Co-op societies cannot be consumers rules state panel

legal1By Accommodation Times News Services

PUNE: Cooperative societies involved in activities earning profits for their members cannot claim the status of ‘consumers’ in litigations before consumer forums, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission had ruled recently.

The commission has set aside the Kolhapur district consumer forum’s orders to the extent of holding 12 directors of the Ichalkaranji Urban Cooperative Bank personally liable for repayment of fixed deposit amounts of six cooperative societies, which are into credit finance and milk collection and supplies in Kolhapur district.

A two-member bench of the commission, comprising Justices R C Chavan and Usha S Thakare, also held in their order on January 14 that it would not be open to the district consumer forum to hold the directors personally liable in the absence of any specific allegation or proof of their complicity in the mismanagement of the bank’s affairs. The commission has, however, left intact all orders against the bank, which, as a corporate legal personality, has not challenged those orders.

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