WHO HAS GOT POWER TO PREPARE VOTERS LIST OF Primary Agricultural Co-Operative Society - Under Rule 22(2) = Thus, under the scheme of the Rules, the Chief Executive Officer or President of the society alone has the power to prepare the Voters' list and the limited power conferred on the Election Officer is confined only to pointing out the omissions or commissions noticed while scrutinizing the list finalised by the Chief Executive Officer or President of the society. Except to the extent of the power conferred on the Election Officer, no other functionary, including the District Collector or District Co-Operative Officer or Divisional Co-Operative Officer, has any power whatsoever to interfere with the preparation and finalization of the voters' list. Therefore, it is always desirable that all these functionaries completely refrain from interfering with the election process of the society.

PUBLISHED IN http://judis.nic.in/judis_andhra/filename=9729

HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE C.V.NAGARJUNA REDDY        

WRIT PETITION No.6755 of 2013

15.03.2013

Kondaveeti Srinivasa Rao

The Government of A.P., Co-Operation Department, Hyderabad, Reptd by its
Secretary and seven others.

Counsel for the Petitioner: Sri K.Chidambaram

Counsel for Respondent Nos.1 to 5: GP for Co-Operation
Counsel for Respondent Nos.6 & 7: Smt Bobba Vijaya Lakshmi
Counsel for Respondent No.8: Sri Narasimha Rao Gudiseva

<Gist:

>Head Note:

?CITATIONS:

The Court made the following:

ORDER:

        The dispute mainly pertains to preparation of voters' list in respect of
Penugonda Primary Agricultural Co-Operative Society, West Godavari District (for
short 'the Society').
        Earlier, the petitioner filed Writ Petition No.2114 of 2013 for declaring
the action of respondent No.2 in not taking further steps for holding elections
to the Society as illegal and arbitrary. The said Writ Petition was disposed of
by this Court by order, dated 01.02.2013, wherein it was recorded that it is
submitted by the learned Government Pleader for Co-Operation that in view of the
interim order granted in Writ Petition No.39769 of 2012, no further steps were
taken to finalise the list of eligible members for sending the same to the
Election Officer as contemplated under Rule 22 of the A.P. Co-Operative
Societies Rules, 1964 (for short 'the Rules') and that the respondents are
prepared to proceed with the election process from the stage where it was
stopped. This Court further observed that in view of the interim order passed in
W.P.No.39769 of 2012, the election process was stopped from 31.12.2012 to
04.01.2013 and that the list of members is not finalised by the Chief Executive
Officer/President of the Society. Accordingly, a direction was issued to the
respondents to proceed with the election process from the stage where it was
stopped i.e., 31.12.2012.
        Purporting to follow the said order, respondent No.3 has issued a revised
election schedule, as per which, the preparation of list of eligible members to
vote by the Chief Executive Officer and publication was fixed as 25.02.2013.
Questioning this revised election schedule, the petitioner filed this Writ
Petition.
        The main plea on which this Writ Petition is filed is that the revised
election schedule is contrary to the undertaking given by the learned Government
Pleader, based on which, the previous Writ Petition, i.e., W.P.No.2114 of 2013,
along with W.P.No.1507 of 2013, was disposed of.
        Sri K.Chidambaram, learned counsel for the petitioner, submitted that in
the guise of revising the election schedule, the respondents have been trying to
include the members who are not eligible to vote as on 31.12.2012 in the Voters'
list.
        Respondent No.8 filed a counter-affidavit, wherein he has made certain
serious allegations against respondent Nos.5 and 7. These allegations, if true,
shock one's conscience. However, this Court is not inclined to render any
findings on these allegations because in a Writ Petition filed under Article 226
of the Constitution of India, it is not possible for this Court to render
conclusive findings on the allegations of the nature, as are levelled by
respondent No.8 against respondent Nos.5 and 7. However, this Court takes
judicial notice of the fact that respondent No.8 being an employee of the
Society had to go to the extent of making serious allegations of interference by
respondent Nos.5 and 7. This Court only hopes that in future, the superior
officers such as respondent Nos.5 and 7 will not give scope for such allegations
being levelled by their sub-ordinate officers.
        Without transversing further on the allegations made by respondent No.8,
it will suffice to note that according to respondent No.8, on the pressure
exerted by respondent Nos.5 and 7, he was forced to write letter, dated
05.03.2013, at 6 pm., to the effect that the list of eligible members to vote
contains not only original 1,293 voters, but also additional 968 and 26 members.
According to him, as on 31.12.2012, only 1,293 members were eligible for
inclusion in the Voters' list.
        Under Rule 22(2)(b)(iii) of the Rules, the Chief Executive Officer or
President of the society shall invite the claims or objections from the members.

Under sub-rule (ii) thereof, the Chief Executive Officer or President of the
society shall communicate the final list of members eligible to vote to the
Election Officer on the date specified by the Election authority and 
under sub-
rule (vi) thereof, after receipt of the final list of members eligible to vote
from the society, the Election Officer shall verify the cases and satisfy
himself that the list conforms to the criteria for eligibility to vote as laid
down under the Act and the Rules.
        Under the above Sub-rule, if there are no omissions or commissions noticed
while scrutinizing the final list, the Election Officer shall refer the same to
the Chief Executive Officer or President of the Society for rectification. 
After
such rectification, the Election Officer shall publish the final list of the
voters along with the election schedule as prescribed in Form-I.
        Thus, under the scheme of the Rules, the Chief Executive Officer or President of the society alone has the power to prepare the Voters' list and the limited power conferred on the Election Officer is confined only to pointing out the omissions or commissions noticed while scrutinizing the list finalised by
the Chief Executive Officer or President of the society. Except to the extent of the power conferred on the Election Officer, no other functionary, including the District Collector or District Co-Operative Officer or Divisional Co-Operative Officer, has any power whatsoever to interfere with the preparation and
finalization of the voters' list. Therefore, it is always desirable that all these functionaries completely refrain from interfering with the election process of the society.
        In the instant case, as the election process was directed to be resumed
from the stage where it was stopped, the eligibility of the members needs to be
assessed with reference to the original election schedule. That means, whoever
was eligible to vote as on the date of calling for objections with reference to
the original date of election notified alone is entitled to claim inclusion in
the voters' list subject to their eligibility.
        In this view of the matter, respondent No.8 is directed to resume the
election process as on 31.12.2012 strictly in accordance with the procedure
prescribed under Rule-22(2) (b)(iii) and (v) of the Rules. He shall also
strictly follow the procedure prescribed under sub-rule (vi) thereof with
respect to finalisation of the Voters' list. The other respondents are
restrained from interfering with the preparation and finalisation of the Voters'
list.
        Subject to the above directions, the Writ Petition is disposed of.
As a sequel to disposal of the Writ Petition, the W.P.M.P.No.8464 of 2013 filed
by the petitioner for interim relief is disposed of as infructuous.
____________________________  
JUSTICE C.V.NAGARJUNA REDDY      
15thMarch, 2013

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