Many societies were unable to hold their AGMs during the COVID-19 Pandemic because permission to gather more than 50 people was not granted. During this period, the Maharashtra government issued an online AGM circular to the Commissioner of Cooperation and Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Pune (reference number Tel. No. : Sankirna-2020/Q.No.24/13-S) for conducting online AGM for cooperative societies.
The circular’s contents for online AGM for cooperative societies
According to section 75 of the MCS Act 1960, cooperative societies must hold their annual general meeting within six months of the financial year’s end, or by September 30th. However, due to an increase in COVID-19 instances, the guidelines prohibited groups of more than 50 people. As a result, it cooperative housing societies have their annual general meetings (AGM) via video conferencing (VC) or other audiovisual means (OAVM).
Guidelines Issued for the conduct of online AGM for cooperative societies
The Circular states that:
- Because of the epidemic, the Department of Public Health has decided to enable cooperative housing organisations with 50 members to have their annual meetings in person.
- Societies with more than 50 members may conduct the AGM by video conferencing or other audiovisual means.
- Inform all the members of the society 15 days in advance of the AGM’s date and location. You can do this by SMS, mail, WhatsApp, or any other way the community communicates.
- Post the AGM announcement on the society’s bulletin board and website.
- Inform the agenda to all members of the co-op society at least 15 days in advance.
- Advertise the AGM of the society in at least one local newspaper, district-level newspaper, or state-level Marathi or English media, depending on the area of administration of the housing societies.
- Considered the method before placing an advertisement in the newspaper. Will it be Video conferencing or other audiovisual means(OVAM).
- The date and time of the AGM, as well as information on how members can register their email address or mobile number, if they have not already done so at the society office,
- If need be, conduct he online AGM for cooperative societies after advice from experts.
- According to the rules, the Society is in charge of writing and promulgating the minutes of the AGM.
Online AGM Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What happens if I cannot hold the AGM before December 31?
A: If you cannot have your AGM by December 31, please notify your regional Registrar of Societies department as soon as possible. Failure to hold an AGM before December 31, 2021, will result in sanctions.
A: Yes, you should not prevent them from participating in the AGM as an owner member.
Q. Do I need to keep a quorum for an online AGM for cooperative societies?
A: Yes. The guidelines for online as well as offline AGM compliance are comparable.
Q: During an online AGM for a cooperative society, can each person or group only vote once?
A: Yes. Do not resort to multiple voting.
Q. Is it possible to have MC elections during an AGM?
Q. How can I prevent proxies from accessing the AGM Link?
A: Unfortunately, no. The platforms used can generate unique URLs, but they do not safeguard proxy attendance. Keeping your video on is a good idea.
Q. How can we guarantee that third-party sites hosting the AGM do not abuse our credentials?
A: Have them sign a strict Non-Disclosure Agreement that says they will use the information only for the Online AGM.
Q. Is it expensive to hold an AGM using a third party?
A: Their price includes the platform licence cost (Zoom, Skype, Google, etc.) and the measures to prevent proxy voting and ensure a perfect AGM.
Q. Some of my AGM attendees are hesitant to use a digital platform. Is it possible to have a hybrid AGM?
A: Yes. It is possible to hold a hybrid AGM in which some participants are offline while others are online.