A Cooperative Society is an association of people voluntarily coming together to meet their economic, social, and cultural needs as well as aspirations. Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960 is an established framework, and the Act provides rules for the development of-cooperative society in the State of Maharashtra. The act applies to the state of Maharashtra, and it provides comprehensive laws for registration, membership, and liability of members. The act incorporates the duties and privileges of cooperative societies throughout the state.
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History of Cooperative Societies in Maharashtra
The cooperative movement in India began in 1904 when the first cooperative law was passed in India. The Maharashtra anti-capitalist movement was founded in 1875 by disgruntled farmers. Pune, Maharashtra, Ahmednagar, and South India were the hotspot areas of the movement.
One origin of co-operative establishment in Maharashtra is the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank, founded in 1911. The bank was Bombay Central Cooperative Bank Limited.
Growth of Co-operative Movement in Maharashtra
The development of the cooperative movement in Maharashtra has six stages:
Pre Cooperative State (1870-1903)
The pre cooperative state can be marked with the Deccan Agriculturalist Relief Act, 1879; the Land Improvement Loan Act, 1883 and the Nicholson Report, 1895.
Initial Stage (1904- 1911)
This stage lasted from the Co-operative Act 1904 to the establishment of the Central Cooperative Bank.
Evolution Stage (1912- 1924)
After the Cooperative Act, 1912, Cooperative Finance Agencies, Cooperative Educational Programmes and non-credit societies were formed.
Stagnation Stage (1925-1947)
The Bombay Cooperative Societies Act was passed in 1925. The enactment of this act has increased the reach of the cooperative movement.
By 1946, the number of non-agriculture credit societies had increased by 49%. The number of consumer cooperatives also increased in this period.
Growth Stage (1948-1961)
After Independence, cooperative societies grew rapidly. The movement expanded in the rural areas growing sugarcane. The farmers started to make the most use of the financial facility. In this period, the Apex Bank began to enhance the organisation and operations related to secondary-level central funding agencies.
The Diversification Stage (From 1962)
During this period, visible growth can be seen in the rural leadership and agriculture output. State Cooperative Bank also grew in size.
Types of Cooperative Societies in Maharashtra
Following are the types of societies registered under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960:
- Primary Agriculture Credit Society: Primary Agriculture Credit Society was created to help the rural poor. Cooperative societies distribute short-term agriculture loans for seasonal agriculture businesses. These societies are the backbone of rural Indian society. They provide credit for seeds, tools, and fertilisers.
- Credit Societies: These Credit Societies provide credit facilities to their members. Also, urban cooperative banks conduct normal banking operations, and these banks and cooperatives are affiliated with the District Central Cooperative Banks.
- Industrial Societies: These societies are formed by the craftsman and employees for employment and provide a suitable facility for their profession. The government assists such organisations.
- Housing Societies: Housing societies are of four types:
- Tenant ownership
- Tenant co-partnership
- Builder co-operative
- House mortgage society
There are some more cooperative societies formed under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act.
Registration of Co-operative Society Under Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act
Any cooperative society can be registered with the registrar of the cooperative societies in Maharashtra. A person qualified to contract under the Indian Contract Act, 1872 can form a cooperative society. As per the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act a group of 10 people from different families can apply for cooperative society registration.
The purpose of forming the society should be the advancement of the economic interest or general welfare of the members of the society.
Salient features of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies
Following are the features of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies:
- A cooperative society is formed for the general welfare and the promotion of the economic interest of its members. Only after the registration under Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960, a society can be created
- The minimum number of qualified people should be 10 to form a cooperative society.
- The registration application is to be signed by a minimum of 10 members.
- Every member has the right to inspect the society office during working hours.
Problems of Co-operative Societies in Maharashtra
Following are the problems faced by the cooperative societies in Maharashtra:
- Poor performance and loss of financial liability
- Lack of professionalism in management
- Excessive government control and political interference
- Poor board management relations
- Poor working environment
Offences and Penalties Under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act
Chapter XII provides the offences and their penalties. Following offences are punishable under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act:
- Transfer of property that is subject to a charge by the society. For the commission of this offence, the penalty is imprisonment that extends to 6 months and a fine that may extend Rs, 5000 or with both.
- Failure to take society dues from the salary of employees. For the commission of this offence, the penalty is imprisonment of three years or a fine extending to Rs 15000 rupees or with both.
- Failure to invest in funds of the society, and for a commission of this offence, the penalty is a fine that may extend to 5000 rupees.
- Failure to deposit the money of the society with the bank. For the commission of this offence, the penalty may extend to a fine of 5000 rupees.
- Carrying personal business in the name of society. For the commission of this offence, the penalty may extend to imprisonment that may extend to one year with a fine or both.
- For collecting shared money through misrepresentation
For the commission of this offence, the penalty may extend to imprisonment of three years or a fine that may extend to 15000 Rs or both.
- To issue fraudulent share certificates. For the commission of this offence, the penalty may extend to imprisonment of 3 years or a fine that may extend to 15000 rupees or both.
- Failure to abide by the decision
For the commission of this offence, the penalty may extend to imprisonment of six months or a fine that may extend to five thousand rupees or both.
- For fraudulent disposition of the property over which society has the previous claim. For the commission of this offence, the penalty may extend to imprisonment of 6 months or a fine that may extend to 5000 Rs or both.
- For destroying, mutilating, interfering or causing any damage to the society’s documents. For the commission of this offence, the penalty may extend to imprisonment of three years or a fine that may extend to fifteen thousand rupees or both.
The Maharashtra cooperative society has grown a lot for ages. The cooperative movement in Maharashtra played a vital role in social and economic development. Initially, a cooperative society was only for the agriculture sector. But, cooperative societies have emerged rapidly in other sectors.
The enactment of the Maharashtra Cooperative Society Act, 1960, has changed the cooperative societies in Maharashtra and the cooperative movement. After enacting the Maharashtra Cooperative Society Act, 1960, a visible change was observed in the number of cooperative societies in the state of Maharashtra.
When was Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act 1960 enacted?
Maharashtra Cooperative Society Act, 1960 was enacted on 26th January 1962.
What is the applicability of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960?
The Maharashtra Cooperative Society Act, 1960 applies to the whole state of Maharashtra.
What is the objective of the apex society under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960?
The apex society is a society classified by the registrar to promote the object of the society that gets affiliated to the society. Also, the apex society provides facilities and services to the affiliated society.
Which section provides for the disqualification of the committee and its members?
Section 73CA of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960, set the condition of disqualification of the committee and its members.