- The urban cooperative banks, cooperative financial institutions, Patpedhis (credit cooperative societies) and other cooperative societies, which are registered under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act 1960, are not public authorities within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act.
- These institutions stand exempted from disclosure of information u/s 8)1 (d), (e) and (j) of the Right to Information Act
- That the court issue a writ, order or direction restraining the officers of the cooperative department from supplying any information to the members or general public which is, according to the said societies, confidential in nature.
- The court, pending the hearing and final decision of the writ petition, restrain the respondent from disclosing any information other than the balance sheet and profit and loss accounts of the cooperative societies, urban banks and Patpedhis to the general public under Right to Information Act.
- Cooperative institutions are bodies created by the statute. But right from the registration till the liquidation there is control over these institutions by the authority created under the same Act. The authority steps in to take decisions on the rights of the members. The authority has control over the manner in which funds are invested or over the distribution of the funds. Such institutions cannot act independently and the apex bodies are created for such institutions.
- Even Articles 38,39,43 and 48 of the Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution show that to some extent such institutions are discharging the duty of the State
- The provisions of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act show that the authority under the Act can do the audit and inquire into irregularities. If loss is caused to the institution, by the directors, promoters etc., the authority can assess the damage, and the loss caused to the institution can be recovered from those persons. Under the Act, the authority can suspend the managing committee and remove its members. For all these and other purposes mentioned in the Cooperative Societies Act, the cooperative institution is bound to supply the record to the authority.
- The provisions of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, if read with the definition of information given in Section 2(f) of the Act, makes it clear that everything which is mentioned in the definition of information needs to be supplied by the cooperative institution to the authority created under the Cooperative Societies Act. The definition of ‘Public Authority’ given in Section 2(h) shows that such public authority can be created by any law made by the State Legislature. It is already observed that the officers like Registrar and his subordinate officers are appointed under the Cooperative Societies Act.
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Directions issued by Mr. Shailesh Gandhi, Central Information Commissioner with regard to Section 4 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI)
Very useful for RTI Users and Activists
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Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley : Resume DD TV SHOW – JANNE KA HAQ on RTI Act Now
My talk of about 50 minutes on RTI, Information Commissions, Judiciary and governance of December 2012 – Shailesh Gandhi
Very often the orders given by Information Commissions are stayed by the High Courts without any reference to the RTI applicant.
Such cases languish for long periods and are effectively lost because most applicants find it difficult pursue them.
Thus public authorities render the orders of the Commissions on giving information, penalties and others ineffective.
Section 23 of the RTI Act clearly states:”No court shall entertain any suit, application or other proceeding in respect of any order made under this Act and no such order shall be called in question otherwise than by way of an appeal under this Act.” However courts entertain most of these under their writ jurisdiction. My considered view is that most of these cases are appeals wrongly labelled as Writs.
In most cases the applicant is not even informed about the hearing in which the stay is given. Article 226 (3) of the Constitution is a remedy for such conditions.
I have often wanted to challenge these practices and when the Maharashtra Commission issued an order confirming that Mumbai Metro was a public authority, i had prepared my challenge on these grounds ( with generous help from young advocate Sandeep Jalan). As luck would have it, Reliance did not challenge the order and hence i missed the opportunity. When i was talking with Anjali Bhardwaj this morning she suggested that i should share the draft, so that these grounds could be used. I am attaching the 1500 word petition.
A few changes to suit your particular case may be required. I would be glad to assist. An applicant could file such a petition and
Alternately, Sandeep Jalan may be willing to give professional help His contact: Sandeep Jalan ; 9820671212
Courtesy : Shailesh Gandhi