Archive for July, 2013

Adopt new model bye laws

 

Ours is a biggest CHS in western suburban- Malad (East) with 35 buildings and 569 members. It is more than 40 years old. Our members want to go for redevelopment of our buildings. But unfortunately, we have not yet adopted model bye laws due to several reasons. Few members are not in favour of it and want to stick to our own old bye laws, which is out dated. I am of the opinion, that in order to get the co-operation of deputy registrar and for successful redevelopment, it is advisable to adopt the model bye laws- 2009 with certain modifications in line with our old bye laws. Kindly advise

1) Is adopting model bye laws and redevelopment directly related?

2) Can deputy registrar force housing societies to adopt model bye laws?

The co-operative societies including co-operative housing societies have to function as per the provisions of Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960, MCS Rules, 1961, circulars and notification issued by the government from time to time and as per the provisions of bye laws. If any provision of bye laws are contrary to the provisions of MCS Act, rules and notification, the provisions as provided in the MCS Act, rules and notification will be applicable to the societies. The bye laws are revised from time to time considering the changes made in the MCS Act, rules and notifications and the co-operative department advises the societies to adopt them. Thus, it is always advisable to adopt the new bye laws, so that the members also will be updated with the provisions of law and the disputes will be reduced. The adoption of bye laws and redevelopment are not directly related. Whether you adopt new bye laws or not, the redevelopment has to be done as per the government notification dated January 3, 2009 issued under section 79A of the MCS Act, 1960.
On February 14, 2013, the government has notified Maharashtra Co-operative Societies (amendment) Ordinance, 2013, making a major amendment in the MCS Act, 1960 as per 97th constitutional amendment. It has been specified in section 13 and 14 of the MCS Act, 1960, that the registrar can direct the societies to adopt new bye laws which are consistent with the provisions of MCS Act, rules and notification. Thus, every housing society or other societies will be directed by the registrar to adopt the new model bye laws, similar to the provisions made in the 97th constitutional amendment directing the state government to amend their respective state laws.

We are told that now societies are given autonomous status. The registrar and the government cannot interfere in the functioning of the societies. M-20 bonds are removed. The managing committee cannot be removed and administrator can be appointed. I wanted to know whether for redevelopment, housing societies are required to follow the directions issued under section 79A of the MCS Act, 1960 like inviting the registrar, appointing the project management consultants, inviting the tenders, etc.?
Autonomous status is within the provisions of Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960 or the amendment done from time to time. As per section 79A of the MCS Act, 1960, the government still has a power to issue any direction for better working of the societies. Since redevelopment notification of January 3, 2009 is issued under section 79A of the MCS Act, 1960 and that section has not been deleted or amended as per Maharashtra Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, the notification is binding on all the societies whether they have adopted new bye-laws or not, if they are planning to undertake redevelopment.
When the representatives from deputy registrar office are invited in the general body meeting of the housing societies when the developer has to be selected, the representative of registrar has no power to influence the decision of the societies. He comes there as only observer and supervise the proceedings of the general body meeting.
Even though the registrar cannot appoint an administrator, he has a power to disqualify few committee members or entire committee, who are responsible for mishandling the affairs of the society. In such cases, the registrar will constitute an interim committee of active members of the societies, other than disqualified members of the committee, who will function till the proper election is conducted by the State Co-operative Election Authority and hand over the affairs to the newly elected committee.
Even though M-20 has been removed, the new law has prescribed various responsibilities on the committee such as holding annual general body meeting, completing accounts and audit, filing annual return, etc. within 6 months of the close of financial year.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 31, 2013 at 7:43 pm

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Guidelines for redevelopment cooperative housing society

Guidelines for redevelopment cooperative housing society

In situations where the property to be redeveloped belongs to the cooperative housing society, consent of the affected members is essential

 

