Shopping Malls Have No Rights To Charge Parking Fees: Kerala High Court Order
Generally when we visit a shopping complex or a mall, we have to pay a set parking fee for as long as the vehicle is parked.
As per a recent order by the Kerala High Court, prima facie, malls do not have the right to collect parking fees from customers, in relation to a plea filed in the court against Lulu International shopping mall in Kochi.
What is The Case About?
A film director, Pauly Vadakkan petitioned in the Kerala High Court against the Lulu International shopping mall, after alleging that despite the mall’s management being responsible for providing free parking to customers, he was asked to pay a Rs 20 parking fee, on his visit to the Ernakulam mall on December 2.
He further added in his statement that the mall staff threatened him to pay the amount by shutting the exit gates on him, when he refused to pay the parking fee charge.
“The parking area in a commercial complex is a public place meant for the purpose of the customers visiting that commercial complex and the 1st respondent (Lulu) in no way can collect parking fees for the same,” he added.
However, to this, the mall’s lawyer stated that the mall had a license.
What Is the Outcome of the Case?
Justice P V Kunhikrishnan, while hearing the plea filed by Vadakkan in the Kerala High Court shared his opinion that prima facie, malls do not have the right to collect parking fees and asked Kalamassery municipality if it did issue any license to the Lulu International mall for the same.
Justice Kunhikrishnan further added that while it was illegal for the mall to collect parking fees from customers, he did not ask the mall to stop the collection but said it would be at their risk.
“As per the Building Rules, sufficient area for parking space is necessary for constructing a building. Parking space is part of the building. The building permit is issued on condition that there will be parking space.
Based on this undertaking the building is constructed. After constructing the building, whether the owner of the building can collect parking fee is the question. Prima facie I am of the opinion that it is not possible,” the court added in its order.
The court has also pushed the case for next hearing on January 28, when it expects the municipality to file a statement about its stand regarding the issue.
The order read, “Further collection of the parking fee by respondent (Lulu Mall) for parking vehicles in the area which is earmarked in the building permit for parking will be subject to the result of the final decision of this writ petition. But I make it clear that they can collect the parking fee at their risk.”