Byelaws are a set of instructions and rules for a society to function. They come into effect once the housing co-operative is formed and are universally applicable to everyone. They are formed on the basis of the state’s co-operative societies act. However, based on the structure, requirements and membership, there are various permutations and combinations in bye-laws that a society can adopt at the time of registration and get them approved from the Registrar. Expansive as the bye-laws are, they do not always have the solution or workaround for every unforeseen circumstance. As it evolves, a society has the right to amend its bye-laws as per provisions of the law.
A society can amend its bye-laws when a pre-existing bye-law fails to meet its current situation or need adequately. For example, if your society followed a per square feet rule to arrive at a monthly maintenance charge, but underwent redevelopment and now wants to apply a hybrid maintenance calculation. In such a case, the amendment is necessary. Some societies may be facing a problem with meeting the required quorum for general body meetings and may want to reduce the required number. Others may be struggling with code of conduct within members and want to insert specific sub-clauses with respect to maintaining cleanliness, instructions to use common areas, etc. Many societies also incorporate a new penalty system to elicit better compliance from its members. Societies often put out new rules on notice boards or hand-deliver them to the members instead of amending bye-laws. However, to amend the bye-laws is a surefire policy to ensure the new rules are applied effectively.
Procedure to amend bye-laws
No bye-law can be amended or altered unless the members have been notified 14 days before the general meeting in which the amendment resolution is to be passed.
- The society should pass a resolution to amend a bye-law in the general body meeting after giving a notice to all its members with respect to the proposed bye-law.
- The resolution should be approved by 2/3rd of the majority from among members present in the meeting.
- From the date of the meeting in which the resolution was passed, the society should submit the resolution to the Registrar within two months.
- You are required to submit the below-mentioned documents when you send an application (with a non-judicial court fee stamp of Rs 25) to the Registrar:-
- Copy of the existing bye-laws and the revision/ amendment to be made along with substantial reasons that justify the amendment.
- Four copies of the bye-laws as they will appear after the amendment, signed by the Managing Committee’s authorized office bearers.
- One copy of the notice given to members about the proposal of the amendment of the bye-laws.
- Any specific documents required by the Registrar
Once the Registrar receives the application, he examines the proposal thoroughly and after he is satisfied that the amendment is for the benefit of the society, solves a particularly persistent problem, helps better functioning and is not in contradiction to co-operative societies act, he registers the amendment and gives the amended version of bye-laws to the society, certified and officially approved.
If the Registrar fails to close the application within 2 months, he should pass it on (within 15 months from the end of the 2-month window) the same application to an officer on a higher designation than him within the same office.
If the Registrar finds that a modification to the proposed amendment may be needed for it to be more effective, he suggests it to the society, explaining the rationale in writing.
Can the Registrar amend the bye-laws without the society’s own initiative?
If the Registrar believes that a particular amendment to the existing bye-laws is in the interest of a housing society and serves a bigger cause of the co-operative movement, he has the power to direct that amendment to be incorporated by the society within a specific timeframe decided by him.
The Registrar makes it mandatory to implement the amendment within the given timeframe. If the society fails to do so, the Registrar gives them an opportunity to present their case and justify the failure to abide. An issued and certified copy of the amendment is provided to the society which makes it legally binding. The society can make an appeal if there are any justifiable constraints in the amendment, however, it should be noted that the legal power remains with the authority to impose an amendment.
Ideally, all members should obtain a copy of the bye-laws from the housing society’s secretary, so that when an amendment takes place, they have a frame of reference to fall back on and understand why the amendment was made in the first place. The society is required a copy of bye-laws in its office for members’ perusal.