Where the property to be redeveloped belongs to the cooperative housing society, additional steps are involved in obtaining the consent of the members whose interests are vitally affected.
It is the members who have to take decision about going through the redevelopment process and approve the scheme of redevelopment.
Since the actual execution of the main decision rests with the managing committee, redevelopment of housing societies is generally with acrimony and complaints of high-handedness and corruption against the managing committee. Such malpractices assumed high proportion and complaints started pouring in.
A committee comprising the Cooperative Commissioner and CIDCO chairman was formed to study a slew of complaints by members of housing societies undertaking redevelopment and suggest measures to ensure transparency in the process of redevelopment.
Based on the recommendations of the committee, the department of Cooperation, Marketing and Textile vide CHS 2007/ CR554/ 14-C dated January 2009 issued directives u/s 79(A) of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act for redevelopment of buildings of the cooperative housing societies.
25% members of the society (e.g. if total members are 80 then 20 members) have to submit a requisition to the secretary of the society for convening a Special General Body Meeting of the society along with their scheme and suggestions for redevelopment.
Within 8 days of the receipt of requisition, the secretary has to convene a meeting of the managing committee to discuss matters of redevelopment. The members of the managing committee shall;
i) Select and contact at least 5 Architects/ project management consultants from the government panel for preparing project report for the work of redevelopment and thereafter
ii) Convene Special General Body Meeting to consider the requisition submitted by the members.
iii) The agenda for the SGM should be circulated to all members more than 14 days prior to the date fixed for SGM
The agenda of the Special General Body meeting must include the following points:
i) Preliminary decision for the redevelopment of the society’s building.
ii) Appointment of one project management consultant for the redevelopment of the society’s building – out of the names suggested by the committee.
On receipt of the notice for SGM the members can send their suggestions but those suggestions should reach the secretary at least 8 days prior to the date of SGM
Quorum for the SGM is 75% of the total members. (If total members are 80 then quorum is 60).
If there is required quorum the agenda will be discussed in detail and a resolution regarding redevelopment of the society building will be moved.
In case of lack of quorum the meeting is to be adjourned for eight days and if no quorum is reached in the adjourned meeting also, it is to be cancelled and it will be deemed that members are not interested.
If the resolution finds favours of 75% of the quorum (45 out of 60 present) then General Body will discuss in detail the relative suitability of suggested project consultants.
The SGM has to finalize the name of one out of the names of consultants suggested by the committee and finalize the items of work to be done by him and terms and conditions for the same.
Within 10 days of holding SGM the secretary has to prepare and circulate minutes of the Special General Body meeting to all the members. One copy of the minutes has to be placed on the notice board of the society and one copy to be forwarded to the concerned Registrar of the societies.
Within 15 days of holding SGM the secretary has to issue a letter of appointment to the PMC, whose name was approved during the Special General Body Meeting.

Work to be done by the PMC: –
(i) To survey the said plot and the existing building of the society.
(ii) To get the details of conveyance of the said plot in favour of the society.
(iii) To obtain information about available FSI and TDR and the balance development potential of the said plot in accordance with the DCR for the plot of the society’s existing building considering the current government policy and the applicable rules and regulations of the concerned authorities like Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.
(iv) To prepare a workable/practical project report after considering suggestions, recommendations submitted by the members of the society and also taking into consideration area to be made available to the members for residence, commercial area, vacant area, space for garden, parking and building specifications.
(v) To submit within 2 months a project report for redevelopment to the managing committee of the society.
(vi)The project report submitted by PMC will be given to the members who are required to submit their recommendations and suggestions so as to reach the secretary at least eight days prior to the date of next SGM. The suggestions received from the members are then forwarded by the secretary to the PMC. These suggestions should be forwarded to the PMC seven days before the joint meeting to be called.

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Amendment to Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act approved

The Act is applicable to 2.47 lakh co-operative bodies all over Maharashtra with an annual turnover of Rs6 lakh crore and a total member strength of 5.50 lakh.

The Maharashtra cabinet has approved amending the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960, state minister for co-operation Harshvardhan Patil said in Mumbai on Thursday.

The Act is applicable to 2.47 lakh co-operative bodies all over Maharashtra with an annual turnover of Rs6 lakh crore and a total member strength of 5.50 lakh.

The amendments, necessitated due to the 97th constitutional amendment, were discussed at a cabinet meeting here yesterday, the minister told reporters.

The state government will issue an ordinance and the new measure would become effective from February 16.

As per new norms, co-operatives having an ‘A’ audit class for three consecutive years would be able to park their funds in nationalised, scheduled and urban co-operative banks.

To enable elected co-operative bodies to complete their five-year terms, it has been decided that their elections will be conducted only after completion of their terms, through a proposed State Co-operative Election Authority, Patil said.

The strength of the board of directors will be fixed at 21, of which five seats will be reserved, he said. Out of these five reserved seats, two seats would be for women, one for scheduled caste / scheduled tribe, one for other backward class, as well as one for ‘Vimukta Jati’ and notified tribes, he said.

