Our society collected Rs45,000 from each member to carry out repairs as suggested in the structural audit report. However, the society has not undertaken any repairs and kept the money in fixed deposit. My flat leaking from the terrace. What can I do?
–Suresh Rajan, Mahim
It is the responsibility of the society to conduct structural audits depending upon the age of the structure to ensure that the building is safe. The repair recommendations given in the structural audit report have to be complied with to reduce the risk of any unfortunate incident. If your society has collected a repair fund pursuant to such a report, it is necessary that it is utilised for the purpose.
Keeping the money in fixed deposit may earn interest but it would be at the cost of the safety and security of the members. Your society must have submitted a copy of the structural audit report with the BMC and must have given explanation with regard to carrying out the recommended repairs. Please procure a copy of the said letter from your society/BMC and file a complaint with BMC for non-compliance. You may file a complaint with the Cooperative Court or Consumer Commission over the society not carrying out the repairs to the terrace for leakage. (Bye Laws 159, 174)
The accounts of our society have not been maintained for the last two years post-Covid and as such the AGM has never been conducted for three consecutive years. What action can be initiated against the managing committee?
–Bindlish Sinha, Kalwa
Every society is supposed to convene the AGM on or before September 30 each year. On March 28, 2022, another proviso was added to Section 75(1) of MCS Act, empowering the registrar to grant extension to three months to conduct AGM on account of infectious diseases, pandemic, flood, heavy rains, etc, by way of a special or general order. However, for the financial year 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, additional time of nine months had been granted to get the books of accounts audited and call the AGM within 12 months from the close of the financial year.
If the AGM is not called by the society, the registrar may call such a meeting in the prescribed manner and that meeting will be deemed to be AGM duly called by the society and the registrar may order that the expenditure incurred in calling such a meeting shall be paid out of the funds of the society or by such person/s who were responsible for the refusal or failure to convene the AGM. The registrar may further disqualify such person responsible for being elected and for being any officer or member of any committee for such period not exceeding five years. If the responsible officer is the servant of the society, registrar may impose a penalty up to Rs5,000. An opportunity of being heard shall be given to such person before passing any order by the registrar.
Who can be appointed an associate member? Can the associate member vote in society meetings? Can they continue to be a member in the event of death?
Meena Rautela, Seawoods Darave
The definition of associate member has been inserted in the MCS Act amended in 2019. A member can recommend in writing to the society that his/her spouse, father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, nephew or niece shall act as an associate member to exercise his/her rights and duties with prior written consent. The society may admit such a person as associate member whose name does not appear in the share certificate. With the prior consent of the member, associate member has a right to vote in general meetings and contest election. Any action contemplated against the original member in the act shall be applicable to such associate member. Associate membership shall cease on the transfer or death or termination or expulsion of the membership of the Member. (Refer Section 154B of MCS Act, 2019).
The questions are answered by Sharmila Ranade, a legal expert associated with Mumbai Grahak Panchayat. The questions, in brief, may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
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