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Supreme Court sets aside High Court order on flat owners' right on 'common areas'

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New Delhi: 

The Supreme Court today set aside a Punjab and Haryana High Court order, accepting the plea of flat owners of a residential society developed by DLF Ltd at Gurgaon, that they have "undivided interest" in common areas and facilities including schools inside the housing complex.

The High Court had asked the competent authority to decide the objections of the owners the Silver Oaks Apartments at Gurgaon to the declaration filed by DLF Ltd by which they were deprived of their rights.

"We are of the view that the High Court has not properly appreciated or applied the various statutory provisions of the Regulation Act and the Rules framed thereunder, the terms of licences issued, agreements executed between the coloniser and the DTCP vis-a-vis the various provisions of the Apartment Act, the statutory declaration made by the colonizer and the Sale Deeds executed between the parties," a bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and A K Sikri said.

Setting aside the HC verdict, the court said, "We have clearly indicated that the ownership right over the land earmarked for schools, hospitals, community centres and other community buildings referred to in ...the Development Act vests on the colonizer (DLF)."

It rejected the plea of flat owners that the Silver Oaks Apartments at Gurgaon is 'gated' colony and hence, the development works, undertaken inside the premises, are parts of common areas.

The bench said the plea though sounded "attractive" but lacked merits.

"These structures are two nursery schools, three shops and one community centre, which cannot be treated as 'common areas and facilities' within the definition of ... of the Act.

"Common passages, staircases, lifts etc. are the examples of such common areas and facilities. Likewise, stilt parking area may be treated as part of common areas and facilities, in certain circumstances," the bench said.

The court's decision came on the plea of DLF ltd against the order of the High Court that appreciated the rights of flat owners over various facilities inside their housing complex and had asked the concerned authorities to take a call on their objection.

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