By I C Naik
Quite frequently by one or the other event we keep reminded of the age old practice of appointing Administrator to take over the management of Cooperative Housing Society. Post 97th Constitutional Amendment, in case of completely self-reliant (financially independent) cooperative societies have been given exemption from the Administrator taking over a cooperative society.
The State Legislature followed this constitutional directive with full honesty in banning the practice, but not without finding an alternative; more about it later. Whereas cooperative societies having dependence on the State finances (loans, equity capital or financial guarantees) could expect a Registrar’s man/woman occupying the chair of CEO in case of mismanagement perceived or otherwise, this situation is no longer possible in un-aided societies largely mainly co-operative housing societies. They are forced to find a solution themselves in difficult situations.
The news “Jolly Maker I, India’s richest hsg soc, gets an administrator” (TOI 28 8 2018) is the latest even as a reminder of the alternative to the term “administrator” which is a banned specie. There are other examples of a blunt violation of this constitutional ban, the concerned officer not bothering about a proceeding called contempt of State Legislature or Contempt of the Constitution or Parliament. Though unfortunately no system of instituting the contempt proceeding against bureaucrats seems to be in place.
Reportedly the administrator was appointed to the 40-year-old society by the registrar early this month following the resignation of various members of the managing committee till only two remained. The report adds “the registrar’s order states it received a letter from Rajendra Kalra and Sarla Bedi in July 2018 informing of the resignation of eight members and seeking to know what was to be done.
On August 2, the duo requested for an administrator to be appointed as the managing committee was no longer functional. This request was accepted.” The report further quotes some of the residents saying ” members looking to siphon off money and opposed to the society secretary had brought the administrator in.”
Appointment of the administrator as aforesaid sends a wrong signal to the members of the thousands of housing societies that the Registrar can appoint (otherwise banned) administrator if so requested by at least two members of the society. At the same time the reports received by this cooperator friendly website about administrators taking over housing societies are far from few.
The alternative to administrator as referred to earlier has been devised by the State roping in the State legislature to allow the Registrar to depute an officer who was called Administrator earlier now being re-designated as “authorized officer” in lieu of the Administrator under section 77A of the M C S Act 1960. The change in the terminology appears to be to avoid co-operative housing societies challenging the decision when an administrator is appointed. It may be quite contextual to understand rationale of Section 77A which existed prior to 97th Constitutional Amendment also.
Under this Section the Registrar has been conferred powers to take care of the vacuum in the Management which may have caused on account of any reasons like;
1. A provisional committee did not take steps for the constitution of the normal committee, before the expiry of its term of one year.
2. A failure to elect all or any of the members of the committee;
3. A failure to elect all or any of the members to fill the casual vacancies;
4. The committee has ceased to function and the vacuum is created.
5. A committee is prevented from entering upon office;
6. A new committee has failed to take charge on due date.
7. Two or more groups claiming to be elected are involved in a dispute.
In any of the situations above the Registrar can either appoint a willing member of the society to be the administrator or authorize one/more of the Government officers to manage the society and get elections held by THE STATE COOPERATIVE ELECTION AUTHORITY. This arrangement cannot continue beyond 6 months from the date of administrator taking charge. There is nothing provided in the Act if new committee does not take charge before expiry of the above arrangement.
Any appointment of administrator made under any situation not covered by any one of the 7 situations listed above may not survive a judicial review.