Know your legal rights when living in a society

Community living is prevalent in today’s time. The majority of the people are opting to live in a housing society. It provides a lot of comfort, safety, and many more things that you would not have got from your standalone home. But there are several terms and conditions that you have to abide by when living in a community. In life also we are required to fulfill many responsibilities. Sometimes when we are burdened with our personal & professional works, we try to pass off our responsibilities to others or we do it later or at times forget doing it. Being a member of a co-operative society, we cannot pass off, forget, or not carry out the responsibilities at all. It is completely an unavoidable situation. You have to constantly maintain the guidelines or decorum if you are living in a housing society; failing which the committee can take action against you. When you start living in a complex, we get to know about payments like common area maintenance charges, monthly or annual fees, etc. but do you know about your rights?

Right to Inspect Accounts Book/Records

As we all know, our community committee or housing society earns money from its members. It is very much logical and justified that you know how the money is being spent. You can approach the top body to have a look at the accounts book. They are legally bound to furnish you with the balance sheet, profit and loss account, minutes of general meetings, etc.

Right to receive a copy of model by-laws

You are entitled to a wide range of rights and benefits in a co-operative society. This is not possible in independent apartment ownership. Each society has a model by-law that every member should know of. Many of us may not have the time to read each sentence but we should have a copy of the by-laws and be aware of the vital points as much as we can.

Right to borrow money

If you are in deep financial trouble you can consider approaching your housing society for money. The Co-operative Society Act has a provision where a society can lend money to its members.

Right to challenge by-laws

If you think any regulation of the society is an infringement on your fundamental rights, you can challenge it in the court of law. Being an Indian citizen, you cannot be discriminated against on the grounds of sex, religion, caste, marital status, etc.

Right to resign

You have the right to resign from the Membership Board by giving three months’ notice to the Secretary. If you are a nominal member or an associate member, you have the authority to resign anytime by writing a letter to the Secretary.

Right to occupy the flat

In the Bye-Law number 24(a), it has been given that the Member, who is deemed to have been allotted the flat under the Bye-law No. 76(a) of the Society shall have a right to occupy the flat subject to the terms and conditions set out in the letter in the.

Right to vote

Every member living in the same community or housing has the right to vote in the making of a committee. You can also vote for any particular member for a particular role in the governing body and second any nominations you deem fit. If you are not a defaulter yourself, you can nominate yourself in the election also.

Right to know the role & power of the registrar – The registrar has many wide-reaching powers in a housing society. They are:

1. Under Sec. 77A the Registrar has the power to appoint a new Committee or Administrator when there is a failure to elect a member to constitute the committee.

2 Under Section 78 the Registrar has the power to remove the Managing Committee or the members of the managing committee.

3 Under Section 79 the Registrar has the power to enforce performance of an obligation.

4 The Registrar has the power to seize records of the Society.

5 Under Section 81 the Registrar has the power to appoint an Auditor to audit the accounts of the society.

6 Under Section 82, the Registrar has the power to direct the society to rectify the defects in the accounts.

7 The Registrar on receipt of complaint or on his own can initiate an inquiry under Section 83.

8 The Registrar can initiate action under 88 to assess damages against delinquent promoters.

9 The Registrar has the power under Section 89 to summon and enforce an attendance of any person and examine him on oath or affirmation or by affidavit or to compel the production of any document in the same manner, as is provided in the case of Civil Court under the court of Civil procedure 1908.

10 The Registrar has the power to inspect the working of the Society under Section 89 A.

If the party is aggrieved by the decision of the Registrar or its subordinate then a provision exists for revision application under Section 145 of the Act before the higher authority i.e Joint Registrar of Co-operative Societies and even before the State Government under the said Section 154.

Model by-laws can be confusing if you are a first-time co-operative member. Do a little bit of research and the law can be your trusted ally rather ran a tormentor. Know your legal rights when living in a society, it will make life easier. Also, it will help you to handle any situation more confidently and effectively.

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