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Court rap for trade unit in residential complex

Calcutta High Court on Monday directed the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) to take steps against illegal commercial establishments at Dwarika apartments, a residential complex, on Sarat Bose Road. The judge directed the police to file a report on the building within two months.

Justice K.J. Sengupta, hearing the case, said that the promoters had no right to allow flat-owners to run businesses in buildings meant for residential purposes. The city civic authority, the judge said, should take steps against those running such businesses in apartments.

Sengupta observed that it was the duty of the promoters to provide a safe and secure environment for all flat-owners. “If a promoter wants to allow a flat-owner to run any trade, he should take the consent of the other flat-owners in this regard first,” the order said. This order is expected to serve as a precedent in several pending cases.

Over 20 flat-owners of Dwarika filed a case before the court, alleging that the promoter, at the time of purchase in 1991, had assured them the apartment would be used for residential purposes only. But now, many flats are being put to commercial use.

According to the petitioners’ lawyer Srijan Nayak, the commercial ventures include a cafe, video parlour, yoga and massage centre. A mobile tower had also been erected on the roof without the consent of the residents. This has, apparently, increased the number of “trespassers” in the building, who frequently disturb the flat-owners.

The owners had informed mayor Subrata Mukherjee about the problem and sought an investigation into the matter, the petitioners submitted. The CMC, they alleged, has not taken any action against the offenders yet, which prompted the residents to move court.

The CMC counsel told the bench that the mayor had instructed the concerned department to conduct an inquiry into the matter. That was when they learnt the businesses were being run illegally.

The judge has directed the respondents to file affidavits and set the next hearing for four weeks after the court’s upcoming recess.

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