Laying down a series of guidelines to check state governments control over cooperative banks and other financial bodies, the Supreme Court said that freeing the management of these banks from the clutches of political masters has become necessary in view of the mushrooming cases in various courts challenging orders of supersession of elected committees.
The general directions to be followed when a state government supersedes elected managing committees of these banks includesupersession to be ordered only in rare circumstances, the committees should not be penalised for short-comings and illegalities committed by the earlier body, it should be given sufficient time to rectify defects, the registrar should consult controlling banks before taking action, he should not act under political pressure, if he does not act bona fide he shall be subjected to disciplinary proceedings and pay cost of legal proceedings, and finally public money should not be spent by the government for unnecessary litigation involving various factions in a co-op.
While dismissing the appeal of Madhya Pradesh government against the state HC that directed reinstatement of the board of directors of District Cooperative Bank Ltd, Panna, for the full term, the apex court told the supervisory body (registrar/joint registrar) that it would be personally liable for succumbing to political pressure. The apex court also imposed cost of R1 lakh on the MP government and R10,000 on the joint registrar who passed the order.
In this case, the Registrar Cooperative Societies, Sagar division, superseded the board of directors of the bank after issuing a show cause notice containing 19 charges and holding it responsible for discrepancies of the previous management. The directors led by Sanjay Nagayach had challenged the September 2011 supersession in the HC as it was done without consulting RBI.
Is Jugaad a motor vehicle
The Supreme Court in the case of Rajasthan State Road Transport Corp versus Smt Santosh has ruled that a bullock cart (jugaad) adapted for agricultural or commercial purposes cannot be allowed to ply on roads as a motor vehicle. However, it clarified that the statutory authorities can make exemptions for use of the vehicle for agricultural purposes only as plying such improvised version of a bullock cart carrying several persons has become a menace to public safety as they are causing a very large number of accidents.
The issue before the apex court was whether jugaad is a vehicle under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, and if it is held to be a motor vehicle then whether jugaad is required to be insured and registered, and whether the driver of jugaad must compulsorily have a driving licence.
In this case, a state bus had hit a jugaad. The Rajasthan HC fixed the complete liability of providing compensation on the corporation. The corporation appealed to the Supreme Court, which asked the central and state governments to give their views on the issue. Most argued that jugaad is a motor vehicle and should comply with the requirements of law, such as insurance, qualified driver and fitness certificate. Even Rashtriya Kisan Morcha contended that farmers be allowed to use jugaad for carrying people from houses to the farms and for carrying agricultural produce.
Minister slammed for a land deal
The Supreme Court in the case Bangalore Development Authority versus M/s Vijaya Leasing Ltd held that the order of de-notification of land acquired under the Land Acquisition Act at the instance of the then minister was illegal. Quashing the Karnataka HC decision, it said the Division Bench failed to take note of the gross illegality committed by the minister while directing the issuance of the de-notification in 1999, in spite of the fact that possession had already been handed over to the state in 1983. We also wonder as to why the minister concerned should have taken upon himself the extraordinary effort of making an inspection for which no special reasons were adduced in the report, the apex court said, adding that the conclusion of the minister that the possession continued to remain with the owner was contrary to what was found on records. After the land in Thippasandra Village was notified in 1971, the original owners sold the land to Vijaya Leasing six months prior to the award in November 1983. After a visit of the minister to the land in question, the land was de-notified. When de-notification was recalled in 2000, Vijaya Leasing moved the HC.