97th Constitution Amendment: The Supreme Court, on 20th July 2021, in a 2:1 majority verdict upheld the validity of the 97th Constitutional amendment that deals with issues related to effective management of cooperative societies but struck down a part related to their setting up and functioning.
A three-judge bench comprising Justices R F Nariman, K M Joseph and B R Gavai of the Supreme Court struck down part of the 97th Amendment Act and Part IX B of the Constitution which governs the “Cooperative Societies” in the country.
- Part IXB was inserted by the Constitution (97th amendment) Act, 2011.
- It deals with incorporation, terms of members of the board and its office bearers and effective management of cooperative societies.
- However, the SC judgment held that Part IXB of the Constitution of India that deals with the functioning and incorporation of multi-state co-operative societies will be operative.
What was the reason for striking down part of the Constitution Amendment on cooperative societies?
- The court unanimously held that the 97th Constitutional Amendment required ratification by at least one-half of the state legislatures as per Article 368(2) of the Constitution, since it dealt with an entry which was an exclusive state subject (co-operative societies).
- As such ratification was not done, therefore, the 97th Constitutional amendment, Part IXB of the Constitution inserted by the said amendment was struck down.
Note: The Gujarat High court, in 2013, has also struck down part of the Constitution (97th Amendment) Act, 2011 citing the same reasons.
- The issue gains significance as the central government during the recent expansion of the Council of Ministers created a separate “Ministry of Cooperation” under Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Ministry of Cooperation:
- The Central Government in July 2021 created a separate Ministry of Cooperation (Sahkarita Mantralaya) to provide a separate administrative, legal, and policy framework for strengthening the Co-operative Movement in India.
- The newly formed Ministry of Cooperation is headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
What is the 97th Constitution Amendment Act, 2011?
- The 97th constitutional amendment, which dealt with issues related to effective management of cooperative societies in the country, was passed by parliament in December 2011 and had come into effect from February 15, 2012.
- The change in the constitution has amended Article 19(1) (c) to give protection to the cooperatives and inserted Article 43 B and Part IX B, relating to them.
- Article 19(1)(c) under Part III of the Constitution enables all the citizens to form associations or unions subject to some restrictions by giving it the status of the fundamental rights of citizens.
- A new Article 43B was added in the Directive Principles of State Policy (Part IV) that states shall endeavor to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of cooperative societies.
About Supreme Court of India:
- The Supreme Court of India (SCI) is the highest judicial forum and final court of appeal under the Constitution of India, the highest constitutional court, with the power of constitutional review.
- It consists of the Chief Justice of India and a maximum of 34 judges, it has extensive powers in the form of original, appellate and advisory jurisdictions.
- It is regarded as the most powerful public institution in India.
- It was established on 26 January 1950.
- It is headquartered in New Delhi.
- The current CJI of the Supreme Court is Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana