PIL against Commercial buildings for charging illegally for car parking

Despite strict orders of the Surat Municipal Corporation regarding non usage of parking spots as commercial spots, several malls, multiplexes and commercial establishments in the city have either leased out the parking spots to vendors or providing parking facilities to the citizens charging exorbitantly. According to rules, parking is to be provided free of cost to the people coming in the commercial establishments and no charges can be taken from the vehicle owners.

PIL against Commercial buildings for charging illegally for car parking

Despite strict orders of the Surat Municipal Corporation regarding non usage of parking spots as commercial spots, several malls, multiplexes and commercial establishments in the city have either leased out the parking spots to vendors or providing parking facilities to the citizens charging exorbitantly.

According to rules, parking is to be provided free of cost to the people coming in the commercial establishments and no charges can be taken from the vehicle owners. After a Public Interest Litigation, filed by social activist, Sanjeev Bhargav Ezhava (Sanjay Ezhava), the Gujarat High Court has come down heavily on the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) and directed the authorities to act immediately on the commercial establishments which are charging for providing parking facilities.

Ezhava, in his petition, has named two of the malls in the city namely, VR Mall and Rahul Raj Mall who according to the petition are charging a fee for the parking but the High Court observed that this is not the case of only two malls but most of the commercial establishments including schools, malls, multiplexes, textile markets are minting money by taking a stipulated charge for parking of vehicles.

It may be mentioned here that SMC before giving the No Objection Certificates for a commercial building, ensures that the building has proper parking facilities. It's only after their satisfaction, NoC is provided for a particular building. Interestingly, there is no tax levied on the owner of the commercial property as according to the provision, that area could not be used for commercial activities.

A few months back, Ezhava met a few senior officials of Surat Municipal Corporation in this regarding and has been protesting against the charges being taken by the malls. Despite the fact that the mall owners were breaking the rules laid down by the SMC itself, no action was taken by the officials concerned.

It was then when Ezhava decided to approach the court to give respite to the people. While talking to Narada News, Ezhava said: "At VR Mall itself, around 500 vehicles gets parked while two wheelers are charged Rs 10 per hour, four wheelers are charged Rs 40-50 on an average.

If calculated this amount stands to around Rs 50 thousand per day and is tax free which means that the entire amount is pocketed by the mall owners. In a month,the amount is huge."

The Court has directed the SMC to frame a stringent law so that the commercial establishment cannot bend the rules framed in this regard.