The following appeared in "Times of India", Mumbai Edition on April 03, 2009, page no. 04.
Such judgements are very much necessary to stop the NUISANCE & DICTATORIAL ATTITUDE of the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and other mg.committee members. Without realising their own "CAPACITY & CAPABILITY" , the office bearers of the Hsg.Soceity start thinking that they have become the "LAND LORDS" of the Society.
As a public service, Please spread the news of this judgement to all members of the Housing Societies. Also retain this judgement for possible future references.
Keep Smiling ... HemantAgarwal
HOUSING SOCIETY SECRETARY FINED 7000/- FOR POOR SERVICE
Mumbai: This landmark order will bring cheers to numerous residents who have been struggling to get a proper response for their grievances from office-bearers and committee members of cooperative housing societies.
The Central Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has imposed a penalty of Rs 7,000 on the secretary of Chandra Bhuvan Cooperative Housing Society at Bhoiwada for not replying to a letter sent by a resident of the building.
The complainant was a senior citizen, Madhuri Gujar, who had filed an application for the nomination of an associate membership as she was ailing. An associate member has the status of a person with power-of-attorney and has the right to contest elections and even attend annual general meetings of the society. “But the secretary was not accepting my letter on the grounds that there was a case pending at the cooperative court. I then sent the letter through housing federation’s office,’’ the complainant said. But even then, Gujar did not get a reply.
Gujar’s counsel argued that the new amendment in the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act Clause 73 (1 AB) put the onus on the secretary of the housing society. Section 73 of the Act states that every member is required to execute an indemnity bond within 15 days of taking charge of the office. According to the bond, the committee members are responsible for all actions taken by the society. The counsel for the secretary, meanwhile, argued that the complainant could not file a personal case against the secretary.
The consumer forum ruled that as the secretary had not replied to the member’s letter it was deemed that a deficiency of service and negligence of duty under the Consumer Protection Act 2005 had taken place.
Consumer activists have welcomed this order. “This is a landmark order. There are many officer-bearers who do not bother to address the grievances of the members of a housing society. This order will be a deterrent for them,’’ said consumer activist Rajan Almichandani said. He said Section 73 (1 AB) of the Act was introduced precisely to rein in such errant officebearers. “The cooperative registrar’s office is flooded with thousands of complaints from housing society members against office-bearers. The consumer court has proactively taken up the issue and imposed penalty in accordance with the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act,’’ Alimchandani said.
Madhuri Gujar of Chandra Bhuvan Cooperative Housing Society at Bhoiwada filed an application for the nomination of an associate membership as she was ailing. An associate member has the status of a person with power-of-attorney and has the right to contest elections and even attend annual general meetings. However, the secretary did not accept her letter on the grounds that there was a case pending at the cooperative court. The letter was then sent through the housing federation’s office, but even then, Gujar did not receive a reply. Gujar’s counsel said the amended clause of Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act put the onus on the secretary of the housing society. However, the secretary’s counsel said the complainant could not file a personal case against the secretary.
The consumer forum ruled that since the secretary had not replied to the member’s letter “a deficiency of service and negligence of duty had taken place”.