General body meetings are an integral part of the functioning of any cooperative housing society (CHS) as all discussions and decisions pertaining to the society are taken in these periodical meetings.
Considering that every CHS is an autonomous body, the issues to be discussed in the meeting may vary. However, there’s a basic framework that has to be followed. “For instance, in the first general body meeting of the CHS, the members have to elect the president for the meeting; elect a provisional managing committee; decide the admission of new members if some applications for membership are pending”, explains Vishnu Sagar Cooperative Housing Society’s secretary Ramakant Desai.
Incidentally, the first general body meeting of a society is convened by the chief promoter of the CHS within three months from the date of registration of the society. “The chief promoter gives a 14-day notice to all persons who have signed the application for registration of the society and are eligible to attend the first general body meeting,” informs Desai.
That apart, the notice convening a general body meeting should always contain the subjects that are to be discussed and/decided in the meeting. “A member whose name stands first in the share certificate is entitled to attend the general body meetings. And in his/her absence, the associate member can attend the meetings,” says Desai. No other person has the right to attend the meetings.
Quorum for AGM, SGM
The quorum for every general body meeting is two-third of the total number of CHS members or 20 whichever is less. “If there is sufficient quorum, the meeting is held as per the notice. But, if there is no sufficient quorum and the meeting was convened upon the requisition of the members, the meeting stands dissolved within half an hour of the appointed time,” informs Veena Nagar Cooperative Housing Society’s secretary Manish Parekh.
“Under any other circumstances, the meeting can be adjourned to any other time on the same day and place as stated in the notice. And, the reconvened meeting can proceed with the agenda even if there is no quorum,” says Parekh. “However, if the meeting is adjourned to a subsequent date, the date should not be earlier than seven days or later than 30 days,” he adds.
Besides, under special circumstances, a special general body meeting of the CHS may be called either by the chairman of the society or by the decision of majority of the members of the committee. “If one-fifth of the members submit a requisition for a special general body meeting, the secretary has to convene the meeting,” maintains Parekh.
Though generally a special general body meeting is convened with five days’ notice to the Registrar, in case of an emergency, the meeting can be called on a shorter notice provided all the members of the committee make a unanimous decision. “The decisions taken in the special meeting have to be communicated to all the CHS members in writing within two days of the meeting,” says Parekh.
And, if there is a situation when the Registrar calls upon the CHS to convene a special general body meeting to transact any business, the secretary has to convene the meeting; and, that too within one month from the date of receipt of such requisition.
It’s a special meeting!
Besides the regular general body meetings, there’re certain occasion when a co-operative housing society may need to have a special general body (SGM) meeting of the society. If and when, such a situation arises, there’re certain important formalities to be followed.
“A special general body meeting can be called by the secretary of the CHS only with the prior permission of the committee and that too, within five days from the passing of such a resolution by the committee,” informs Anand Vihar Co-operative Housing Society secretary, Ajaykumar Mathur.
“In case of an emergency or an urgent situation, the secretary can call such a meeting within forty-eight hours, if the committee unanimously decides to call a special general body meeting urgently,” he adds.
Incidentally, the secretary of the society has to issue a notice convening the special general body meeting in accordance with the bye-laws of the society. “And, if the secretary fails to issue the notice, then the onus is on the chairman to issue it,” says Mathur.
Suppose the CHS secretary or the chairman does not call a valid special general meeting, despite the instance of one-fifth members of the society, any ordinary member of the society has the authority to call a special meeting. “Provided s/he gives a ten-day notice of such a meeting to the society members,” offers the CHS secretary, who goes on to add that the president of the society presides over such meetings.
And then, as per law, the Registrar also has the power to declare such a managing committee member, who fails to perform his duty of calling the special general body meeting without any reasonable justification, disqualified for default up to three years.
“The Registrar can also call a special general body meeting of the society in case the members fail to call such a meeting without any justification,” says Adarsh Niwas Co-operative Housing society secretary, Pradeep Sahay. In such cases, the expenses incurred for calling the meeting is either paid out of the funds of the society or by such a person or persons who, in the opinion of the Registrar, was/were responsible for the failure to convene the meeting.
The procedure to decide on an issue raised in a special general body meeting is much the same as in the case of a regular CHS meeting. “Under ordinary circumstances, decisions at the special meeting are decided by simple majority of the members who are present at the meeting,” informs Sahay.
While each member has a vote to cast when the election on any issue is raised, the president of the meeting has a casting vote in case of a tie. “Another important thing is that the associate member has a right to cast one vote when his first member is absent at the meeting, but the nominal or sympathiser member doesn’t have a right to vote,” offers the CHS secretary.
Resolution at AGM precedes change of CHS name
In order to change its name, a society must first pass a resolution at a general meeting and then, with the approval of the Registrar, change its name.
However, such a change shall not affect any right or obligation of the society, or if any of its members or past members or deceased members and any legal proceedings pending before any persons, authority or court may be continued by or against the society under its new name. Where a society changes its name, the Registrar shall also amend the certificate of registration accordingly.
The name suggested for change should not refer to any caste or religious denomination and should surely not be inconsistent with the object of the society. Every change in the name of the society shall be made by an amendment of its bye-laws and shall be notified in the official gazette.
After the change in the name of the society is approved by the Registrar, the society shall send the original registration certificate for amendment to the Registrar, who shall return the same to the society duly amended. The Registrar shall enter the new name in the register of the society maintained by him.