DATED :  25.04.2012
W.P.Nos.9763 of 2008, 24746 of 2009, 16041,
17738 and 17739 of 2010
M.P.Nos.1,1 and 1 of 2010

The Rasipuram Cooperative Urban Bank Ltd.,
rep by its General Manager,
No.58, Nagara Vanki Street ,
Rasipuram-637 408
Namakkal District.                             .. Petitioner in W.P.No.9763 of 2008
The Public Information Officer,
O/o.The Illayankudi Cooperative Urban Bank Ltd.,
No.349, Kamarajar Road ,
Illayankudi-630 702,
Sivagangai District.                                         .. Petitioner in W.P.No.24746 of 2009
The General Manager,
The Illayankudi Cooperative Urban Bank Ltd.,
No.349, Kamarajar Road ,
Illayankudi-630 702,
Sivagangai District.                                                     .. Petitioner in
                                                                       W.P.Nos.16041, 17738 and 17739 of 2010

1.The Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies,
   Namakkal Circle ,
2.The Deputy Registrar / Special Officer,
   Rasipuram Cooperative Urban Bank Ltd.,
   Rasipuram, Namakkal District.
3.Nalvenai. Viswaraj.                                      .. Respondents in W.P.No.9763 of 2008
1.The Registrar,
   Tamilnadu Information Commission,
   No.37, Anna Salai, Teynampet,
2.The Public Information Officer,
   O/o.The Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies,
   Madurai Road ,
   Sivagangai District.
3.S.P.S.Zafurallah.                                           .. Respondents in W.P.No.24746 of 2009
K.M.Akbar Ali                                                                       .. Respondent in
                                                                           W.P.Nos.16041, 17738 and 17739 of 2010

W.P.No.9763 of 2008 is preferred under Article 226 of the Constitution 
of India praying for the issue of a writ of certiorari to call for the records
 of the first respondent in his Na.Ka.No.6388/07 Pa.Tho(11), dated 25.02.2008
 and consequential proceedings of the second respondent dated 18.3.2008 and
 quash the same by declaring that the petitioner Bank is not a public authority 
as defined under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.
W.P.No.24746 of 2009 is preferred under Article 226 of the Constitution of India
 praying for the issue of a writ of certiorari to call for the records of the 
first respondent in Case No.14378/Enquiry/09, dated 16.11.2009 and quash the same.
W.P.No.16041 of 2010 is preferred under Article 226 of the 
Constitution of India praying for the issue of a writ of certiorari 
to call for the records of the Tamil Nadu Information Commission in 
Case No.1001814/Enquiry/2010, dated 16.6.2010 and quash the same by 
declaring that the petitioner bank is not a public authority as defined under 
Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.
W.P.Nos.17738 and 17739 of 2010 are preferred under Article 226 of the 
Constitution of India praying for the issue of a writ of certiorari to call 
for the records of the Tamil Nadu Information Commission, Chennai-18
 in Case No.5314/Enquiry/2010 and No.5848/Enquiry/2010, dated 23.07.2010 
and quash the same by declaring that the petitioner bank is not a public authority 
as defined under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.
            For Petitioners             : Mr.R.Muthukumarasamy, SC
                                         for Mr.M.S.Palaniswamy in all writ petitions 
            For Respondents          : Mr.E.M.S.Natarajan, GA for RR1 and 2
                                         in W.P.No.9763 of 2008
                                         for R-2 in W.P.No.24746 of 2009 
                                        Mr.R.Nalliyappan for R-3
                                          in W.P.No.9763 of 2008
                                        Mr.Vivek Sriram for M/s.G.R.Associates
                                         for R-1 in W.P.No.24746 of 2009
                                         for respondent in W.P.Nos.16041, 17738
                                         and 17739 of 2010
                                         for R-3 in W.P.No.24746 of 2009  

            The only question arises in these five writ petitions is whether a 
Cooperative Society registered under the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Societies Act, 1983
 is a public authority within a meaning of Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act,
 2005 (for short RTI Act)?