Co-operative housing societies would be able to initiate recovery of dues from defaulting members by instituting measures which could include seizure or disposal of flats of concerned members, he said. 

Under new norms, it would be mandatory for an annual general meeting to appoint an auditor. Audits of co-operative bodies would be carried out by certified government auditors, he said.

Co-operative bodies would be required to prepare lists of active and non-active members annually. Active members would be eligible to vote in elections to these co-operative bodies.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 7:40 pm

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Not a burning issue for housing societies

Housing societies and residential complexes are inexplainably negligent about fire safety requirements and wake up only after an accident, according to fire officials.

Housing societies and residential complexes are inexplainably negligent about fire safety requirements and wake up only after an accident, according to fire officials.

They say that putting in place an effective fire-fighting system is in the interests of residents, but they don’t taken this seriously.
This issue has sprung up, after the blaze at Jolly Maker building in Cuffe Parade, on Sunday, where it was found that the fire-fighting system was not operational.

According to the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2009, every housing society or residential building is required to conduct a fire safety audit every six months and the report is to be submited to the fire department. “This is mandatory under the law and is aimed to ensure the safety of residents,” says Suhas Joshi, chief fire officer of the Mumbai fire brigade.

Not implementing the guidelines is punishable with rigorous imprisonment of six months to three years and a fine of between Rs20,000 and Rs50,000, and even disconnection of water supply to the premises.

“If citizens take one step forward, we will take ten steps to help them ensure safety,” says Joshi. “We expect some cooperation from citizens as we are short on staff. Still, we undertake inspection of high-rises on a regular basis.”

A fire station officer in south Mumbai explained that “people are generally careful in day-to-day life while crossing the road, or just walking outside. Similarly, we expect them to give importance to fire safety requirements in their buildings.”

Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner said, “Citizens living in high-rises are educated and law abiding. We expect them to follow the fire safety guidelines. But if they don’t we would have no option but to pull them up.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 7:37 pm

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Administrator for housing societies a thing of the past

Managing committees set to get more teeth this week through ordinance.

The state government has not been able to work out any legal provision to curb mismanagement of cooperatives that could occur once the ordinance giving more powers to societies is promulgated this week.

As a result, societies that are faced with such mishandling would have to approach the courts or seek the intervention of the police, rather than approach the state department, official sources said on Monday.

“The amendment takes away the authority of the state to appoint an administrator that was there previously. So, we will only be able to order an inquiry into complaints. Liquidation of societies is an option, but that is an extreme step that will not be taken in normal circumstances,” said a senior official in the state cooperative department. “Therefore, the only recourse for housing societies would be to approach the police.”

The amendment to the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act that allows more powers to societies was cleared a fortnight ago and the ordinance for this is expected to be issued in a couple of days.
Announcing the changes in the law at a news conference end-January, minister for cooperation Harshvardhan Patil had said that since the state could no longer appoint an administrator in the case of mismanagement of unaided societies, it would look at other legal options for intervention. (The authority to appoint an administrator in aided cooperatives stays with the government. Most housing societies are unaided cooperatives.)

It seems that this concern was also expressed by several ministers at the cabinet meeting, who felt that the amendment would hurt the interest of aggrieved housing society members.

“Now we have no option really but to go ahead with the amendments. While we can try to intervene, in the case that a society is not functioning properly, or there is a vacuum, the members would have to elect a new interim body,” the official said.

“The state cooperative department has finalised the draft amendment which has been sent to the governor for approval. The ordinance is likely to be issued by the February 13 or 14,” the official said.

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Earth Hour: Housing societies make powerful statement

When Dr Arlene D’Souza’s society decided to observe the Earth Hour this time too, they did a replay of sorts as compared to last year. Around 60 members of the Rock Castle in Kandarpada, Dahisar shut down their lights, did not use their lift and came downstairs to ensure that the electricity is not used at all.

When Dr Arlene D’Souza’s society decided to observe the Earth Hour this time too, they did a replay of sorts as compared to last year. Around 60 members of the Rock Castle in Kandarpada, Dahisar shut down their lights, did not use their lift and came downstairs to ensure that the electricity is not used at all.

“We feel very strongly about this issue. Last year also we had made it a point to switch off the lights for an hour so that the word is spread and all of us participate in what we do,” said D’Souza. The society found interesting ways to pass their time. A get-together in the building where the children recited poetry and the elderly sung songs ensured that everybody had fun while serving an environmental cause.

