HomePress ReleaseAfternoon: Huge relief for housing societies

Afternoon: Huge relief for housing societies

Process of elections of co-op housing societies simplified

The Maharashtra Government on Tuesday decided to issue an ordinance to amend the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act 1960 to allow cooperative housing societies having less than 200 members, to hold elections independently instead of conducting them under the supervision of the election authority constituted by the Cooperative Department.

Out of over one lakh Cooperative housing societies in the state, 90 per cent have less than 200 members. As such this decision is expected to free the societies from tedious procedure of holding elections, under the supervision of officers of the Registrar of cooperative societies.

In 2013, the state government had amended the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960 and had introduced a new election procedure for cooperative housing societies. As per the amended provisions of section 73 CB (1), the elections had to be conducted under supervision of the State Cooperative Election Authority.

The above amendment had brought in several restrictions. The societies had to inform the Maharashtra State Cooperative Election Authority three months in advance and conduct the election under the supervision of cooperative society election authority. Following which a returning officer used to prepare a draft voters’ list. Suggestions and objections were invited and the voters’ list was finalised. To carry out this exercise, housing societies had to spend between Rs 10,000-20,000, besides miscellaneous expenses of Returning Officer.

There are two categories of housing societies- first is societies having 200 or more members as on March 31 of the preceding year. Second is societies having less than 200 members as on March 31 of the preceding year.

Under the proposed amendment, a separate clause 154 B will be inserted and clauses -73(CB) (10), 101(1), 146, 147 and 152(1) will be amended. However it will be compulsory for the office bearers of the cooperative housing societies to make documents available for inspection to concerned authorities in time. In case of failure, they will have to pay a fine of Rs.25,000. Similarly, they will be required to make information about the society (except personal information) available under RTI. Also the amendment will bring in restrictions like: curtailment of rights of a member keeping society dues pending, limitations on share transfer etc. The proposed amendment also seeks to simply procedure for carrying out internal repairs of the building through Registrar of Cooperative Housing Societies, instead of approaching different authorities.

Commenting on the decision, Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association (MSWA) Chairman Ramesh Prabhu said the decision is most welcome and will give tremendous relief to the co-op hsg societies, most of whom are smaller in size.

In another development, the state cabinet on Tuesday also decided to collect only the arrears of stamp duty for the period May 19, 2017 to September 19, 2017 as per ready reckoner for 2017-18, on deals of the properties located in MMRDA and municipal corporation areas. The arrears will be recovered under the provisions of the Maharashtra Stamp (Determination of True Market Value of Property) Rules 1995.

The cabinet sub-committee formed under revenue minister Chandrakant Patil and state housing minister Prakash Mehta to study this issue, submitted its report and the state cabinet decided to recover the additional revenue.

The government had revised stamp duty from April 1, 2017 onwards for the properties located in MMRDA/ municipal corporation areas. However in view of the objection by the The Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) and Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI), the recovery of stamp duty was stayed for the period May 19 to September 19, 2017. This stay was lifted in October 2017 and the government decided to recover the difference between the stamp and registration charges already paid and the rates revised following revision of market value of property by the state urban development department. On Tuesday the government decided to recover the arrears but not to levy interest on the accumulated arrears.

The stamp duty on a property transaction is calculated on the basis of ready reckoner rates of the area. In view of the temporary stay on increasing ready reckoner rates, property buyers had paid stamp duty and registration charges according to the rates for 2016.