NGO moves SC against sedition law, terms it 'anachronistic'

By PTI
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce its verdict on Tuesday on Centre’s plea challenging the Gujarat High Court’s 2013 decision striking down certain provisions of the 97th constitutional amendment while holding that Parliament cannot enact laws with regard to cooperative societies as it is a state subject.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman, K M Joseph and B R Gavai which reserved its verdict on July 8 will pronounce the verdict.

Several intervention applications were also filed in favour of and against the High Court verdict.

The 97th constitutional amendment, which dealt with issues related to effective management of the co-operative societies in the country was passed by Parliament in December 2011 and had come into effect from February 15, 2012.

The change in the constitution has amended Article 19(1)(c) to give protection to the cooperatives and inserted Article 43 B and Part IX B, relating to them.

The Centre has contended that the provision does not denudes the States of its power to enact laws with regard to cooperatives.

During the hearing, the top court also examined a question whether the provision denuded states of their exclusive power to enact laws to deal with management of cooperative societies.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for Centre, has said that the 97th Constitution amendment is not direct or substantial attack on the States power to enact law with regard to cooperatives.

Intervenors have contended that the constitutional amendment made a direct in-road into the exclusive domain of States to enact laws with regard to cooperatives.

The Centre has stated that the amendment was enacted to bring in uniformity in the management of cooperative societies and it does not take away the powers of the State to enact laws with regard to them.

The top court had said if the Centre wanted to achieve uniformity then the only way available was to take the recourse under Article 252 of the Constitution which deals with power of Parliament to legislate for two or more States by consent.

It has said that in effect what the government has done is that the power of States to enact laws with respect to cooperative society has been made no longer exclusive.

On April 22, 2013, the High Court, while striking down certain provisions of the 97th constitutional amendment, held that the Parliament cannot enact laws or issue notification with regard to cooperative societies as it is a state subject.

The High Court verdict came on a PIL challenging the legality of the 97th constitutional amendment on the ground that Centre had no legislative competence to enact law for cooperative societies which is exclusively a state subject under the scheme of the Constitution.

The High Court had held that certain provisions of the amendment pertaining to cooperative societies violated the basic structure of federalism.

The PIL petitioner have contended that as per the provisions of Article 368 of the Constitution, if Parliament intends to amend or delete any of the lists in the seventh schedule, such Amendment shall require to be ratified by the legislature of not less than one half of the states by resolution to the effect passed by those legislatures before the bill making provisions for such amendment is presented to the President for Assent.