Mumbai: Bandra resident gets Rs 12 lakh bill for parking car in society space
Dispute over parking in tony apartment complex in Bandra sees society issue whopping bill for occupying two instead of one slot
A dispute over a car parking slot between an elite Bandra housing society and one of its residents is getting murkier. Jaya Nigam, 43, resident of the Jade Gardens housing society has been billed over Rs 12 lakh for parking her vehicles in the society premises. While she maintains she has an agreement for two car parks, the society claims that according to their records, she's allowed to park only one car.
Nigam had booked a flat in Jade Gardens in 2012 and taken possession of the property in 2013. She claims that the developer, instead of mentioning two parking slots, erroneously mentioned one in the registered agreement. The mistake was rectified in 2016. Accordingly, the changes were made in the registration office, too. However, the society's managing committee allegedly refuses to accept them.
'Refuses to accept them'
"We have registered documents that entitle us to two parking slots. The developer, too, has written to the society mentioning this," Nigam said, "I've rectified the documents that have been stamped by the authorised government departments, but still, the society refuses to accept them, and is challenging them, which does not come under their jurisdiction."
The Nigams allege that this issue began only in 2018. Prior to that, everything was fine between them and the society. It was only when the family raised a red flag over alleged financial misappropriation in society accounts the things started getting bitter. "From 2016, for two years, the society had no issues about the second car park. It was only after we raised queries over accounts, the society started harassing us over the car park issue. In fact, they began levying the bill to us under the heading of 'encroachment of society space'. Over a period of 29 months, the bill has now reached Rs 12 lakh," said Nigam.
Society secretary says
The society's honorary secretary said, "The principal agreement, which has signatures of three parties [developer, buyer and society] mentions one car park. The buyer was admitted as a member in 2014. The rectification deed was done after three to four years. The document has only two signatures, that of the developer and the member. The rectified documentation was done without informing the society or making it a confirming party." He said everything in this case has been done in consultation with legal experts and within the framework of rules that govern cooperative housing societies.
The secretary also refuted all charges pertaining to issues raised on accounts. "The highest standards have been followed in maintaining accounts and these have been approved in the general body," he said.
Approved by other members
The secretary further claimed that the decision pertaining to member is not taken by him as individual, but as approved by the members in the general body meeting. "As directed by the general body, the managing committee sought legal opinions on the parking issue. The opinions clearly specify that the society should have been made a confirming party for the rectification documents. The opinion received was kept open for members' inspection and copies of the same was handed over to Nigam's family as discussed in the annual general body meeting of 2018.
All actions have been taken according to the society by-laws. It was in the same meeting that members asked the society to give a month's time to Nigams for their response. If there is no satisfactory reply, the managing committee should take action according to the rules."
Asked why it took two years for the society to act on the issue of the second parking, the secretary, "By the time society received the rectification deed the annual general body meeting for the year 2016 was done. So, the society tabled it before the members in 2017 general body meeting." Meanwhile, the developer, Dinesh Kuwadia, a partner for Happy Homes, confirmed two parking slots were allotted to the Nigams. Stating that he doesn't want to get into the dispute between the society and its member, he said, "We will take a lawful stand whenever it is required."
The row was even escalated to the deputy registrar and police station. But, both agencies have declined to entertain the complaint. The local police refused to register a complaint telling Nigam it is a civil matter. Similarly, the deputy registrar said it is not a competent authority to decide on the validity of the registered agreement or documents. "The court is the appropriate forum for raising such issues," said the March 6 letter sent by the deputy registrar to Nigam and society mentions.
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