Mumbai: Housing society ordered to pay compensation for denying membership
MUMBAI: A consumer court in Bandra directed a co-operative housing society in Andheri (west) to pay a woman Rs 1.50 lakh as compensation for causing mental and financial harassment by denying her membership for over a decade. Sonal Vasaikar had told the court that the apartment in Shastri Krupa CHS Ltd on JP Road belonged to her mother. She claimed that the society had rejected her request to admit her as a member since 2006.
On January 1, the consumer court ordered the society to pay her an additional Rs 25,000 for the legal expenditure incurred. The proceedings also involved the Bombay High Court and the deputy registrar. The court observed that the society had “committed a deficiency in service” and indulged in unfair trade practice by denying membership to Vasaikar.
The society was directed to enter Vasaikar’s name in all their registers as a bonafide member and to enter her name in the society’s maintenance bill records within 30 days. It was also directed to accept the remaining dues without charging her any interest. The court ordered the society to waive off the interest levied in its maintenance bill records since 2006.
Vasaikar said her mother died in 2006. “The society wanted to sell my property and divert the money to its fund,” Vasaikar said. Her advocate, HV Shekhawat, said the society had acted in violation of the law. “Membership of a co-operative housing society is open in Maharashtra and no society can refuse the membership without providing sufficient cause or reason,” Shekhawat said. “If a society refuses to enter a person’s name in the society register after the registrar has approved the change, it is deficiency in service on the part of society.”
The apartment is a 1bhk measuring 350sqft. “In 2011, I filed a case in the Bombay High Court, which directed the society to include my name as a member,” Vasaikar told Mirror. “But the court order was denied by society members, who in turn wanted to file a case against me. I issued another court notice and submitted a letter of administration from the court, but they still denied me membership.”
The society then filed a case with the Registrar of Societies, which also ruled in Vasaikar’s favour. “The administrator was directed to include me as a member, but despite agreeing at the general body meeting I was denied. I then moved consumer court in 2015, and finally won the case,” she said.
Sunil Kokane, administrator of the society said Vasaikar has now been included as a member of the society. “Vasaikar had moved consumer court much before I took over as administrator in 2019,” Kokane said.
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