            2.The first writ petition in W.P.No.9763 of 2008 is filed by Rasipuram 
Cooperative Urban Bank Limited. The other four writ petitions were filed 
by Illayankudi Cooperative Urban Bank Limited. In the first writ petition,
 initially the challenge was to the order passed by the Deputy Registrar 
of Cooperative Societies dated 25.02.2008. By the aforesaid order, the 
first respondent acting as an appellate authority under the RTI Act had 
directed the petitioner bank to provide information to the third respondent
 who is an Advocate. That writ petition was admitted on 22.04.2008. Pending the 
writ petition, an interim stay was granted.
            3.In the second writ petition (W.P.No.24746 of 2009), initially, the challenge
 was to the order of the Tamil Nadu Information Commission, dated 16.11.2009, 
wherein and by which the Information Commission had overruled the petitioner 
Banks objection that they are not the public authority within the meaning of 
Section 2(h) of the RTI Act and held that the Cooperative society was controlled 
by the Special Officer appointed by the State Government. Therefore, it will come 
within the purview of the Act. That writ petition was admitted on 1.7.2010. Pending 
the writ petition, an interim stay was also granted.
            4.The third writ petition, i.e., W.P.No.16041 of 2010, challenges the 
notice issued by the Tamil Nadu Information Commission overruling their 
objection about non coverage under the RTI Act and directed them to appear 
for an enquiry. That writ petition was admitted on 26.7.2010. Pending the writ 
petition, an interim stay was granted. The last two writ petitions (W.P.Nos.17738 
and 17739 of 2010) were filed once again challenging the notices of enquiry dated 
23.7.2010 issued by the Commission. Both writ petitions were admitted on 11.8.2010 
and directed to be posted along with the previous writ petitions filed by the same society. 
Pending writ petitions, an interim stay was granted. Subsequently, all interim orders were 
confirmed on 20.04.2012 and the main matters were directed to be posted for hearing. 
It was at this stage, the petitioners came up with applications to amend the prayer in 
all writ petitions, praying for a declaration that the petitioners societies are not public 
authority within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act. Those amendments were 
ordered on 25.4.2012.
            5.Heard the arguments of Mr.R.Muthukumaraswamy, learned Senior Counsel 
leading Mr.M.S.Palanisamy, learned counsel appearing for petitioners societies, 
Mr.E.M.S.Natarajan, learned Government Advocate appearing for the authority 
under the Cooperative Societies Act, Mr.R.Nalliappan, learned counsel appearing 
for contesting respondent in W.P.No.9763 of 2008,   Mr.R.Venkatavaradan, 
learned counsel for third respondent in W.P.No.24746 of 2009 and Mr.Vivek Sriram 
for M/s.G.R.Associates, learned counsel appearing for first respondent in 
W.P.No.24746 of 2009 and for contesting respondents in other three writ petitions.
            6.Since the prayer is for declaration that the societies are not covered 
under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, it is necessary to extract Section 2(h) of the 
RTI Act, which reads as follows:
(h) public authority means any authority or body or institution of self-government 
established or constituted
(a) by or under the Constitution;
(b) by any other law made by Parliament;
(c) by any other law made by State Legislature;
(d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any
(i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed;
(ii) non-government organisation substantially financed, directly or indirectly by 
funds provided by the appropriate Government;                       (Emphasis added)
            7.Already this court in its judgment in A.C.Sekar Vs. Deputy Registrar 
of Co-operative Societies, Thiruvannamalai District and others reported in 
2008 (2) MLJ 733  has held that cooperative societies are covered by the 
provisions of the RTI Act and they must disclose the informations available 
with them to any information seeker. The same principle was applied 
to the subsequent writ petitions came up in respect of cooperative societies.
 Notwithstanding the same, the learned counsel for the petitioners argued 
that the other High Courts have taken a different view and therefore, the 
question requires fresh consideration.
            8.Mr.Muthukumaraswamy, learned Senior Counsel referred to a 
judgment of the Karnataka High Court in ILR 2008 (Kar) 4105 in 
W.P.No.16901 of 2006 between Dattaprasad Cooperative Housing
 Society Ltd. Vs. Karnataka State Chief Information Commissioner, 
Bangalore and another), dated 30.6.2008 and argued that cooperative 
societies cannot be a public authority under the RTI Act. In that case,
 in paragraph 7, the Karnataka High Court had observed as follows:
            7.As per sub-clause (d) of Clause (h) of Section 2 of the 
RTI Act, the appropriate government can include an institution within the scope
 of public authority, provided it is owned, controlled or substantially financed, 
directly or indirectly funded by the appropriate Government. In the instant case 
petitioner/society is neither owned nor funded nor controlled by the State. 
