Mumbai Housing Society Queries: WhatsApp Messages A Matter Of Convenience, Not A Legal Service

Mumbai Housing Society Queries: WhatsApp Messages A Matter Of Convenience, Not A Legal Service

The questions are answered by Sharmila Ranade, a legal expert associated with Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Monday, June 12, 2023, 02:48 PM IST
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Mumbai Housing Society Queries: WhatsApp Messages A Matter Of Convenience, Not A Legal Service | File

Can a society send notices of the meeting of the general body on the WhatsApp group of members?

Vicky Ronnie, Vile Parle

Undoubtedly WhatsApp has become the common mode of communication though it is intended to be a personal messaging app.

Off late the secretary posts the notices, agenda, minutes and circulars for the members on WhatsApp group. While it is fine considering the ease and convenience of both the secretary and the members, it may not be a lawful means of communication. Bye-laws require the secretary to issue notices of the general meetings to the members. The service of such notice, resolutions or the decision of the committee to the members shall be done by hand delivery or despatch through the post office or by registered post with or without acknowledgment or by email. A copy of the said notice / communication shall be put on the notice board. Complaints from members that the notice / communication was not received or was not sent to the correct address shall not affect the validity of the notice. The managing committee has to follow the due process to ensure that the service of notice / communication is duly done. Notice / communication may be posted on the WhatsApp group of the members of the society only as a matter of convenience / reminder and it will not be construed as a legal service. (2014 Bye-laws 98 and 162).

Can the managing committee of a cooperative housing society grant permission for film shooting in common areas like garden and walkway to earn a few bucks and that too without the permission of the general body?

–– Padma Krishnan, Kharghar

Bye-law 169 of 2014 restricts the society to let out or give on leave and license basis or permit any subletting of any open space available under the staircase, terraces / open ground, laws, club houses, common halls, etc to any person whether he is a member of the society or not for any purpose whatsoever. The use of such areas shall be restricted to the cause for which these are meant. However, bye-law 170 provides that the managing committee may allow temporary use of the terrace or open area, lawns, etc in the society as decided by the general body.

However, the bye-laws do not specifically mention whether the same logic can be applied for film shooting. The application for film shooting in the society premises including garden andwalkways shall be placed before the general body for approval on such terms and conditions and on payment of charges as may be fixed. While some may be excited about watching celebrities, it is bound to cause inconvenience to other residents.

In case the managing committee has not taken the permission of the general body, the person responsible for such a decision is liable for a penalty, which is specified up to five times the regular charges for use of such premises.

The plumber recruited for changing the water pipes in our society is demanding cash for the work order of Rs20,000. Can the committee accept his request?

–Vandan Preet Singh, Bhandup

The 2014 bye-laws 145 provide that all payments in excess of Rs1,500 shall be made by means of crossed account payee cheques. However, some societies are issuing bearer cheque/s to contractors, which is an incorrect practice. If a bearer cheque is misplaced, stolen or gets misused then the issuer, ie the society, could lose the money. The managing committee will then be answerable to the members and the auditors for issuance of bearer cheques.

The questions are answered by Sharmila Ranade, a legal expert associated with Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

The questions, in brief, may be sent to fpjchs@gmail.com

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