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The Supreme Court on Tuesday partly quashed an amendment of the Constitution made in 2011 related to cooperative societies. While the part pertaining to the constitution of cooperatives was struck down, the change regarding their effective management was upheld by the SC bench. This order came after the Centre challenged a 2013 Gujarat high court ruling that struck down certain provisions of the amendment and held that Parliament cannot frame laws on cooperative societies as they fall under the purview of states.

The cooperative sector in India has always been heavily politicized, with a complex web of interests at play. However, the broader issue at hand is New Delhi’s seeming overreach into state subjects. Though questions of federalism have arisen under previous administrations as well, Centre-state disputes have been far more pronounced under the current dispensation. Several opposition parties have charged the Centre with undue interference in state matters. Some of these may be motivated by politics. Still, one too many disputes have popped up to view them all through a plainly political prism. To ease tensions, the spirit of cooperative federalism must be revived.

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