It is not the case of the State that the notification dated 22.9.2005 (Annexure-B)
 has been issued under Section 2(h)(d) of the RTI Act. Solely on the basis of 
supervision and control by the Registrar of societies; and the definition of 
'public Servant' in the co-operative societies and in the Karnataka Lokayukta Act,
 1984 a society cannot be termed as 'Public authority'. So as to include a 
society within the definition of the term 'Public authority', it should fulfill 
the conditions stipulated in sub-clause (d) of clause (h) of section 2 of the 
RTI Act. The decisions cited by the learned counsel for the petitioner/society 
fully support the case of the petitioner. The petitioner-society does not fulfill 
the requisite conditions laid down in sub-clause (d) of clause (h) of section 2 
of the Act. Therefore, the petitioner society is not a 'public authority' under 
the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005. Hence, the directions issued by the 
Registrar to the petitioner/society, by his communication dated 30.10.2006 
by the respondent no.2 at Annexure-'D' are not binding on the petitioner/society.
            9.The same was the view in the subsequent judgment of the Karnataka 
High Court in W.P.No.7407 of 2006 in a batch cases in Poornaprajna House Building 
Cooperative Societies and others Vs. Union of India and another, dated 9.2.2009, 
wherein the court had followed the earlier order  in Dattaprasad Cooperative 
Housing society Ltd.'s case (cited supra) without any further discussion.
            10.The learned Senior Counsel also referred to a judgment of the 
Bombay High Court in Dr.Panjabrao Deshmukh Urban Cooperative Bank Ltd.
. Vs. The State Information Commissioner, Vidarbha Region, Nagpur and 
others reported in AIR 2009 Bombay 75 and in paragraphs 11 and 12, 
it was held that the Cooperative society is not a public authority within
 a meaning of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, which reads as follows:
            11.....He was to first find out whether the petitioner is a public authority 
within the definition of Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act. If, yes, then
 only the Act would be applicable and if, no, the said Act is not applicable.
            12....... In view of the fact and legal position discussed earlier, it must 
be held that the petitioner-Bank is not a public Authority within the meaning 
of Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act.
            11.A reading of the judgments of both High Courts did not indicate
 the provisions of the Cooperative Societies Act under which those societies 
are functioning. In the present case, the petitioners cooperative societies are
 registered societies under the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Societies Act, 1983. 
It is governed by the Act, Rules and directions as well as bylaws of the societies.
 Those societies were initially formed by members who have contributed shares. 
They elected their own board of directors. But insofar as Tamil Nadu is concerned,
 for the past three decades, there has been no election in terms of the bylaws.
 On the other hand, the Board of Directors of each society have been 
superseded and the State Government had directly appointed Special Officers 
for manning the societies. The Special Officer appointed in the society is a 
government officer of the Department of Cooperation holding different ranks 
in the Department. He had virtually replaced the Board of Directors and 
taking orders only from the authority of the State Government appointed 
to the department of Cooperation functioning under the control of the 
Registrar of Cooperative Societies. The latest bill replacing the previous 
appointment of Special Officers may be usefully reproduced, which reads as follows :
A Bill further to amend the Tamil Nadu Co-operative Societies
(Appointment of Special Officers) Act, 1976.
BE it enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Tamil Nadu in 
the Sixty-first Year of the Republic of India as follows:
1.(1) This Act may be called the Tamil Nadu Co-operative Societies 
(Appointment of Special Officers) Second Amendment Act, 2010.
(2) It shall be deemed to have come into force on the 30th day of July 2010.
2.In section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Co-operative Societies 
(Appointment of Special Officers) Act, 1976 (hereinafter referred to as 
the principal Act), in sub-section (1), for the expression thirty four
 years and two months, the expression thirty four years and eight 
months shall be substituted.
3.(1) The Tamil Nadu Co-operative Societies (Appointment of Special Officers) 
Second Amendment Ordinance, 2010 is hereby repealed.
            (2)Notwithstanding such repeal, anything done or any action taken under
 the principal Act, as amended by the said Ordinance, shall be deemed to have 
been done or taken under the principal Act, as amended by this Act.
