The State Law Commission's recommendation for bringing housing societies under the purview of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 has prompted a debate on its merits and demerits, with housing society associations and office-bearers wanting the government to proceed with great caution.
The commission, which submitted its 16th report on Wednesday, proposed that the Act be enforced against all co-operatives including housing societies, sugar and spinning mills, credit societies and public bodies registered under the Co-operative Act.
The Maharashtra Housing Societies Welfare Association has organised a seminar on December 9, to discuss the proposal. "Experts from the housing sector will attend the discussion. We've invited the Governor of Maharashtra SM Krishna and Co-operation Minister Patangrao Kadam," Vice President Vijay Samant told HT on Thursday. Retired High Court Justice RJ Kochar will also participate in the seminar.
Pramila Thakkar, member of an elite Vithalnagar Society, JVPD Scheme, said in an e-mail, "I sincerely hope that the Law Commission considers the implication of these one sided laws carefully. Serving in the managing committee of housing societies is a thankless job that few people want to take on anyway."
Interestingly, Thakkar's society has eminent members such as Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, Rakesh Roshan, Hrithik Roshan, Danny Denzogpa, Sujit Kumar and other industrialists and businessmen.
If the government decides to go ahead with the recommendation, Thakkar hopes that it proceeds with caution. "There is no doubt that the law will be abused and can lead to harassment of well-meaning society members," he adds.
MS Sayyed, honourary secretary of Thane's Milan Society seconded Thakkar. "The spirit of co-operation may vanish if the recommendation is accepted and a time may come when housing societies will be managed by government appointed administrators."
However, there are others who welcome the recommendation. "There are instances of housing society office-bearers misusing funds and credit societies mismanaging it. But when complaints are filed authorities don't react," said Laxmi Narain of the Barkha Bahar Society in Thakur Complex Kandivali (E).