Guest writer: Mr.Krishnaraj Rao
After the Constitutional Amendment and the status granted to the co-operative societies of self-governance, the RTI Act would be applicable to the Co-operative Society. More particularly after it being self-governed by Maharashtra State Ordinance of 2013 laying down the by-laws, rule, regulations, procedure and modalities,
says the legal opinion of Senior Advocate Firoze Andhyarujina, which was released yesterday by Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society (BCAS), at a press conference held at Indian Merchants’ Chamber here. CA Narayan Varma and former super-cop Julio Ribeiro presided over the event.
Download copy of legal opinion: http://tinyurl.com/Coop-soc-is-under-RTI
With reference to a PIL pending before Aurangabad Bench of Bombay High Court, questioning the Constitutional validity of the 97th Amendment, the Adv. Andhyarujina opined, “I am of the opinion that Parliament has got the right to expand the scope of Article 19, 43-B and Part IX-B of the Constitution. A right conferred to a particular body or an authority walls within the legislative competence of the Parliament”.
RTI activists, CHS activists and advocates present at the press conference received the legal opinion with enthusiasm and joy.
However, the dampener was that former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, who was the chief guest at the occasion, held that the Right to Information Act would not be applicable to co-operative societies of any kind, including co-operative housing societies.
The conclusion of the meeting was that the applicability of RTI Act to co-operative societies would have to be tested by filing some RTI applications to housing societies, and pursuing the matter in appeal until it reached the High Court.