Lawfully yours: By Retd Justice K Chandru
Your legal questions answered by Justice K Chandru, former Judge of the Madras High Court. Do you have a question? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
A residential building cannot be used for commercial purposes
Q: Ours is a residential complex registered under the Societies Act. Recently, a push-cart fruit seller, who was earlier denied permission to sell fruits by parking his cart alongside the building, bought a 1 BHK in our complex. Now, he says he will sell fruits right at his doorstep. This will amount to outsiders trespassing into our complex, a private property. As the items he sells are perishable and a rotten smell will emanate, it will also provide a perfect ground for the rats to proliferate. Our bylaws clearly state no business activities shall be allowed within the premises. How can we overcome the situation?
— VS Jayaraman, Chennai
A: I think this must have been one of the many letters to this column concerning your flat complex. If any occupant or owner of a flat in that complex defies the bylaws of the society, you can file a civil suit against him and get him restrained from carrying on his business from your complex. A residential premises cannot be used for non-residential purposes. A society bylaw is a contract and sacrosanct. See the Supreme Court judgment in Zorashtrian Co.op Housing Society vs. District Registrar (Urban) reported in 2005(5)SCC632.
If advocate not competent enough to get you relief, find a new one
Q: I am the first respondent in a Dearness Allowance case presently before the HC on account of an appeal writ filed by the employer. After the petitioner-appellant sought time, the judge posted the matter for another day. But due to portfolio change, no hearing happened. The petitioner is hell-bent on dragging the issue and is not seeking a listing of the case. As a respondent, I’m told I can’t ask for a listing but can send a notice to the appellant-petitioner. Since no hearing happened after the petitioner-appellant sought time, how can I send a notice? Also, is it not the court’s responsibility to list the case in the appropriate court after the portfolio change?
— S Madhavan, Madipakkam
A: This column cannot be used to know what steps to be taken in your pending case in the High Court. You have a lawyer who should do the needful. This column is meant for people who have a legal problem but want to know how to proceed. Whatever advice is given here is for you to proceed on the correct line. Ultimately, the lawyer engaged by you alone can get you relief. This must be one of your many questions in the same case. It would be unprofessional to advise you on your pending matter. If your lawyer is inefficient or shows a deficiency in service, change your lawyer. From this column, we cannot tell the Chief Justice as to what he must do.