Bombay HC: ‘Registrar can’t direct Housing Society to issue NOCs to its member’

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The Bombay high court last week stayed an order passed by a deputy registrar of co-operative societies in the city, directing a co-operative housing society at Dindoshi to issue no-objection certificates to one of its members for improvement and change of user of his premises.

“In my prima-facie opinion the Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies ex-facie did not have any jurisdiction and authority to issue such a direction to the petitioner society to issue a NOC as contained in the order,” said justice Girish Kulkarni while staying order issued by the deputy registrar, P ward.

Acting on a complaint lodged by the member, the deputy registrar had on July 9, 2019 directed Shree Raghunandan co-operative housing society to issue necessary NOCs to the member for joining four tenements and converting user of the premises from residential to commercial.

The housing society then moved HC, through advocate Mohit Jadhav, challenging the order on various grounds.

The order was purportedly passed under Section 79(2)(a) of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies (MCS) Act, 1960, but justice Kulkarni opined that the deputy registrar had no power to issue such a direction.

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In my prima facie opinion, it is clearly a dispute between a member and the society, which would require adjudication before some other forum, said the judge.

The judge said section 79(2)(a) deals with compliances to be made by co-operative societies and confers power on the deputy registrar to issue necessary orders to ensure the statutory compliances like filing of returns etc.

“It is difficult to conceive that the nature of the complaint as made by respondent no. 3 (member) before the Deputy Registrar invoking Section 79(2)(a) for issuance of inter-alia fire NOC and a NOC for improvements can at all fall within the purview of this provision,” said justice Kulkarni.

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The judge added that to read such wide powers to issue such directions as contained in the impugned order under Section 79(2)(a) would amount to reading something into the provision which the legislature has not provided for and in fact if so construed would amount to something contrary to the statutory scheme of the MCS Act 1960.

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