Calcutta High Court on Wednesday issued a significant order allowing the owners of a housing apartment in New Town to cast their votes online for selection of representatives in the board of management of the housing complex.
Justice Rajasekhar Mantha held that since the voters were the owners of a private property, there was no need to involve a government department in the issue and directed the Competent Authority (CA) to declare election of the board of management
The members of the Rosedale Apartment Owners Association will be allowed to take part in the election or cast their votes online.
The judge directed that the election of the board be held on May 26 and the last date of filing nomination would be May 19.
The judge held that if the online voting was allowed in case of board of directors election in private company, the online voting should be allowed in constitution of board of management in case of housing complexes.
The Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco) had handed over land to a company of the Shrachi group for constructing a housing complex, on condition that 75 per cent of the apartments would have to be owned by non-resident Indians (NRIs).
After taking possession of their respective apartments, the owners had tried to form a board of management. Accordingly in May 2019, the election was held. But a candidate, who had lost the election, moved the Competent Authority twice — in 2020 and again in 2022 — claiming that the election was bad in law as voters were allowed to cast votes online. The first application was rejected but the second time, it was accepted.
Following the plea, the competent authority Debasish Ghosh on April 30, 2022 had set aside the process of election. An order was passed superseding the elected board of managers and an administrator was appointed to run the daily affairs of the board.
Justice Mantha on Wednesday struck down the order passed by Ghosh.
Advocate Srijib Chakrabarty, who appeared for Rosedale Garden Apartment Owners Association, said: “Today’s order is significant because apartment owners of several housing complexes have been facing a similar problem. In many housing complexes, owners who stay away from Calcutta are not allowed to take part in the board of management election. The order will be a precedent in case of all such housing complexes.”
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