Maharashtra Government’s Cooperative Department has stepped in to ensure better polling percentage in Mumbai and other parts of the state during the upcoming civic polls.
In a letter to the Bank of India staff quarters– Panchsheel Cooperative Housing Society in suburban Andheri– Deputy Registrar of K-West ward, Pratap Patil asked it to convene a special general body meeting to ensure maximum voting from eligible members.
“We have issued directives from State Election Commission to take all necessary steps to increase voting percentage,” said Patil.
According to the powers vested under the Maharashtra Cooperatives Act 1960, housing societies have to “arrange and convey the special general body meeting on or before 20 February, 2017”, Patil said.
If these societies fail to conduct sensitisation programmes for voter members, the auditor can put a negative remark on the society report about the breach of directives, he added.
“If adverse remarks from auditors about not abiding by the election training directives of the government reach the cooperatives office, then within three months, the managing committee can be dismissed by the registrar or the members can be disqualified for a period of five years,” said Ramesh Prabhu, Chairman of Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association.
There are around 70,000 housing societies in Mumbai metropolitan region.
Under Section 24 A of the Maharashtra Cooperatives Act, it is mandatory for societies to train and make people aware about the importance and process of voting for elections, Prabhu said.
The special meeting to create awareness and train new voters ahead of elections is compulsory as per law and any negative remark by the society auditors can lead to dismissal of the society’s management committee or disqualification of its members, he said.
The Registrars of Cooperatives have written to societies in their respective jurisdictions that a government circular, dated 13 October, 2016, has directed all cooperative housing societies in Mumbai to convey the special general body meeting before the voting day to discuss the election process and ensure maximum participation of resident members.