Amul row: HC extends stay on no-confidence meeting

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AHMEDABAD: Gujarat High Court on Tuesday extended till November 20 the stay on the meeting called by board of directors of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), the maker and owner of Amul, to discuss no-confidence motion against federation’s chairman Vipul Chaudhary.

Facing no-confidence motion by majority of board members of the federation, Chaudhary had moved a petition in Gujarat High Court last month for stay on the board meeting on the ground that there was no provision in the Gujarat Cooperatives Act or in the by-laws of GCMMF to bring a no confidence motion against a chairman. The court had granted stay till November 12.

Today, when matter came up for hearing before Justice A J Desai, the GCMMF sought time to file affidavit with regard to the objections raised by Chaudhary against the meeting, said Chaudhary’s lawyer P S Champaneri. Following this request Justice Desai granted time till November 20, and extended stay on the board meeting till then, when the further hearing is scheduled, he added.

Chaudhary is facing the heat by a majority of board members over mismanagement in Mehsana District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union, as well as for meeting Congress vice-chairman Rahul Gandhi with an eye on National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) top job. Mehsana Union is also headed by Vipul Chaudhary.

As many as 17 out of 14 board members of Rs 13,700 crore GCMMF had moved a no-confidence motion against Chaudhary and had called for a special meeting on October 26 to discuss no-trust motion.

In a strong worded letter to Mehsana Union vice-chairman, GCMMF took on Mehsana Union over number of issues including  big loans availed by the union and subsequent interest burden, offering cattlefeed worth Rs 22.50 crore to Maharashtra farmers free of cost without taking the approval of union’s board and selling milk powder to private players at lower rates while over looking the federation’s advice. The Mehsana Union also came under GCMMF’s attack for constant decline in milk procurement by the union and setting up 9 lakh liters per day milk processing plant, the union went ahead with establishment of 30 lakh liters per day of milk packaging plant at Daruheda plant with an investment of Rs. 300 crore.

Meanwhile, Mehsana Union, headed by Chaudhary, had also approached the Gujarat High Court demanding stay order on a board meeting, which was convene on November 6 to discuss development related issues. The court had stayed the meeting and decided to hear the matter along with Chaudhary’s original petition against the non-confidence meeting. Both the petitions will now be heard together on November 20.

Mehsana Union had objected to the November 6 meeting on the grounds that GCMMF MD, was not authorised to call meeting of the board of directors. Only the chairman of the board can request a board meeting.

(Business Standard, 12 November 2013)

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