This is a case where a cooperative society is trying to retrospectively extract money that was paid as a compensation to an ex member. Case is from a society in Andheri East Mumbai.
The incident dates back to more than 2 years while I was still residing in the society. Just for your reference, I sold my property in 2014 and have purchased another property in a society close by. After the unfortunate incident of a coconut falling on my car and the windscreen of it getting completely damaged, I had written to the society raising issues of safety within the society premises and asking a question about who is liable to pay for my loss that was out of sheer negligence in maintaining the society compound. A similar incident happened with another resident of the society a day earlier to mine, who happened to be the society treasurer at that point in time and she claimed compensation. The then chairperson called and informed me to also stake claim and thereby the society compensated both of the members via cheque duly signed by all stakeholders of the society, within a month or so. Since I did get compensated I also did not claim insurance.
Cut to now, a year after I have sold my flat, handed over the property to new owners, the society is harassing me and asking me to pay back this compensation that I received, saying that their audit committee has not allowed this as it is not as per rules of the society. My questions are:
1) Is such retrospective claim allowed?
2) If society committee has made error of judgement and not waited till the AGM to pay compensation, is it the claimant's fault and should he/she made a scapegoat?
3) What kind of legal action can I initiate in case the harassment becomes unbearable?
4) Can the society stop the share certificate transfer of this said flat in the name of the new members due to this pending amount - Amount is about Rs 13,000
Asked 2 years ago in Civil Law from Mumbai, Maharashtra
1) Managing committee is in charge of day to day management . if MC has passed resolution for payment of compensation to members on account of coconut tree falling on car then member is not bound to refund money paid
2) claimant should not be made a scapegoat
3) dont take any legal action . it is doubtful society will take any legal proceedings for recovery of Rs 13,000 . expenses will be more than recovery amount
4)society must have issued NOC for sale of flat . resolution approving transfer must have been passed in MC and approved by AGM since flat was sold more than a year back . society cannot refuse to transfer shares now .
1. The society has already taken decision arrived at by virtue of consent given by all its members to compensate you,
2. You have not misappropriated the said amount and it was given to you to compensate the damege caused to you because of the society's negligence which the society accepted,
3. It is the society now who shall have to satisfy the audit query, not you,
4. How are you being harassed now? Mere telephonic demand can not be called harassment. If you are criminally intimidated, you can lodge police complaint,
5. Legally the Society can not stop transfer of the share of the flat in favour of the buyer but it is a practice that societies extract donations on the plea that it will not transfer the shares on some pretext or other,
6. It is advised to settle the matter amicably since the amount involved is not substantial..
Since all the shareholders signed and raitified the amount which was to be given as compensation, then you need not refund the amount back. Further, the claim of the society is time barred. If you receive any legal notice from the society seeking refund of the amount, reply accordingly through a local lawyer.
The Society must have issued NOC before you sold the flat. If that has been done, the society cannot stop the tranfser of the shares now since the flat was sold more than a year back.
1. The claim can be made even now, but when the society had compensated you on its own accord it cannot recover the money from you.
2. The claimant cannot be made liable for the faulty decision of the society.
3. You are not required to take any legal action. The society is the one which has to initiate the legal process. If you receive a lawyer's notice issued by the society then reply to it through your lawyer. If a case is filed against you, defend it in the court. However, it is highly unlikely that society will go to court to recover an amount as low as 13,000 INR. The fees of the lawyer and other charges will exceed 13,000.
4. The NOC must have been issued by the society when you sold the flat in 2014. If it has been done it cannot now refuse to transfer the share. If share certificate is not transferred then the buyer can go to court.