There has been a lot of confusion regarding the payment of the maintenance and repair charges, regarding the use of the lift in Housing Co-op. Society. It would be important to mention here that some of the Societies are still following the old bye-laws, whilst most of the Societies have adopted the Model Bye-Laws.
In many Societies up till now, if there were shopkeepers/members on the ground floor they were exempted from paying the maintenance and repair charges, of the lift since they were not using it at all. Whereas some of them did not charge any amount to the members residing on the ground floor and sometimes even to those members residing on the first floor, on the ground that they hardly made use of the lift. This thinking on the part of the Society is understandable because neither the shopkeepers nor the members residing on the ground or the first floor would generally use the lift.
Some societies which were formed many years back had even passed a resolution that under no circumstances the members residing on the ground floor and on the first floor would ever be called upon to pay the maintenance and the repair charges for the lift.
Now the situation under the Model-Bye Law has substantially changed. Under clause 71 (a) (v) of the new Model Bye-Laws it is stated that each and every member of the Society shall have to pay the expenses for the repairs and maintenance of the lift including the charges of running the lift equally irrespective of the fact whether the members use the lift or do not use the lift at all.
It’s important for us to understand that what was the necessity of incorporating this Clause in the Model Bye-Laws? It is obvious that no members can be prevented from using the lift at any time if he wishes to do so. A member residing on the ground floor may not use the lifts most of the times as it is not necessary, but if he wants to visit any member on the upper floor, he cannot be prevented from using the lift. A resolution cannot be passed by a Society that the members residing on the ground floor and the first floor, and the shopkeeper would have no right to use the lift of the Society at all.
In almost every Society the flats are of different sizes. Some are small and some are big. Then, should each and every member of the Society pay equally regarding the maintenance, repairs and running of the lift? To this query, the answer is, the extent of the usage of the lift by any member can never be measured. As such the framers of the Model Bye-Laws wisely thought it fit, bearing in mind the principle of equity, justice and good conscience that each and every member of the Society irrespective of the size of the flat would have to pay equally for the maintenance and the repairs of the lift. Is it possible for the society to limit or to restrict the working hours of the lift? The answer to the same is in the affirmative. It is to be noted that each and every Housing Co-operative Society, is autonomous and can pass any resolution which does not conflict with the provisions of the Maharashtra Cooperative Society Act 1960 and its rules and regulations. There is nothing mentioned at all, in the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, about the regulation of the working hours of a lift in a Housing Co-operative Society and as such every Society is free to pass its own resolution regarding the working hours of the lift.
Has the Managing Committee a right to pass a resolution at its own meeting to fix the timings of the lift or whether it is absolutely necessary to call a Special General Meeting in order to ascertain the opinion of the majority of the members of the Society? In our opinion, the Managing Committee of the Society in order to supervise the smoother running of the society and to take care of its property, and in the interest of the Society, it has a right to regulate working hours of the lift. It is not necessary for this purpose to call a Special General Meeting to ascertain the views of the majority of the members of the Society.