India Court Ruling Keeps Co-ops Private and Independent

10 Jun 2024
Photo by Naveed Ahmed on Unsplash

The Madras High Court recently ruled that co-operative societies registered under the Tamil Nadu Co-operative Societies Act are not obligated to comply with the Right to Information (RTI) Act of 2005. 

The court determined that these societies do not qualify as "public authorities" under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, which is reserved for entities established or significantly controlled by the government. This decision came in response to a writ petition from the president of the Madhanam Primary Agricultural Cooperative Credit Society, challenging an order from the Tamil Nadu Information Commission (TNIC) that required the society to disclose loan details.

The judgment underscores that cooperative societies are autonomous entities and are not performing public functions in a manner that would classify them as part of "the State" under Article 12 of the Constitution. 

This interpretation aligns with precedents set by the Supreme Court and previous rulings by the Madras High Court. Importantly, this ruling supports the independence of cooperative societies.