House hunting problems faced by bachelors in Pune

It is no secret that bachelors are avoided in every society, reason being the overenthusiastic attitude, their nouveau independence and freedom. But in Pune, residential societies are pushing the norm bit too far. On the Indian Cooperative Forum, a Mr. B.F. Gonsalves stated that the society in which he holds a flat, passed a resolution in September 2014 to not allocate flats to bachelors. To add to it, a penalty of Rs. 10,000 per month was also being charged to the people obstructing this rule. This is not the only case of its kind. Of course, the already residing tenants of such societies would have to move out, and begin their hunt for accommodations. So, the question is: where do these bachelors - many of who stay far away from their own homes, go? And this, in spite of the fact that Pune is the “Oxford of the East”- with its many reputed colleges and institutes and the large number of young population, is not only appalling but much more than a little inconvenient and unjust. 

The illustrious societies of Pimpri- Chinchwad, as well as those of south and west Pune do not entertain “unmarried” people due to the general perception that they would party, listen to loud music or create ruckus. There are many societies which have this rule. Three prominent ones being Deepmala and Royal Imperio at Konkane Chowk near Pimple Saudagar, Sarita Sangam Society in Kasarwadi, and Vasant Avenue near Shiv Sai Lane and Mahalaxmi Society. The major problem with such a rule is that it is biased and based on “generalization”, which is not fair. These high end societies are not the only ones who prohibit bachelors; bachelors are precluded even in the affordable societies like Sukhwani Campus in Pimpri, Shree Samarth Apartments in Katraj, and Amba Atika Suyong Paradise in Kondhwa. Owing to the remaining number of flats available for bachelors, even those that are available are charging exorbitant rents and levying strictest of rules. There is no government statute that provides for such discrimination, but yet the managing committees of societies have taken this stand.

Bachelor friendly properties in Pune

According to commonfloor data, about 5944 properties are available for rent in Pune and among them, around 2570 properties are available for rent to bachelors. So, according to this, 43% of the flats are offered to bachelors for rent in Pune and remaining 57% do not on-board bachelors with priority. This might be due to financial security that a family provides over bachelors, as tenants. 

In fact, there have been cases, for example –In case of Farrukh Khan, where the owners of flats do not have any problem with having bachelors as tenants, but are sternly discouraged by the housing societies - who do not agree to grant NOC (No Objection Certificate). One may wonder, where a housing society assumes such unquestionable powers from. From nowhere, but the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act of 1960 states that if a person is living in a housing society, then that society is supposed to make laws as per its own discretion, to oversee the members of the society. But, since the rules of a housing society do not enjoy the same absolutism as laws, they can be subject to questions, allegations, and even a police complaint. In fact, an Article in the Indian Constitution states that “every Indian citizen has the right to reside anywhere in the country and discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, sex, eating habits or marital status is not allowed. Post the complaint, if the owner does not have an objection to granting the flat for use by a bachelor, the housing society would have to concede''. 

Ravindra Bhambre, member of housing society of Mithras Park in Pimple Saudagar, stated, “The society feels that a group of bachelors is likely to mess up the place and create a nuisance for other society members. They make a lot of noise, indulge in drinking and smoking too. Many youngsters are extremely arrogant. We have faced a lot of trouble in the past…” There are many other non empirical observations by members of other housing societies too - such as Deepak Salvi, who is a member of housing society of Sarita Sangam Society in Kasarwadi. He also has something very similar to say: “……They might bring their boyfriends or girlfriends over, something that society members don’t want their children to be exposed to.” There is also Suraj Chalke, Chairman of Kailash society in Kothrud, who has an equally vague and unproven, so called reason to give. While, there might have been a couple of bad cases of bachelors, to generalize and victimize all bachelors is wrong.

So much is the gravity of the plight of bachelors in Pune that the Pune police had to intervene against this illegal practice. Many people have spoken up, there’s Ajay Pujari, a chartered accountant originally from Gulbarga, who has borne the brunt of this discriminatory policy. Dominic Braganza, advocate and partner at Abhay Nevagi and Associates, asserts that the practice is illegal and there’s nothing that the police or cooperative court can do about this. He said that only the grieved party can take a stand, approach the high court and address the grievances. 

Despite this, Pune police along with its police commissioner, Mr. Kaushal Kumar Pathak have taken a stand against these discriminatory policies of housing societies. The people of Pune are now emboldening, and gaining tremendous support over the ground. Even the house owners says that the housing societies are indulging in illegal norms and bullying. When a twenty four year old Rhythm Parihar was asked to move out of her flat in Vasant Avenue Society in Pimple Saudagar, the house owner Ranganath Acharya also said that the activity of the housing society was wrong, and that there are other legal ways to deal with trouble causing tenants. 

Thus, it is clearly evident that in the hi-tech and hi-profile city of Pune, society makes very clear segregations by putting the unmarried lots in trouble. A generalized opinion about bachelors has led to such unwanted division and treatment towards the bachelors residing in Pune.

Those who are indulging in some kind of misdeed or frivolity can be handled in a more legal way rather than in a manner that makes them mercilessly homeless in just few minutes. It’s a good thing however that awareness has begun to spread in this direction.

Disclaimer: This article has been written with the help of primary and secondary search data and is subject to change with time.

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