In fact, many other buildings scattered across the city made sure they switched off their lights for an hour for the Earth Hour on Saturday. Elsie Gabriel, founder of Young Environmentalists from Powai, who has been advocating Earth Hour for the last seven years encouraged other people to do the same by way of songs. “We celebrated Earth Day in Powai starting from 7.30pm where we had a musical hour with the renowned Psalms Choir till 9.30pm,” said Gabriel. Around 200 buildings participated in it.

She added, “As the largest environmental event in history, the Earth Hour makes a silent but powerful statement about the effects of human-accelerated climate change. We’d like to encourage people to go beyond this one hour and celebrate Earth Hour daily,” she added.

It was not just housing societies that were gung-ho about the idea. Meluha the Fern – An Ecotel Hotel in the city switched off their lights too. Punish Sharma, the area general manager said, “The speed and scale of climate change fuelled by the ever increasing consumption of the earth’s resources is impacting the whole world. Unless we make efforts to turn our energy production systems renewable, we will be surrounded by climate instability and energy insecurities that will affect each one of us. Every individual has the power to make this transition possible by taking small, yet significant steps.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 7:35 pm

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Housing societies woo members with plush annual meetings

Attendance goes up significantly as lavish spreads in banquet halls attract members.

Samosas and wafers are passé. Society general body meetings have switched to sangrias and canapés. The annual ritual of housing societies in the city is literally going places, moving from the cooped office on the premises of the cooperative society to plush venues like star hotels and banquet halls. Today is the last Sunday ahead of the August 15 deadline to conduct the AGM and for scores of societies in the city, the meeting is set to be one lavish affair.

While in some societies the fun and food formula is a tried-and-tested way to ensure good attendance at an otherwise staid meeting, others believe that a grand function makes for a good opportunity for families of the members to bond over cocktails and dinner. “Many members are not really interested in the administrative affairs of the society, but when we have a function at a good venue, they do turn up for an evening out,” says Satish Jawahrani, secretary, Akshay Mittal Society in Andheri.

Jawahrani adds that the meeting itself lasts for a short duration and once the business of the day is negotiated, the members and their families can interact informally. This year, Akshay Mittal Society organised its AGM at the 3-star Kohinoor Intercontinental, and the tab for the party was about Rs50,000. “Of the 270 members, about 60 turned up for the meeting. Had we organised it at a five-star, the attendance would have been even better,” quipped Jawahrani.

Given that the AGM is held at a time of the year when unpredictable weather rules out an outdoor location, the shelter of a banquet hall and the services of the hotel’s kitchen often help ensure that the members just have to land up at the venue. “The food, the drinks, the music – everything is taken care of. We do not have to worry about organising anything; no hassles of coordinating with different suppliers to make an evening of it. And the marginal increase in cost is worth it since the money is from the members and for the members,” says Alok Gupta, secretary of Rushi Tower Society in Lokhandwala. “While the annual Holi party is organised on the society premises, the AGM is conducted at a more upmarket venue nearby,” he adds. This year, Rushi Tower has planned its AGM at Barbecue Nation.

Housing experts opine that as long as the significance of the AGM is not diluted, the trend to conduct it at posh venues is a positive one. “A good venue with good arrangements allows the society members to interact in a relaxed atmosphere that’s conducive to cooperation and healthy discussions. After all, the AGM is not only about passing the books of accounts, but also addressing other important issues that affect the society members,” says Ramesh Prabhu, Chairman, Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association. Prabhu is of the opinion that a posh venue can be a good incentive for reluctant members who usually shy away from affairs of the society. “Since it’s awkward to land in time for dinner, they will willy-nilly attend the meeting and participate in the working of the society,” he concluded.

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Housing societies not under RTI yet: Info chief

The 97th constitutional amendment made RTI activists happy because they believed that it brought co-operative housing societies under the purview of the RTI Act.

In February, the state passed its own ordinance implementing the amendment.

State chief information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad does not stand with the activists’ consensus.

He spoke with dna’s Ashutosh Shukla about cooperative societies, pending second appeals and voluntary disclosure.

Your opinion on housing societies coming under RTI?

I don’t think that they come under RTI Act. One has to read section 2h of the RTI Act to see what it covers. Just because an amendment enables something to come up, does not mean it is established by the government. Societies are a body formed by 20 people. Where is the public interest in that? Even if it did come under RTI, whom will we fine as public information officers? Private companies too are formed under Companies Act but that does not mean they come under RTI unless they are financed or adhere to some of the provisions.

