Information regarding inclusion of Urban Coop Bank & Credit Societies of some states as members of NFCUB & Credit Societies was sought - CIC: not established that the respondents can access the sought information from NAFCUB under any law in force
Information regarding inclusion of Urban Cooperative Banks & Credit Societies of some states as members of the NFCUB & Credit Societies Limited was sought - PIO: they were not required to maintain the above information - CIC: appellant has not been able to establish that the respondents can access the sought information from NAFCUB under any law in force; appeal dismissed
This matter, pertaining to an RTI application dated 28.2.2014 filed by the Appellant, came up today. The information sought concerned the dates on which State Federationsof Urban Cooperative Banks and Credit Societies of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Kerala were admitted as members of the National Federation of Cooperative Urban Banks & Credit Societies Limited (NAFCUB), the names of the authorities who granted them admission and copies of the documents filed by each one of them for the above purpose. The Respondents reiterated the reply dated 19.3.2014 of the CPIO that as per the provisions of the MSCS Act, 2002, the Respondents were not required to maintain the above information in the office of the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies.
2.The Appellant submitted that as per the 97thAmendment to the Constitution ofIndia, the Respondents should be able to get such information from NAFCUB. He furthersubmitted that NAFCUB gets funding from the Government and should be providing suchinformation to the Respondents. He also referred to the judgment dated 7.2.2013 of theKarnataka High Court in Writ Petition No. 75828/2013 (CSEL/M) and some other WritPetitions, in which the Court held that the provisions of the 97thAmendmet had come into force from 15.2.2012.
3.The Respondents submitted that certain parts of the 97th Amendment were
declared ultra vires the Constitution of India by the High Court of Gujarat vide its judgment
dated 22.4.2013 in the matter of Shri Rajendra N. Shah Vs. Union of India & Anr. The
Central Government has filed S.L.P. Nos. 2526625267 of 2013 in the Supreme Court
against the above order of the High Court of Gujarat. This case is converted to Civil
Appeal No. 91089109 of 2014, but the same has not been listed so far. Therefore, the
MSCS Act, 2002 is not amended in keeping with the 97th amendment.
4.We have considered the submissions made by both the parties. It is seen that theRTI application and the subsequent appeals have been filed by the Appellant as theChairman of the Beawar Urban Cooperative Bank Limited. In this context, we note the following paragraph of the Guide on the Right to Information Act, 2005, circulated by theDepartment of Personnel & Training vide their O.M. No. 1/32/2013IR dated 28.11.2013:
Para 16 “The Act gives the right to information only to the citizens of India. It does not make provision for giving information to Corporations, Associations, Companies etc,. which are legal entities/persons, but not citizens. However, if an application is made by an employee or officebearer of any Corporation, Association, Company, NGO etc,. Indicating his name and such employee/officebearer is a citizen of India, information may be supplied to him/her. In such cases,it would be presumed that a citizen has sought information at the address of the Corporation etc.”
In view of the foregoing, the above application has to be regarded as an application filedby the Appellant in his individual capacity. It is further seen that Article 243 ZO (1),
introduced by the 97th amendment provided that “The Legislature of a State may, by law, provide for access to every member of a Cooperative society to the books, information and accounts of the cooperative society kept in regular transaction of its business with such member.”
Further, Article 243 ZT provided that “Notwithstanding anything in this Part, any provision of any law relating to cooperative societies in force in a State immediately before the commencement of the Constitution (Ninetyseventh Amendment) Act, 2011, which is inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, shall continue to be in force until amended or repealed by a competent Legislature or other competent authority or until the expiration ofone year from such commencement, whichever is less.”
Since Article 243 ZT has been declared ultra vires the Constitution by the High Court ofGujarat, the provision of 243 ZO (1) does not impact the MSCS Act, 2002. In any case,243 ZO (1) provides for access for every member of a cooperative society to the books, information and accounts of the cooperative society only in relation to the regular transaction of business of the society with such a member. It does not provide for accessfor the Respondents to the kind of information, which has been sought by the Appellant in his RTI application.
5. In the light of the foregoing, the Appellant has not been able to establish that the Respondents can access the information, required by him, from NAFCUB under any lawin force. Therefore, we uphold the response of the CPIO in this case.
6. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
7. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Ramesh Acharya v. M/o Agriculture, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation in File No.CIC/SH/A/2014/001187