THE Maharashtra government has modified norms regarding transfer and sale of flats in cooperative housing societies situated on leased out government land to allow regularisation of unauthorised transactions.
Though the new norms will be applicable across the state, highly placed sources in the government said the measure would benefit high-profile housing societies belonging to serving and retired bureaucrats, police officers, and judicial officials in the uptown south Mumbai the most.
The move comes at a time when the Mumbai collector’s office has issued notices to some such high-profile societies for such illegal transfers.
The state’s revenue department, under whom the collector functions, however, brought out a government resolution on July 7, which now recognises such transfers. Senior officials confirmed that these orders had been issued following approval from Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
With the land ownership vesting in the government and the societies only allotted such land on lease or occupancy rights basis, a prior permission from the district collector’s office for memberships in such societies is mandatory. Transfer, sale or gift of such flats without the government’s permission is prohibited. Defending the regularisation move, the department’s resolution, which has been signed by Deputy Secretary Rajendra Kshirsagar, states, “In several cases, it was found that the societies have violated terms of allotment by permitting such transfers and admitted new members without government’s prior permission.”
Regarding such violations as a fait accompli, the July 7 resolution directs district collectors to admit proposals to recognise such transfers post facto. The district collectors have been asked to issue administrative approvals in such cases after scrutinising whether the new member met the other eligibility conditions. Incidentally, the government has also decided to recognise the irregular resale of apartments from such newly admitted members.
Another bone of contention is the removal of curbs regarding eligibility of members for the newly approved cases. The government’s resolution states that the “eligibility conditions applicable to the founder members won’t be applicable to the newly admitted ones”.
Citing an instance, a government source said, “While allotting a piece of land to a society comprising senior bureaucrats in south Mumbai, the government had imposed a condition that all society members should either be government servants or members of the judiciary. On a recent site inspection, we found that some flats have been resold or transferred in the name of private sector employees too.” The source, who did not wish to be named, said, “The removal of the curb was also necessary as in some cases it was found that some past Collectors had overlooked this condition, while approving transfer of memberships in the society.”
The transfer fees and the penalties have been, however, hiked for all such beneficiaries. In a bid to mop up additional revenues, the government has linked the fees for transfer of memberships to the market values. For example, transfer of membership within five years of formation of such societies in Mumbai (island city) will be charged Rs 1,000 per square feet or 3 per cent of the ready reckoner rates prevalent in the area — whichever is higher. A respective lower slab has been arrived at for transfers after 10 and 15 years of formation.
In the case of transfers or sale of apartments post five years of society formation, an amount equal to two times the transfer fee, calculated as per the revised rates, would be payable. If the transaction has taken place within the first five years, the penalty amount would go up three times.
The government has also recognised unauthorised transfer of rights for commercial tenements existing in such societies. Under government rules, about 15 per cent of the built-up space in such societies can be commercially exploited.