            12.As can be seen from the said provisions, virtually there has been 
no elected board of directors in the last three decades. Even when the 
last elections which were announced were cancelled by the Government 
Order in G.O.(2D)No.76, Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection
Department,, dated 11.7.2007, a division bench of this court headed 
by A.K.Ganguly, C.J (as he then was) in Dr.P.Rajaji Vs. State of 
Tamil Nadu, rep by its Secretary to the Government, Cooperation, Food and 
Consumer Protection Department, Chennai and others reported in (2009) 
1 MLJ 31 had frowned upon the cancellation and set aside the Government
 Order and directed elections to be held to those societies. 
            13.The learned Senior Counsel strongly placed reliance upon a
 larger bench judgment of this court in K.Marappan Vs. The Deputy 
Registrar of Co-operative Societies, Namakkal Circle, Namakkal-636 001 
and another reported in 2006 (4) CTC 689 for contending that it has been 
held that the cooperative society registered under the Cooperative Societies 
Act is neither a State nor an instrumentality of the State and hence not amenable 
to writ jurisdiction of this court. But however, when the matter relating to Justine 
Vs. Registrar of Co-operative Societies and others reported in 2002 (4) CTC 385
 went to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court though had an occasion to 
consider whether a Cooperative Society is a State within the meaning of 
Article 12 and hence did not express any opinion vide its judgment in 
A. Umarani v. Registrar, Coop. Societies reported in (2004) 7 SCC 112. 
In paragraph 60, it was held as follows :
60.Although we do not intend to express any opinion as to whether the
 cooperative society is a State within the meaning of Article 12 of the 
Constitution of India but it is beyond any cavil of doubt that the writ 
petition will be maintainable when the action of the cooperative society is 
violative of mandatory statutory provisions. In this case except the nodal 
centre functions and supervision of the cooperative society, the State has 
no administrative control over its day-to-day affairs. The State has not created
 any post nor could it do so on its own. The State has not borne any part of the
 financial burden.........
            14.The Supreme Court subsequently in Madhya Pradesh State 
Cooperative Dairy Federation Limited v. Rajnesh Kumar Jamindar
 reported in (2009) 15 SCC 221 held that Madhya Pradesh State 
Cooperative Dairy Federation is a State within the meaning of Article 12 
of the Constitution and in paragraph 32, it was observed as follows :
32.We have noticed the history of the Federation. It was a part of the 
department of the Government. It not only carries on commercial activities, 
it works for achieving the better economic development of a section of
 the people. It seeks to achieve the principles laid down in Article 47
 of the Constitution of India viz. nutritional value and health. It undertakes 
training and research work. Guidelines issued by it are binding on the societies. 
It monitors the functioning of the societies under it. It is an apex body. We, 
therefore, are of the opinion that the appellant herein would come within the 
purview of the definition of State as contained in Article 12 of the Constitution of India .
            15.Even earlier, the Supreme Court in Gayatri De v. Mousumi Coop. Housing 
Society Ltd., reported in (2004) 5 SCC 90 held that if a Special Officer is appointed 
by the Court, any cooperative society is amenable to writ jurisdiction of this court. 
It is necessary to extract paragraphs 47 and 55 of the said judgment, which reads 
as follows:
47.The appellant herein filed a writ petition in question in the nature of mandamus 
commanding the respondent therein not to give effect to the letter dated 1-11-1988 
issued by the Special Officer of the Society and to forbear from acting on the basis 
thereof and pursuant thereto. Thus it is seen that since the subject-matter of the 
writ petition is the order passed by the Special Officer in discharging of his statutory 
functions, the writ petition is maintainable in law. The Special Officer is appointed 
under the provisions of the Act and as such he is a statutory officer and, therefore, 
he should be regarded as a public authority. Apart from that, Article 226 of the 
Constitution is not confined to issue of writ only to a public authority, the power 
extends also to issue directions to any person. In our opinion, in a case where the 
cooperative society is under the control of a Special Officer, a writ would lie.
55...........the Special Officer was appointed by the High Court to discharge the 
functions of the Society, therefore, he should be regarded as a public authority 
and hence, the writ petition is maintainable.
