Maharashtra Society Act, 1960 was amended on 14th February, 2013, for the 97th time and was publicized recently. The recent changes has both positive & negative impact on co-operative housing societies all across the city of Mumbai and state of Maharashtra.
The most significant points which may impact Housing Societies and its members are as follows:-
- Authority will be given to the active members of the society. Non-active members cannot participate in the decision-making process.
- Sleeping members can be expelled or required to become active; this right is with the co-operative societies.
- Active members will now function as ‘Authorised Officer’ or ‘Interim Committee’ and thus administrators cannot be appointed henceforth for most co-operative societies.
- Apex Co-operatives would provide adequate and regular education and training to groom fresh leaders.
- Managing Committee have to attend regular training at least once in their tenure of five years. Ignorance will not be allowed.
- A Grievance Redressal Committee will be set up in order to solve internal differences.
- Co-operative society’s court to encourage negotiations and win-win compromise situations to discourage litigations so that Co-operative society’s court can give attention to important matters.
- Modern methods of management, record keeping, etc and also seek professional help for CHS management.
- Fraud and FIR’s will have to be reported by the auditors, registrars, etc hence strengthening the audit function in co-operative societies. In every AGM it will be mandatory for the auditor to present audit findings during every meeting. If they don’t, auditors will be disqualified.
- Fine and prison sentences have been considerably increased for penalties and offences.
- Disqualified members cannot contest elections for a term of five years.
- Elections will now be closely monitored by the State Election Authority therefore eliminating bullying of retaining power by token elections in co-operative housing societies.
- Members with less than 100 people in a housing society cannot conduct elections on their own.
- An associate member is eligible to be a part of the managing committee. As per Rule Section 2 (19) of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act says an associate member jointly holds a share of the society with others, but whose name is not first in the share certificate. Rule 56M of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Rules, 1961, and Section 2 (19) (b) of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960, state an associate member can vote and participate in elections but cannot become an office-bearer of the society where his name appears as an associate member in the society register.Provided that, in case of joint or associated member only the member whose name stand first in the share certificate shall be eligible to be nominated as candidate for election.
- A stipulated deadline of June 30, for conducting elections for all societies which were due in the last two years.
- Number of nominees of each co-operative society has been set to maximum of 21 members.
- Every housing society has to conduct yearly audits and every AGM of co-operative society has the right to appoint an auditor for conducting a financial audit.
- The state government would be appointing an election authority to supervise in housing societies with members exceeding 100.
- Before an election at the general body meeting has to make sure to conduct elections under secret ballot.
- If a member wishes to vote, residents have to make sure their membership formalities and dues are clear; only then he/she is eligible to vote.
- If a nomination is rejected; a candidate will get one month to move his/her case to the registrar for justice.
Hence, there have been amendments that affect the functioning of co-operative housing societies. Let us all educate ourselves with the new amendments and utilize our co-operative legal structure.