Judge dismisses case brought by man against condo MC for not issuing him car park label
SINGAPORE - A man who took the management corporation (MC) of his condominium to court because he was not issued a car park 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 a carpark label, although he provided the MC a document bearing his old address.
In his court action, he challenged a by-law of the condo which allows only residents with vehicle log cards showing the registered owner’s address within the Fort Road estate to be issued with a car park 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 car park 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.
Judge Ng 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.
“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,” he said.
Mr Nanwani had applied for a car park label on Sept 30, 2022, but was never issued one.
In late October 2022, 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, 2022, 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 car park 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 car park label and reserving his right to claim “aggravated damages”.
On Dec 14, 2022, the condo’s estate manager wrote to Mr Nanwani’s lawyers, giving him a deadline 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, 2022, seeking a declaration that the by-law was invalid, an order for the MC to issue him a car park 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 car park labels with friends and family who do not live at the condo.
To address this abuse, the by-law was made to ensure that car park labels were tied to specific vehicles.
Mr Nanwani argued the parking by-law is inconsistent with regulations which state that a management corporation 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 parking by-law was unreasonable and onerous.
But the judge said that there was a good reason for the by-law and that it was not onerous as the only steps involved are updating one’s identity card to reflect his Fort Gardens address and producing a copy of the vehicle log card to the MC.