DEHRADUN: In what is possibly the first of its kind judgment, the Uttarakhand HC has allowed all residents of colonies, which have resident welfare associations (RWAs), to participate in the management committee elections of their respective RWAs.
The HC observed that the residents pay for the services and therefore they also have the right to elect RWA members of their choice. Till now, only the owner of the flat or house was allowed to cast a vote in the RWA elections, not the tenants. The court gave the directions after hearing a matter related to Deacon residents’ welfare society in New Tehri of Tehri Garwal district on September 15.
The petitioner’s counsel, Dushyant Mainali, told TOI that “this is a historic judgment which will be binding on all the lower courts across the country.” “This is a first of its kind judgment that is likely to help tenants a lot, especially in NCR and metro cities where they often are at the receiving end,” he added.
‘There would be only one vote per flat’
The Deacon residents’ welfare society had decided that a resident, Nitin Dev, was not entitled to participate in the election to constitute the managing committee since he was not a flat owner. Following that, Dev approached the HC against the managing committee’s decision.
The double bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Ramesh Chandra Khulbe, after hearing the matter, observed, “To say that only the registered owner would have the right to vote would defeat the purpose of the constitution of the society, which is to promote and protect the interests of the residents.” The judges further said in the order, a copy of which is with TOI, that “in case the owner of the registered flat is not a resident, he would not have any stake in ensuring the achievements of the objectives of the society.”
“The situation that the residents, whose interests are sought to be protected by the society by having the objectives as aforesaid, would not have the saying in the management of the society, would be paradoxical…We, therefore, direct that in case the registered flat owners are themselves, residents of the colony, then they would have the right to participate in and vote in the election process to elect the managing committee of the society. In case the registered flat owner is not residing in his/her flat and the same has been either leased or licensed out to a third party, then the resident of the flat would have the right to participate in the aforesaid election process.”
The court also ordered that the flat owners/ residents should be entitled to equal representation and “it cannot be that in respect of a single flat, there are more than one representative casting their vote in the election process.” “There would be only one vote per flat-whether it is that of the owner – in case the owner is residing in the flat, or of the resident – in case the owner is not residing in the flat and the resident is a lessee or a licensee of the registered owner,” the bench said.