I stay in a housing society in Pune that is roughly ten years old and consists of roughly 80 members (flat owners). Through the process of election, a new managing committee got formed last year. Instead of holding a general body meeting to discuss and obtain members' consent on any revision in the society maintenence charges, the managing committee simply issued a circular (within a few days of its formation) informing that the members would have to pay 20% higher maintenance charges from the next month onwards. Few members protested to this increase and sent letters to the Secretary but these were not responded to by him. In absence of any response, these members continued to deposit maintenance charges as per earlier rate. Now, the managing committee has sent notices to these members to pay the arrears. In the context of the above, my question is whether the managing committee is empowered to take decisions on such a matter on its own without getting it approved in the general body meeting of the society? Is the managing committee not violating the coopertive hosing society bye-laws by taking unilateral decisions without the consent of members through the general body meeting approvals. As per my understanding of the Bye-law no. 139(2), the committee has "to consider and to recommend to the meeting of the general body, the rates of contribution of the repairs and maintenance fund". I nevertheless, would like to have opinion and clarification of experts on the matter. -- Surendara shah

The Chapter XI of New Model Bye-Laws of Co-operative Housing Society(CHS) as approved by The Commissioner for Co-operation and Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Pune in Dec. 2010, mentions under Bye Law No. 113 "Subject to the direction given or regulation made by a meeting of the general body of the society, the Committee shall exercise all powers expressly conferred on it and discharge all functions entrusted to it under the bye-law No. 139"

Therefore, the Managing Committee drives its powers, under the bye-law No. 139, from the mandate passed in the General Body meeting of the Society.

As the GB neither met nor has passed any such resolution, certainly MC is lacking the powers to enhance maintenance charges or implement any such decision which is not passed in the meeting of GB.

You should protest it formally to the MC and in the worst case you need to take up the matter with the Dy. Registrar of CHS of your area to issue needed direction to MC to get the proposed hike in maintenance duly passed in GB prior to its implementation.

Please also note, inflation is on rise and we need to be cooperative with MC for justifiable hikes.

Ibrahim Deshmukh
Legal Consultant
[email protected]