159 housing societies deprived of legal status

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In a legal no-man’s-land over 150 co-operative housing societies between Colaba and Sion have ended up after their registration was cancelled recently. Because of the societies failed to maintain or share their financial records despite several reminders the district deputy registrar took the measure.

Source: MumbaiMirror

By the registrar of co-operative residential societies 159 colonies will now have to strike off the word ‘society’ from their name boards and official documents, and their managing committees will not be recognised. The building chairperson or secretary may pass will have no legal standing.
Due to the registration cancellations the resident will hit and over property use, parking or maintenance charges, they will not get government protection or assistance in any disagreement with their colony and they cannot sell of transfer their flats. Under the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960, the residents have lost their rights.

Around Dadar, Matunga, Sion, and Antop Hill out of the 159 de-registered colonies, 137 are located. The remainder given in Marine Lines and Grant Road.

District deputy registrar Dyaneshwar Dongre said-“The societies were asked to submit their financial audit reports by October 30 last year, but they failed to do so”.  Through a panel, reviews audit reports the registrar is to make sure housing societies are conducting their affairs without any financial irregularities.
Dongre said, “Often, a society’s managing body, the chairperson and sectaries don’t maintain records because of lack of time. We follow a due process before cancelling the registration of such societies”. Before passing the final deregistration order we issue an interim directive and once it happens a residential building or colony’s legal status of the society will ends and it will remove the word society.

President of Women’s Legal Forum for Housing Societies Sunita Godbole, says that explained that de-registration leaves a residential complex without any legal status. “It cannot sue or be sued. Both the members and managing committee are deprived of their legal rights. If any issue crops up in the society, the members cannot fight for their rights. It’s a big loss to the members,” she said.

She added, the members cannot seek redressal from the government if a colony suddenly demands higher parking and maintenance charges.

Chairman of Mumbai division of Certified Auditors’ Association Rahul Patil said many societies across the city didn’t conduct financial reviews because their office-bearers were clueless about regulatory requirements such as hiring an independent auditor.

He said, “They are not aware that it is mandatory under the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act to submit audit reports before August 30 every year.”
As office-bearers “Once a society is de-registered, its members cannot perform any function. Before the joint registrar there is a provision under the act to challenge the revocation.

In Mumbai There are 22,000 registered cooperative housing societies and out of these 3,785 are in the Colaba-Matunga stretch.

He said, Apart from the 159 de-registered colonies, 190 others were also under scrutiny. “The interim order against the 190 societies can be withdrawn if they submit their audit reports by July 31.”
CHS, A flat-owner in Dadar’s Anirudha which has been deprived of its legal status and wants to make her husband an associate member of the property but this is simple task as the revocation is complicated.

She said-“There is a lot of uncertainty right now. We cannot have formal society meetings to discuss any problems. If the maintenances charges are suddenly increased, we cannot remonstrate about it with anyone”. There’s no one who will take the responsibility if there is an accident or a tragedy in the building.

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