RWA polls: 'Proxy voters' issue cleaves 'association' members at Prateek Fedora
Elections to the Resident Welfare Association have always been contentious- be it related to the issues on which they are being fought, its conduct, process and procedure or infighting within the management of a particular society.
One such instance has come to light from Prateek Fedora, a high-rise located in Noida's Sector 61, where people from two different sections are indulged in a 'cold war' regarding society's elections, due to take place on June 30. The issue related to 'proxy voters' has created a big divide between them.
What gave rise to the issue?
Amitabh Srivastava, whose wife Pammi Bharthwal resigned from the post of secretary of Prateek Fedora Apartment Welfare Association (PFAWA) two months ago prior to the society's earlier elections date (scheduled for April 21) had moved to the competent authority against alleged violation of the bye-laws.
Allegations and complaints
In this regard, he had complained directly to the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Noida Authority, stating that the Power of Attorney is being given to proxy voters on plain paper, which is a clear violation of the bye-laws. Pointing out that exercising the right has to been given on stamp papers, he demanded the authority to direct the welfare association to stop such practices as they violate the laid norms.
Besides, he had also opposed the move being taken by the election committee over the proxy vote. He said that according to its rules, votes should be cast in person, except, as otherwise provided, resolution of the association shall require the approval of a majority of owners, casting votes, in person, or proxy.
He further complained to the authority that in the case of joint owners, the right to cast vote lies only with the first owner. The law also states that in the case of joint apartment owners, they shall be jointly entitled to the apartment and the share certificates shall be issued in their joint name but the person whose name stands first in the share has the right to vote.
Authority acts, association responds
Acting on the complaint, the Noida Authority served a notice to the association, asking it to conduct the election in compliance to the bye-laws only.
The association responded to authority's notice saying, “The second owners were allowed to vote based on a plain paper authorisation from the first owners in the past elections. Your input goes against this practice. The proxy voting was allowed in order to elicit maximum participation in elections. Your input is against this practice as well.”
Seeking more clarifications on this matter, the association put forth some questions to the Noida Authority like- Can the second owner participate in the elections by standing for any post of the office-bearers? Does a resolution of the association on proxy voting require a majority of owners present in the general body meeting?
"The officials of the authority rebuked us saying they have other important works than answering these questions," alleged the association. As a result, the elections for the management committee (board) was delayed by two months.
GBM, forms and polls notification
Earlier, treasurer and joint treasurer of the welfare association, Namit Gautam, said that they are law-abiding people and called for another general body meeting on the recommendation of the election committee on March 24.
Gautam concluded saying, “As per the minutes of the general body meeting, a total of 182 forms were distributed among members of the society to decide whether they allow proxy voting or not. Out of which, only 96 members filled the form and participated in the poll. 65 favoured it and the rest were against it. Out of 65, 26 people said that the right to cast proxy votes should be given to the blood relation of the owner whereas 39 are okay with the provision which allows casting proxy votes either to the blood relation of the owner or anyone else.