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The Maharashtra government has issued an ordinance on 30th October, 2018 and has given effect to certain partial amendments in Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960 (MCS Act) to allow co-operative housing societies (CHS) having less than 200 members, to hold elections independently instead of conducting them under the supervision of the Election Authority constituted by the Co-Operative Department.

The amendment as above is carried out in Section 73CB (1) of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960 (MCS Act) to Sub-Section (11), after the existing proviso, the following proviso shall be inserted, namely: 

“Provided further that, in case of housing society having less than or up to 200 members, the elections of the Committee shall be conducted by the said housing society in the manner as may be prescribed”

Out of over one lakh co-operative housing societies in the State, 90% have less than 200 members. As such this decision is expected to free the housing societies from the tedious procedure of holding elections under the supervision of Officer of the Registrar of Co-Operative Societies.

In 2013, the State Government had amended the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960 (MCS Act) and had introduced a new election procedure for Co-Operative Housing Societies. As per the amended provisions of Section 73 CB (1), the elections had to be conducted under supervision of the Officer from State Cooperative Election Authority.

The above amendment had brought in several stringent restrictions. The housing societies had to inform the Maharashtra State Co-Operative Election Authority three months in advance and conduct the election under the supervision of Co-Operative Society Election Authority. Following which, a Returning Officer used to prepare a Draft Voters’ list. Suggestions and objections were invited and the voters’ list was finalised. To carry out this exercise, housing societies had to spend between Rs.10,000/- and Rs.20,000/-, besides miscellaneous expenses of the Returning Officer. 

There are two categories of housing societies – the first is Housing Societies having 200 or more members as on 31st March of the preceding year. The second is housing societies having lesser than 200 members as on 31st March of the preceding year. The said amendment shall certainly provide great relief to the housing societies having members less than 200.