Roles and Duties of Resident Welfare Association (RWA)

You may have heard of the RWAs and often wondered about the exact nature of these associations? What are their roles and duties? Do they need to have a valid registration? Are they legal? What do they constitute? Etc.

An attempt is made below giving the Overview of the Resident Welfare Association (RWA) and the basics of Roles and Duties of Resident Welfare Association (RWA).

These are made for each colony and at times, even each block, in case the colony has several blocks.

Resident Welfare Association Powers and Functions

The registration of RWA is under the Society Registration Act,1860 (with state-wise amendments).
The control involves framing constitutional documents such as a Memorandum of Association (MOA) outlining their goals and functions.
Residents form these non-profit organizations. However, they have no formal authority. A Resident Welfare Association, for example, cannot truly affect your right to own or exercise rights over the property you own!
Its powers are limited to contributing funds for upkeep, organizing seminars and cultural events, and so on.
Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) may have their own set of rules that, among other things, specify their powers, functions, governance structure, and dignitary titles.

Is RWA legal?

Yes, RWA is a legal entity and hence can sue and be sued because it is a society.

What is the main Role of RWA?

Upholding society’s by-laws, resolving any disagreements about colony management, or common space maintenance, etc.

What is the minimum number of residents required to form a resident welfare association?

Under the societies registration act, 1860, seven or more people can sign a memorandum of association and file it with the registrar of societies to form themselves into a society.

Are there any guidelines for RWAs? Are they obligatory?

For resident welfare associations, the government has drafted model rules and regulations. The government may also offer instructions to these RWAs, as was in the case of the Delhi government’s Bhagidari scheme aimed to increase citizen participation in local governance.
The RWA must fulfill its mandate and take proactive action to preserve society’s interests.

Comparison of Powers of Resident Welfare Associations and Co-operative Housing Societies

In contrast to the power of co-operative housing societies, the powers of Resident Welfare Associations are very limited. There are no statutory powers as they are voluntary organizations created to manage residents’ interests.

Co-operative housing societies have various powers such as:
The authority to grant or deny a member’s request to transfer a multi-story flat.
The authority to expel a member for failure to pay the society’s dues.

Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) are governed by a different set of rules. A quick overview of the governance structure of Resident Welfare Associations is provided here-

Termination of Membership – Any member’s membership may be cancelled for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:
– A member of society who works against the society’s goals and objectives.
– Death.
– Resignation.
– If a member fails to attend three consecutive general body meetings without prior written notification.
– There is an appeal to the general body of the society in the event of rejection; the general body’s decision is final. The reason for the rejection must be notified to the member in question.

Members’ Rights and Privileges

Each member has the right to attend the membership general body meeting. Aside from that, he or she has the right to vote at society’s meetings. Every member has the right to attend society’s meetings, activities, and social gatherings.

Quorum and Notice of Meeting

  • The society’s general body is formed, made up of all members.
  • The general body will convene once a year, with a minimum of two-thirds of the members present.
  • On the written request of 3/4 of the members and with appropriate notice, an emergency meeting of the general body may be called.
  • Generally, the topics covered are – the passing of the budget, the auditing of accounts, and the upkeep of the neighborhood.
  • Governing Board — The Resident Welfare Association should have a governing body to oversee and manage the society’s day-to-day operations.
  • The governing body’s meetings must be held within a reasonable time frame determined by the society, with a quorum of two-thirds of the members present.
  • Every year, the society’s accounts will be audited by a qualified auditor designated by the governing body.
  • The society’s governing body will be elected for a definite term determined by each RWA individually.
  • The election will be conducted by raising hands. The three outgoing office bearers must testify to the newly elected governing body’s list, which will then be lodged with the registrar of societies.

Structure/strength of the governing body:

One Vice-President:
One General Secretary:
One Treasurer:
One financial advisor:
One member of the executive committee
Office Bearers’

Authority and Responsibilities

He or she will preside over all meetings of the general and governing bodies. In the event of a tie in any meeting, he or she must vote for a draw. From time to time, he/she supervises the activities of other office-bearers.

In the absence of the President, the Vice-President has all of the President’s powers and responsibilities. He or she will occasionally assist the President in his or her duties.
He/She will represent the society in both public and private offices as General Secretary.
He/she has the authority to keep all forms of society data, including member registrations comprising their names, addresses, and other basic details.

In the absence of the General Secretary, the Secretary assumes all of the General Secretary’s powers and responsibilities.
He or she will occasionally help the General Secretary in his or her duties.

He or she is in charge of collecting subscriptions, gifts, grants-in-aid, and donations from members and the general public, as well as recording and maintaining the society’s fund’s true and correct accounting.
The Treasurer, or one of the President or General Secretary, will be in charge of the society’s bank account.

Every RWA fiscal year begins on April 1st and concludes on March 31st of each year. The Society’s funds must be maintained in a designated bank.

Executive Members
As ordered by the President and General Secretary, they will assist in the day-to-day operations of the society.

A list of the society’s office-bearers and members of the governing body must be filed with the Registrar of Societies, once a year in April, as required by section 4 of the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

A List of Typical Resident Welfare Association Functions

  • To provide or arrange to improve common facilities in the area, such as a park, drainage, roads, streetlights, scavenging, water and electricity supplies, banking, post office, bus services, community hall, milk booth, health center, rationing shop, mini-super bazaar, shopping facilities, and so on, in the common interest of the residents. They must bring such matters to the attention of the appropriate authorities promptly and pursue the same.
  • From time to time, arrange and organize social and cultural gatherings.
  • Making appropriate arrangements in the campus for differently-abled, widows, handicapped orphans, and the elderly.
  • To approach the appropriate authorities for the redressal of society members’ problems.
  • To conduct legal communication to schedule meetings and conferences with the relevant authorities.
  • To disseminate information on government rules, policies, and notifications to the association’s members.
  • To organize services for the neighborhood, such as sanitary fittings, plumbing, electrical work, security, and sweeping, among others.
  • To accept and collect any gift or donation obtained in any lawful manner, and to put it towards the fulfillment of all or any other social objectives.
  • If someone wants to contribute, they should do so solely to further society’s goals.
  • Ensuring rules and regulations for the society are adhered to by penalising the errant members who repeatedly defy the rules.

The Roles and Duties of Resident Welfare Association (RWA) do not end here. It is a vast canvas as it is the RWA that can make all the difference to the quality of life of the residents.

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