CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Thursday directed the State Government to complete elections to the Primary, Central and Apex Cooperative Societies within a period of six months.
The single judge bench of Justice AK Rath took note of the fact that the Government has started the process for conduct of elections to the cooperative bodies and disposed of the writ petition filed by one Tilottama Pradhan, a shareholder of Urban Co-operative Bank, Cuttack, seeking elections within the stipulated time.
The Cooperation Department has issued a notification and taken steps for the publication of Odisha Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Rules 2014 and OCS (Election to Committees) Amendment Rules 2014 by August 22. After the publication of Rules, the State Cooperative Election Commissioner will start the process for elections, the Government had submitted before the court.
The path was cleared with the Supreme Court recently allowing a special leave petition of the Government seeking permission to go ahead with conduct of elections to the cooperative bodies in accordance with the 97th Constitutional Amendment.
While the State Government amended the Odisha Cooperative Societies Act, 1962 in December 2012 to conform with the Constitution (97th Amendment) Act, 2011, it was mandated under the provisions to hold elections within six months. Unable to conduct elections within the stipulated July 31, 2013, the Government had extended the time by a year to July 30 this year.
However, it did not go ahead with the elections despite amending the Odisha Cooperative Societies Rules, 1965 and the Odisha Cooperative Societies (Election to the Committees) Rules, 1992 as a case was pending with the Apex Court.
The Government had moved an application, which was allowed by the Supreme Court clearing the decks for holding the elections.