New Committee Appointed to Study Amendments to Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act

State Government Forms New 10-Member Panel
The Maharashtra state government has appointed a new 10-member committee to review and propose amendments to the Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act, 1970. This decision comes just eight months after a 15-member panel submitted its recommendations on the same subject, raising concerns among housing sector activists.

Background and Initial Committee
In October last year, a 15-member committee under the state cooperative department submitted a comprehensive report with detailed suggestions for amending the act. Despite this effort, the state government has neither implemented the recommendations nor provided any feedback, leaving activists frustrated. Maharashtra has over 1 lakh buildings governed by the Apartment Act, including 15,000 in Pune district.

Formation of the New Committee
On June 7, the state housing department announced the formation of a new committee through a government resolution (GR). This panel is led by the Commissioner for Cooperation and Registrar of Cooperative Societies and includes members from the property registration department, home department, settlement commissioner’s department, Pune collector, and law department officials. The new committee is tasked with studying the act and proposing amendments within three months.

Concerns and Criticisms
The decision to form a new committee has been met with skepticism. Advocate Shreeprasad Parab, expert director of the State Housing Federation, criticized the exclusion of experts from Pune Federation and the Maharashtra State Housing Federation. He emphasized the need to address the concerns of apartment associations in major cities like Pune, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Mumbai, Nashik, Nagpur, and Sambhajinagar. Many apartment associations are passing resolutions to dissolve and form cooperative housing societies to facilitate redevelopment.

A housing activist expressed confusion over the government's decision to disregard the previous committee's report, calling it a waste of time and effort.

Official Statements
Commissioner for Cooperation Deepak Taware stated that the new report would be submitted in consultation with committee members. Suhas Patwardhan, chairperson of the Maharashtra State Housing Federation, expressed hope that the government would consider the amendments proposed by the earlier committee.

MK Rao, a member of an apartment association, pointed out that while the proposed amendments aim to ease redevelopment, eviction of those obstructing redevelopment could lead to extended legal battles.

The Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act, of 1970, which governs apartment ownership, management, and transfer in the state, is under review once again. The formation of the new committee has sparked debate over the government's approach and the potential implications for apartment owners and associations across Maharashtra.
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