Odisha govt set to miss July 31 deadline for coop polls

Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, July 24:

With the deadline for holding elections to cooperative societies just a week away, the Odisha government is now certain to miss the bus.

Dr-Dama-RoutThe government is yet to initiate the process for election to the societies, which are currently being run by bureaucrats without elected bodies.

With the possibility of a constitutional crisis looming large due to the inr=ordinate delay in holding elections to the cooperative bodies, the government is waiting for the permission of Supreme Court to publish the final rules for the polls.

It may be noted that the Odisha Cooperative Societies Rules, 1965 and the Odisha Cooperative Societies (Election to the Committees) Rules, 1992 were amended for holding elections to cooperative societies.

However, publication of the final rules was not possible as a case is pending in the matter in the Supreme Court since 2011.

Cooperation Minister Damodar Rout informed that the State Cooperative Election Commission that the government cannot initiate the election process due to want of publication of the final rules by the government.

“The matter had been referred to the Law Department, which advised the government to take permission of the apex court for publication of the final rules for conducting elections,” said the Minister in the state Assembly on Wednesday.

In August, 2013, the Cabinet had decided to postpone the election to co-operative bodies by a year precisely on the ground that the rules are yet to be finalised.

Prior to the Cabinet decision, the state government had, through an ordinance, fixed July 31, 2014 as the deadline for the completion of the election process.

The Odisha Cooperative Societies Act, 1962 was amended by Odisha Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Act, 2012 to bring it in conformity with the 97th Amendment Act of the Constitution in 2011. In the Amendment Act under Section 17, a time period of six months from the date of the commencement of the Act was provided within which the elections to all cooperative societies would be held.

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