The Gujarat High Court Wednesday said local authorities can prohibit owners of malls and multiplexes from collecting parking fee, under the provisions of the Comprehensive General Development Control Regulation 2017 (GDCR). A bench of Chief Justice Anant S Dave and Justice Biren Vaishnav said this in its order on an appeal filed by Ruchi Malls Pvt Ltd, challenging the order of a single-judge bench barring commercial complexes from collecting a fee for parking vehicles for the first hour.
The division bench also held that the single-judge bench's order directing the state government to frame a policy to regulate parking was not permissible in exercise of powers under Article 226 of the Constitution. "Since the GDCR framed under the provisions of the Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act, 1976, and the Gujarat Nagarpalika Act, 1963, do not provide any parking fees in case of mall and multiplexes and duty is cast upon them to provide parking, meaning thereby, no charge is to be levied for providing parking to visitors under the garb of providing
safety, security, etc," it said. The court said that mall owners already avail the benefit of exclusion of the floor space index (FSI) towards parking and undertake to provide parking space in such excluded FSI.
They also undertake to provide parking facility to visitors while obtaining building use permission, it said, adding, "Hence, such benefit of FSI towards parking is ultimately required to be passed on to the public at large." The petitioner had said that denying the right to charge parking fee violated its "right to carry on business under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution and there cannot be a law regulating parking fees that an entity can charge for use of its property and there cannot be a policy to regulate parking fee".
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