What is “Associate Member” in a Housing Society?
Section 2(19) of the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act, 1960 defines “Associate Member” of a society as one who jointly holds a share certificate of society along with others, but his name does not stand first in the share certificate.
For example, Ram and Shyam jointly purchase a flat in a housing society. Ram’s name is listed first in the share certificate and Shyam’s name is second. Thus Shyam will be regarded as “Associate Member” while Ram will be the “Active Member” under Section 2(19) of the Act.
Who receives “Associate Membership” in a Housing Society?
The joint or co-owner of a flat receives associate membership. While he co-owns the flat and enjoys the building facilities, he does not enjoy voting rights, which are the sole privilege of the active member.
When a flat is jointly purchased and the registered sale deed is executed, the joint owners must apply to the society for entering their names in the share certificate. While submitting the application, they can mutually agree on the order of names in the share certificate and accordingly decide who will be the active and associate member respectively.
Rights and Duties of an Associate Member under Law:
Under Bye-Law No. 25 of the Model Bye-Laws of Cooperative Housing Society in Maharashtra, an Associate Member does not enjoy any rights or privileges of an Active Member. Therefore of Society conducts General Body Meeting, only the Active Member can vote and not the Associate Member.
An Associate Member cannot contest elections for the post of Office Bearer of Society (Chairman, Committee Member, Secretary etc.) so long as the Active Member is present. He is not eligible to vote in society meetings.
However, if the Active Member is absent for the meeting, then Section 27 of the MCS Act, 1960 permits an Associate Member to cast vote in his absence.
Thus apart from the restrictions on voting, an Associate member has full co-ownership rights of his apartment. He is free to reside in the flat and use the building club-house and facilities like any other resident.
How are “Active” and “Associate” Members decided in a Jointly-owned Flat?
When two or more persons buy a flat together, they can decide the order in which their names will appear in the society share certificate. The person whose name appears first will be the “Active Member” while the other joint-owner will be considered an “Associate Member”.
An associate member can also be added later after the flat is purchased. Such a person can file an application for membership by filling up the form specified under the housing society bye-laws and obtaining the consent/No-objection from the Active Member.
Husband and Wife – Associate Membership:
When a married couple jointly buys a house, they can mutually decide who will be the active and passive member respectively. Accordingly, the person seeking to become an Associate Member can submit the Application Form
Maintaining diligence and supervision of housing society affairs is a must, even for members. Associate membership is, therefore, a useful concept which enables an additional person to participate and monitor society affairs, especially if the active member is busy in other commitments.