In context of the recent Maharashtra government order against “inactive” society members, the residents of Ghaziabad chipped in with their views.
Maharashtra government has put out an order devoiding inactive society members of their rights of voting and contesting RWA elections after being absent for five consecutive years.
Residents and FedAOA Ghaziabad members had varied views on the decision. While some welcomed it and wished for a similar amendment in UP Apartments Act 2010, some called it unconstitutional and a strike against the liberty of an individual.
FedAOA President, Alok Kumar, gladly received the Maharashtra verdict and expressed his hopes that the measure would have a positive impact on the member turnout during societies’ General Body Meetings and Annual Body Meetings.
Lipika Bhushan, a resident of ATS Advantage, concurred with Alok’s take. She said the absence of members during referendum or policy change goes against the members themselves. “Ten per cent people can impact the lives of other 90 per cent just because the other 90 per cent didn’t care to opine themselves,” she said.
Lipika further stated that she thinks that the order will bring favouritism in society elections under control. “The order will surely bridle the rampant practice of swaying election in favour of a particular person. The greater the votes, the lesser the chances of favouritism,” she said.
Prashant, a lawyer by profession, however said that the order is not only absurd but also unconstitutional. He said that order is weak on the grounds of non-compliance with fundamental rights. He also expressed his confidence that the order will be quashed by the High Court.
Sanjay Jha, AOA secretary, Gaur Global Village, finds the order to be the need of the hour. Jha doesn’t see the order as a violation of one’s fundamental right. He stated that if there is something wrong with the constitution, we must rectify it to make it relevant to the current scenario. He said that the act empowers the owner to authorize a person on their behalf. “We have a provision for proxy voting and attendance under UP Apartments Act. So, even if owners are settled abroad, their representatives can take part in the voting and meeting,” said Jha.
“If an owner can’t manage to do even this at least once in a span of five years, they better sell the property off or be ready to abstain,” he added.
Prashant maintained that casting vote and attending meetings are not mandatory but a directory provision. Hence, violations of directory provisions cannot be grounds to curtail such rights.
“Non-participation in some of the activities can’t be a grounds to take away the rights which couldn’t be exercised,” Prashant said.
While Lipika thinks that government might be taking an extreme approach with the order, she considers it as at least a beginning. “I feel the rules and systems need to be strengthened to ensure all the members attend important meetings impacting them in any way. To achieve this, if some extreme measures are required then so be it, she said.