            16.As to whether a cooperative society can be considered to come 
within the ambit of Article 12 came to be considered by the Supreme 
Court in S.S. Rana v. Registrar, Coop. Societies reported in (2006) 11 SCC 634 
and in paragraphs 10,12 and 13, it was held as follows:
10.It has not been shown before us that the State exercises any direct or indirect 
control over the affairs of the Society for deep and pervasive control. The State 
furthermore is not the majority shareholder. The State has the power only to 
nominate one Director. It cannot, thus, be said that the State exercises any 
functional control over the affairs of the Society in the sense that the majority 
Directors are nominated by the State. For arriving at the conclusion that the 
State has a deep and pervasive control over the Society, several other relevant 
questions are required to be considered, namely, (1) How was the Society created? 
(2) Whether it enjoys any monopoly character? (3) Do the functions of the Society 
partake to statutory functions or public functions? and (4) Can it be characterised 
as public authority?
12.It is well settled that general regulations under an Act, like the Companies 
Act or the Cooperative Societies Act, would not render the activities of a company 
or a society as subject to control of the State. Such control in terms of the provisions 
of the Act are meant to ensure proper functioning of the society and the State or statutory 
authorities would have nothing to do with its day-to-day functions.
13.The decision of the seven-Judge Bench of this Court in Pradeep Kumar Biswas1 
whereupon strong reliance has been placed, has no application in the instant case. 
In that case, the Bench was deciding a question as to whether in view of the 
subsequent decisions of this Court, the law was correctly laid down in 
Sabhajit Tewary v. Union of India4 and if not whether the same deserved 
to be overruled. The majority opined that the Council of Scientific and 
Industrial Research (CSIR) was State within the meaning of Article 12 of the 
Constitution of India . This Court noticed the history of the formation thereof, 
its objects and functions, its management and control as also the extent of 
financial aid received by it. Apart from the said fact it was noticed by reason 
of an appropriate notification issued by the Central Government that CSIR 
was amenable to the jurisdiction of the Central Administrative Tribunal in 
terms of Section 14(2) of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985. It was on the 
aforementioned premises, this Court opined that Sabhajit Tewary4 did not lay 
down the correct law. This Court reiterated the following six tests laid down 
in Ajay Hasia v. Khalid Mujib Sehravardi2: (Pradeep Kumar Biswas case1, 
.SCC pp. 149-50, para 85)
(1) One thing is clear that if the entire share capital of the corporation is held by 
Government, it would go a long way towards indicating that the corporation is an 
instrumentality or agency of Government.
(2) Where the financial assistance of the State is so much as to meet almost the
 entire expenditure of the corporation, it would afford some indication of the 
corporation being impregnated with governmental character.
(3) It may also be a relevant factor  whether the corporation enjoys monopoly
 status which is State-conferred or State-protected.
(4) Existence of deep and pervasive State control may afford an indication that 
the corporation is a State agency or instrumentality.
(5) If the functions of the corporation are of public importance and closely 
related to governmental functions, it would be a relevant factor in classifying 
the corporation as an instrumentality or agency of Government.
(6) Specifically, if a department of Government is transferred to a corporation, 
it would be a strong factor supportive of this inference of the corporation being 
an instrumentality or agency of Government.
This Court further held: (Pradeep Kumar Biswas case1, SCC p. 134, para 40)
40. The picture that ultimately emerges is that the tests formulated in 
Ajay Hasia2 are not a rigid set of principles so that if a body falls within 
any one of them it must, ex hypothesi, be considered to be a State within 
the meaning of Article 12. The question in each case would be  whether 
in the light of the cumulative facts as established, the body is financially, 
functionally and administratively dominated by or under the control of the 
Government. Such control must be particular to the body in question and 
must be pervasive. If this is found then the body is a State within Article 12. 
On the other hand, when the control is merely regulatory, whether 
under statute or otherwise, it would not serve to make the body a State.
                       (emphasis supplied)
            17.It has also been held by the Supreme Court in General Manager, 
Kisan Sahkari Chini Mills Ltd., Sultanpur, U.P. v. Satrughan Nishad reported in 
(2003) 8 SCC 639 in paragraph 8 has follows :
8.From the decisions referred to above, it would be clear that the form in which
 the body is constituted, namely, whether it is a society or a cooperative society 
or a company, is not decisive. The real status of the body with respect to the 
control of Government would have to be looked into. The various tests, as 
indicated above, would have to be applied and considered cumulatively. 
