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Recent judgments delivered by the Bombay High Court have shut the doors for the minority members who have been obstructing the redevelopment of their societies on flimsy grounds. The prime observation of Court is that few members cannot be permitted to hold the Developer and the whole of the society to ransom and are bound by the Development Agreement executed between the society and the Developer.

The Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act (MCS Act) says that if a redevelopment proposal has been passed by following a proper procedure in the society’s General Body Meeting and at least 75% of the members present have agreed and hence, the decision automatically binds the minority members not agreeing to the redevelopment.

The only option for such minority members is to take the legal recourse if they have substantial reasons over the protest, acceptable to the Court as also normally they take the stance that they have their flats and should have a say in the redevelopment.

The reasons for their objection could be varied, such as the process of redevelopment being not taken up in transparent manner, elements of frauds or favouritism involved, ungrateful benefits received by members managing Committee as also are being offered larger flats in the new building with free furnishing, arm-twisting tactics or high handed attitude by the administrative body etc. However, it has to be proved that there is some prejudice caused with an act of deception meted out to them.

If the reasons for objection are valid, the Court may ask the society to restart the bidding process for redevelopment. Objections by a few members are the main reasons why redevelopment projects get held up or stalled. But generally when the majority of the members are in favour of the redevelopment proposal, the Court allows them to go ahead with the project.

In November 2013, the Bombay High Court had rejected a plea filed by 45 members who were objecting to the redevelopment of a society. The Court held that out of 224 members, 179 had given consent and hence the minority members were bound by the agreement executed between society and developer. The opposing 45 members had approached the Court in 2009 and filed a plea against the redevelopment.

Redevelopment of housing societies in Mumbai witnesses a number of issues, lack of co-operation from the members being one of the many. Many housing societies are unable to undergo redevelopment since senior and aged members refuse to shift themselves to rental houses and try to avoid redevelopment.

On the other hand, forcible eviction from old and dangerous building of any housing society cannot be executed by civic authorities since it is not legally possible. According to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act of 1888, BMC cannot enforce forcible eviction of any member from private buildings i.e. housing societies.

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