Telangana High Court on Tuesday gave one-day time to the State government to fix the time frame for conducting election to the Siricilla-based Co-operative Electric Supply Society (CESS) comprising nearly 3.5 lakh members.
A bench of Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice Chada Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy passed this direction while hearing a writ petition filed by A. Kanakaiah, one of the CESS members. The petitioner challenged the validity of Government Order (GO) routine 151 issued on this April 18 empowering the government to run a co-operative society with members appointed by it for three years.
The petitioner contended that the GO 151 was striking at the very idea of cooperative movement by empowering the government to run a cooperative society with members appointed by it. During the earlier hearing, the bench stayed operation of the GO.
When the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, the bench led by CJ Ujjal Bhuyan sought to know from the government why the election was not being held to the CESS. Additional Advocate General J. Ramachandra Rao, appearing for the State, told the bench that the rules were amended enabling the government to appoint members to run a cooperative society and even extend the term of the members thus appointed.
The bench, however, observed that it amounted to direct interference with the functioning of the cooperative societies. The AAG contended that the petitioner did not question the constitutional validity of the GO 151. Petitioner’s counsel K. Vivek Reddy contended that validity of the amendments made by the State government was challenged.
He argued that government had been defeating the purpose of cooperative societies with such amendments and was forcing them to be run by officers appointed by it instead of the elected bodies. The AAG sought time of three months from the bench to conduct elections to CESS by preparing the electoral rolls.
He appealed to the bench to vacate the stay order issued by it and enable the State government appointed committee to run CESS. He explained that the government could not prepare the electoral rolls of the society due to pandemic. However, the bench did not agree with his contention, noting that even elections to some State Assemblies were conducted during the pandemic.
The bench said it would be compelled to seek personal appearance of the Principal Secretary concerned to give a time frame for conducting the poll to CESS. At this stage, the AAG sought a day’s time to convey the matter to the government. The petition would be heard again on Wednesday.