New bye-laws force cooperative societies to play by the rules
The new rules, geared towards encouraging accountability and participation among society members, provide for a grievances committee, expulsion of errant members, and police action for failure to file paperwork
A new set of bye-laws could soon usher in a new era of transparency in cooperative housing societies, which are no longer run according to the whims and fancies of influential committee members. The most important new norm that has been established says that the managing committee will have to submit an audit rectification report before the annual general body meeting, and that any failure to do so will invite police action.
In the new system, every cooperative complex will have to have a grievances settlement and redressal committee, members of which will consist of three senior, knowledgeable and active members other than the managing committee members of the society. The model bye-laws, drafted by a ten-member committee, have been issued recently with an approval from the state commissioner of cooperative societies. The bye-laws clearly define an active member as one who has attended at least one general body meeting held by the society in the previous five consecutive years, and has paid one year’s society maintenance and service charges.
This definition will allow for expulsion of members who do not attend meetings for five consecutive years. The bye-laws also say that members can be expelled from membership if they provide false information, use their flats for immoral purposes or habitually misuse it for illegal purposes, committing breaches of any provisions of the bye-laws.
Expulsion of membership may lead to forfeiture of shares; moreover, the expelled member will not be entitled to continue occupation of his flat, having to vacate and hand the premises back to the society. On his failure to do so, he shall be liable to be evicted from his flat, say the bye-laws.
According to officials of the cooperation department, the process of eviction will soon be defined in the rules made under Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, as per the 97th Constitutional amendment. Apart from the current charges, the society members will have to pay separately towards the election fund to conduct timely elections to the managing committee of the society. It will also be binding on the managing committee to hold annual general meetings before September 30 every year.
The committee will also have to submit audit reports before the meeting, along with the audit rectification report for the previous year. A copy of this will have to be submitted to the registrar and failure to do so will lead to the filing of a police case and penal action, say the bye-laws. The committee has also been mandated to provide no-objection certificates to its members for different purposes. An inability to furnish this will now invite a penalty of Rs 5,000 instead of Rs 100 levied earlier.