Co-op societies not bound by RTI Act, rules Madras High Court

Deputy registrar of the cooperative societies directed the society to furnish the information.
The SIC passed an order on May 4, 2022 directing the society to furnish all the information. Aggrieved by the order, the society filed the petition in the High Court.
The SIC passed an order on May 4, 2022 directing the society to furnish all the information. Aggrieved by the order, the society filed the petition in the High Court.

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has held that the cooperative societies in the state are not bound by the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 to provide information to the citizens on their functions as they are not falling under public authority.

“It is made clear that a co- operative society registered under the Tamil Nadu Co-operative Societies Act is not bound by the RTI Act to provide the information requested by a citizen. The co-operative society does not fall within the definition of public authority as defined under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act,” Justice V Bhavani Subbaroyan said in an order passed on Thursday.

The judge quashed an order of the State Information Commissioner (SIC) directing the president of Madhanam Primary Agricultural Cooperative Credit Society of Mayiladuthurai district to furnish information to one of the members of the society, K Jeeva, on disbursal of loans and the list of beneficiaries of jewel loan waiver of the society from 2015 to 2021.

Deputy registrar of the cooperative societies directed the society to furnish the information. When the society did not do so, he approached the joint registrar of cooperative societies and then the (SIC). The SIC passed an order on May 4, 2022 directing the society to furnish all the information. Aggrieved by the order, the society filed the petition in the High Court.

The counsel for the petitioner had stated the society is a registered society under the Tamil Nadu Co-operative Societies Act, 1983 and it is managed by the Elected Board of Directors and office-bearers of the society. The co-operative societies are not public authorities as per Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act 2005, and therefore, the society is not liable to provide any information sought by Jeeva.

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