Article 19(1)(c) Amended

The text of the 97th amendment to the Indian constitution, which makes the right to form cooperative societies a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(c) [now, the right to form “associations or unions or cooperative societies” (emphasis supplied)] is now available here. The amendment also inserts a new directive principle into Part IV of the constitution, Article 43B, which reads: “The State shall endeavour to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of cooperative societies”. The website says that the amendment came into force on January 12, 2012 (the date of assent).

Written by
Abhinav Chandrachud
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  • Thanks for posting this. Do you have anything on the history of this? Why was it felt that cooperative societies had to be included. As I read this amendment it adds five more pages to the constitution and actually mandates the government enforce certain norms against cooperative societies.

  • Thanks Nick. The uncorrected text of the speech made by the Minister of Agriculture, moving the amendment, is available here:

    It seems the Standing Committee on Agriculture had recommended the amendment to Article 19(1)(c). The Minister says:

    "It is expected that this would give boost to the cooperative movement and enthuse the people to actively participate in the cooperative as a matter of right. This would significantly increase
    the interest and responsiveness of the members and strengthen the
    cooperative movement further."

  • Thanks Abhinav and Rohit, It would be interesting to do a study sometime to figure out what factors lead to constitutionalization and which simply legislation. It's not immediately clear to me why creating a fundamental right "would give boost to the cooperative movement and enthuse the people to actively participate in the cooperative" unless state governments have been attempting to stop people from doing this. Agriculture is on the state list, so maybe there is a federalism/centralization power play going on here given how detailed the amendment is.

  • Clause 1(2)of the act states that the act will come into force from the date the government appoints in gazette. Whether Government has appointed such date. Somewhere it is seen that the date of effect is 15-2-2012 and not 12-1-2012 as stated in the website.Which is correct.

  • Thanks everyone for the information so far. I look forward to a more detailed analysis of this Fundamental right and DPSP introduced. Starting from Why it was introduced, What exactly would this right mean on ground, and what can be the implications of this right along with the duty on the government.

  • The constitutional amendment brings in a revived hope in the notion of state that infuses territory population governance and sovereignty at the highest levels.
    The reason I'm saying this is because the state-intervention and the associated perils – pecuniary or otherwise would have a judicial check in form of the fundamental rights guarantee. A writ should be more accessible and PILs will have to be prioritized. It is engaging to note the development of the other two words in the constitutional text: "trade unions" and "Associations" . SEWA took to their rights collectively and trade unions have influenced many policies such as the one pertaining to the provident fund a year ago. So I'm hoping the co-operative amendment empowers members through their national federations and also keep a check on its functioning. A VIGILANCE commission can be introduced if the response from the cooperative sector is dis-satisfactory.