By I C Naik
A media report apprehends the State finding excuses to delay CHS elections In Maharashtra: the reasons are likes of one school children advances to bunk a school namely Monsoon, National Calamity, Elections like Parliamentary elections or assembly or civic elections are in progress.
Very first weakness in co-operative movement which led to the parliament enacting the 97th Constitutional Amendment had as stated at Para 2(a) of the STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONs placed before the Parliament was “ instances where elections have been postponed indefinitely.
Maharashtra which used to proudly claim to be a pioneer State in the growth of co-operative movement has of late started going in reverse gears. Housing society in Maharashtra and in Mumbai attracts attention of the whole nation and is listed as the least priority in the State Administration diary. Any small reason or at times no reason is a good enough to stall any administrative step vital to the growth of this sector. Article 243ZJ(2) mandates to the States that “The term of office of elected members of the board and its office bearers shall be five years from the date of election and the term of office bearers shall be coterminous with the term of the board”
In the pre 97th Constitutional Amendment era CHS elections were an in-house affair and not in many housing societies members of the managing committee were interested in sticking to the position. Rather they would eagerly await next election so that can relieve from the honorary responsibility.
Post 97th Constitutional Amendment in utter contempt of constitutional obligation the State legislature extended the elections of committees having expire 5 year term to 31st December which was later extended to 31st December 2014. Vide Section 166(4) the brutal contempt was elections were indefinitely extended for those committees tenure of which expire any time after 31st March 2013 till the new State Co-operative Election Authority (SECA) holds the Polls. On 4 12 2013 the Bombay High Court (by a bench headed by Justice SC Dharmadhikari ) directed Maharashtra Government to form within two weeks a State Cooperative Election Commission Authority to conduct elections of all cooperative societies. This order was executed after more than 6 months delay. State Legislature enacted a one line amendment to extend the dead line of 31st December 2014 to 30th June 2015. And now a set of excuses are proposed to be built in to legislative enactment to authorize SCEA to extend election by 6 months at a time subject to maximum of 12 months.
As the Apex Court has brought out the Constitutional imperatives in its order of 19th March 2015 (2015) 42 SCD 494 the State Legislative enactments are supposed to be over-ridden by provisions of Constitution and any deviation is inoperative. So the proposed extensions are ultra vires the Constitution and SCEA cannot be given authority to delay his own work which enjoined upon him under the Constitution. He could be hauled up for the contempt of the Constitutional mandate as the authority to extend the election dates beyond 5 years is unconstitutional.