What is the status of second appeals?

There are around 23,000 second appeals in all benches. In my bench, people will be able to get orders within two months if they file an appeal today. Due to vacancies the pending appeals in greater Mumbai region are over 3,000, of which, around 1,500 are of 2011 and 1,600 of 2012. By December, 1,500 appeals of Greater Mumbai bench will be cleared.

Voluntary disclosure under section 4 of the RTI Act has not improved much.

There is nothing much the commission can do. The state government, collectors and people heading the authority will have to take most of the initiative. We had issued directions to all public authorities to properly implement section 4. This time, a reminder will go a warning that disobedience of the commission orders will attract serious contempt under section 166 of the IPC (deals with imprisonment of public servant or fine or both)

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 7:33 pm

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Mumbai: Societies can now wrest dues out of you

Are you a repeat defaulter on maintenances charges for your flat? Mend your ways.

Are you a repeat defaulter on maintenances charges for your flat? Mend your ways. Housing societies in the state will soon have the power to initiate recovery proceedings from flat owners who default on such charges.

This was one of the amendments to the Maharashtra State Co-Operatives Act cleared by the state cabinet on Wednesday to bring it in line with the 97th amendment to the Constitution, which is aimed at encouraging the economic activities of cooperatives.

Societies, however, don’t get a free run of things. If they initiate recovery proceedings, they will still have to take the help of a recovery officer of the state.

While the cabinet cleared a move to permit housing society executive bodies to even sell flats to recover dues in extreme cases, the final sale of a flat will require the approval of the registrar of cooperatives.

Worried over an amendment that disallows administrators to be appointed for unaided societies — a move that would do away with state intervention in co-operative societies that do not take any government aid — the state is looking at legal options to allow intervention if there is mismanagement and misappropriation of society funds.

Co-operation minister Harshvardhan Patil said the state is mulling over a legal option of imposing certain conditions which allow it to intervene. “People can then come to us, saying the societies are registered and that the government should do something about the co-operative institution if there is deposit erosion or liquidity collapse.”

The scope for state intervention in co-operative institutions receiving government aid has been further reduced with an amendment that allows suspension or supersession of the board for only a period of six months. In the case of co-operative banks, this period cannot exceed a year.
Another major amendment stipulates that members of co-operatives will have to attend at least one annual general meeting to stay an active member. Else, he/she will be dubbed ‘non-active’, ergo, losing the right to vote.

Advocate Vinod Sampath, housing societies law expert, picked holes in the amendments. “There are a few good things. But the move to allow housing societies to directly start recovery proceedings against defaulters and then get the approval of the registrar may not be right. Any penalty can be levied only by a court, and the society cannot decide and levy them. There has to be a counter-check to the powers vested with the society. The managing committee can charge whatever comes to their mind and levy a penalty on the house owner to recover dues. People with vested interests may take advantage of this amendment.”

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Tag a must to drive into this housing society

No tag, no entry. This is what a new security system installed by a cooperative housing society in Navi Mumbai ensures.

No tag, no entry. This is what a new security system installed by a cooperative housing society in Navi Mumbai ensures.

Seawoods Estate CHS recently installed a radio frequency identification (RFID)-based access control system. As per the system, residents are required to paste an RFID tag, which looks like a sticker, on the windshield of their vehicles. This will grant them entry without having to stop for any manual checks.
Residents claimed theirs is the first society in the city and one of the few in India to have installed such a system.

Netra Shirke, society’s chairperson, said, “From now on, access from the complex’s gate no 1 will be denied to vehicles not having the tag. Visitors’ cars and those without tags will be routed to gate no 2 where access will be granted after manual checks. This will smoothen entry and exit of vehicles from the complex.”

Sandeep Salunkhe, society’s treasurer and the brain behind the selection and implementation of the system, said, “We evaluated many options and finally narrowed down to this system. It offers excellentfeatures and looks very sophisticated.”

Members said that Seawoods Estate being a large society and housing around 1,200 cars, security has always been their first priority. “I am glad we took this decision. This is in line with our vision of using technology for improving efficiency and making it more convenient for our residents,” said society’s
secretary Sandeep Bangia.

Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Vijay Patil inaugurated the system.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 7:29 pm

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