The West Bengal Co-operative Societies Act, 1983, along with the West Bengal Co-operative Societies Rules, 1987, came into effect on and from the 1st day of August, 1987 by virtue of G.O. No. 3141-Coop. dated 30/07/1987. Under sub-section (1) of Section 38 of the said Act, the Government of West Bengal was empowered to constitute a Co-operative Service Commission and appoint “a person who has been or is a Judge of the High Court at Calcutta or a person who holds or has held a post not below the rank of a Secretary to the State Government” its Chairman for a term of three years, provided that “the State Government may extend the term of his office for a period not exceeding one year”. Section 38 was supplemented through Rule 66 of the West Bengal Co-operative Societies Rules, 1987. But in terms of the said G.O. dated 30/07/1987, this Section was kept inoperative until further orders.
Through an amendment enacted in 1990 [West Bengal Act XXXI of 1990] and notified
under No. 1532-L dated 15/10/1990, sub-section (1A) of Section 38 was inserted into the Act in order to enable the State Government to appoint an officer of the Co-operation Directorate, not below the rank of Additional Registrar of Co-operative Societies to be the Secretary of the Commission. With this amendment, as read with Rule 66 of the WBCS Rules, 1987, the Commission was authorized to select persons for appointment to non-Group D posts, bearing “basic salary” of Rs.250.00 and above, in co-operative societies mentioned in the Fifth Schedule, i.e., Apex Societies (including the State Co-operative Bank and the State Co-operative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank), Central Societies (including Central Co-operative Banks), Primary Co-operative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks and Primary Co-operative Banks. It was made mandatory for every such society to consult the Commission on all disciplinary matters affecting their employees appointed on the recommendation of the Commission and on such other matters “as may be specified by the State Government by notification”. The Selection Committee of the Commission was to be headed by the Chairman of the Commissionand its other members a representative of the State / District Level Society, as the case may be, a representative of the society seeking selection of employeesand in case of a State Level society seeking selection of its employees -an employee of the Co-operation Directorate, conversant with the business of the said society, to be nominated by the Registrar. It was prescribed in Rule 66 that the Commission would have 1 Secretary, 1 Deputy Secretary, 1 Assistant Secretary, 1 Head Assistant, 3 Stenographers, 3 Typists, 2 Upper Division Assistants, 2 Lower Division Assistants, 2 Peons and 4 Orderly Peons and that the salary and allowances of the officers and employees of the Commission would be such as those of the Public Service Commission were entitled to. The State Government was given the power to increase or decrease the staff strength in consultation with the Chairman of the Commission. The Chairman of the Commission was given the liberty to resign through a letter addressed to the Secretary of the Co-operation Department, but the procedure for his removal from the office would be the same as in the case of the Chairman, Public Service Commission,West Bengal.
More than seven years after the commencement of the WBCS Act,1983, the State Government made Section 38ibidoperative and constituted the Co-operative Service Commission under its Notification No.3948-Coop. dated 21/10/1994.
The Commission started functioning on 01/12/1994. Initially its office was located at the Writers’ Buildings, Kolkata and then the office was shifted to Bidhan Bipani (Entally Market) at 156, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Road), Calcutta – 700 014. The Common Service Branch of the Public Works Department, Government of West Bengal, under its No.4489-CS dated 15/09/1995, allotted a space measuring 2500 Sft. in the 4th floor of BhabaniBhavan, Alipore, Calcutta -700 027, for housing this Commission and accordingly the office of the Commission was shifted to the allotted premises on 26/04/1996.The office premises has once again been shifted to the ground floor of PWD Buildings (Block-‘A’), K at 11A, Mirza Ghalib Street, Kolkata – 700 087 with effect from 26/08/2013 in terms of G.O. No. 238-CS/1‘O’-1/2008 dated 06/05/2013 of the Common Service Branch of the Public Works Department, Government of West Bengal.
Under Government Order No. 2153-Coop/E/2E-17/93 dated 06/07/1998, the Co-operation Department sanctioned creation of 14 posts of different categories for this Commission, viz. Secretary-1, DeputySecretary-1, Assistant Secretary-1, Head Clerk-1, Stenographer-1, Upper Division Clerk-2, Lower Division Clerk-2, Typist-1and Peon/Orderly Peon-4. The charge was to proceed against the Grant-in-aid head. The Order was issued with the concurrence of Finance Department under UO No. Group-P (Service) No. 1415 dated09/06/1998. The G.O. was modified under No. 2249-Coop/E/2E-17/93 dated 16/07/1998 whereby theGovernment revised the mode of appointment in different posts sanctioned under the previous G.O. dated 06/07/1998 to the effect that the post of Head Clerk was to be “filled up by promotion/deputation from Govt. Department as and when required and the other posts (viz., Stenographer , UD Clerk, LDClerk, Typist & Peon/Orderly Peon) was to be “filled up by direct recruitment as per usual norms / deputation from Govt. Department as the case may be.” The posts of the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary and the Assistant Secretary are filled up by deputation of an Additional RCS, a Deputy RCS and an Assistant RCS respectively. All the seven existing employees of Commission (2 UDCs, 2LDCs and 3 Peons) were appointed by the Commission following the said G.O.s.In consideration of this poor personnel strength of the Commission the State Government has placed the services of two Co-operative Development Officers and three Inspectors of Co-operative Societies, posted in 5 Co-operative Ranges of the State, under its disposal to pull up its workloads.
