The Maharashtra legislative council on Thursday decided not to clear amendments in the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act 1960 barring tainted directors of banks from contesting polls to any cooperative bank post for 10 years. Instead, the Upper House has decided to send the bill to 12-member select committee for rectification. The committee will have to make suitable changes to the bill in the next six months. The opposition Congress-NCP has majority in the upper house.
The state government in January this year had promulgated an ordinance barring directors of dissolve or bankrupt banks to contest elections of such bodies for two terms, which is equal to ten years. With the ordinance, the government has incorporated section 73-CA in the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960 that empowers the government to disqualify the entire superseded board of directors of urban co-operative banks from being re-elected, re-coopted, re-nominated as directors of any cooperative bank for at least two terms.
To convert the ordinance in to an act, state cooperation minister Chandrakant Patil tabled the amendment bill in the Upper House on Thursday. But Dhananjay Munde, leader of opposition and Sharad Ranpise, Congress group leader objected to the provisions that have retrospective effect. It was then decided to send the bill to the select committee of the House for rectification.
Munde alleged that the move is aimed at destroying the cooperation sector. “The strategy of the BJP led government is to kick out Congress-NCP leaders having stronghold in the sector. If not, then debarring bank directors with retrospective effect wouldn’t have been incorporated,” he accused.
The cooperation minister clarified that the intentions of the government cannot be questioned as the decision was taken to check irregularities in the cooperative banks and to improve their recovery. “Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been following the matter since 2012 and it has issued banking licence to Nagpur district cooperative bank on the condition that the government will bring such a legislation,” Patil retorted.
Nagpur district cooperative bank was in red owing to higher percentage of non-performing assets (NPA) and RBI had also cancelled its banking licence few years back for financial irregularities.
The state assembly has cleared the Bill on Tuesday.