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.