The State Chief Information Commissioner had while hearing one matter involving one such slum society passed an order on December 19, 2017 and declared that provisions of RTI Act shall apply to all the societies under SRA. In a significant interim order, the Bombay high court on Thursday issued a notice to state chief information commissioner and stayed his order which had brought all slum societies under the ambit of Right to Information Act (RTI). The HC was hearing a fresh challenge to an order of the State CIC which in one stroke brought thousands of slum societies under the provisions of RTI making them liable to share information akin to a public body.
A slum society in Andheri had moved the HC against a December 2017 order passed by the state CIC and a subsequent order of April 2018 issued by a joint registrar Slum Rehabilitation Authority to it. Andheri Juhu Lane Nav Bharat Cooperative Housing society Limited in its petition questioned the legality and validity of these orders. The SC had in 2013 held that housing societies do not come under RTI and the state info commissioner’s order is contrary to it said, senior counsel Damle before a bench of Justices SS Kemkar and Nitin Sambre. The bench then adjourned the matter for further hearing and stayed the orders.
Section 32 of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960, is parallel to the provision of Sections 3 and 7 of the RTI Act, said the petition as it covers rights of members to inspect and see “free of cost’’ the society’s office, and is entitled to get, for a fee, copies of audited annual balance sheet, profit and loss account, its committee members’ list as well as list of members, minutes of general meetings and records of society’s transactions.