There can be no hard-and-fast formula and in different facts/situations, 
different factors may be found to be overwhelming and indicating that the 
body is an authority under Article 12 of the Constitution........
            18.A cumulative reading of the above judgments will show that the 
nature of State intervention will decide the question as to whether a cooperative 
society is amenable to writ jurisdiction or not. But in the present case, this 
court is not concerned with the amenability of the writ jurisdiction against 
the cooperative societies. On the other hand, the only issue is whether it 
is a public authority within a meaning of Section 2(h)(d) of the RTI Act. 
Therefore if a body is controlled by the appropriate Government, it can
 be held to be a public authority. Therefore, when the cooperative society is 
manned by the Government appointed officer to run the affairs of the society, 
it can certainly be said to be the control exercised by the State. Apart from 
that under Section 80, the Registrar has got power to conduct an Audit. 
Under Section 87, if the result of the audit discloses any defects, 
the Registrar of the Society should take steps to remedy the defects. 
Similarly under Section 81, an enquiry can be directed to be conducted against any 
society by the order of the Registrar and the Registrar upon the report can direct 
the registered society society or any officer of the society to take an action as may 
be specified in the order to remedy the defects pointed out. 
            19.Under Section 82, power of inspection and investigation is given to the 
Registrar and that the cost of the enquiry and inspection has to be borne by the 
society. During the course of the audit under Section 80 or enquriy under 
Section 81 or inspection and investigation under Section 82, a surcharge 
proceedings can be initiated against any person who is in management 
of the society including the servants of the society under Section 87. 
The Board of cooperative societies can be superseded by the Registrar 
under Section 88. Under certain contingencies, a Special Officer can 
be appointed under Section 89. Any dispute between members and the 
cooperative society can be taken up for an arbitration before the arbitral 
officer appointed under Section 90. Under Section 137, a cooperative 
society can be wound up and a liquidator can be appointed under Section 138. 
Under Section 74, recruitment bureaus can be appointed by the State Government 
for recruiting employees to cooperative societies. Under Section 75, a common 
cadre service can be constituted by the State Government comprising the employees 
of various cooperative societies. In case of constitution of such common cadre, 
the power to take action against such officer coming under the common cadre 
will vest only with the common cadre authority. Under Section 153, the revisional 
authority can take an action either on complaints or suo motu to correct the action 
taken by a cooperative society. The competent authority also got further power 
to review under Section 154. Under Section 181, the Registrar can give direction 
to the cooperative society in public interest and societies are bound to carry out 
such directions. Similarly, the State Government has power to give direction 
under Section 182. Under Rule 149 of the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Societies 
Rules, 1988, the societies will have to make special bylaws relating to service 
conditions of its employees and it is subject to prior approval of the Registrar.
            20.A cumulative reading of these provisions coupled with the virtual 
manning of societies by the State appointed Special Officers will clearly show 
that the Cooperative societies are controlled by the Government and will .
be a public authority within a meaning of Section 2(h)(d)(i) of the RTI Act.
 The decisions of the Karnataka and Bombay High Courts, as noted already, 
did not discuss with the provisions found peculiarly in the Tamil Nadu Act.
                        21.The learned Senior Counsel contended that the provisions 
are regulatory in nature and will not amount to control. One distinguishing factor 
is that for over three decades, the societies are virtually under the control of the 
State appointed Special Officers. Therefore, it cannot be said that societies are 
not controlled by the State Government and were immune from the provisions 
of the RTI Act. Hence this court is not able to agree with the reasonings found 
in the judgments of the Karnataka and Bombay High Courts (cited supra). 
On the other hand, the peculiar features of the Tamil Nadu Cooperative 
Societies Act, 1983 set out above will clearly show that cooperative 
societies are controlled by the State Government. Hence it is a 
public authority. Therefore, there is no reason to reconsider the 
decision of this court in A.C.Sekar's case (cited supra).
            22.The purpose of the RTI Act has been set out by the 
Supreme Court in its recent judgment in CBSE v. Aditya Bandopadhyay 
reported in (2011) 8 SCC 497 and in paragraph 66 it was observed as follows :
66.The right to information is a cherished right. Information and right to 
information are intended to be formidable tools in the hands of responsible 
citizens to fight corruption and to bring in transparency and accountability. 
