An authority should be notified to register societies/associations for the maintenance of apartments and protecting the rights of the apartment-owners under AP Apartments (Promotion of Construction and Ownership) Act and Rules 1987 (Act 29/87).

Notifying the authority was ‘overlooked' in the act and unless the omission was corrected through an appropriate government order the Act would not be fully beneficial to the genuine apartment residents, Forum for Better Visakha convenor and former IAS officer E.A.S. Sarma has pointed out.

In a letter to Principal Secretary (Municipal Administration and Urban Development) B. Sam Bob, citing the problems faced by residents of VUDA's facility for senior citizens at Sagarnagar here, he said the conflict between Societies Registration Act (Act no. 35/2001) and Act no.29/87 needed to be removed.

The senior citizens complex, one of its kind in the State, for those above 60 years of age and has 28 units. While seven persons registered under the Societies Registration Act no.35/2001, only three got allotment of apartments.

VUDA completed the allotment and registration during 2004 and 2005. The sale deed reflected the registration of the association under Act 35/2001. While members are bound by the bye-laws of the Act, the same document also bound the members to the rules and regulations formed under AP Apartment Act 29/87.

Mr. Sarma said in the letter that apparently there was an inconsistency between the two acts to the detriment of the allottees.

He said VUDA had asked some applicants to form into an association without allotment even though the application mentioned that the allottees should form into an association after the allotment, as required in AP Apartment Act no.29/87.

In course of time, some members felt that it was not the right kind of act for the purpose as the objectives provided in Act no.35/2001 did not mention anything about maintenance of the flats. Collection and maintenance charges and development activity do not fall under the purview of Act no.35/2001 while Act no.29/87 covers it.

The recent general body meeting of the association after a discussion felt that Act no.29/87 should prevail over the Societies Registration Act and approached the District Co-operative Officer, Visakhapatnam.

Mr. Sarma said the Registrar of Co-operative Societies had expressed his inability to register the association under the provisions of Act no.29/87 as he was not authorised under the act. Moreover, the Societies Registration Act does not provide any delegation of authority.

Mr. Sarma suggested that the conflict between AP Apartment Act and Societies Registration Act be resolved once and for all, by either incorporating a provision in the latter act that, as far as membership and amenities were concerned the provisions of the former would prevail or by notifying the District Co-operative Officer or the “Registrar of Companies” as the case may be in terms of the conditions stipulated in the Act No.29/87.

Besides, under the Societies Registration Act, the local authority i.e., the District Co-operative Officer needs to be delegated with the authority to register such apartment owners' societies under AP Apartment Act, Mr. Sarma said. Pending a full-fledged amendment to the Societies Registration Act, the government should issue an order to remove the conflict to help the apartment associations.