In this article, Mohd. Hashim Miyan discusses housing cooperative society and what can the members of housing cooperative society do if they face harassment.
Every member of a housing cooperative society should be treated with dignity and respect. No one has a legal duty or personal right to harass other if there is any harassment does occur then there are some adequate measures are speedily available to prevent it recurring and deal with the problem. The case of harassment is of serious nature offence and can not be tolerated it may become a ground of disciplinary action which may include the expulsion.
If Any member of the Housing Cooperative Society faces the problem of harassment by any other member of society or the staff of the management committee in the housing cooperative society shall initiate the procedures against them.
A housing cooperative is a legally established organization which is democratically owned by its members for improving their living conditions and fulfilling their common needs. There are some basic characteristics of the housing cooperatives such as it is democratically controlled by its members or residents, limited return on membership investment, open and voluntary membership, and strong one-ness feeling of the members etc.
Legislation that governs Housing Cooperative
The exercises of housing cooperatives in different States are managed through individual Cooperative Societies Act and Cooperative Societies Rules directed by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies delegated by the Government. To govern the cooperative associations at the national level and the multi-state cooperative societies by the provisions of Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act and Rules.
Types of Housing Cooperatives
Housing cooperative societies have been divided into four groups as discussed below:
- Tenant Ownership Housing Societies: In this category, the land which is held by the societies are either on the leasehold or freehold basis and the houses are held by the members.
- Tenant Co-Partnership Housing Societies: In this, the land and building owned by the societies are either on the leasehold or freehold basis and the flats allot to their members.
- House Mortgage Societies: These housing societies lend money for construction of houses to their members. The burden of arrangements for construction of their houses is on the members and not on the societies. Societies will credit the loan to the members to fulfilling the objects to construct the houses.
- House construction Societies: These type of societies spend the money to construct the houses on behalf of the members and after that when the houses are ready to live shall be given to the members and the money will be recovered as a loan which is spent on the construction of the houses.
How to become a Member of the Housing Cooperative?
To become a member of the Housing Cooperative one shall fulfil all the requirements as per the Act, the Rules made by the concerned state and the Bye-laws of the cooperative. Due to the non-availability or the limited number of housing units or flats/plots, a housing cooperative shall refuse for the admission of the new members in the society. Any person who wants to become a member of the housing cooperative shall be competent to contract under the Indian Contract Act, 1872. The application for enrollment must be in writing, properly signed by the member with full details and particulars as per the requirement of the act in the prescribed format indicated for the purpose.
He/she must also:
- As per the Bye-laws of the Housing Cooperative, the members must have some essential qualifications;
- Permanently reside within the territory of operation of the housing cooperative;
- The essential admission fee has paid;
- As per the Bye-laws have paid the stipulated charges and purchased the minimum number of shares of the cooperative;
- As per the conditions laid down in the Bye-laws of the Cooperative, make the essential down payment within the prescribed limit;
- Make a necessary statement to the housing cooperative at the time of membership that whether he/she owns any plot/flat or house in his/her own name or in the name of any other member of his family. Under those conditions, he/she shall quote the reasons to become a member of a housing cooperative.
Types of Members of Housing Cooperative Societies
In the Housing Cooperative Societies generally, there are four types of Membership:
- Ordinary Member: any member shall be considered as Ordinary Member who occupies the accommodation of the housing co-operative societies for his own use.
- Associate/Joint Member: In this, the associate members have to make a statement that who will be the second associate member. Due to the non-availability of the first member, the second member will become effective but the liability as per the Act, Rules, and Bye-laws of the cooperative will be bear severally and jointly.
- Sympathizer Members: As the name suggests that this type of members are admitted on the ground of sympathetic.
- Nominal Members: In the housing cooperatives the Sympathizer or Nominal Members are not entitled with the right to vote or to become a member of any committee. Nominal members, in fact, do not own any flat or accommodation in cooperative but on certain occasions owned a godown, garage, shop etc. in the housing cooperative.
The last three types of members do not enjoy full privileges and rights which is enjoyed by the ordinary members.
Meaning and Examples of Harassment
Harassment is undesirable lead on the grounds of race, sex, sexual introduction and so on which has the reason or impact of either abusing the inquirer’s nobility, making an intimidating, threatening, debasing, mortifying or hostile condition for them.
There are given the following examples of the specific types of harassment:-
Bullying might be described as hostile, intimidating, noxious or offending conduct, maltreatment or abuse of intensity through methods planned to undermine, embarrass, stigmatize or harm the beneficiary. There are some examples of bullying:
- maltreatment of power or authority;
- verbal, written and additionally physical terrorizing for example dangers, derisory comments
- relentless unjustified analysis
- the public disgracefulness
- having obligations or basic leadership powers pulled back without valid justification or clarification
- outlandish rejections
- Sexual Harassment
It may be homosexual or heterosexual. It might be characterized as any type of undesirable verbal, non-verbal or physical direct of a sexual sort that makes an intimidating, antagonistic, debasing or hostile condition. It may include:
- Physical contact;
- Undesirable comments on clothes and appearance;
- Comments of a sexual nature;
- Verbal threats;
The Bombay high court on the matter relating to the harassment of the women members said that the housing societies must frame rules and regulations to protect the women members from assault and sexual offenses by different members. The court said to the housing cooperative societies to make rules in the light of the Vishaka Judgement.
In Punita K Sodhi v Union of India and Ors (2010), Delhi High Court held that the idea of restriction may not discover significance for a situation of sexual harassment, as sexual harassment should not be seen as a one-time episode, however the effect of sexual harassment must be contemplated to comprehend it as a proceeding with off-base.
- Racial Harassment
Racial harassment is any conduct, conscious or generally relating to race, colour, nationality – including citizenship, or ethnic or national inceptions, which is coordinated at an individual or gathering and which is observed to be hostile or questionable to beneficiaries and which makes an intimidating, unfriendly or hostile condition. It may include:
- Insults and racist comments
- Use abusive language and display of racially offensive material
- Harassment on Grounds of Religion
Religious Harassment is any conduct intentional or something else, relating to religion, religious conviction or other comparative philosophical conviction and it is conduct which can be characterized as undesirable lead abusing an individual’s pride, or making an intimidating, unfriendly, debasing, embarrassing or hostile condition.
- Political Harassment
Political Harassment means the members are harassed on the political grounds by the management committee staff or the other member of the housing cooperative.
What can the members of housing cooperative society do if they face harassment?
To approach the Management Committee of the Housing Cooperative Society
If the member of the Housing Cooperative Society faces any problem relating to the harassment in the housing cooperative society then they can approach to the Management Committee to deal with the matters as per the Acts, Rules of the concerned State and Bye-laws of the Housing Cooperative Society.
To approach the Consumer Courts
If the management committee does not take appropriate action on the complaint of the members relating to the problems then they can approach to the consumer courts and also demand compensation by the housing cooperative society for not uses their power as per the laws.
To approach the Police Authorities
If the harassment is of serious nature then they can also approach the police authorities for taking suitable action against the offenders as per the Punitive laws and maintain dignity.
The housing cooperative societies make many effective management committees to protect their members from any problem or harassment in the premises of the cooperative society even though the members of the management committee take undue advantage of their position and harass the other members by their actions.