Archive for July, 2013

Societies can’t build floors beyond sanctioned plan: SC

Taking a tough stand against unauthorised constructions in cities in violation of municipal laws, the Supreme Court has ruled that cooperative group house societies can’t construct floors beyond the sanctioned plan.

“In the last five decades, the provisions contained in various municipal laws for planned development of the areas to which such laws are applicable have been violated with impunity in all the cities, big or small, and those entrusted with the task of ensuring implementation of the master plan, have miserably failed to perform their duties,” said a bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice SJ Mukhopadhaya.

Blasting the government authorities for having “miserably” failed to perform their duties in implementing municipal laws for planned development of the cities, the bench dismissed the plea of a Mumbai co-operative housing society seeking regularisation of the floors constructed in violation of the sanctioned plan.

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“It is highly regrettable that this is despite the fact that this court has, keeping in view the imperatives of preserving the ecology and environment of the area and protecting the rights of the citizens, repeatedly cautioned the authorities concerned against arbitrary regularisation of illegal constructions by way of compounding and otherwise,” it said.

The court was deciding if the orders passed by deputy chief engineer, building proposals (City) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation and the Appellate Authority refusing to regularise the illegal constructions made by Esha Ekta Apartments Co-operative Housing Society Limited in Worli area of Mumbai were legally sustainable.

The housing society wanted the court to regularise the extra floors constructed in violation of the sanctioned plan.

While refusing to oblige the petitioner housing society, the bench praised the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai for refusing to regularise the illegal construction.

“The orders passed by them have given a hope to the law-abiding citizens that someone in the hierarchy of administration will not allow unscrupulous developers/builders to take law into their hands and get away with it,” the bench said.

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Posted by admin - July 31, 2013 at 8:22 pm

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Hsg society officials need not furnish indemnity bond

The state government on Thursday abolished a condition that requires people who volunteer as office bearers in cooperative housing societies to furnish an indemnity bond taking responsibility of all acts and omissions that may cause any loss to the society.

Cooperation secretary Rajgopal Deora told HT on Friday that the state issued a government resolution to do away with the condition – the M-20 bond, in legal parlance – on Thursday night. The decision was not published till Friday evening.

The M-20 bond is an undertaking given by each managing committee member within 15 days of his assuming office. It says, “I shall be jointly and severally responsible for all decisions taken by the managing committee during its term relating to the business of the society and shall be jointly and severally responsible for all acts and omissions detrimental to the interest of the society…”

Housing societies were brought under the ambit of this rule in 2001. By implication, any person who signed society documents without signing an M-20 bond on assuming office was liable for prosecution for serious crimes including fraud, cheating, misrepresentation and forgery.

There are more than 90,000 cooperative societies in the state of which about 50,000 are in Mumbai and Thane. More than 30% of these are run by state-appointed administrators. The state takes control of the society when the committee is dissolved on legal grounds or members resign and others are not willing to fill up vacancies.

Deora said that the decision would encourage people willing to take up the honorary job. “In absence of M-20 bonds and in case of any wrongdoing, the aggrieved parties could take up the issues with competent authorities,” he said.

The initiative was planned by CM Prithviraj Chavan and co-operative minister Harshvardan Patil after receiving feedback that people did not come forward to run societies.

But a few housing society activists were upset with the decision. “The M-20 bond was a deterrent against any wrongdoing in the society. I demand that the state now introduce a more effective mechanism to check corruption and inefficiency in housing societies,” said activist JB Patel. He said that the government would also lose revenue that it earned through stamping of bonds.

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Posted by admin - July 31, 2013 at 8:20 pm

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State to help in registering housing societies

The state government will encourage citizens in forming cooperative housing societies so that the administration of their buildings is run in a legal and professional manner and developers do not benefit from exploiting additional floor space index (FSI) for commercial gains.

The state has decided to have a coordination committee of its top-level officers in each district, including the city’s two precincts, to ensure legal formalities. There are 27,000 private buildings and societies in the city, of which 25,000 have their cooperative societies registered. The rest are managing their affairs illegally.

The coordination committee comprises a deputy registrar of cooperatives, a joint registrar of cooperatives, a district land records superintendent, a district information officer, municipal commissioner/joint/deputy municipal commissioner and a chief officer of the municipal council. The committees will monitor the applications as well as devise schemes to get societies formed and registered.

“The coordination committees will guide people and monitor the formation of societies. We expect legal societies to manage and maintain their properties professionally,” said minister of state for housing Sachin Ahir.

“These (ad-hoc) committees manage just the water and power supply of their buildings, which are very basic amenities,” said Ramesh Prabhu, chairman of Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association (MSWA). “But registered societies will ensure they are ruled by the laws and also facilitatere development plans, if any,” said Prabhu.

