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 It would set a “dangerous trend” if real estate promoters were allowed to sell the garages located in the stilted area of residential buildings for commercial purposes, including servicing of vehicles, the Supreme Court said Wednesday.

“It will set a dangerous trend. Some will have flats. Some will have offices and there will be a garage also,” said the vacation bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice R.M. Lodha and comprising Justice A.K. Patnaik.

The court’s observation came in the wake of arguments by senior counsel Sunil Gupta who said that under the new trend, the residential buildings have commercial outlets in the stilted area on the ground floor, offices on the first and the second floor and homes on the higher floors. Gupta appeared for one of the Mumbai-based builders.

The court’s observations came in the course of the hearing of a petition by a real estate company Nahalchand Laloochand Pvt. Ltd.

The petitioner company said that it had an unhindered right to sell the stilted area and the same had nothing to do with the flats and the common area of the residential complex developed by it.

The petitioner company has challenged a Bombay High Court verdict which had ruled that the stilted area was part of the common area.

The court is examining the question whether a garage located in the stilted area of a residential complex was an integral part of the flat or an independent entity in itself thereby entitling the real estate promoter to sell the same for commercial purposes.

In the instant case, 56 flat owners of Panchali Co-operative Housing Society Pvt. Ltd. had forcibly taken over the stilted area meant for 25 parking spaces. Earlier, three of the 28 parking areas were bought by three flat owners.

Subsequently the unsold stilted area was vacated by the flat owners following the restraint orders by a Bombay city civil court.

The petitioner company has contended that under the Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulation of the promotion of construction, sale, management and transfer) Act, 1963 and the Development Control Regulations for Greater Bombay, 1991, there was no requirement that the purchasers of the flats, with each measuring less than 35 square metres carpet area in a building, were to be provided with parking spaces.

The petitioner said that this position was explained to the purchasers at the time of the sale of the flats and the flat owners have given an undertaking to that effect.

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