Plea filed against Lulu Mall Kochi for collecting parking fees 'illegally'text_fields
A notice has been issued by the Kerala High Court against the government, a municipality in Ernakulam and Lulu International Shopping Mall Ernakulam for allegedly collecting parking fees by force from customers. A plea was filed against the shopping mall by film director Paul Vadakkan who alleged that a parking fee was forcibly collected from him.
Justice N Nagaresh issued notice to the state government, the Kalamassery Municipality and the shopping mall, seeking their stand on the petition, which contended that the mall's management was responsible for providing free parking to customers.
Vadakkan has alleged that the mall staff closed the exit gates and threatened him when he initially refused to pay the amount.
"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...the statute does not confer any right to the first respondent to collect parking fees from their customers. Therefore it is clear that the 1st respondent is collecting parking fees without any authority of law and the same is illegal," the plea filed through advocate Jomy K Jose was quoted as saying by PTI.
Vadakkan's plea seeks to declare the collection of parking fees illegal and to recover a refund of the ₹20 he was made to pay to the mall. His allegations have been contested by Lulu management's lawyer who has maintained that the mall has a license to collect parking fees and that it has been doing the same since 2010.
Similar complaints regarding parking fees have been circulating since 2015 when Rema George, Parliamentary Board Chairperson of the Lok Janshakti Party, filed a case in the Ernakulam Consumer Court regarding the collection of parking fees which she claimed was illegal as the building should have one tenth of its total area allotted for parking space and that this should be done free of cost. Thus since Lulu occupied 25 lakh square feet, so 2.5 lakh square feet should be allotted for free parking as per the rules, she said.
The consumer court had ordered Lulu to keep a separate account for parking fees until the matter was decided.
Another notice regarding the government's stand on the parking fees was issued by the High Court in November this year, after the complaint of complainant, Bosco Louise.