In a Historical First, Maharashtra Government has issued a Circular giving legal validation to conduct AGM Online for Co-operative Housing Societies and Apartment Complexes in the wake of COVID-19.
Takeaways from the AGM Online Webinar
About The AGM Compliances
- Societies must conduct their AGM by December 31, 2021 to avoid Penalties. In case any Community feels they cannot meet the deadline, the local Registrar of Societies must be informed with cause well in advance.
- Things to mandatorily circulate before and in an AGM – Annual Performance Report of Management Committee, last Financial Year’s Audited Balance Sheet & Income-Expense Statement, Minutes of the Meeting of the last Annual General Meeting.
- The Online AGM is applicable for Communities with a 50+ Owner membership. Communities with less than 50 Owner members have to conduct their AGM physically by following Social Distancing & other Govt. endorsed COVID protocols.
- Compulsorily AGM invites must go out 15 days before the Meeting via poster/letter on Notice Boards, e-mails, SMS-es, WhatsApp.
- The advertisement in regional newspapers must mention the name of the digital platform used to conduct the AGM along with Date & Time and how to submit Owner details (E-mail id, phone number) to MC.
- Statutory Auditor & Internal Auditor appointment to be done in AGM.
About Conducting the AGM Online
- Use a platform that can generate Unique Links for each AGM participant and allows Screen Sharing for Presentations.
- Keep internet connectivity back ups in the form of Router UPS, Hotspots.
- Mandate keeping video on to avoid proxies and imposters.
- There is no time limit to how long an online AGM can go on. However, best practice is to keep it within 3 hours.
- Choose a platform that enables Online and at the spot Polling for Decision Making.
- Make sure to choose a platform with an easy User Interface, keeping in mind residents who are not technologically savvy.
- Virtual AGM Checklist – Prior Notice, AGM Platform, Capacity to Accommodate Members, Agenda, Reports & Presentations, Q&A Session, Polling, Minutes of Meeting.
FAQ for Online AGM
Q. Can I ensure proxies can’t access the AGM Link?
A: Unfortunately no. The available platforms can create unique links, can stop multiple people joining using the same link but does not provide protection against proxy attendance. A best practice is to keep your video on.
Q. Can defaulters attend the AGM?
A: Yes. Non payment of dues does not disqualify them from attending the AGM as part of their Owner member rights.
Q. How are we sure that our credentials won’t me misused by third party platforms organising the AGM?
A: Sign a strict Non Disclosure Agreement with the vendor clearly mentioning your data cannot be used for any other purpose, except for the Online AGM.
Q. Can we conduct MC elections in an AGM?
A: No. This is not allowed.
Q.What if I can’t have my AGM by December 31, 2021?
A: If you can’t conduct your AGM by December 31, it is best to inform your local Registrar of Societies office well in advance. Failure to conduct AGM by 31/12/2021 will attract penalties.
Q. Why is the cost of conducting AGM through a third party so high?
A: The cost includes the following :
a. Cost of platform licence (Zoom, Google Meet, etc.)
b. Manpower to stop proxy attendance and ensuring the AGM is flawless
Q. Do I have to maintain a quorum for online AGM too?
A: Yes. The compliance rules for offline and online AGM are similar.
Q. In an online AGM can Polling be restricted to one vote per unit?
A: Yes. Polling modules and software usually don’t allow multiple voting.
Q. Some of my AGM participants are not comfortable with digital platform. Can I have a mixed AGM?
A: Yes. A hybrid AGM where part of the attendees are offline and a part online, can be conducted. However, total number of offline members must be below 50.