The provisions of the RTI Act should be enforced strictly and all efforts 
should be made to bring to light the necessary information under clause (b) 
of Section 4(1) of the Act which relates to securing transparency and 
accountability in the working of public authorities and in discouraging 
corruption. But in regard to other information [that is, information other 
than those enumerated in Sections 4(1)(b) and (c) of the Act], equal 
importance and emphasis are given to other public interests (like 
confidentiality of sensitive information, fidelity and fiduciary relationships, 
efficient operation of Governments, etc.).     
            23.Very recently, the Supreme Court in Chief Information 
Commissioner and another Vs. State of Manipur reported in 2012 
AIR SCW 651,  considered the scope and purpose of the RTI Act 
and in paragraphs 6 to 17, it was observed as follows:
            6.Before   dealing   with controversy   in   this   case,   
 let us   consider   the  object   and purpose of the Act and the  evolving mosaic   
 of   jurisprudential   thinking which virtually led to its enactment in 2005. 
            7.As its preamble  shows   the   Act   was   enacted   to promote 
transparency  and  accountability in  the working  of  
 every   public  authority in order   to 
strengthen  the   core   constitutional  values  of   a  democratic   republic.   
 It   is   clear   that  the      Parliament   enacted   the   said   
 Act   keeping   in   mind the   rights   of   an  informed   
 citizenry   in   which transparency   of   information   is   vital   in   curbing     
corruption   and   making   the   Government   and   its instrumentalities accountable. 
The Act is meant to harmonise   the   conflicting   interests 
  of   Government to  preserve   the   confidentiality   of    
sensitive information with the right of citizens to 
know the functioning   of   the   governmental   process   in   such   a  way   as   to  
 preserve  the  paramountcy of the democratic ideal.
            8.The   preamble   would   obviously   show   that   the   Act   is based on the 
concept of an open society.
            9.On   the   emerging   concept   of   an   `open   Government',  about more
         than three  decades ago,  the Constitution   Bench   of   this   Court   in The   
 State   of Uttar Pradesh v. Raj Narain & others - AIR 1975 SC 865 speaking through 
Justice Mathew held:
      "...The people of this country have a right to knowe very  public   act, 
   everything,  that   is done   in   a   public   way,   by   their   public functionaries. 
They are entitled to know the particulars  of every public transaction in all its bearing. 
The right to know, which is derived from the concept 
of  freedom of       speech,   though   not   absolute,  is  a  factor  which should make one wary,
 when secrecy is claimed   for   transactions  which   can,   at    
any  rate, have no   repercussion   on   public  security.   ...   To  cover   with   veil   
 of   secrecy, the   common   routine   business,   is   not   in   the interest   of   the   public.   
 Such   secrecy   can seldom be legitimately desired."    (para 74, page 884)
            10.Another Constitution Bench in S.P.Gupta 
  & Ors. v. President   of   India  and   Ors.  (AIR   1982   SC   149) 
relying on the ratio in Raj Narain (supra) held:
       "...The   concept   of   an   open   government   is   the direct   emanation   
 from  the   right   to   know which   seems   to   be   implicit   in   the   right  
 of free   speech and  expression guaranteed  under Article 19(1)(a). 
Therefore,   disclosure   of information   in   regard   to   the   
 functioning of Government   must   be   the   rule  and   secrecy  an exception 
justified only where the strictest requirement   of   public  
 interest   so   demands. The   approach  of   the   court   must   be   to       
attenuate  the   area   of   secrecy   as   much   as possible   consistently   
 with   the   requirement of public interest, bearing in mind all the time that disclosure also
         serves an important aspect of public interest..."   
                        (para 66, page 234)
            11.It   is,   therefore,   clear   from   the    
ratio   in   the above   decisions   of  the   Constitution   Bench   
 of   this Court   that   the   right   to   information,    
which is basically   founded   on   the   right   to   know,
   is   an intrinsic   part   of   the  fundamental   
 right   to   free speech   and   expression   guaranteed   
 under   Article 19(1)(a)   of   the   Constitution.    
The   said   Act   was, thus, enacted to consolidate the fundamental right of free speech.
