Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Aug 22:
The Odisha High Court on Thursday directed the state government to complete elections to all primary, central and apex cooperative societies within six months.
The directive of the court came after the single judge bench of Justice AK Rath heard a writ petition filed by the former director of Urban Co-operative Bank, Cuttack, Tilottama Pradhan, seeking elections within the stipulated time.
The state government, in its affidavit, had informed the court that 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.
The State Cooperative Election Commissioner will start the process for elections after the publication of Rules, it said.
It may be mentioned that the process for the cooperative elections in the state was cleared after the Supreme Court allowed 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 Act, 2011.
After the state government had amended the Odisha Cooperative Societies Act, 1962 in December, 2012 in conformity with the Constitutional Amendment Act, 2011, it was mandated under the provisions to hold elections within six months.
The government had extended the time by a year to July 30 this year after being unable to conduct elections within July 31 last year.
Despite amending the Odisha Cooperative Societies Rules, 1965 and the Odisha Cooperative Societies (Election to the Committees) Rules, 1992, it did not initiate the process for the elections as a case was pending with the apex court.
However, the Supreme Court cleared the decks for holding the elections after allowing an application moved by the government recently.