Malls and Multiplexes that charge parking fees from vehicle owners who park vehicles in their premises are in dire straits as a directive from the High Court of Gujarat ruled that malls, multiplexes and shopping establishments etc., cannot charge their customer’s parking fees and will have to provide parking space in their premises at no cost. The verdict was made under the provisions of the Comprehensive General Development Control Regulation 2017 (GDCR) and the conclusion was based on the study of provisions in Gujarat building and town planning regulations which mandate that building owners should provide vehicle parking space, where the word “provide” means given free of charge.
Mall owners last year received an order from the Police authorities urging them not to charge parking fees to vehicle owners as the GCDR did not allow it. Last year the mall owners had filled a petition which challenged the directive where mall owners had to offer free parking for the first one hour to all visitors.
Later a single bench accepted that there is no mandate in the GCDR for free parking and the Police had to withdraw their orders, but the court said that mall owners cannot charge exorbitant parking fees and parking fees must be regulated and a framework should be laid down for the same.
But this decision was contested by mall owners by saying that there cannot be a law regulating parking fees and that an entity can charge the user for using their property, but a division bench, after examining the whole case, came to a verdict under Article 226 of the constitution that parking fees cannot be charged.