Mumbai housing societies unable to hold annual general meeting without audit report
Cooperative housing societies across Maharashtra are in a fix as their annual general meeting (AGM) for the year 2020-21 – slated to take place by September-end – cannot be held owing lack of audit report.
The auditors who are supposed to submit the audit report to the housing societies by August 31 every year have not been able to do so due to the Covid-imposed lockdown.
The Mumbai Division Certified Auditors’ Association, which consists of 1,200 auditors, pointed that more than 60% of the societies in Maharashtra are not ready with the audit report.
“It was impossible for us to complete the audit. The government allowed just 50% of our staff to work and it was not possible to complete the work with such a skeletal workforce. In addition, trains were closed for us and hence, our staff could hardly cover many buildings by road,” said Rahul Patil, president of the association.
He further said that in many cases, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the housing societies were not ready with the accounts in the first place.
Audit reports are prepared after auditors study the balance sheet and the working of a housing society. They point out to the discrepancies in accounts and also put remarks on the management of the society. This report is supposed to be passed by the general body in the AGM.
The Maharashtra Societies’ Welfare Association (MSWA), an association of flat owners, has petitioned the state government to extend the deadline for AGMs.
“Auditors should be allowed to present the audit report by November-end, while the AGM date should be extended to December 31,” said MSWA chairman Ramesh Prabhu.
Dhaval Shah, chairman, Lokhandwala-Oshiwara Citizens’ Association, consisting over 150 societies, said that as a majority of buildings do not have audit reports, there was no point in conducting an AGM.
“These are extraordinary circumstances and we cannot blame anyone. The best step is to postpone the date for the AGM,” said Shah.
State cooperation minister Balasaheb Patil has acknowledged the problem but blamed auditors for this impasse.
“The auditors should have ensured the timely filing of the audit report as there was enough flexibility given during the second lockdown as compared to the first. The society members are not at fault and hence, [we] are working on this issue positively to solve this tangle,” said Patil.
There are approximately 150,000 housing societies in Maharashtra, of which 60,000 are in Mumbai.