I C Naik
In a landmark order, Additional sub urban district forum has held that refusal to allot parking space to a flat owner as a quid pro quo for unpaid society dues amounted to deficiency in service by the society.
George and Philomena Thakkara got a favorable order against Venus Cooperative Housing Society in Powai and Sun City Housing on a complaint filed in 2013. VENUS CHS has been asked to allot parking space to these joint flat owners within two months and, along with the builder, the society has to pay Rs 5,000 as compensation. The society having not exhausted the remedy available under the Section 101 of the MCS Act 1960 to recover the dues, weighed heavily in favour of the flat owners. The forum also ruled that “We are of the opinion that the Development Control Rules do not allow the society to withhold the allotment of parking on the grounds that dues are pending against the flat purchasers.“
The forum also ordered the builder, Sun City Housing, to hand over the occupation certificate to the complainants.
The Thakkaras’ case was because they had contacted the deputy registrar of cooperative societies to intervene and solve the issue, the society’s office-bearers began harassing them by making false allegations and complaints to various authorities and also issued notices to them by raising demands for outstanding dues including placing the dust bins under their flat, which caused severe nuisance..
Management of the society’s defense was in 2013-14, the Thakkaras were found ineligible and therefore, in view of guidelines of the general body meeting, were not allotted parking space. They also alleged that “In the meeting, their behaviour towards the society and other flat holders was taken into consideration and therefore, parking place was not allotted to them,“
The forum denied the contentions about the garbage bins pointing out that none of the other residents had made any such complaints about the dust bins’ proximity to their flats. “If the correspondence on record filed by the complainants is perused, the only conclusion that can be drawn that due to their personal grievances with the office-bearers, the complainants want to settle their score by agitating against the issue of garbage bins,“ the forum said, while refuting that part of the complaint.