With the concurrence of the Finance Department vide their U/O No. Group P (Service) No. 3340 dated 24/12/1998, the Co-operation Department, issued Notification No. 4115-Coop/E/19C-I/95 dated 28/12/1998 to the effect that pay and allowances of the staff of Co-operative Service Commission, West Bengal, would be governed by the provisions of the West Bengal Service (ROPA) Rules, 1998. Accordingly the Commission’s employees have been enjoying the same pay and allowances as those of the State Government employees.
With the concurrence of the Group ‘P’ Service of the Finance Department under their U.O. No.740 dated 24/02/2011, the Co-operation Department issued Order No. 582-Coop/E/2E-17/93 dated 01/03/2011, to the effect that the officers and employees of the Co-operative Service Commission was given status like the officers and employees of the Public Service Commission, West Bengal, with effect from 15/07/2009.
The West Bengal Co-operative Societies Act, 2006 (along with the Amendment enacted under the W.B. Act XX of 2010) and the West Bengal Co-operative Societies Rules, 2011 came into force with effect from the 18th January, 2011. The legal provisions for the Commission are mentioned in Section 94 of the new Act and Rule 152 of the new Rules. As per Section 94, the State Government shall appoint a person who has held a post not below the rank of Special Secretary to the Government of West Bengal to be the Chairman of the Commission and also nominate two persons from different apex co-operative institutions to be its members – each for a term of three years with no scope for re-appointment or re-nomination beyond the said term.In absence of the Chairman his duties will be performed by one of the members of the Commission on the basis of a consensus decision. The Commission has been authorized to select persons to “such posts other than the posts of Group D category and posts to be filled up by promotion” in the Fifth Schedule societies, i.e., Apex Co-operative Societies, Central Co-operative Societies (including District Co-operative Unions), Co-operative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks, Primary Co-operative Banks and Co-operative Societies with Annual Turnover of Rs.1 crore and above. Under the West Bengal Co-operative Societies (Second Amendment) Act, 2013 [given retrospective effect from 19/02/2013], Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Societies have been included in the definition of Central Co-operative Societies and “Co-operative Societies with Annual Turnover of Rs.1 crore and above” have been excluded from the Fifth Schedule of the Act. Any appointment made in the Fifth Schedule societies in violation of Section 94 of the Act shall be void. The Selection Committee comprises the Chairman (who is to preside over the Committee meetings) and the other two members of the Commission, a representative of the society seeking selection and a subject matter expert where the help of such expert is necessary. The Secretary, an Additional Registrar of Co-operative Societies deputed to the Commission by the State Government, is to discharge his duties as per rules of business and guidelines framed by the commission and also act as the convener of the Selection Committee. Through an amendment enacted in 2011 [vide W.B. Act XIV of 2011], as notified under 134-L dated 30/01/2012 of the State Government, subsection (3A) of Section94 was introduced, thereby empowering the State Government to remove the Chairman from his office.
As per Rule 152 of the WBCS Rules, 2011, the Chairman of the Commission shall be paid in respect of time spent on actual service, salary and allowances, last drawn by him where he is a retired officer and his usual salary and allowance where he is a serving officer, provided that if he is in receipt of pension (other than disability or wound pension), his salary shall be reduced by the amount of that pension and if he has, before such appointment, received any such sum in lieu of a portion of the pension, his salary shall be reduced by the amount of that portion of the pension and the pension equivalent to gratuity. Each of the other two members of the Commission shall be paid salary of Rs.5000.00 per month. As per this new Rule, the Commission is to have 1 Secretary, 1Deputy Secretary in the rank of Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies, 1 Assistant Secretary in the rank of Assistant Registrar of Co-operative Societies, 1 Stenographer with knowledge in computer science, 1 Typist with knowledge in computer science, 2 Upper Division Assistants, 2 Lower Division Assistants and 4 Peons. The State Government is empowered to increase or decrease the number of the officers and other employees of the Commission at any time in consultation with the Chairman of the Commission.The salaries, allowances, retirement benefits and the terms and conditions of service (including conduct, discipline and control) of officers and other employees of the Commission shall be such as the officers and employees of the Public Service Commission, West Bengal, are entitled to. The expenses of the Commission are to be defrayed out of the consolidated fund of the State.The Commission shall hold meetings for the purpose of fixing general or particular guidelines and Rules of business including Recruitment Rules for selection of persons for appointment in co-operative Societies for its smooth functioning.The Chairman shall preside over all the meetings of the Commission, to be convened by the Secretary.The Chairman or any member of the Commission, may by writing under his hand addressed to the Secretary, Department of Co-operation, Government of West Bengal resign his office.A member of the Commission may be removed by the State Government if he fails to attend six consecutive meetings of the Commission, including the Selection Committees.No employee who has been appointed in a Co-operative Society on the recommendation of the Commission shall be dismissed from service without prior approval of the Commission. The Commission shall give its decision in this regard within two months from the date of receipt of any request in writing from the co-operative society for such approval.Under Notification No.3857-Coop/H/2R-09/2012 dated 26/12/2012, sub-rule (1A) was inserted in Rule 152, thereby empowering the State Government to remove the Chairman or any member of the Commission from his office on any reasonable ground including violation of law, misconduct with or without involving moral turpitude, insolvency and infirmity of body or mind after holding inquiry in accordance with the provisions of Sub-rules (1B), (1C) and (1D) of Rule 152 which were inserted through the same Notification dated 26/12/2012.