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Santosh Sandhu (Electrical Engineer)     09 April 2011

Can I file case against owners association in consumer court

Hi to all the experts,

I wanted to know whether i can file a case against the managing commitee of my apartments owners  association in Consumer court?

The Managing committee has cancelled my membership from the association in the month of september 2010 because i was demanding the registration Documents of the association through RTI Act through Register Post.

The managing commitee did not receive the Register Post and the letter has returned unclaimed.

From september onwards the association is not ready to accept the monthly maintainence charges, but i want to pay the maintainene charges .Kindly suggest me where should i approach to pay my maintainence charges.

Also also provide me the procedure that the association should  follow after the cancellation of membership from the association i.e the society has to inform about the cancellation of the membership to which competent authority.

in case of non following of the norms kindly suggest me the further steps to be taken against the Apartment Association

Thanks & regards,

Santosh



Learning

 13 Replies

AAK (Advocate)     09 April 2011

Is this association is registered one??

1 Like

Santosh Sandhu (Electrical Engineer)     10 April 2011

I doubt about  the registrartion ofassociation. I have apperoached 4 sub registrars in thane region to enquire about the registration of this particul;ar association , but the answer was that this asociation is not registered with them . pls areply for further action to be taken.

Dr. MPS RAMANI Ph.D.[Tech.] (Scientist/Engineer)     12 April 2011

 

 

In the first place RTI Act does not cover bodies like Apartment Owner’s Association. I see no provision under the Consumer Protection Act to treat them as an Opposite Party. Also the Consumer Protection Act covers only goods and services sold or given for a consideration. In other words the Association Office Bearers must be receiving salary or other compensation.

Associations can be registered with the Charity Commissioner also under the Societies Registration Act. If the Association is registered, they must have byelaws, known as byelaws or by any other name. The byelaws will provide for periodic election of Office Bearers and all members shall be eligible to contest the election. If you are an apartment owner, you will be ipso facto a member of the Association whether registered or not registered and no one has a right to remove you.

 

What are services provided by the Association? Are they denying you any of the services? If not, but if they do not accept your monthly subscripttion, why bother. Just keep quiet. You can also send the subscripttion by demand draft by registered post. If the post gets returned like your earlier RTI letter, then preserve the postal receipt, the registered cover and the bank counterfoil of the draft you purchased. You can return the draft to your bank and deposit back the cash in your account. Get a certificate from the bank that you purchased the demand draft. All these will be proof that you tried to pay, but they did not accept. You can also say that you did not pay because they are not a registered society and there are no byelaws authorizing them to make collections.

 

The problem will come only if they refuse you any of the services. Most services are of such a nature, that they cannot deny them selectively for one member only. If they cut your water supply, it will be a criminal office, particularly if the Association is not registered. If the Association is not registered any criminal or civil complaint will have to against all the so called office bearers by name. They are only pretenders and not Office Bearers.

2 Like

(Guest)

I agree with Dr. MPS RAMANI .

You said,"From september onwards the association is not ready to accept the monthly maintainence charges, but i want to pay the maintainene charges .Kindly suggest me where should i approach to pay my maintainence charges."

WHY they dont take monthly maintainence charges?

1 Like

Santosh Sandhu (Electrical Engineer)     13 April 2011

Sir,As they have cancceled my Membership they are not accepting my monthly Maintainence. Also as thay have mentioned in their General Body Meeting Agenda that my membership is cancelled. So for that reason why shoiuld i go and beg to them for accept my paymnet?

Santosh Sandhu (Electrical Engineer)     13 April 2011

Sir, I should file a Civil Case or a criminal case against the society if it is not covered under Consumer protection Act. Pls suggest

Dr. MPS RAMANI Ph.D.[Tech.] (Scientist/Engineer)     13 April 2011

 

If they are not a registered association, do not have any byelaws and collect money from the residents, as I said earlier, they are pretenders. What they are doing is a criminal offence. But why bother engaging a lawyer, going to court etc. It will be time and money consuming. Actually what they are doing is a cognizable offence. You can file an FIR against them with the police. But, as you know, this country is corrupt from top to bottom. Nothing will happen unless you pay money under the table.

 

Now assuming that they are a registered association and have byelaws, they should have sent a show cause notice to you and given you an opportunity to defend yourself.  As they have not done so, it becomes a civil offence. Have they ever sent you a demand notice for the amount payable by you? I mean when they were accepting your payments earlier. Did you attend the General Meeting where you were removed from membership? Was it there in the agenda for the meeting? How many members attended the meeting? How many members are there in your association? Do they submit annual account? Are the accounts audited by a statutory auditor?

