Every housing society has to adopt bye-laws, for its management and administration. The government of Maharashtra has provided model bye-laws, which can be adopted with or without changes by societies. These bye-laws also cover the rules pertaining to annual general body meetings of the societies.
Time limit for holding the AGM and minimum notice period
As per the model bye-laws for cooperative housing societies in Maharashtra, every housing society has to hold an annual general meeting (AGM) of the society, every year, before 30th September. It is the responsibility of the committee of the housing society, to ensure that the AGM is held within the prescribed period. The notice for convening the AGM, has to be signed by the secretary of the society. The AGM of the society cannot be convened, unless a notice of 14 days is given to the members. While computing the 14 days, the date on which the notice is issued and the date of the meeting shall be excluded. Once an AGM is called, it cannot be treated as invalid, unless an order declaring the meeting as such is passed by the cooperative court.
Quorum for AGM
For conducting the business at the AGM, the law stipulates that a minimum number of members need to be present, called the ‘quorum’ of the meeting. A minimum of two-thirds of the total number of members, subject to a maximum of 20, should be present to constitute the quorum for the AGM. Consequently, small societies sometimes find it difficult to ensure the quorum. For big societies, even a small proportion of the total members may add up to 20 members being present in the meeting and constitute a quorum. In case the required quorum is not present within half an hour of the appointed time, the meeting shall be adjourned to a later hour on the same day or to a subsequent date which cannot be earlier than seven days and not later than 30 days from the original date of the AGM. At the adjourned meeting, there is no requirement to have a quorum. However, the mere attendance of one person at the adjourned meeting, shall still not constitute a meeting and therefore, a minimum of two members have to be present even at the adjourned meeting.
Business to be transacted at the AGM
The main purpose of the AGM of a society, is to adopt and approve the annual accounts of the society by the members and to receive an annual report of the affairs of the society. The auditors of the society are also appointed at the AGM. In addition to the above business, the AGM can take up any other matter, even if the same is not included in the notice.
However, the members cannot take up any of the following business at the AGM, unless proper notice has been given:
- Expulsion of members of the society
- Amendment of the bye-laws of the society
- Bifurcation, amalgamation, or division of the society
- Transfer of property of the society
If the business on the agenda of the general meeting of the society is only partly transacted, then, the meeting can be postponed to any other date decided by the members present in the meeting, which should not be later than 30 days from the original AGM.
What happens if a member does not attend the AGM
If a member does not attend a single general meeting in five years, without the consent of the general body of the society, then s/he will become a non-active member. A non-active member, who does not attend even a single meeting in the next five years becomes liable for expulsion from the society. Moreover, a non-active member does not have the right to participate in the business of the AGM.
(The author is a taxation and home finance expert, with 30 years’ experience)