Cooperative housing societies cannot recover legal expenses from members fighting cases against them, a deputy registrar of societies has ruled. Any resolution to that effect is illegal and arbitrary, ruled the deputy registrar (K-East ward) on a case filed by Ajay Panicker, an advocate.
The order, dated January 11, stated: ÒOnly a court can direct the respondent society to recover legal expenses as cost from the applicant member. No other body has the jurisdiction.ÓThe consequence of the order is that the Satellite Cooperative Housing Society, Jogeshwari, where Panicker bought a flat in 2003, will have to return him Rs82,000 with interest. The building was under construction when Panicker bought the flat. As the developers did not form a cooperative society and did not complete other works, Panicker filed a case against them under the Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act, 1963. Summons was issued against the respondents in July 2006. ÒAfter that, the developer formed and registered the society in August 2006,Ó Panicker said.
The section 12 of Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act, 1963 does not mention legal charges as one of the liability of flat owners therefore it cannot be counted. but taking equally among all flat owners irrespective of size of flat would maintain more equality.
Reference: section 12 Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act, 1963