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Posted by admin - July 31, 2013 at 8:20 pm

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Number of society members to decide piped LPG subsidy

The petroleum and natural gas ministry on Saturday announced that housing societies using piped LPG will receive a quantity equivalent to three 14.2 kg cylinders at subsidised rates till March next year, and that of six subsidised cylinders a year from April 1 for every occupied household.

Until now, a housing society was considered a single customer and would receive only three subsidised cylinders irrespective of the number of occupants.

The new rule that comes into effect from Sunday will benefit approximately three lakh families in the city.

“Every housing society with a reticulated system must provide identity and address proof, along with Know Your Customer (KYC) forms of the residents, to the distributor who will then issue cylinders based on the number of occupants in the society,” said Suresh Nair, regional LPG manager, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).

Officials from three oil companies — Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, and BPCL said every LPG cylinder user must get a domestic gas consumer card with a serial number from their distributor to keep a record of used cylinders.

“The industry is developing ways by which non-genuine use of LPG is curbed and customers can track their consumption,” said George Paul, chief executive (LPG), BPCL. “Almost 18% of users have multiple connections for the same name and address or for different names and the same address,” he said.

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Posted by admin - July 31, 2013 at 8:19 pm

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State set to issue arms licences directly to banks, hsg societies

Banks, housing societies and malls, which were unsecured for the past four months after private security agencies withdrew their armed guards deployed at various private commercial establishments because of police action on those holding illegal licences, will soon be able to get arms licences on their own.

There are at least 2,000 armed and five lakh regular security guards working across Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane, a senior state government official said. However, there are no definite figures on how many of them have the requisite permissions.

“From now on, we will be issuing licences directly to organisations that require armed guards, such as banks and malls, since we have stopped issuing arms licences in the state for the past four months,” home minister RR Patil said on Thursday.

He was replying to an issue raised by legislator Ramesh Shendge in the legislative council over the growing number of illegal arms licences possessed by security guards provided by private agencies.

“I agree there is a huge demand for private armed guards, so we are coming up with a new policy that will govern private agencies and arms licences for security in the next session. It will have definite guidelines to ensure all parties are safe,” he said.

Shendge pointed out how most agencies were hiring guards who have licences from other states such as UP and Nagaland, issued to them for self-defence, though they are now using it for commercial purposes. Patil concurred and ordered a review of all licences issued to private security agencies, and said those which are being used illegally will be cancelled.

At present, the state-run Maharashtra Private Security Guard Board governs the appointment of guards at factories, malls, banks and other commercial establishments, for which the private agencies have to approach them; security for housing societies is not under its ambit.

Shiv Sena legislator Deepak Sawant alleged that there is no control of the government over security agencies who function in housing societies, and there are no agencies to monitor them.

The problem, a senior official explained, which the government hopes to solve with the new proposed policy, are the multiple rules and no fixed monitoring mechanism.

For guards to function in the state, they need to get an approval from the state labour department under the Regulation of Employment And Welfare Act, 1981. However, the agencies get a go-ahead under the Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act, 2005, which is a central legislation, and the Maharashtra Private Security Agency Rules, 2007, from the state home department, which issues licences for guards.

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Posted by admin - July 31, 2013 at 8:18 pm

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State to help in registering housing societies

The state government will encourage citizens in forming cooperative housing societies so that the administration of their buildings is run in a legal and professional manner and developers do not benefit from exploiting additional floor space index (FSI) for commercial gains.

The state has decided to have a coordination committee of its top-level officers in each district, including the city’s two precincts, to ensure legal formalities. There are 27,000 private buildings and societies in the city, of which 25,000 have their cooperative societies registered. The rest are managing their affairs illegally.

The coordination committee comprises a deputy registrar of cooperatives, a joint registrar of cooperatives, a district land records superintendent, a district information officer, municipal commissioner/joint/deputy municipal commissioner and a chief officer of the municipal council. The committees will monitor the applications as well as devise schemes to get societies formed and registered.

“The coordination committees will guide people and monitor the formation of societies. We expect legal societies to manage and maintain their properties professionally,” said minister of state for housing Sachin Ahir.

“These (ad-hoc) committees manage just the water and power supply of their buildings, which are very basic amenities,” said Ramesh Prabhu, chairman of Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association (MSWA). “But registered societies will ensure they are ruled by the laws and also facilitatere development plans, if any,” said Prabhu.

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Posted by admin - July 31, 2013 at 8:16 pm

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If you don’t pay society bills, you could lose your home

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If you have not been paying your maintenance bills, your housing society can now take action against you, and your home can even be auctioned off.

This is one of the provisions of the new state co-operative law drafted in line with the 97th constitutional amendment for transparency and autonomy in the running of all co-operative societies.

