By I C Naik
Elections to committees of smaller housing societies (members below 200) in Mumbai are picking up the momentum. The procedures are more or less the same as were hitherto, except that the Returning Officer is an officer deputed by the State Cooperative Election Authority. The written instructions being issued by the concerned RO look like a mandatory election code in itself, and they differ between those written by two ROs nominated by the one and the same Dy Registrar. Curiously the Notices are printed on society letter head and jointly signed by the Hon Secretary and Election Officer.
Certain instructions (in the nature of Election Rules) reflects creativity as they do not conform to any of the statutory requirements and are quite handy to litigate for the defeated members demanding re-election deleting those instructions. They are 5 in number:
1.Only Member / joint Member, means a member, who holds the right. title and interest, in the property individually or jointly with other, but whose name does not stand first in the Share Certificate, can attend the meeting.
2.The Joint-Member who is proposing or seconding the contestant candidate, has to compulsory submit. Appendix – 10 A form i.e. NOC. from the 1st Member, as laid down under the Bye-laws of the Society.
3.Appendix -10A Form, is required by the Returning Officer, to enable him, to allow the Joint-Member, for Voting in general body meeting.
4.Member who defaults the payment of Dues to the society within three months from the date of service of Notice in writing served by post / under certificate Of posting demanding the payments of dues and such members fails to make the payments become disqualified for taking part in election proceedings.
5.If no nomination is received from the Reserved Category Contestants members, then the reserved category quota will be placed as vacant seat, same apples to woman seats quota.
6.Strength of the Committee as per registered Bye-Laws is 7 but the RO has fixed it at 11 without any basis. None has members belonging to casts for which seats are to be reserved.
1.Registered bye-laws which are in force in both these housing societies specifies the Committee strength of 6+1 Woman as membership does not exceed 100. None have cast based constituencies.Bye-Law specifies that, if no woman member wants to contest, the reserved seat becomes general category unreserved seat.
2.Election Disputes can be petitioned solely under Section 91 of the MCS Act 1960 as Rule 78 of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies (Election to Committee) Rules, 2014 provides.
3.The Parties which can approach Cooperative Court U/S 91do not include Election Officer. The Hon. Secretary being a signatory to the Election Notice, the dispute petition against the society will fit in the scheme of dispute settlement. Ironically all wrongdoings of the RO will have to be defended by the society .And if the society accept all mistakes as the Managing Committee is convinced?