After the UPA govt now the NDA government has also ruled out bringing co-operatives under the ambit of Right to Information Act. The government is not planning to bring any amendment in the Right to Information Act to include co-operative societies under it, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.
“No” was the response from minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh to a question from a member seeking to know whether the government is planning to amend the RTI Act and bring co-operative societies under the transparency law.
Co-operative societies do not fall within the ambit of Right to Information Act, the Supreme Court had ruled last year while quashing a Kerala government circular to bring all such societies within the scope of the transparency law.
The controversy has been bogging cooperatives for a long time with cooperative leaders and RTI activists drawn at the two ends of the legal fight.
IFFCO, the cooperative giant was first to win the RTI battle which led many cooperative leaders to heave a sigh of relief and generated a hope among others of battling it out the court in course of time.
Cooperative societies would not be covered under the ” right to information Act” and therefore not liable to share information with public under the law observed the apex court while disposing of a slew of appeals impugning a Kerala High Court judgment in the matter.
The court had said the authority exercised by the registrar of cooperative societies under the cooperative societies Act ” is only regulatory or supervisory and ” supervisory or general regulation under the statute of cooperative societies which are body corporate does not render activities of the body so regulated subject to such control of the state so as to bring it within the meaning of ”state” or instrumentality of the state”.
The court reasoned ” if the information is not statutorily accessible by a public authority as defined in section 2[h] of the RTI Act , that information will not be under the control of the public authority. Resultantly, it will not be possible for citizens to secure access to that information’, the court said.
RTI activists are sure to continue their fight with this rebuff from the new dispensation. Himself a great votary of cooperative movement, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has his personal savings account in one of the urban cooperative banks of Rajkot in Gujarat.