District Consumer Court
South West Delhi
05 Jan 2011
SUBJECT: DIFFERENTIAL MAINTENANCE CHARGES
FROM THE TENANTS OF AIR FORCE & NAVAL OFFICERS CGHS, DWARKA
1. The aggrieved tenants of AFNO CGHS (Regn No. 477/79) of Sector-7, Dwarka, bring to the notice of your august office the indiscriminate, unjust and illogical decisions being enforced by the Management Committee of AFNO CGHS, Dwarka.
2. AFNO CGHS has a total of 380 flats, out of which more than 120 are occupied by tenants.
3. The Management Committee has enhanced the maintenance charges for tenants from Rs 700/- to Rs 1500/-, which is nearly 120% increase, from the month of October 2010. The owners are paying only Rs 700/-. The ad hoc and sudden increase in maintenance charges for tenants becomes null and void in the light of the following observations:
(a) The maintenance charge is attributed as per each dwelling unit and is not attributable to a person.
(b) Unless there are differential privileges extended to different members, they can not be charged differently. Out here, tenants are not only being asked to pay extra – indirectly, but they are also being asked to park their cars outside at extra costs. This is totally illegal, discriminatory and illogical.
(c) The maintenance charges are to be shared equally by all members (in this case owners and not tenants). It is the arrangement between the tenant and owner in the form of a lease deed, which defines who will pay what and in what proportion.
(d) So as a matter of fact, the management must obtain willingness of those owners to pay extra, who have rented out their flat to tenants. Thereafter, it is up to tenant whether they accept to pay this additional amount or share with the owner or not pay at all.
(e) The rent for a flat is decided based on the total ambience and facilities of the society. Besides, the facilities are created from the money paid by members (owners) who in some case are generating revenue for the society also. In case it is considered as subsidy for the owners, it should be paid back to owners. Charging tenants extra for the facilities already paid by the owners amounts to double-charging for the same facility.
(f) In any case, Bye Laws do not cater for provision of any subsidies to be extended to few and denied to the rest on the basis of management discretion.
(g) The tenants came to know of the increase only on receipt of demand bill for the month of Oct 2010. The management committee has put up the minutes of the SGM on notice board only on 30 Nov 10 after receipt of application from tenants on 28 Nov 10.
(h) Para 102(3) of DCS 2007 makes it amply clear that before bringing into effect any change in the charges for essential services, the matter needs to be disseminated to all residents of the society. In this case the same was not followed by the Management Committee.
(j) Provisions of Para 102(2) of DCS 2007 also stipulate that the Management Committee needs to spell out the basis of fixing charges for essential services, however, the present Management Committee decided of enhancing the charges without spelling out the logic behind it.
(k) Provisions of Para 51 sub Para 4 of DCS 2007 stipulates that notice of general body meetings shall be given to each member of the society either personally or by post under U.P.C. seven days prior to the meeting. For the SGM on 24 Oct 10, no notice was sent to the members.
(l) From the minutes of SGM held on 24 Oct 10 it is evident that out of 380 members only 15 members attended the meeting. As per provisions of Para 48 sub Para 3 of DCS 2007, in case of quorum is not complete even after adjourning the meeting for half an hour, the meeting shall stand dissolved provided it is mentioned in the notice that no quorum is necessary. In this case major decisions favouring the owners (staying within the society) only were taken though the required quorum was not present. It is shocking to note that only 15 interested members took the decision which itself is a miniscule community.
(m) From the minutes of the SGM held on 24 Oct 10, it also comes out glaringly that no decision was taken on the issue of removal of rebate in electricity bill of members as it was not in the interest of members and safely the same has been referred to a board. As regards increase in Maintenance charges for tenants, decision to enforce was taken straight way without taking into cognizance that the SGM did not have the requisite numbers of members to deliberate and take a decision; on the contrary there are lots of owners/members who are not in agreement with this decision and accordingly conveyed their disagreement to Management Committee.
4. The Management Committee has been enforcing rules which are contrary to natural justice and totally biased. All these decisions are not supported by logic or reason but sheer autocracy. Following decisions amplify the prioritized agenda being pursued by the Management Committee:
(a) Delhi Electric Supply Corporation provides 15% rebate on the electricity bill to all consumers of the society. This rebate is extended to all consumers as the requisite infrastructure within the society is created and maintained by the society itself. This management committee is extending the 15 % rebate to all owners but not to the tenants. It is unclear as to which rule authorises the committee to take such decisions.
(b) The owners are permitted to park their second car inside the society without any charges, whereas, for tenants the second car is parked outside the society and also charged Rs 250/- per car.
(c) Lately the management Committee has instructed that tenants are not allowed to keep any pet, whereas, the members are allowed to keep. This is totally unfair and illegal as in today’s urban families, pets are very much part of a family. Bombay High Court in its recent ruling emphatically stated that pets are integral part of a family and can not be treated in isolation.
5. From the above it can be ascertained that the management committee is functioning in a partisan manner and contrary to the principles of a co-operative society. This type of attitude by the committee spoils the fabric of harmony which binds the residents of a society. Tenants are only an extension of owner and to be treated that way. As far as rules are concerned tenants are only responsible to their landlords and society only acknowledges the members. Even the monthly bill generated by society is in the name of member and not in the name of tenant.
6. It is requested that a holistic view on the issue may be taken and appropriate instructions may be issued to the society to withdraw all directives which are in contravention to existing rules and natural justice. It will not be out of place to mention that the Management Committee has not paid any heed to the application submitted by the tenants on 28 Nov 2010 and not even bothered to acknowledge the receipt of it and it surely is an indicator of the noble intentions of the Committee.
Thanking you in anticipation.
Air Cmde B Mukerjee (Retd)
on behalf of All Tenants of AFNO CGHS.