By I C Naik
In this ongoing series we have embarked on unknown territory of self-redevelopment. The trade-off is quite attractive as the legitimate and huge gains to housing societies presently are en-cashed by the realtors under Government directive on Redevelopment. At the same time it is no longer all that new concept also. Our proposition is, this goal can be certainly achieved if housing societies conscientiously start practicing the 7 cooperative principles in their day to day functioning.
These Principles are acclaimed the world-over since many years, although Indian recognition came rather late by 2002 under National Policy on Cooperatives. Post 97th Constitutional Amendment the Apex Court has started emphasizing on adoption of these principles [(2015) 42 SCD 494 dated March 19, 2015] The entire hierarchy of the judiciary is being exhorted to ensure that constitutional mandates are embedded in cooperative laws and if laws are found lacking in that, the judiciary must read the laws appropriately in recognition of these imperatives. At Para 48 the Bench directs:
“If the Act or the Rules or the Bye-laws do not say what they should say in terms of the Constitution, it is the duty of the court to read the constitutional spirit and concept into the Acts. In the background of the constitutional mandate, the question is not what the statute does say but what the statute must say.”
The conduct of almost all housing societies in the context of above scenario and on the touch stone of cooperative principles especially No. 5 is not a secret any more: at least to the frequent visitors to COOPERATIVE COFFEE SHOP www.indiancooperative.com The reason being the State Laws and the machinery is not willing to let go their style of functioning despite the Constitutional call on them. The Constitutional spirit is the cooperatives become self-sufficient and zero dependence on the State machinery. Zero interference is only possible then. This is quite feasible if the 5th cooperative principle is genuinely accepted and practiced diligently.
In fact post 97th Constitutional Amendment definition of the society under the M C S Act 1960 stands revised as under:
Sec 2(27) “society” means a co-operative society registered, or deemed to be registered, under this Act which is an autonomous association of persons, united voluntarily to meet their common needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise and adhering to the co-operative principles and values”;
It means every cooperative society is bound to adhere to the co-operative principles and values” The 5th Principle : Education, Training and Information must have a special place in the functioning of housing societies. It is extracted below:
Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
97th Constitutional Amendment inserted a new Article 243ZO and Clause (3) thereof mandates that “The Legislature of a State may, by law, provide for co-operative education and training for its members.”
The M C S Act 1960 as amended has bureaucratized the “education and training” more as a ritual under New Section 24A. State has framed rules for Co-operative education and Co-operative training, for its members, officers and employees. Honestly these rules even if implemented effective training and education will remain a far cry. It is the call of the Constitution that cooperatives are run on these cooperative principles. In that the best option is the Housing societies themselves organize in house training sessions tailor made through local expertise, without depending on the Authorities. That is what the cooperative principle Number 5 is all about. The housing societies themselves organize training to the members with a focused object on how to manage the society well in accordance with their registered bye-laws optimizing resources and still ensuring harmonious functioning to the satisfaction of all members.
Housing society’s operating manual is its own registered bye-laws. Best way to learning housing society management is that the members undertake exhaustive study of the registered bye-laws, may be organizing members in groups around various chapters of Bye-Laws. The objective of the study should be understanding the rationale of the Bye-Laws in the context of regulations under the Act and Rules and assess how far they meet the needs of members. What changes can make them more effective should also be identified. Finding of each group should be shared with all the groups and in a plenary the amendments to identified Bye-Laws may be drafted for a final presentation to the entire membership in Special General Body Meeting. There could be small group to evaluate the education and training out-put of these group exercises and present the probable areas where there are deficiencies. Also suggest rationalization of gaps to make the training of all members complete in management of housing society through Bye-Laws.
As the occupancy of dwelling units change over to next generation need for more floor space will arise. Self-redevelopment is possibly the only option to meet this need.
Housing societies under the M C S Act 1960 and the M C R 1961 are lost species as far as State Government’s regulatory support is concerned. There are clear indications that the Government is going to separate housing society administration from all other classes of cooperative societies quite soon. This will be a boost the bureaucratic clearances to approvals.