Published on February 19th, 20131
How housing society rules are set to change
A 12-step guide to understanding the 97th Amendment to the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960, which was promulgated very recently.
by Krishnaraj Rao
On February 14, 2013, the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies (MCS) Act 1960 was amended vide an ordinance. The impact of this will be felt immediately by co-operative housing societies across the city and State.
This change was mandated by the 97th Constitutional Amendment, which was at various stages of process since 2006.
In the months to come, we will have to hold many meetings in the neighbourhoods of our city to ensure that people understand what the amendments in the MCS Act requires of them, what it mandates them to do, and how it empowers them.
In case you don’t know what the Amendment means to you in the context of your housing society, understand that the following norms are to be practiced from now on:
1. Empowers active members. Non-serious participants cannot participate in decision-making.
2. Power to expel dormant members or compel them to become active is given to co-operative societies.
3. No administrators can be appointed for most co-op societies. Instead, active members will function as ‘authorised officer’ or ‘interim committee.
4. Regular education and training to groom fresh leaders through Apex Co-operatives.
5. No more ignorant MC members. Managing Committee must attend regular training at least once in five years.
6. Stop washing dirty linen in co-op court. Resolve internal differences through Grievance Redressal Committee.
7. Co-op court to encourage win-win compromise, and discourage litigation. This will reduce clutter of neighbour-to-neighbour conflicts, and let co-op court focus on important cases.
8. Mandate and power to get professionals’ help for CHS management. Adopt modern methods of management, record keeping etc.
9. Strengthen audit function. It will be the duty of auditors, Registrar etc. to pinpoint responsibility for fraud and register FIRs. Also, it will be mandatory for auditor to present audit findings including irregularities in every AGM. If they don’t, auditors will be disqualified.
10. Realistic penalties for offences. Fine and prison sentences have been substantially increased.
11. Disqualification of errant MC members is now very easy, and much more long-lasting. Disqualified MC members will be debarred for contesting for five years.
12. State Election Authority to monitor elections closely. No more bullying by a small clique retaining power by token elections.
All this and much more is there to make co-operatives truly participative democracies… but we have to act, educate co-op. society members and let them know about their new rights.
Krishnaraj Rao is an activist.
(Picture courtesy timesofindia.com)