|In a move that will have far-reaching implications for societies established under the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies (MCS) Act, 1960, the state government has notified that all elected members of the managing committee of societies are required to execute a bond holding them "jointly and severally" responsible for all the decisions the committee takes. |
Called the MCS (Amendment) Rules, 2002, the new rules are applicable to co-operative banks, co-operative federations and co-operative housing societies, among others. A new form, M-20, has been inserted whereby elected members of managing committees have to declare they are jointly and severally responsible for all the acts and omissions detrimental to the interests of the society.
"Lack of professionalism, transparency, insider/connected borrowing and political interference are the bane of co-operative banks. This has taken a toll on their financial health. The new measure will deter managing committee members from taking arbitrary decisions," said a senior co-operative banker.
According to another co-operative banker, the new rules could prove to be the proverbial double-edged sword. "It is like a pro-note, which makes each member personally liable. For example, even if a loan decision is taken on merits, an error of judgement cannot be ruled out. So under the new rules, if an advance which was extended during the tenure of a member goes bad, he will be liable for it even if he ceases to be a member of the managing committee," he explained.
Residents of co-operative housing societies, who normally are reluctant to take up the honorary responsibility of looking after the affairs of the society, are expected not to join managing committees.
According to the new rules, every elected member of the managing committee of a society shall execute a bond on a stamp paper, as provided under the Bombay Stamp Act, 1958, within 15 days of his assuming office. The chief executive officer/secretary of the society shall receive such bonds and keep them in the records of the society and accordingly inform the Registrar of Societies within 15 days from the formation of the committee. Further, under the rules, a provisional list of voters should be prepared by every notified society in the year in which the election of the society is due to be held. Persons who have completed a minimum two years as members from the date of their enrolment should be included in the provisional list.