In a major relief to cooperative activities going around the country, a bench of Justice Harsha Devani and Justice Bhargav Karia of the Gujarat High Court has ruled that Model Code of Conduct (MCC) does not apply to cooperatives.
India is home to more than 8 lakhs cooperatives, according to a recent survey done by the apex body National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI). Board meetings, Annual General Meetings, special general meetings, co-op elections, etc are continuously taking place in one or the other cooperative.
Invoking MCC is tantamount to obstruction of the cooperative growth of the country, experts opined while welcoming the High Court decision.
In the present case the High Court quashed election officer’s order cancelling a special general body meeting of Mehsana district cooperative milk producers union. The meeting was called for amending some of the provisions of byelaws.
But a complainant went to the District Magistrate who sought the opinion of the Registrar cooperatives and an order was passed stopping the said meeting. In a categorical order the High Court observed that cooperative is not a government instrumentality and thus MCC is not applicable to it.
Readers would recall that the biggest fertilizer cooperative, not only of India but of the world IFFCO is busy electing a new RGB and a new Board of Directors. The first phase of IFFCO elections is over with the co-op titan electing 847 delegates, 63 more than the last time. IFFCO has also elected 46 women as its RGB member.
The second phase to choose Directors is slated later this month. The final list after scrutiny and withdrawal will be out on 9th May and the election of the Board of Director would be held on 10th May 2019.
The High Court order in the case of Mehsana District Milk Cooperative Union is a relief to many cooperative organizations including IFFCO. “Though nobody has complained against IFFCO elections and the talk of it being postponed is nowhere yet the negative elements are always active and the current judgement insulates us against such forces”, he said with a sense of relief.