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Election Process Exemption for Cooperative Housing Societies

Election Process Exemption for Cooperative Housing Societies from the tedious process of approaching election authorities!

Maharashtra State Cabinet finally exempts those with fewer than 100 members from the ‘tedious’ process of informing the Maharashtra State Cooperative Election Authority 3 months in advance and conducting the election under the supervision of cooperative society election authority. Following which a returning officer prepares a draft voters’ list. Suggestions and objections are invited and the voters’ list finalized. To carry out this exercise, housing societies have to spend between Rs 10,000-20,000 beside misc. expenses of “Returning Officer”.

The introduction of new Election Rules for the cooperative housing societies in 2014 made it mandatory that every cooperative housing society, irrespective of no of members should follow the new election rules. This has made the life of may housing society miserable, specially where the no of members is even less or equal to minimum no of Managing Committee as per the new bye-laws.

Various Consumer activists and Cooperative Housing Societies federation opposed the inclusion of housing societies under the 79 amendments as it unnecessary “create burden” of shouldering more expenses and lengthy paperwork. The issue also found its way in the assembly several times.

In 2015, the state government formed the Maharashtra State Cooperative Election Authority to conduct elections in cooperative institutions, which include banks, sugar and milk cooperatives,  credit societies and housing societies.

Cooperative housing societies with fewer than 100 members may soon be able to hold elections on their own. The state cabinet has exempted such societies from going through the tedious and expensive procedure of approaching the Maharashtra State Cooperative Election Authority to conduct polls.

The state recently announced formation of a committee to look into the issue. The panel, which submitted its report two months ago, recommended the exemption for smaller housing societies.

Cabinet’s approval will have to be enforced via an amendment to the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act or an ordinance. Till then, elections will be required to be held under the supervision of the election authority as per the current process.

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