 

Why are you worried if they do not accept your subscripttion? If they do not accept, you do not pay. That is all. If you fear that at a later date they may take action against you as a defaulter, then as I said earlier, create evidence that you made an honest attempt to pay. Actually they should be worried about you and not you about them.

1 Like

(Guest)

You have remedy only  if the Managing committee  is  registered association .

1 Like

Santosh Sandhu (Electrical Engineer)     14 April 2011

1.       No sir they have never sent me a demand notice for the amount payable by me till date (when they were accepting my payments earlier). I used to pay my payments regularly.

2.       Yes sir I and my son both have attended the meeting in which my membership was cancelled. I did not attend the complete meeting b,cos as I started raising my issues the committee started shouting and abusing me and they pushed both of us out of the meeting. After we left they took the decision of cancelling my membership. I came to know of the cancellation from the report of the meeting which was sent  to every member.

3.       Yes they have indirectly mentioned in the agenda regarding the cancellation. They had mentioned as” to take decision on the method which Mr Amarsingh has followed i.e direct sending letters to various departments demanding information against the society through RTI.”

4.       Around 36 members attended the meeting. There are in all 96 members in the Association.

Santosh Sandhu (Electrical Engineer)     14 April 2011

Respected Dr. MPS RAMANI.

1.       Yes they submit the annual account . The account are audited but not every year . Last time the account was audited for 2 simultaneous years i.e for the year 2008-2009 & 2009-2010.Prior to that the account was audited for three consecutive years

Santosh Sandhu (Electrical Engineer)     15 April 2011

Dear Dr MPS Ramani

 

Sir, earlier the society had filed a false complaint mentioning that I and my son goes behind the watchman to beat him up and also both of us are indulged in activities like removing air from the four wheelers which are parked in the society.

With reference to this I have filed a complaint with the police regarding the illegal activities carried on in the society. The details of the complaint are as follows.

1.       The society had carried out an extension work of balcony in our society in 1997. Every member had paid around 70,000/- for the same. There are 6 bldgs in our society.The society had taken permission for only 3 bldgs viz bldg no 1, 2 & 4, from NMMC. The permission for remaining 3 bldgs till date has not been taken i.e for bldgs no 3, 5,& 6.( I stay in bldg no 3). This information is provided by NMMC itself in their reply to my letter through RTI in the month of nov 2010.

2.       The society have not even asked for the stability certificate for the construction done. They had approached nmmc  the same but due to non presenting of the rewuired papers the NMMC hass denied giving the stability certificate to society.This is confirmed by NMMC through their reply to my letter through RTI

3.       The society have constructed illegal office premises without the permission from NMMC. This also is confirmed from NMMC through their reply to my letter through RTI.

4.       The society have taken illegal water connection for this illegal premises and they were thefting the water for washing the automobiles and watering the plants. I have brought this to the notice of NMMC . The NMMC has charged the society for the illegal connection for Rs 2880 and then approx 15,000/-. And again around Rs 15000/-  for getting the connection legalized. The society has mentioned in the general meeting report that they are going to recover this amount from me when they feel it is possible.

5.     The society has taken illegal electric supply from one of the meter room from one of the bldgs for which they have not taken any prior permission from MSEB.

6.       Last year the society has carried out concreting, cementing and laying of the tiles work in the society premises. The Total work was around 5-6 lacs. Every member was supposed to pay 5000/- per head for the work.The society had not even issued  any tender for the work. They mutually contacted any contractor and handed over the work to him. The contractor was supposed to provide water from his pocket but the society used to provide the water from the illegal connection and use to charge the contractor for the water. This amount is not accounted anywhere. I had raised this issue in the annual general meeting but the members pushed me out of the meeting.

7.       The cash in hand for the previous  year was 53,000/-. I asked in the meeting regarding the same but they were reluctant to answer instead they shouted at me saying that it is none of my matter.

8.       In the audited account the Noc charges are shown for only  2 rooms and that too different amounts. But as per my knowledge there were more than 10 rooms selled in the last 2 years. When asked about the same they did not respond.

9.       I had also mentioned in the complaint that as I was collecting information through RTI against the society there was danger to me and my family’s life and if any mishappens take place all the members mentioned in the complaint should be held responsible for all the financial as well as other loss to my family.

