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Ajay Dand (Member)     08 May 2010

Dispute over charges for Soc. premise for family function

Ours is a CHS situated in Mumbai, and has adopted the model bye-laws. We are facing this problem with a particular member, regarding the charging by the society for permitting the member to use a part of the society premises for his private family function. I am appending the details of the matter below:

a) The Society, through a SGM, had passed a resolution in November 2008, to the effect that any member, wishing to make use of a part of the society premises (either the stilt parking area or the open compound) for the member's private family function, has to take prior permission in writing from the society. A fee of Rs. 2500 per day for using the part of the Stilt parking area for the family function, and Rs. 5000 for using the open compound, is to be levied to that member.
b) Subsequent to this, one of the member had sought permission in May 2009, to use a part of the stilt parking area for 2-3 days, for his family function. Accordingly permission was granted, and the charges for the same were levied by the society, in the subsequent quarterly maintenance bill.
c) After this event, the society members have celebrated the Ganeshotsav in 2009, by taking individual contributions in which majority of members (over 35 members from the total of 56 members) have contributed funds and also expressed their consent for celebrating this festival. The Managing Committee at that time, has gone by the majority view and allowed the holding of the festival. However there is no written consent, other than obtaining the necessary permissions from the Police and other relevant authorities on the Society's letterhead. Also, no per day charges were levied for this function, since this was understood to be not a private function.
c) However, on the basis of this, the above member is refusing to pay his arrears on the charges levied for the family function. He even threatened the erstwhile MC of legal action, and got the arrears removed from his bill under duress.
d) Subsequently, since Oct. 2009, the erstwhile MC has resigned and new MC has come in its place.

Now, we the members of the new MC are of the opinion that the removal of the arrears by the erstwhile MC is bad in law, since only the General Body has the right to waive off the charges of a member, and there is no such resolution approved by the General Body to waive off these arrears. Moreover, the above dispute is setting a bad precedent in the society and some other members are taking undue advantage of this situation by carrying out their Family Functions without taking permission. They are also challenging the MC's right to levy the charges, asking the MC to recover the arrears from the errant member first, before asking them for the charges.

However, we are in a dilemma over this, since the earlier MC had already waived off the charges, and also after the new MC has taken charge 2 quarterly Maintenance bills have been raised, without asking the errant member to reimburse the arrears with or without interest, as the New MC is in the process of investigating the legal stand on this matter.

I am asking the learned members of this forum to give their opinion on this, particularly in relation of the understanding of the term Family Function, and its scope.

Here are some of the questions which beg qualified answers to make the stand of the new MC absolutely clear and equitable to all concerned:
a) Does the scope of Family Function also include religious, social and other functions?
b) If the society is to take a stand that only if a certain minimum number of members are consenting to celebrate a particular function to be held in society premises, be it social, religious, national festivals etc., and the funds for the same are collected through voluntary contribution, then the society shall consider that function as a function of the society and shall not levy any per day charges for the same, except a small fixed amount as cleaning charges, then:

    i) Can a simple majority of the members consenting to the function be taken as sufficient strength to define the function as a society function?
    ii) Or should it be 2/3 majority?

c) Can the current MC initiate the proceedings to recover the arrears from the errant member, in spite of the fact that the earlier MC had removed the same from the bill, and the current MC had not charged the same in the 2 Quarterly bills that they have raised so far?

Kindly let me have the learned opinion of the members, and the legal standing of the above matter, if a legal adviser can throw light on this matter.

Thanks in anticipation.
Ajay D.


 2 Replies

R.R. KRISHNAA (Legal Manager)     08 May 2010

Dear Ajay 

a) At the outset, the particular members celebrated his family function by paying the fixed amount to the society and the same cannot be equated with the functions organised by the society.

The function organised by society stands on a different footing and claiming charges from the members is only voluntary (as stated by you) whereas the charges levied from the particular member is a mandatory one which is as per the bye law or rules of society. Hence the particular member is bound to pay the amount to the society.


b) The celebration made by the society is for a festival and any contribution shall be only voluntary and no member can be forced to pay charges even cleaning charges (unless there is express/clear rule/clause in the society laws to the effect that members shall pay certain specified charges for society organised functions). 

Yes a simple majority is sufficient to organise a function or call it a society function.   The general rules of majority support / 2/3rd majority etc etc are required only for renovation of society premises or any serious issue pertaining to the society which presumably affect the interests of the society members and not for issues of this kind.


c) Yes the current MC can initiate an action against the particular member in recovering the amount on the following grounds:-

i)  The old MC had no powers to remove the amount from the bill and such act is ultra vires of his powers and hence the removal of charges from the bill is invalid and appropriate recovery shall be initiated by the new MC.  

ii) But note that the new MC first must have powers for recovery of the said amount or the general body may first convene and pass a resolution authorising powers to the new MC and after which the new MC may issue a legal notice or any take any appropriate proceedings. 


(It is always permissible under law to recover amounts that were wrongly debited/credited/removed from bill/accounts). Hence your new MC can proceed accordingly.


Best regards & Good luck…….

1 Like

Ajay Dand (Member)     08 May 2010

Thanks for the prompt response RRK.

Best regards,


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