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HC poser on co-operative board disbanding

Calcutta, Feb. 12: Calcutta High Court today directed the state government to file an affidavit stating what prompted it to promulgate an ordinance disbanding the elected boards of around 2,000 co-operative societies and banks.

The West Bengal Co-operative Societies (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2013, supersedes an order that scrapped the government’s efforts to introduce a bill to cut short the boards’ term from five to three years.

The co-operative banks are also run by societies under the societies registration act.

“The government had brought a bill to prune the tenure of the managing boards from five to three years. A single-bench judge had declared it illegal. The state had moved an appeal against the order and later withdrew it. So, what situation prompted it to promulgate an ordinance on the issue?” Justice Biswanath Somadder asked today.

The order followed a petition by the scrapped managing committee of West Bengal State Co-operative Bank Ltd that had challenged the validity of the ordinance promulgated on February 4.

Advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhatacharyya, who appeared on behalf of the organisation, told the court: “On February 4, the government informed the managing committees about the ordinance. Before publication of the gazette notification, it sent a separate notification asking the committees to hand over the charges to government-appointed officers till holding of fresh elections.”