Former Union Agriculture Minister and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Saturday to raise his apprehensions about the formation of Cooperation Ministry and the amendments in Banking Regulation Act.

Pawar urged Modi to ensure that the co-operative principles laid down in the Constitution should not be sacrificed at the altar of over-zealous regulations in banking sector.

He said the Banking Regulation Act has been amended to protect the interests of the depositors of co-operative banks and to strengthen the co-operative banks by increasing professionalism, but there are certain inconsistencies and the resulting legal inefficacy of normative provisions of the Act that are in conflict most specifically with the 97th Constitutional Amendment, State Co-operative Societies Acts and with the co-operative principles.

He said the newly-introduced impugned provisions of sections 4A, 4F, 4G, 4J, 4L, 4M and 4Q of the Amendment Act directly intervene into the functioning of the affairs of the co-operative banks. “Therefore I opine that the said impugned provisions are unconstitutional and ultra vires, for having been passed without legislative competence,” he said.

He said such sections of the Act are beyond the legislative competence of the Parliament and therefore void under Article 123(3) of the Constitution. “The Amended Act overrules various provisions of the Co-operative Act in regard to the formation of the Board and election of Chairman, appointment of Managing Director etc. by holding a caveat in terms of such appointments,” Pawar said in a letter to Modi.

“I reiterated in the letter that the aims and objectives of the Amended Act are well-intentioned, and many provisions are necessary. Erring Board and Management must definitely be acted upon strictly and the depositors’ interests should be protected, but at the same time it should be ensured that while doing so, the Co-operative Principles laid down in the Constitution are not sacrificed at the altar of over-zealous regulation,” Pawar said in the letter.