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MC Exclusive: Karnataka assembly questions grounds of registering RWAs under Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act, 1972

Minister of cooperation S.T. Somashekhar said the state is mulling amending the Act in December and will be seeking further clarifications from the Union government.

The Karnataka state assembly has admitted there was a lack of clarity around the registration of resident welfare associations (RWAs) under the Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act (KAOA), 1972.

Speaking to Moneycontrol, minister of state of cooperation S.T. Somashekhar said, “The state will be seeking further clarifications from the central cooperative minister’s office which will take at least 10-15 days.”

Somashekhar added that the state government is also mulling amending KAOA in December when the assembly reconvenes for the winter session.

During the discussion in the current session, MLA K. Venkata Rao had raised the question of whether RWAs can be registered under KAOA.

In a written reply, the state department of cooperation said KAOA only deals with the deed of declaration, a document detailing information about a property, and registering apartments as per the Registration Act, 1908.

The written reply added, “This Act applies to only property, the sole owner or all the owners who submit the same to the provisions of this Act by duly executing and registering a declaration.”

Additionally, the sub-registrar’s office has the authority to register apartments under KAOA, but there is confusion in the registration of associations. The cooperation department said it has sought clarification from the urban development department and based on the state legal department’s direction, it would take further action.

“The RERA Act has to be followed to enable the formation of an association or cooperative society, as the case may be, of the allottees, or federation of the same under laws applicable. Provided in absence of local laws, the association of allottees shall be formed within three months of the majority of allottees having booked their plot or apartment or building,” the reply said.

The confusion with KAOA

Previously, Abhilash Naik, an advocate, had told Moneycontrol, “Though KAOA mentions the registrar of cooperative societies in Karnataka as the competent authority, the state government has not notified the rules for them.”

Experts say that in the current situation KAOA does not have the power to register the associations as cooperative societies.

Dhananjaya Padmanabhachar, the director, Karnataka Home Buyers Forum, said, “The main crux of the whole issue is transferring apartment project title to the association so that homebuyers’ land rights are protected. We have seen many promoters not executing conveyance deeds and not transferring the share of title ownership to the association due to lack of legal identity of the association.”

Assembly clarifies on Karnataka Ownership Flats Act 1972

In the assembly, the department of cooperation said that for projects constructed before the implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, RWAs must follow the guidelines prescribed by the Karnataka Ownership Flats Act (KOFA), 1972.

In the written reply, Somashekhar said, “As soon as a minimum number of persons required to form a cooperative society have taken flats, the promoter shall within the prescribed period submit an application to the registrar for the registration of the organisation of persons who take the flat as a cooperative society.”

On September 10, Ameya Usgaonkar, a homebuyer, wrote to home minister Amit Shah, who is also the Union minister for cooperation, asking that the principal secretary, department of cooperation, Karnataka, to order developers to strictly adhere to KOFA and RERA and to compulsorily register apartment owners’ associations as a cooperative societies as per Section 10 of KOFA (pre-RERA projects) and Section 11(4) of RERA.

“The assembly discussions are a good step for the homebuyers in Karnataka and will definitely initiate public dialogues on the same,” he added.
Souptik Datta Sub Editor at Moneycontrol
first published: Sep 28, 2022 08:31 pm