We decided to broach upon this important issue on reading a news of the managing committee of nearly a Century old housing society in Bandra giving an expulsion notice to one of its members because he asked too many questions.
The fact is that the RTI law does not apply to the cooperative housing societies as they are neither owned, nor controlled and not substantially financed by the Government [Supreme Court in Thalappalam Ser.Coop.Bank Ltd.& … vs State Of Kerala & Ors. on 7 October, 2013 Author: K.S. Radhakrishnan, J. on the Bench K.S. Radhakrishnan, A K Sikri JJ] reportedly there are other undisclosed reasons also which irked the managing committee probably listed in the notice but the Media was unaware or may be that they did not deserve its attention.
“The 96-year-old Salsette CHS, which has 210 plot owners as its members, in the Bandra (W) has issued an expulsion notice to Leslie Almeida, a member of the society. Almeida was a served a show-cause notice on February 10, asking why he should not be expelled for his various misdemeanors, including filing 54 applications under the Right to Information Act. He has been seeking information about various buildings that are members of the society.’ as the report goes.
Law and procedure dealing with the proposal of expulsion of member is provided at length in Cooperative Society Law – the M C S Act 1960 (Section 35) the M.C.S. Rules 1961 (Rules 28 and 29) and Bye Law No 53-58 (1984 Model Bye Laws).Section 35 of the M C S Act 1960 reads QUOTE “ A society may, by resolution passed by a majority of not less than three-fourths of the members entitled to vote who are present at a general meeting held for the purpose expel a member for acts which are detrimental to the interest or proper working of the society:
Provided that, no resolution shall be valid, unless the member concerned is given opportunity of representing his case to the general body, and no resolution shall be effective unless it is approved by the Registrar. UNQUOTE
Accordingly a special general body meeting of the society has been reportedly called for that purpose on Sunday evening to decide on the matter. Hopefully the managing committee has gathered “true meaning of ¾ majority of members entitled to vote” as otherwise a protracted legal battle is can be said to be in offing. Hopefully they ensure more than 163 members’ attendance at the meeting.
As per Hon. secretary, Cornel Gonsalves of Salsette CHS, there were several other serious charges against Almeida. The notice also states that in 2009, when a similar threat of expulsion had been made, Almeida had issued an unconditional apology but since he did not mend his ways, it was once again forced to consider his expulsion. However, Almeida claimed he had given the apology under management’s pressure probably because he did not think he was wrong.
The society, said Gonsalves, had been unnecessarily dragged into an almost decade-long property dispute between Almeida and his brother Dr Selwyn. “We and the deputy registrar are being unnecessarily harassed. We have built up as many as 15 files on this plot dispute,” he said. Dr Selwynis a member of the managing committee.
Almeida’s intention of resorting to RTI on the other hand reportedly was to expose various illegalities in Bandra and in the Salsette society.
Readers may like to know other official reasons as listed in the Bye Laws, on account of which a member may invite expulsion notice. If such a member has;
i. persistently failed to pay the charges due to the society.
ii. willfully deceived the society by giving false information,
iii.used his flat for immoral or illegal purposes habitually,
iv. been in the habit of committing breaches of any of the provisions of the bye-laws of the society, which, in the opinion of the Committee, are of serious nature,
v. furnished false information or omitted to furnish the material information to the Registering Authority at the time of registration of the society.
The Proposed Model Bye Laws 2013 under approval has added one more ground for expulsion namely QUOTE a member Is classified as a Non-Active member who does not attend at least one meeting of the general body in next five years from the date of classification as Non-Active member with the intimation to such member and Registrar. UNQUOTE
The Cooperative Society Law is quite serious about issue of an expulsion can also be judged by going through the concerned rules of the M.C.S. Rules 1961 namely Rule 28 and Rule 29.QUOTE: Rule 28. Expulsion of Members:- Any member who has been persistently defaulting payment of his dues or has been failing to comply with the provisions of the by-laws regarding sales of his produce through the society, or other matters in connection with his dealings with the society or who, in the opinion of the committee, has brought disrepute to the society or has done other acts detrimental to the interest or proper working of the society may, in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (i) of Section 35, be expelled from the society. Expulsion from membership may involve forfeiture of shares held by the member.
UNQUOTE QUOTE Rule 29. Procedure for expulsion of members:- (1) Where any member of a society proposes to bring a resolution for expulsion of any other member, he shall give a written notice thereof to the Chairman of the society. On receipt of notice or when the committee itself decides to bring in such resolution, the consideration of such resolution shall be included in the agenda for the next general meeting and a notice thereof shall be given to the member against whom such resolution is proposed to be brought, calling upon him to be present at the general meeting to be held not earlier than a period of one month from the date of such notice and to show cause against expulsion to the general body of members. After hearing the member, if present, or after taking into consideration any written representation which he might have sent, the general body of members shall proceed to consider the resolution.
(2) When a resolution passed in accordance with sub-rule (1) is sent to the Registrar or otherwise brought to his notice, the Registrar may consider the resolution and after making such enquiries as he may deem fit, give his approval and communicate the same to the society and the member concerned. The resolution shall be effective from the date of such approval.
If the society does not follow the procedure strictly the Registrar is bound to refuse approval.
-I C Naik