All residents must have access to common areas: Court

NEW DELHI: Common areas in a housing block like terrace or parking space cannot be under the exclusive control of just one flat owner. These areas should be available for the use of all those who live in the same block, a trial court has said.

The court’s order assumes significance as there is no legislation regarding the usage of such areas.

“Ground floor residents cannot deny access of common areas on the ground level to those on the upper floors. Similarly, those on the upper floor cannot deny access of top floors/roofs to those residing on lower floors.” additional district judge Kamini Lau said.

The judge made the observations while disposing of two civil suits. The first suit was filed by Sudershan Malhotra against Anupama Malik and her husband Chander Mohan Malik and the second suit was filed by the couple against Malhotra.

Malhotra, who had sold off the second floor of her building to the couple on June 6, 1997, had said they were harassing her by not letting her use the staircase from the second floor to the terrace where her water tanks were kept.

She had alleged the couple even installed a gate on the second floor to make sure she could not go up to the terrace. On the other hand, the couple had claimed they had installed the gate for their security.

However, the court found no merit in the couple’s argument and said Malhotra was successfully able to prove that she had been deprived access to her water tanks by the Maliks.

“Once a person agrees to the sale/ purchase of a floor in a property, they bind themselves to a joint access to common areas, its use and enjoyment by way of such an agreement. Any obstruction caused that results into deprivation of essential amenities i.e. water, electricity, etc. cannot be permitted and requires immediate intervention to rectify the situation as they have a direct bearing on the right of life of a human.” the court said, while pointing out that there was no specific clause in the sale agreement that stated that the terrace would be exclusively the couple’s property.

It restrained the Maliks from locking their gates to the terrace without giving keys of the same to Malhotra.

Courtsey: Sana Shakil | TNN | 25 April, 2016

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