The law empowers the managing committee of a society to approach the registrar of societies to recover dues. Once the registrar’s office issues a certificate, a recovery officer can take action, which can even extend to the attachment or auction of your property.

“There was no provision of action against defaulters in housing societies under article 101 of the Maharashtra State Co-operative Societies Act. Now, societies have been empowered to act against members for not paying maintenance charges, or contributing to electricity and water charges,” said cooperation minister Harshavardhan Patil.

The state government has also decided to get a legal opinion on retaining the power of intervention in running co-operatives, under pressure from its ministers who dominate the sector.

“Though the amendment aims at removing political interference and withdrawing state government control over unaided societies, it would be unfair to give a free hand to credit and housing societies, and urban banks as they form 60% of the total 2.47lakh co-operative societies in the state,” said Patil.

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Posted by admin - July 31, 2013 at 7:54 pm

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Housing society elections will now be conducted by state

Now, the election of your housing society will no longer be an informal affair, as the ordinance to the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act was issued on Friday.

In accordance with the 97th constitutional amendment, which aims to bring in more autonomy and transparency to the co-operative sector – from primary co-operative credit societies to housing societies – the state will now conduct elections to all such bodies under the helm of a state co-operative election authority. Residents will have to shell out money for an Election Fund that will be deposited with this authority to hold the elections.

The state has also relinquished its right to intervene in housing society disputes as it will no longer appoint administrators for the same.  Instead, residents will have to rely on the three-member in-house grievance and settlement committees of the co-operative courts. These committees will comprise members other than those on the committee to intervene in such disputes. Settlement will be reached through arbitration and conciliation. If disputes cannot be

settled in this manner, the only recourse will be the co-operative courts. However, the state government has empowered registrars to appoint an authorised officer who can hold suo motu enquiries into the running of any housing society if there are reports of serious mismanagement.

More importantly, you can no longer ignore annual general body meetings of your housing society. If you fail to attend at least one meeting in five years, or if you default on your dues for the financial year, you will be relegated to ‘non active member’ status and lose your voting rights. However, members who face this fate will have the right to appeal.

The housing society can also now move faster to recover maintenance and service charges from defaulters.  But this will continue to depend on getting a recovery certificate from the registrar.

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Posted by admin - July 31, 2013 at 7:53 pm

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Reservation is compulsory in housing society committees

State government has made it clear that the cooperative housing societies would have to follow the reservation in the working committee of the society. The new amendment to the Maharashtra Co-Operative Societies Act, has the provision of reservation to women, members from OBC, SC/ST and VJNT.

Cooperation minister Harshavardhan Patil said on Tuesday that the posts meant for the members from the reserved category would remain vacant. “The reservation always has been there in the Act, thought we have raised it to 5 posts. It has been observed that the housing cooperative societies have not been keenly following the clause of reservation,” he said.

After the state legislature decided to send the bill to the joint select committee of both the houses, the government has decided to issue a new ordinance to keep the amendments in effect till the bill is passed in the monsoon session. “The first ordinance lapsed on April 21, 2013. We have approached the Governor K Sankaranarayanan for the new ordinance. It will be issued shortly,” he said.

The minister said that despite stake holders in the cooperative sectors raising doubts if the amended law has not come into force, as the bill was not passed in the budget session concluded last week, it is in full force and will have to be followed.

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Posted by admin - July 31, 2013 at 7:52 pm

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A workshop on deemed conveyance for housing societies

Faced with complaints from several housing societies for delays on part of builders in carrying out conveyance deed, city-based social organisation Jeevandhara Ward Sallagar Samiti will be conducting a workshop on deemed conveyance on April 25.
The workshop to be held at 3pm at Vashi’s Vishnudas Bhave Auditorium will be attended by Thane guardian minister Ganesh Naik, MP Sanjeev Naik, Airoli MLA Sandeep Naik and mayor Sagar Naik.
According to provisions of Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act, 1963, it is binding on real estate developer to transfer rights of the land to housing society in a period of four months after its formation.
As long as the housing society does not become owner of the land, it will face problems in getting extra FSI and such buildings cannot go in for redevelopment without consent of the land owner. Obtaining this can be a tedious job.
“The workshop aims at guiding housing societies in getting their process for deemed conveyance completed,” Dnyaneshwar Naik, who is organising the workshop, said.
He said, “Housing societies, which are facing problems in getting deemed conveyance, will be guided by lawyers during the workshop.”
This workshop will be attended by joint registrar, cooperative societies (Konkan Bhavan), deputy registrar, cooperative societies (Thane). The officials will also guide residents on how to complete formalities for getting deemed conveyance.
Naik has appealed to office bearers and members of all housing societies in satellite city to attend the workshop.

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Posted by admin - July 31, 2013 at 7:45 pm

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