Mere supervision or regulation of a body by government would not make that body a public authority, the apex court ruled
The Supreme Court while quashing a circular by Kerala government ruled that co-operative societies do not fall within the ambit of Right to Information (RTI). The Kerala government circular was issued to bring all such societies within the scope of the RTI Act.
A bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and AK Sikri said mere supervision or regulation of a body by government would not make that body a public authority and quashed the Kerala High Court's order holding the circular valid.
"Societies are, of course, subject to the control of the statutory authorities like Registrar, Joint Registrar and the Government. But cannot be said that the state exercises any direct or indirect control over the affairs of the society which is deep and all pervasive," the bench said
"Supervisory or general regulation under the statute over the co-operative societies, which are body corporate does not render activities of the body so regulated as subject to such control of the State so as to bring it within the meaning of the State or instrumentality of the State," it added.
The state government had informed the Registrar of Co-operative Societies in May 2006 that all institutions formed by laws made by State Legislature is a public authority and, therefore, all co-operative institutions coming under the administrative control of the Registrar of Co-operative Societies are also public authorities.
Quashing the state government's decision, the bench said that power exercised by the Registrar over the societies is merely supervisory and regulatory.
"The mere supervision or regulation as such by a statute or otherwise of a body would not make that body a public authority within the meaning of Section 2(h)(d)(i) of the Act. In other words just like a body owned or body substantially financed by the appropriate government, the control of the body by the appropriate government would also be substantial and not merely supervisory or regulatory," the bench added.
Most automakers increased vehicle prices by 1% to 5% during September-October this year. Therefore, the discounts offered in the next couple of months will not translate into significant cost savings when compared with prices in August 2013, feels India Ratings
Some public sector undertaking (PSU) banks announced around 20 basis points cut in interest rates for autos, with the rates now in the range of 10.45%-10.75% for auto loans up to three years for purchase of new vehicles. However, according to a research note by India Ratings & Research (Ind-Ra), the reduction in auto loan interest rates by certain public sector banks will not have a meaningful impact on auto sales.
With the landed cost of imported components rising significantly in the current financial year due to rupee depreciation, several auto companies have been compelled to raise prices to pass a part of the input cost increases to consumers. The cost increases announced by most auto companies during September—October have been in the range of 1%-5%. Ind-Ra said, "The discounts offered in the next couple of months will not translate into significant cost savings when compared with prices in August 2013. Hence, the limited monetary incentive in a scenario of negative consumer sentiment may also curtail sales in the festive season."
The rate cut by banks follows Indian government’s decision to increase the quantum of capital infusion over the Rs14,000 crore already allocated in the FY14 budget. The capital infusion was intended to encourage lending by banks and spur the purchases of autos and consumer durables in the following festive season.
However, the ratings agency said it believes auto sales during the October to December festive season will not be influenced by the prospect of lower interest costs. This is mainly because the overall cost of ownership is high and continues to rise steadily due to the frequent rise in fuel prices. The freeing up of petrol prices from June 2010 and the monthly increase in diesel prices permitted from January 2013 has resulted in a drag on auto sales.
The narrowing price differential between petrol and diesel has led to a slowdown in demand for diesel vehicles which were largely responsible for driving passenger vehicles (PV) sales in FY12 and FY13.
In addition, Ind-Ra said a 3% hike in excise duty to 30% on utility vehicles (UV) of over 4 metres in length and over 1,300cc engine capacity has also dampened sales. While this segment registered a 52.2% sales volumes growth in FY13, there was a 4.8% decline in volumes between April and September. A large proportion of volumes in this segment are contributed by entry level UVs, sales of which have also been adversely impacted by higher on road prices due to the excise duty hike, the report said.
According to the RBI Consumer Confidence Survey—June 2013, only 12.8% of respondents wanted to purchase a vehicle compared with 15.9% in March 2013 and 19.7% in December 2012. "This seems to suggest a steadily worsening consumer sentiment which could negatively impact sales over the next few months. The JD Power Survey, released on 29 August 2013, suggested that more price conscious, middle class buyers are considering buying a used vehicle instead of a new one. Ind-Ra believes this is due to the growth of the organised used car market in India along with the presence of major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)," the ratings agency added.