NCUI officials are busy preparing defence after the Sole Arbitrator Vriti Anand rejected its petition on the maintainability of case against the apex body. Ashok Dabas and National Labour Co-op Federation (NLCF) are the petitioners in the case.
Earlier, NCUI had challenged the petition arguing the case is not maintainable and Central Registrar has no jurisdiction to pass orders stopping the NCUI Board from taking any decision on elections.
“How can the petition stand in any court of law when the reorganization of NCUI constituencies were done through changes in the bylaws by a suitable body? And additionally, it was later vetted by the office of the Central Registrar itself”, said an NCUI official connected with the matter on condition of anonymity.
Does this not make the Central Registrar a party too to the case, he asked underlining that the Central Registrar has no right to appoint an arbitrator in a matter in which he himself is involved.
The Sole Arbitrator Vriti Anand has, however rejected the claim of NCUI and asked it to give a written reply on the points raised by the petitioners.
Informed sources say the defence (replies know as SOD in legal terms) being prepared by the apex body answers almost all the points raised by the petitioners. “It is running into more than 200 pages”, said an official.
The next hearing is on February 14 but those familiar with the legal process say that the matter may prolong for a while. “The Statement of Defence from NCUI would be forwarded to Petitioners who would, in turn, submit its reply to SOD before the Arbitrator”, they underlined. The arguments or hearing would begin after the written-replies are exchanged between the parties involved.
The legal process, even when it is done expeditiously would involve 2-3 months and the scheduled NCUI election is bound to be delayed, said an insider. The tenure of the current board is ending in March 2020.
Earlier, ordering the NCUI not to take any election-related decision, the Sole Arbitrator had observed that the Claimants have been able to establish a prima-facie case for grant of ad-interim order and it is directed that the Respondent shall not take any decision regarding election for the constitution of the Governing Council.
Petitioners have argued that the reorganization of constituencies carried out by NCUI recently is aimed at weakening the cooperative movement in the country. The changes are sure to further weaken the representation of the weaker sections’ cooperatives in the apex co-op body of the Indian Cooperative Movement, charges Ashok Dabas.
The clubbing of several important co-op sectors into one which includes housing, dairy, sugar, consumer along with the weaker sectors such as labour, fisheries and tribal co-operatives would leave many sectors without a representation in NCUI, reads the petition.