Judge dismisses case brought by man against condo MC for not issuing him a carpark label

Mr Manohar K.D. Nanwani, who moved into the Fort Gardens condo in September 2022, insisted on being given a carpark label, though he provided a document bearing his old address. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLEMAPS

SINGAPORE - A man who took the management corporation (MC) of his condominium to court because he was not issued a carpark label has lost the civil dispute, in a case the judge described as an abuse of the judicial process.

Mr Manohar K.D. Nanwani, who moved into the Fort Gardens condo in September 2022, had insisted on being given a carpark label, although he provided the MC with a document bearing his old address.

In his court action, he challenged a by-law of the condo that allows only residents with vehicle log cards showing the registered owner’s address within the Fort Road estate to be issued with a carpark label.

He claimed the by-law was invalid because it contravened the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act, and also argued that it was discriminatory.

But District Judge Jonathan Ng rejected his argument.

In a written judgment published on Saturday, he also noted that Mr Nanwani subsequently updated his address on his identity card, which would automatically result in the change on his vehicle log card.

This meant he could have simply printed or downloaded a copy of his vehicle log card from the Land Transport Authority’s OneMotoring website to apply for a carpark label.

“Had he done so, this entire dispute would have fallen away. However, instead of taking this eminently sensible course, he conjured up a factual basis to keep this dispute alive,” said the judge.

He concluded that Mr Nanwani was never interested in the legal merits of his case.

“His only interest has been in using the judicial process to vex and oppress the respondent,” said the judge. “Indeed, this originating application, with its highly emotive, but ultimately baseless, claims of unreasonableness and discrimination, has been a quintessential abuse of process from start to finish.”

Mr Nanwani had applied for a carpark label on Sept 30, 2022, but was never issued one.

In late October, he was told by a security guard that he would have to produce an updated vehicle log card bearing his Fort Gardens address.

A series of confrontations between Mr Nanwani and the MC followed.

On Nov 30, a notice was placed on his car, giving a “final warning” that unauthorised parking would result in the vehicle being wheel-clamped.

His lawyers then wrote to the MC’s lawyers, asking for a carpark label to be issued “immediately”.

After an episode where his car was wheel-clamped and then unclamped, his lawyers sent a letter to the MC, once again asking for a carpark label and reserving his right to claim “aggravated damages”.

On Dec 14, the condo’s estate manager wrote to Mr Nanwani’s lawyers, giving him a deadline by which to produce his vehicle log card and offering him the opportunity to view the condo’s by-laws.

After more to-and-fro correspondence, Mr Nanwani filed a court application on Dec 20 seeking a declaration that the by-law was invalid, an order for the MC to issue him a carpark label, and a restraining order to stop the MC from wheel-clamping his car.

In response, the MC said residents used to abuse the system by sharing their carpark labels with friends and family who do not live at the condo.

To address this abuse, the by-law was made to ensure that carpark labels were tied to specific vehicles.

Mr Nanwani argued that the parking by-law is inconsistent with regulations stating that an MC shall not unreasonably withhold its approval to the parking or leaving of a vehicle on the common property.

But Judge Ng found that the MC, which was constituted in March 1995, was not bound by the regulations, which came into effect in April 2005.

Mr Nanwani had argued that the parking by-law is unreasonable and onerous.

But the judge said there was good reason for the by-law and that it was not onerous as the only steps involved are updating the identity card to reflect his Fort Gardens address and producing a copy of the vehicle log card to the MC.

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