10.    On 26th January 2011 as I was doubting the society mishandled by brutally attacking me. I had sustained severe injuries on my body. My right hand thumb had got fractured and the fracture still persists even after 3 months.

11.    The police have registered a NC complaint for the attack but I have demanded to convert the NC in to CR and register a FIR but the police are reluctant to do it. The police did not note my complaint as I was saying but instead finished writing the complaint in their own way. They did not even wrote the names of all those who had beat me. They have only mentioned name of a husband and his wife. Balkrishna Bhosle and his wife pratibha Bhosle

12.    I had demanded to de medical test of all the society members as they were drunk but the police were nor ready to do that.

13.    I hade approached the DCP twice with the details of the Doctor report and the incident and on both the occasions the DCP has ordered the local police to arrest all the accused and file a riot’s case against them. But the Local police did not act upon the order.

14.    I have also met the CP of Navi Mumbai and narrated him the incident . but even this has falled on deaf years . The police seems to be under some strong political pressure.

15.    Now I am collecting the information and the papers  from police regarding the action taken by them regarding my complaint through RTI, but the police are providing incomplete and wrong information.

16.    The opposite party has changed their statements thrice. On 26th they have filed a case that I have beaten  the lady. Later on 28th the police imposed chapter case on my son saying that the accused have cross complained that my son also have beaten her. On the 1st hearing date in front of the ACP they have given a statement that all my family members have beaten them up.

17.    The police is neglecting the issue and just keep on shouting at me and asking me not to trouble them by seeking several information through RTI.

18.    As u rightly said sir, Nothing will happen unless I pay money under the table. This is very true sir as till date the police had not even asked the society a single time the reason for attacking me. Instead the police keep on shouting at me and my family members and they just warn us to keep silent. Or else it will affect my Son’s career. My son is BE Electrical engineer and Done His MBA  in Marketing from Symbiosis, pune and is currently working  with a multinational Company called Rolta since last 3.6 years. The society is well aware that if they include my sons name  in this case I will keep quiet and pull back and withdraw my case as he is only bread owner for my family.

19.    The police is also assisting the society by framing false papers against my child.

20.    This is causing severe mental agony to me and so I want to put he b*st*rds of the society behinf the bars.

Sir, Pls guide me further. Kindly provide me your E-mail Id so that I will forward you all the docs regarding the complaint and all the papers which will highlight the follow up with the police machinery and show their negligence.

 

Dr. MPS RAMANI Ph.D.[Tech.] (Scientist/Engineer)     15 April 2011

 

 

 

Who is Santhosh Sandhu, you or your son?  I am asking this because you have written that your son is an electrical engineer.

 

Is your Society a co-operative housing society or just a flat owners association? Who is paying Municipal tax?  Are individual members paying or the Society is paying on behalf of all members and recovering from the members?

 

Who initially constructed the buildings, a builder or the Society? Are you the first occupant of your flat or did you purchase it from another person?  When you got the flat or at any other time, did you fill up any application form?

 

If they are not in the habit of sending demand notice, that is sufficient for you not to pay. Do not worry about their not accepting payment from you. After the meeting in which you were expelled from membership, did they send you the minutes of the meeting, or did you see the minutes with another member? What exactly have they written in the minutes regarding your expulsion? Did you receive a notice that you are expelled?

 

You say that there are 96 members and 36 members attended the meeting. What is the opinion of the 96 members or the 36 members about the Managing Committee and their conduct? Are there other members also, who are not satisfied with the Managing Committee?

 

Who audits the annual account? Can you give the name address of the auditor? Is he a member of the Institute of Chartered Accounts and if so what is his membership number? Accounts have to be audited every year and not for 2 or 3 years together.

 

Has your Society got a letter head?  If so, it will contain the name and address and if it is a registered society, the words “Registered” should also appear after the name.

 

If the police do not act on your complaint, legally the only recourse available to you is to file a writ of mandamus petition in a court, ordering the police to act. I think it will have to be filed in the High Court only. Anyway I am not a lawyer and do not take my word.

 

If Municipal permission is not there for your building, there can be trouble. The building could even get demolished. Better you quit the Society. Is permission of your Society required to sell your flat?

What is the profession of each of the MC members? Are they employees or in business?

 

My email id is mpsramani@gmail.com.                                                                 

 

Dr. MPS RAMANI Ph.D.[Tech.] (Scientist/Engineer)     16 April 2011

As I told you, you do not pay, if they do not accept subscripttion from you. But if they deny you any of the services given to other members, you can file a complaint in the District Consumer Forum.


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