooperative societies a fundamental right.
The amended provision under article 19 (1) (c) provides that all citizens shall have the right to form associations or unions or co-operative societies.
Sahakar Bharati argues that “From the provisions of the Constitution (Ninety seventh Amendment) Act, 2011, it is clear that the State was required to amend the Himachal Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act, 1968 (State Act No. 3 of 1969) within a period of one year from the enactment of the Constitutional Amendment Act in order to bring it in consonance with the Constitutional provisions and removing the provisions which were impediments in exercising the fundamental right.”
“However, no action has been taken to amend the State Act till date and many provisions which are not only contrary to the Constitution, but also against the spirit of the ninety-seventh amendment are still continuing”, notes the letter.
The letter also seeks support from the SC stressing “The Supreme Court has also held that no State Law, which is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution (Ninety seventh Amendment) Act, 2011 or its spirit is valid after 12th January, 2013. Therefore, it is imperative for the State of Himachal Pradesh to amend the Himachal Pradesh Co-operative Societies Act, 1968 (State Act No. 3 of 1969) immediately.”