HYDERABAD: Close to a year after illegally collecting Rs 20 as parking fee, a commercial complex has been ordered to pay a compensation of Rs 15,000 to a customer. Vijay Gopal, a city-based consumer rights activist, knocked at the doors of a consumer forum after he was illegally charged Rs 20 for parking his vehicle at Sandhya Theatre near RTC X Roads. The incident occurred on December 2 last year when he went to the theatre to watch a movie.
In his complaint, Vijay Gopal said that commercial complexes needed to earmark 44 per cent of the built-up area as parking space for the convenience of people. And, further added that the police and GHMC officials were not accepting any complaints with regarding the said violation.
Mentioning GO MS 168 as a reference, the complainant stated that the provisions of AP/TS Apartments Promotion of Construction and Ownership Act 1987 has laid down that selling, leasing and misusing of the common areas and facilities is prohibited. The theatre, meanwhile, contested the charges by maintaining that Gopal has no evidence to show that he watched the movie despite the fact that a xerox copy of the parking ticket was submitted along with his complaint to the forum. It alleged that the complainant is a chronic litigant who files against all malls and cinema complexes without any basis. However, the forum held that parking charges cannot be regulated and held that Rs 10,000 as compensation should be paid besides that Rs 5,000 towards court charges are to be paid.
“A person who constructs a commercial complex and expects the public to come to the place for various activities cannot be permitted to contend that it is a private place,” the forum held.
The forum, also said that charging parking fees would reduce the menace of illegal parking and would provide employment opportunity to those taking care.
“To totally stop charging parking fees is not practical nor will it help the general public. Moreover, it provides employment and succour to so many people,” the forum held.