            12.In Secretary,  Ministry  of Information  & Broadcasting,   Govt.   of   India  
 and   Ors.  v.  Cricket Association of Bengal and Ors.
 - (1995) 2 SCC 161,       this   
Court   also   held   that   right   to   acquire information   and   to   
 disseminate   it   is  an   intrinsic component   of   freedom 
  of   speech   and   expression.        (See para 43 page 213 of the report).
            13. Again in  Reliance  Petrochemicals  Ltd.
   v. Proprietors   of   Indian  Express   Newspapers   
 Bombay Pvt.   Ltd.   &   others  -   (1988)   4   SCC   592   
 this  Court recognised   that   the   Right   to   Information   
 is   a fundamental   right  under   Article   21   of   the Constitution.
            14.This   Court   speaking   through   Justice   Sabyasachi        
 Mukharji, as His Lordship then was, held:
       "...We   must   remember   that   the   people   at   large  have a 
right to know in order to be able
 to take   part   in   a   participatory   development   in  the   industrial  life   and   democracy.
   Right   to know   is   a   basic   right   which   citizens   of   a     free   
country   aspire   in   the   broader   horizon of the right to live in this 
age in our land under   Article   21   of   our   Constitution.   That right   has   reached   
 new  dimensions  and urgency.  That right puts greater responsibility   upon    
those   who  take upon themselves the responsibility to inform."
                        (para 34, page 613 of the report)
            15.In  People's   Union   for   Civil   Liberties   and   Anr.  v. Union   of   India  and   Ors. 
  -   (2004)    2   SCC   476     this  Court   reiterated,   relying   on   the  aforesaid judgments, 
that right to information is a facet of the right to freedom of "speech and 
expression" as contained   in   Article   19(1)(a)   of   the    
Constitution of  India   and   also   held   that   right   to   
 information is   definitely   a   fundamental  right.    
In   coming   to this   conclusion,   this   Court   traced   the   
 origin   of the  said   right   from   the   Universal   Declaration
   of Human   Rights,   1948   and   also  Article   19   of   the International   Covenant   on   
 Civil   and   Political Rights,  which   was   ratified   by   India   in   1978.
   This Court   also   found   a   similar  enunciation   of principle  in   the 
Declaration  of European Convention   for   the  Protection   of    
Human   Rights (1950)   and   found   that   the   spirit   
 of   the  Universal Declaration   of   1948   is   echoed   in   Article   19(1)(a) of   the  
 Constitution.   (See paras 45, 46 & 47 at page 495 of the report)
            16.The   exercise   of   judicial   discretion   in   favour   of  free   speech   is   
not   only   peculiar   to   our jurisprudence,   the   same   is   a    
part   of   the jurisprudence   in   all   the 
3   countries   which   are governed   by   rule   of   law   with  an   
 independent judiciary.   In   this   connection,   if   we   may   quote  
 what Lord Acton said in one of his speeches:
       "Everything   secret   degenerates, even the administration   of   justice;   
 nothing  is   safe that   does   not   show   how   it   can   bear discussion and publicity"
            17.It   is, therefore,   clear   that   a   society   which adopts   openness   as   a  value   of   overarching significance   not   only   permits   its   citizens   a   wide range  of   freedom   of   expression,   it   also   goes further   in   actually   opening   up   the  deliberative process   of   the   Government   itself   to   the   sunlight of public scrutiny.

            24.In the light of these facts, all the writ petitions will clearly fail and accordingly, they will stand dismissed. Wherever the order of the Tamil Nadu Information Commission has become final, the petitioners societies are directed to comply with the same. Wherever notices issued by the Tamil Nadu Information Commission are under challenge, it is open to the Tamil Nadu Information Commission to proceed to decide the matter in accordance with law after due notice to parties. No costs. Consequently connected miscellaneous petitions stand closed.
1.The Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies,
   Namakkal Circle ,
2.The Deputy Registrar / Special Officer,
   Rasipuram Cooperative Urban Bank Ltd.,
   Rasipuram, Namakkal District.
3.The Registrar,
   Tamilnadu Information Commission,
   No.37, Anna Salai, Teynampet,
4.The Public Information Officer,
   O/o.The Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies,
   Madurai Road ,

   Sivagangai District