In the upcoming cooperative housing society polls, residents who have defaulted in the payment of maintenance charges of their respective societies will be debarred from voting or contesting elections. Vinayak Kokare, Deputy Registrar of housing societies, said the elections, which have not been held for the past five years, will be conducted in November or December.
As per the new amendments of Cooperative Act and directions by the Bombay High Court, the state government has been appointed as the designated authority to conduct elections in cooperative bodies. Apart from housing societies, elections are also likely to be held in credit societies and banks. However, the court had specifically asked the state government to conduct cooperative bodies’ elections, following which the state government filed an affidavit before the court, stating its intention to conduct the elections before December 31.
Kokare said the process to conduct elections has already been initiated by the department. “Housing societies have been asked to prepare voters’ list and submit it to the department. Other arrangements would also be done soon,” he said.
As per the surveys conducted by the department, the number of cooperative societies that failed to conduct elections for the past five years stood at 17,337, of which 316 are cooperative housing societies.
Meanwhile, the cooperative department has sent out circulars to the housing societies stating that members who have not paid their maintenance charges will be debarred from the electoral process. “The process to prepare a list of eligible voters is on and we hope it will be completed soon,” he said.
Apart from being debarred from voting, persistent defaulters can attract other penal actions like eviction and flat being attached. Pune region has as many as 14,611 registered cooperative housing societies and 150 premise societies. Although annual general body meetings of societies are being conducted regularly, cooperative officials said the attendance is normally thin.
In particular, areas like Kharadi, Kalyaninagar, Koregaon Park, Vimannagar see very few members turning up for these meetings. “Surveys show that only 10 per cent of the flat owners turn up for the meetings, which is not a healthy sign,”said a senior cooperative official.