Shirish Shanbhag, held the first Round Table meeting on housing society issues at Moneylife Foundation offered solutions to various members
Shirish Shanbhag, an expert who helps people draft legal documentation related to co-operative housing societies (CHS), Right to Information (RTI) and other areas, said several issues in CHS can be resolved by simple methods like writing to the Society Secretary, Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies.
Sometimes, there are fights between housing societies and individual apartment owners, as well as outsiders. Many flat owners do not know how to proceed with their complaints.
There are several issues in a CHS, like car parking, leakages, fraudulent auditing, unauthorised construction, and many other issues. Home owners need to know the right recourse to take action to ensure that their rights are maintained and upheld.
The round table on CHS issues was meant to allow face-to-face interaction with Mr Shanbhag and was kept limited to 25 persons, based on those who send the synopses of their problems first.
Here are some of the questions people raised and the answers provided by Mr Shanbhag...
Terrace Flat / enclosed
Q: Can a CHS society levy service charges on an enclosed terrace flat?
1. Find out whether this terrace flat is officially owned by the CHS.
2. File RTI to BMC's building proposal department.
3. Maintenance charges are applicable to all types of flats in a CHS.
Q: What are the tax implications of an additional area allotted during redevelopment of CHS? Who is liable to pay such tax?
1. If additional area is given free of charge in redevelopment then stamp duty is payable on all area.
2. Stamp duty would be levied on construction cost based on original.
3. Stamp duty on the additional area would be charged at market value.
4. Tri-party Agreement for Alternate and Permanent Accommodation needs to be signed between the flat owner, builder and the CHS. This agreement should be signed only after passing the building development plan.
Q: Municipal record shows the plot of our society in the name of one of the brothers of the land owner and his heirs. How can we get the plot transferred in the Society's name?
Ans: Since the CHS is an old one, you will have to go for deemed conveyance. Send letters to the landowner or their legal heirs asking for copies related with the property. Call a special general body meeting (SGM) to discuss the deemed conveyance and appoint one or more members as authority to deal with the procedure. Visit, Dty Registrar's office in your area, find out who is responsible for the deemed conveyance. Collect info about documents required for it. Submit your application.
SEBI alleged SVS securities has failed to exercise due skill, care and diligence regarding manipulative transactions executed by its sub-broker in illiquid scrip
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) prohibited SVS Securities (SVS) from dealing in capital market for one year. SEBI alleged SVS has failed to exercise due care and diligence as a stock broker with respect to transactions in shares of Harita Seating Systems executed by its sub-broker; Aquarian Share Broker Co.
SEBI conducted a probe into trading in the scrips of Harita Seating Systems during the period from 3 November 2009 to 31 March 2010.The investigation revealed that Aquarian had executed all the trades in the scrip of the company on behalf of SVS Securities' clients on the stock exchanges.
SEBI order said that the shares of the company were illiquid. The transactions in form of cross deals and synchronised deals had resulted in the creation of artificial volume in Harita's shares and also increased the price of the scrip.
"When Aquarian was placing repeated synchronised and cross transactions in illiquid scrip for the connected/ related clients through the noticee (SVS Securities), the noticee, being a professional stock broker, should have suspected that the price and volume in the scrip was being manipulated," SEBI said in its order.
The market regulator has said that the charge against SVS Securities is with regard to failure to discharge due skill, care and diligence in its stock broking business and it has not been found to be actively involved in the alleged price and volume manipulation.
Hence, SEBI passed an order saying, "SVS Securities is prohibited from accessing the securities market and buying, selling and otherwise dealing in securities market, directly or indirectly, in any manner whatsoever, for a period of one year from the date of this order."
How to choose the correct forum for your grievance and the right lawyer to represent you
Finding a solution for your grievances requires you to make smart choices and act strategically. Most people are unaware of the alternative dispute resolution forums like Lok Adalaat and Lokshahi Din to resolve their issues. Also if one decides to go for legal recourse, one must chose the right lawyer or one may end up in trouble. These were the words of advice provided by three experts, advocate Bapoo Malcolm, Indrani Malkani and Shirish Shanbhag, at a panel discussion organised by Moneylife Foundation in Mumbai.
There are several other forums like tax, insurance and banking ombudsman, alternative dispute resolution forums like Lok Adalat, Lokshahi Din held in government offices, counselling offered by Council for Fair Business Practices and Disha Financial Counselling and consumer courts that help people to resolve grievances quickly.
Lokshahi Din: According to Shirish Shanbhag, a retired professor, who provides guidance to people on several issues in Mumbai, grievance of citizens is best resolved in Lokshahi Din. There are four levels of Lokshahi Din and one can escalate one’s grievance from taluka level to the chief minister level as well.
If one follows the simple procedure, like submitting the application in prescribed format, well before the prescribed time limit, one can get quick and effective redressal. Raising public grievances through Lokshahi Din is less time consuming, and is an inexpensive solution. In addition, there is no need to hire a lawyer and one can represent oneself, Mr Shanbhag said.
Lok Adalats: Social activist Indrani Malkani who is also a trustee of vCitizens Action Network (V-CAN), said Lok Adalat works on a system of reaching a compromise between the disputed parties. Lok Adalat is a non-adversarial system, whereby mock courts (called Lok Adalats) are held by the state authority, district authority, supreme court legal services committee, high court legal services committee, or taluka legal services committee.
The Lok Adalats can deal with all civil cases, matrimonial disputes, land disputes, partition/ property disputes, labour disputes, and compoundable criminal cases, Ms Malkani said. She said, in Lok Adalat, disputing parties plead their case themselves. No advocate or pleader is allowed, even witnesses are not examined. No court fee is levied. Speedy justice is given to the people of all classes of society and the award has the same effect as of a Civil Court decree.
How to choose the right lawyer?
Advocate Bapoo Malcolm, who practises civil and criminal law as well as documentation and arbitration, said before looking for a lawyer, one must think about the outcome one wants and what branch of law applies to one’s specific problem. Since legal cases may drag on for years, one must also consider if the battle is worth the time and cost, he said. According to advocate Malcolm, it is better to hire a lawyer who is highly recommended from people in one’s inner circle who have dealt with legal issues. While credentials are important, knowledge of the lawyer about penal provisions is equally important, he said.
One must have a frank and open discussion with the lawyer and should not hide facts. One must also ask for a realistic estimate of costs and duration to resolve the particular issue. “If you do not understand what your lawyer is saying, seek an explanation. Don’t get intimidated,” he said.