Overdue outstanding of housing society maintenance is an irritant in every society despite 21% interest charge for any delay. Collection of overdue society charges is an extremely important business of housing society. Raising dispute in that behalf is a dispute referable to the Cooperative Court under Section 91 of the M C S Act 1960 to the exclusion of any other court.
With a view to make it easy for cooperative societies to recover amounts due by members exceptionally special provision/procedure has been introduced in the legal system of the State by inserting Section 101 in the M C S Act 1960.
Cooperative society engaged in business of buying goods/services for its members, value recoverable from members for such supplies are called debt. A suit for recovery of debts filed after three years is deemed to be a time barred suit. A suit instituted and application made after the prescribed period shall be dismissed, although limitation has not been set up as a defence [Section 3 of the limitation act, 1963] This is known as a suit for recovery of time barred debt. In commercial parlance a debt owed by one person is income of the person to whom it is payable or it could be any amount due under a contract in relation to sale of goods/services properties for agreed value.
In case of housing societies the dues by its members are defined under registered Bye-Laws of every housing society for the sake of simplicity as “the Society Charges” but they have more than one characteristic. A large chunk is the pre-decided contribution to society funds earmarked for meeting various objects of the Society. For example Building Repair fund is meant to ensure that buildings of housing societies the core assets are maintained in good order and in habitable conditions. It is one of the key objects of a housing society.
Another fund is Sinking Fund and is towards meeting cost of structural modification which may be needed several years after the construction of the buildings. Contribution to yet another fund namely Common Amenities Fund is for attaining its main object namely “to provide its members common amenities and services” emanating form the very definition of housing societies pursuant to Clause 16 of Section 2 of the M C S Act 1960 reading as (16) “housing society”means a society, the object of which is to provide its members with open plots for housing, dwelling houses or flats; or if open plots, the dwelling houses or flats are already acquired, to provide its members common amenities and services;
the amount demanded from every members and remaining outstanding are brought within the purview of Section 101 vide amendment to the M C S Act 1960 made by Mah. 20 of 1986, vide its s. 52(a) QUOTE: “by a co-operative housing society for the recovery of arrears of its dues”
Benefit of following completing 101 Procedure
1.The Section 101 procedure is a simpler way of realizing arrears of society dues without instituting the cumbersome court proceedings a compulsion in business which require establishing debt due by a debtor to a creditor in the course of business a profit making activity necessarily.
2.The hallmark of this procedure is the Assistant Registrar/ Deputy Registrar issuing a Recovery Certificate for the amount due, after making a hearing and a summary inquiry on the basis of the affidavits filed by the disputant and the respondent. Obtaining this certificate costs maximum of Rupees one thousand payable as application fees to the State Government.
3.A certificate granted by the Registrar under sub-section (1) or (2) shall be final and a conclusive proof of the arrears stated to be due therein, and the same shall be recoverable according to the law for the time being in force for the recovery of land revenue.
4.After the recovery certificate is issued the ball is in the Court of the state Government;
i.On receipt of the Recovery Certificate, the Recovery Officer shall prepare demand notice for being sent to the Sale-Officer for attaching the movable property of the member concerned.
ii.The Sale Officer, on receipt of recovery paper from the Recovery Officer, shall visit the flat of the member concerned for preparing an inventory of the movable property and handover such list to the member concerned and serve the demand notice on the defaulter member.
iii.If the amount not paid by the member concerned immediately on service of the demand notice, the Sale Officer will seize the movable property.
iv.Thereafter, the Sale Officer will fix the date, time and place for such auction of the movable property seized and auction out the same and pay the sale proceeds thereof to the Society, in satisfaction of the outstanding dues payable by the defaulting member to the society.
Making Application for issuing a recovery certificate
a.Issue a notice for payment of dues (including up to 21% interest) to the defaulter, with a warning therein that on failure to make payment of the same, an application would be made to the Competent Authority under section 101 of MCS Act, 1960.
b.Pass the resolution to recover the dues in the Managing Committee Meeting.
c.Issue a final notice to the defaulter
e.Apply to the Assistant. Registrar/ Deputy Registrar for the recovery of dues.
f.Pay the prescribed fee (Rs 15 to 1000 max) through a challan payable at the Reserve Bank of India.
As is evident there is no suit before court of law is involved. Infact for cooperative disputes cooperative courts have exclusive jurisdiction and even that is obviated by special procedure of Recovery Certificate and Administration of the State helping Societies to recover arrears of dues at almost no coast. Question of time barring is unthinkable.