Want to know more about your hous­ing so­ci­ety’s trans­ac­tions?

Mem­bers have to sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion to the in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer -- sec­re­tary, pres­i­dent or trea­surer of their so­ci­ety, seek­ing de­tails of trans­ac­tions, ex­penses

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Su­nil Tyagi

In the pre­vi­ous few col­umns, we have dis­cussed var­i­ous is­sues re­gard­ing trans­fer of mem­ber­ship by a mem­ber, maintenance of com­mon ar­eas and fa­cil­i­ties, rec­ti­fi­ca­tion of de­fects in neigh­bour’s flats, etc, which are of­ten faced by a mem­ber of a co­op­er­a­tive group hous­ing so­ci­ety in Delhi. Le­gal solutions have also been pro­vided for them un­der the Delhi Co­op­er­a­tive So­ci­eties Act, 2003 and Delhi Co­op­er­a­tive So­ci­eties Rules, 2007.

Un­der the 2003 Act, mem­bers and cred­i­tors of a co­op­er­a­tive so­ci­ety are en­ti­tled to seek in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to any trans­ac­tion of the co­op­er­a­tive so­ci­ety. How­ever, the pro­ce­dure for the same and the ap­pel­late au­thor­ity were not pre­scribed and mem­bers/cred­i­tors of­ten faced prob­lems in ob­tain­ing in­for­ma­tion from the man­ag­ing com­mit­tee of the hous­ing so­ci­ety.

Af­ter en­act­ment of the Right to In­for­ma­tion Act in 2005, nec- es­sary changes were made to the 2003 Act and 2007 Rules to in­cor­po­rate pro­vi­sions gov­ern­ing the process of ob­tain­ing in­for­ma­tion per­tain­ing to co­op­er­a­tive so­ci­eties. This, on one hand, gave a tool to the mem­bers who could have ac­cess to any in­for­ma­tion they wanted re­gard­ing the work­ing and func­tion­ing of their hous­ing so­ci­ety. On the other hand, it has cre­ated an ad­di­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity on the man­ag­ing com­mit­tee of the so­ci­ety.

The process for ob­tain­ing in­for­ma­tion is very clear. For this, an ap­pli­ca­tion re­quest­ing in­for ma­tion in writ­ing and ac­com­pa­nied with a fee of ₹ 10 per page per copy has to be re­ferred to the in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer -- the sec­re­tary or pres­i­dent or trea­surer of the so­ci­ety who has been au­tho­rised by the hous­ing so­ci­ety to act in mat­ters re­lat­ing to right to in­for­ma­tion. The Act/Rules im­pose an obli­ga­tion on the in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer to pro­vide the in­for­ma­tion within 30 days of the re­ceipt of ap­pli­ca­tion. The in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer also has the au­thor­ity to re­ject pro­vi­sion of in­for­ma­tion on the fol­low­ing grounds:

If any court or tri­bunal has ex­pressly pro­hib­ited the pub­li­ca­tion of that in­for­ma­tion. If pro­vid­ing such in­for­ma­tion may en­dan­ger the life or per­sonal safety of any per­son. If the in­for­ma­tion sought is per­sonal in na­ture and is of no pub­lic im­por­tance.

If the in­for­ma­tion is of a pe­riod of more than five years prior to ap­pli­ca­tion un­less it per­tains to that in­for­ma­tion which is to be a part of per­ma­nent records as listed in Sched­ule I of the Rules.

If he fails to dis­pose the ap­pli­ca­tion within 30 days, it will be deemed to be re­fusal of re­quest for in­for­ma­tion.

The law also pro­vides for ap­peal t o t he Regis­trar of So­ci­eties in case the in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer does not pro­vide the in­for­ma­tion or re­fuses to pro­vide it with­out any rea­son or by pro­vid­ing wrong­ful rea­sons for such re­fusal. Such an ap­peal may be made within 30 days from the lapse of the 30-day pe­riod within which the in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer has to re­ply to the ap­pli­cant. The regis­trar has the au­thor­ity to im­pose a penalty on the in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer or on the com­mit­tee to the tune of ₹ 250 per day which, in to­tal, can­not ex­ceed ₹ 10,000,which will be borne by the pe­nalised com­mit­tee mem­bers or the in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer.

Fur­ther, the man­ag­ing com- mit­tee is re­quired to keep a record of ev­ery ques­tion that is asked and the de­tails of the replies if they were given or the rea­sons for not giv­ing a re­ply.

This is an im­por­tant mech­a­nism for bring­ing about trans­parency in the func­tion­ing of a co­op­er­a­tive hous­ing so­ci­ety.

Un­der the 2003 Act, mem­bers of a co­op­er­a­tive so­ci­ety are en­ti­tled to seek in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to any trans­ac­tion of the so­ci­ety.

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