Society not obliged to make flat buyer member: HC

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 05 April 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A person buying a flat in a housing society does not automatically become its member, the Bombay high court has ruled.

A Bandra society refused to make a new flat owner (a family) a member on the grounds that proper stamp duty and registration was not paid and this came back to haunt the previous owner (a company) after the house was sold.

Justice Anoop Mohta quashed orders of the divisional joint registrar and deputy registrar of cooperative societies directing Bandra Breeze society to grant membership to a family, which had bought a flat in the building. "Merely because someone has claimed membership, a society is not under obligation to grant the same. The lawful occupation, their rights, title and interest in the property, permissible transfer of shares and property as per the bye-laws and all related aspects, just cannot be overlooked by the parties concerned, including the society, as well as, the registrar and authorities," said Justice Mohta.

The HC observed that the authorities had not given reasons for reversing the order of the society declining membership and had not given hearing to all the parties in the case. The court asked the deputy registrar to hear the matter afresh and decide the matter about grant of membership within six months.

In 2004, a company had applied to the society for grant of membership claiming that the original owners had sold the flat to them. The society rejected the application saying proper stamp duty and registration had not been paid in the case and returned the transfer fees. The shares of the flat remained in the name of the original owners in the society record.

In 2008, the family filed an application seeking transfer of the flat in their name. The society rejected this application saying the company was not the owner of the flat. This decision was challenged before the authorities, who directed the society to grant membership. The society filed an appeal before the high court.

"Normally, the society needs to grant membership if all other requisite elements and qualifications are available. Even for rejection, the society must give sufficient reason and must show the grounds for such refusal of admission," said the judge, pointing out that in the present case the society's reason to refuse membership ought not to have been overlooked by the authorities. "The society needs to apply its mind to the law, as well as, the related record before granting or refusing admission. The statutory authorities are also under obligation to consider this, if the society refused the membership or any challenge is made to grant such admission.",Legal,Law,Judge,housing

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