By Accommodation Times News Service
Office-bearers in a majority of societies in the Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR) have not appointed auditors for the last three financial years, revealed the Maharashtra cooperatives department officials.
Only 7,000 societies in the MMR have qualified auditors examining their account books, which mean that large sums of maintenance funds contributed by residents have remained unmonitored and unaccounted for, said officials. “To ensure that these societies remain accountable to their residents for every rupee collected from them, the registrar of cooperatives has appointed auditors for each of the societies whose accounts have not been audited. These auditors will approach the society,” said an official.
Guidelines mandate that societies appoint auditors before July 31 annually and intimate the department about that. Similarly, societies have to submit their audit reports by August 31 ever year. The amendment came in force between 2013 and 2014 but many office-bearers of societies remain in the dark.
If a society’s account books are not audited, then its office-bearers are not allowed to convene annual general meetings or any dealings. A society cannot conduct elections, if audit reports are not submitted. The management committee members are liable to face departmental and judicial action.
Ramesh Prabhu, chairman of Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association, said many colonies have appointed auditors but haven’t intimated the cooperatives department or put the details online. “Following the appointment of auditors by the department, now many societies have two auditors creating confusion,” he said. “As a result the societies are not cooperating with the department-appointed auditors leading to a chaos. Due to this the audit completion deadline has been extended till August 31, which many societies do not know. The question remains if AGMs can be convened before the September 30 deadline as the law does not allow an extension. However, rules don’t allow an AGM to be held, if the audit is not completed,” he said.
T N Kawade, divisional joint registrar (audit), admitted that despite the department’s efforts to spread aware societies on new rules, almost 90% of them had not appointed auditors.