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Society should provide parking spaces to members: consumer forum

If a cooperative housing society levies and recovers parking charges from a member, it must provide parking space to him, the South Mumbai district consumer forum recently held.

mumbai Updated: Nov 26, 2014 21:18 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari

If a cooperative housing society levies and recovers parking charges from a member, it must provide parking space to him, the South Mumbai district consumer forum recently held.

According to the complaint, Yogesh Shah and his mother Asha bought two adjoining flats in 21-storey Vardhaman Heights in Byculla in December 2007. At the time of purchase, the developer, Vardhaman Estate Corporation, had assured to allot parking spaces for their vehicles, after seeking the necessary permission from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The mother-son duo alleged the developer demanded huge amount for parking spaces and also tried to obstruct their vehicles. Subsequently, after the housing society was formed, the managing committee, allegedly acting at the behest of the developer, did not allot parking space to them, although a general body meeting was held in March 2012, the complaint stated.

The Shahs then approached the consumer forum, seeking allotment of two parking spaces. Even after getting notices, the housing society did not respond to the complaints. The developer, however, contested the complaint, stating that the society has been formed and parking spaces have been allotted. The developer also raised questions on the maintainability of the complaint.

Accepting the arguments of Shahs’ advocate Ajay Panicker, the forum held a member of a co-operative housing society was a consumer under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, and could seek relief from the forum. The forum, however, dismissed the complaint against the developer.

The bench of forum president SM Ratnakar and member SG Chabukswar has directed the society to allot two parking spaces to the complainants and pay the complainants Rs 10,000 towards compensation mental agony and Rs 5,000 towards litigation cost.

# The complaint

* According to the complaint, Yogesh Shah and his mother Asha bought two adjoining flats in 21-storey Vardhaman Heights in Byculla in December 2007. At the time of purchase, the developer, Vardhaman Estate Corporation, had assured to allot parking spaces for their vehicles, after seeking the necessary permission from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

* The mother-son duo alleged the developer demanded huge amount for parking spaces and also tried to obstruct their vehicles. Subsequently, after the housing society was formed, the managing committee, allegedly acting at the behest of the developer, did not allot parking space to them, although a general body meeting was held in March 2012, the complaint stated.

# The forum held

* Accepting the arguments of Shahs’ advocate Ajay Panicker, the forum held a member of a co-operative housing society was a consumer under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, and could seek relief from the forum. The forum, however, dismissed the complaint against the developer.

* The bench of forum president SM Ratnakar and member SG Chabukswar has directed the society to allot two parking spaces to the complainants and pay the complainants Rs 10,000 towards compensation mental agony and Rs 5,000 towards litigation cost.

# What the law says

* Section 2(1)(d)(i) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, defines a consumer as any person who) buys any goods or services or the one who uses such goods

* It does not include a person who obtains goods for resale or for any commercial purposes

To complain

* A written complaint can be filed before the district consumer forum for pecuniary value of up to Rs 20 lakh, the state commission for value of up to Rs 1 crore and the National Commission for value above Rs1 crore, in respect of defects in goods or deficiency in service

* No complaint can be filed for deficiency in any service that is rendered for free or under a contract of personal service

* The remedy under the Consumer Protection Act is an alternative in addition to that already available to the aggrieved persons/consumers by way of civil suit

* In the complaint/appeal/petition submitted under the Act, a consumer is not required to pay any court fees but only a nominal fee.

# Central Mumbai District Forum and South Mumbai District Forum

Address: New Govt Building, General Nagesh Road, near M Gandhi Hospital

Opp. MD College, Parel

Contact: 022-24171360, 022-24171332

# Mumbai Suburban District Forum

Address: Administrative Building, 3rd floor, near Chetana College, Bandra (E)

Contact: 022-26551625

# Additional Thane District Forum

Address: Konkan Bhawan Annexe Bldg, 4th Floor, Room Nos. 428-429, opposite CBD Belapur railway station, Navi Mumbai

Contact: 022-27575480