Shopping Malls cannot ask for parking fee Quotes from Consumer Judgments

Case Title: Pauly Vadakkan v. Lulu International Shopping Mall Pvt Ltd. (WP(C) NO. 29749 OF 2021),January 28, 2022.

The first petition was moved by a social worker Bosco Louis who appeared as a party in person. Another petition was moved by film director Pauly Vadakkan after he was charged Rs 20 as parking fees when he visited the mall on December 2.

In his plea, Vadakkan had alleged that the mall staff closed the exit gates and threatened him when he initially refused to pay the amount

Kerala High Court on Friday opined that prima facie, the collection of parking fees by Lulu International shopping mall was not appropriate while adjudicating upon a couple of pleas alleging that the mall collecting parking fees from its customers was illegal.

Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan sought a clear response from the Kalamassery Municipality on this question and posted the matter to be taken up after two weeks.

“As per the Building Rules, parking space is a part of the building, and a building permit is issued on the condition that there will be a parking space. Based on this undertaking a building is constructed. After construction, whether the owner can collect a parking fee is the question. Prima face, I am of the opinion that it is not the case. Now I want to know the stand of the Municipality in this issue.”

The Court after hearing both sides directed the Municipality to file a statement on its definite stand whether a parking fee can be collected for a parking space mandatory under Building Rules

The matter taken up on January 28, 2022.

  • It was observed that collecting parking fees was a blatant violation of the Kerala Municipality Act and Kerala Municipality Building Rules 1994 since as per the rules, the mall is a commercial complex and the place earmarked in the approved building plan for parking cannot be converted into a pay & park facility.
  • If any conversion is made, that is a fraud on the statute and unsustainable in the eye of the law, the petitioner had submitted.
  • In 2019, the Gujarat High Court had ruled that malls and multiplexes should not collect parking fees as they are under a statutory obligation to provide car parking space.

 Prepared By Dr Prem Lata

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