Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Sharing property: Queer partner rights

Advice - Rights and Laws, Jul '14
By Kaushik Gupta

Reader queries

I am a man and in a relationship with another man. My boy friend has made me a 100% nominee for his flat, of which he is the sole owner. The building society has registered me as a nominee in their books. What are my rights and privileges and can I stay along with him? Can the society object to or question my stay? If yes, what explanation can I give on legal grounds?
SMK, Mumbai

Dear SMK

You have not mentioned which part of the country you are from – this is important since the law of co-operative societies may vary from state to state. However, from your email address I am presuming your location to be Mumbai.

As per Section 30 of the Maharashtra Co-Operative Societies Act 1960, on the death of a member of a society, the society shall transfer the share or interest of the deceased member to a person or persons nominated in interest in accordance with the rules. A nominal member is defined under Section 2(19)(c) of the above Act as "a person admitted to membership as such after registration in accordance with the by-laws". Therefore, whether you can be deemed to be a nominal member can only be answered by going through the by-laws of the building society concerned.

If you are not a nominal member of the society, your right will come into play only after your boy friend dies. Till that time you can only be a guest in his house since you are neither related to him by blood, nor by marriage and hence cannot be termed as a 'family member'. Whether the society can object to or question your stay will also depend on whether there are any clauses in the society’s by-laws regarding staying of guests in the houses of society members. If there are no such clauses prohibiting house guests, then the society cannot raise any question regarding your stay as a friend of a society member (your boy friend).

Kaushik Gupta is a lawyer by profession, a photographer by passion, and happy to answer your queries on legal matters around gender and sexuality. Write in your queries to vartablog@gmail.com, and they will be answered with due respect to confidentiality.

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