Without powers, apartment associations will be ineffective: HC

The empowerment of the resident welfare associations was to deal with the flat owners defaulting payment of maintenance charges, observes the Court

Updated - February 27, 2024 09:30 pm IST

Published - February 27, 2024 09:29 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Telangana High Court on Tuesday declined to grant relief in a writ petition seeking a direction to declare Section 21 of the Telangana Apartments (Promotion of Construction and Ownership) Act-1987 as ultra vires and unconstitutional. 

Section 21 of the Act empowers the apartment association to disconnect supply of essential services, including water and power to the flat occupants. The petition was filed by M/s Bollant Industries Private Limited represented by its managing director Srikanth Bolla having flat on sixth floor of Babukhan Millennium Centre in Somajiguda of Hyderabad. 

The petitioner’s counsel contended that disruption in supply of essential services amounted to denial of Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution. When an Act empowered an apartment association to impose serious penal measures like disconnection of water or electricity, provisions like giving an opportunity to the flat owner to explain his or her case should also have been incorporated in the same Act. 

When a private body like apartment association was accorded such powers, an alternative dispute resolution system at the apartment level itself should have been created by the law makers, the counsel said. The bench of Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice N.V. Shravan Kumar, hearing the plea, noted that the Act was made based on the recommendation from AP Law Commission which studied similar legal structures in the States of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. 

The petitioner had two flat in the complex at Somajiguda. He stopped payment of maintenance charges following disputes over parking space and other issues. The bench observed that the petitioner preferred to challenge constitutional validity of the section instead of moving the appropriate legal forum for redressal of the grievance. 

The objective of the Act was to deal with the flat owners defaulting payment of maintenance charges. Without such provisions, the apartment association would be ineffective. No flat owner can be permitted to continue to live in the place without payment of maintenance charges, the bench observed declining to grant any relief to the petitioner. 

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