October 23, 2020 2:11:50 am
A day before the elections to the post of chairperson and vice chairperson of the managing committee of Amul Dairy, the Gujarat High Court on Thursday directed that while the polls can be held as scheduled, the votes cast by three state -nominated directors of the committee should be kept in a separate sealed cover and results should not be declared for the posts until the next hearing.
The high court’s intervention came after Congress and Congress-affiliated board members of Amul Dairy filed a petition challenging the appointment of the three directors, who they claim are affiliated to BJP, to the board as state government’s nominees ahead of the election.
The court, meanwhile, issued notice to the respondents and has kept it returnable on November 24. The court also directed that the respondents shall place the sealed cover of the process of the election with an affidavit.
The petition has been moved by Congress MLA from Anand Kanti Sodha Parmar, Congress MLA from Borsad Rajendrasinh Parmar, who is also the incumbent vice-chairperson of Amul — the seat which goes to poll on Friday, and Sanjay Patell. All the three are elected members of the managing committee or officially known as Board of Directors of Kheda District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd. – popularly known as Amul Dairy. The election to the managing committee was held in August in which BJP-affiliated members could win “only three to four out of 13 seats.
The petition alleges that BJP-affiliated members are subsequently trying to create an “artificial majority” so as to tilt Friday’s elections in their favour.
As stated in the petition, as per the Union byelaws, over and above the elected directors, the registrar can nominate one member as its nominee, one member can be nominated by the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation and in case the union takes finance from a financial institution then a member is nominated by the said financial institution to the managing committee.
The petitioners said that Amul Dairy is not reliant on any financial institution and should ideally have two nominated members only on its managing committee.
The petitioners have alleged that the district registrar of cooperative societies by way of a showcause notice on October 14, sent to all elected board of directors of the union, asked that if any of the members have an objection to the appointment of three of its nominated directors to the board -Bharatbhai Sureshbhai Patel, Prabhatbhai Jivabhai Zala and Dineshbhai Shankerbhai Patel, managing committee members may appear before the registrar on October 20, failing which it will be presumed that there is no objection to their appointment.
The three nominees, who have also been added as respondents in the petition, are directly involved with BJP or have affiliation to BJP, the petitioners alleged.
Two days after the showcause notice, the dates for the election to the post of chairman and vicechairman of the managing committee of the union was declared. While members of the managing committee raised their objections before the registrar on October 20, the state government by an order dated October 20 appointed the three as its nominee directors.
The petitioners have sought that the show cause notice of October 14 by the registrar be quashed, to direct the state to not appoint the three as the government nominated directors. Other respondents to the petition include the state government through department of cooperatives, Minister for Cooperatives Ishwar Patel, state and the Anand district registrars of cooperative societies, election officer of the Union, Anand district collector, the three nominees and Rajeshbhai Gajanandbhai Pathak, an elected member of the managing committee, purportedly affiliated to BJP.
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