While housing societies in Maharashtra having less than 200 members will now be able to hold their elections in the annual general meeting every five years, the state government on Tuesday adopted provisions enhancing the accountability of managing committee members.
Under the new provisions adopted by the Cabinet on Tuesday, the society’s managing committee will invite a fine of Rs 25,000 if it failed to submit the audit accounts and other mandatory documents to the state cooperatives department within the set deadline. The government has also made failure to submit self-declaration documents of managing committee members an offence.
Further, the Cabinet adopted a proposal for issuance of an ordinance for incorporating a separate chapter governing housing societies in the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies (MCS) Act, 1960. While the government had initially planned to table a legislation to this effect during the Monsoon Session of the state Assembly, sources said that it was decided to adopt the ordinance route since this could not be done due to want of time.
Following an amendment moved in 2013 by then Congress-NCP government, elections for all cooperatives in the state were brought under the control of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Election Authority, making the procedure tedious and expensive.
Contending that housing societies functioned as non-profit units unlike other cooperatives, the government has now diluted the provisions for them.
Accordingly, housing societies with less than 200 members will no longer need to approach the Authority to conduct elections. Out of the two lakh-odd cooperatives in Maharashtra, one lakh are housing societies. According to officials, about 80 per cent of the housing societies have fewer than 200 members.
The government’s new law also makes it clear that “every society member will be entitled to inspect free-of-cost all records, books of accounts, and correspondences of the society”. Sources said that this was being done in the wake of the numerous complaints.
In the case of a defaulting member, the society has been given the power to have a charge on the share and interest of a member or even a past member to the extent of the dues payable by him or her.
The government has also allowed the management committee to admit the person nominated by a deceased member as a “provisional” member till all the legal documents of succession are in place.
While the reservation of seats for backward classes and women on the management committee was a contentious issue, the government has retained the provision. However, there could be a slight increase in maintenance charges for members with the government making it mandatory for housing societies to contribute annually towards training and education of members through the local state housing federation.
Cabinet allows Authorities to collect additional charges
The Cabinet on Tuesday permitted authorities to collect additional stamp duty charges from developers and landowners in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, who had registered their property transactions between
May 19 and September 19 last year. The government had stayed the increase in ready reckoner rates in the region in 2017-18 during this period, which was later lifted. While the authorities have been granted the power to raise a demand for the additional amount due, the government has clarified that no interest would be payable.
The move has also been applied for premiums payable for development permissions to the municipalities.