The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down the law introduced by the Parliament on regulating cooperative societies within states and Union territories under the 97th Constitution Amendment 2011, without first getting ratified from half of the state legislatures as per Article 368(2) of the Constitution. All the citizens shall have the right to form associations or cooperative societies according to Article 19(1)(c). However, the three-judge bench of the top court held the 97th Amendment 2011 to be valid and operational concerning multistate cooperative societies with a majority of 2:1.
The foremost challenge before the Court was against Part IXB inserted by the 97th amendment. The views of Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai were that Part IXB, applies to co-operative societies which operate within a State, therefore, it would require ratification under Article 368(2) of the Constitution of India.
The majority judgment agreed to the contention of having the legislative device of "reference" to existing provisions and therefore the matter should be viewed as a separate part within Part IXB has been enacted when multi-State cooperative societies are concerned.
Justice KM Joseph was in support of the majority view that Part IXB does not apply to state cooperative societies. He further held that the law cannot apply to multi-state cooperative societies. The high court found that the process adopted by Parliament to introduce the law was wrong as cooperative societies were a subject reserved exclusively for States under the Seventh Schedule. Any change required ratification of half of the state legislatures.
Attorney General KK Venugopal argued the Centre’s appeal that since the passing of the Amendment law of 2011, 17 out of 28 States have already enacted legislative measures and therefore, more than half of the states had already accepted and applied the provisions of Part IXB.
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