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The state cooperative election authority (SCEA) has clarified that a housing society’s associate members can be part of the managing committee. This will be a shot in the arm for old cooperative housing societies as more residents can participate in their housing complex’s affairs.

In many old societies, senior citizens owned flats but would not show interest, and associate members were barred from participating in managing committee proceedings.

Section 2 (19) of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act says an associate member jointly holds a share of the society with others, but whose name is not first in the share certificate. Rule 56M of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Rules, 1961, and Section 2 (19) (b) of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960, state an associate member can vote and participate in elections but cannot become an office-bearer of the society where his name appears as an associate member in the society register.

The SCEA had said in November 2014 that associate members can participate in elections but was silent on whether they could be office-bearers.

“With consent of the original owner (whose name is first in the share certificate), an associate member can participate in elections and join the managing committee, provided his name is on the share certificate,” said Shrikrushna Wadekar, assistant state cooperative election commissioner.

“Many people don’t put their children’s names in the share certificate as they fear it will pose a problem to mortgage the property. The SCEA has clarified that a person whose name comes second in the share certificate is deemed co-owner of the flat, and thus can contest and be part of the managing panel,” said Ramesh Prabhu, president, Affordable Housing Welfare Organization of India. The SCEA had in November 2014 told housing societies to elect management committees by December 31. The deadline was later advanced to June 30.

Source: Feb 2, 2015, TNN