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Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulation of the Promotion of Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer) Act, 1963: s. 2(a-1) – Stilt parking space – Rights of promoter viv-a-vis housing society – Held: Stilt parking space is neither covered by term `flat’ nor `garage’ but is a part of `common areas’ – MOFA restricts the rights of promoter in the block or building constructed for flats or to be constructed for flats to which the Act applies – Promoter has no right to sell any portion of such building which is not `flat’ within the meaning of s. 2(a-1) nor has he the right to sell stilt parking space – He only has the right to sell unsold flats – Entire land and building has to be conveyed to the organization – Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulations of the Promotion of Construction, Etc.) Rules, 1964 – Development Control Regulations for Greater Bombay, 1991 – Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act, 1970 – Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 – Transfer of Property Act, 1882 – Urban Development. s. 2(a-1) – `Flat’ – Meaning of – Held: Flat is a separate and self- contained set of premises that forms part of the building and is used or intended to be used for residence or office, showroom or shop or godown or for carrying on industry or business – Stand alone garage or garage as an independent unit by itself is not a `flat’ within the meaning of s. 2(a-1) – Interpretation of Statutes. s. 2 (a-1) – Stilt parking space/open parking space of building – Held: Stilt parking space/open parking space of a building regulated by MOFA, is a part of `common areas’- It may be usable as a parking space but does not tantamount to a `garage’ within the meaning of s. 2(a-1) r/w condition No. 2 Form V of 1964 Rules, thus not saleable independently as a flat or along with a flat – Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulations of the Promotion of Construction, Etc.) Rules, 1964. Purpose of Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulation of the Promotion of Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer) Act, 1963 – Explained. Words and Phrases: `Flat’ – Connotation of, in the context of premises. Garage’ – Conntation of. The appellant, a promoter, developed few properties and entered into agreements for sale of flats with the flat purchasers, namely, the members of the respondent co-operative housing society. The appellant filed a suit for permanent injunction restraining the respondent society from encroaching upon, trespassing and/or in any manner disturbing, obstructing, interfering with its possession in respect of 25 parking spaces in the stilt portion of the building. The appellant submitted that each flat purchaser would have a right in respect of the flat sold to him and to no other portion; and that each flat purchaser had executed a declaration/undertaking in its favour to the effect that stilt parking spaces/open parking spaces shown in the plan exclusively belonged to the promoter and that the declarant would have no objection to the sale of such spaces by it. The respondent contended that the promoter had no right to sell or dispose of spaces in the stilt portion and that the undertakings given by the flat purchasers were not binding being contrary to law and based on such undertakings, the promoter did not acquire any right to sell stilt parking spaces. The trial court dismissed the suit filed by the promoter. The High Court dismissed the appeal. Therefore, the promoter filed the instant appeal. =Dismissing the appeal, the Court HELD: 1.1 The term `flat’ apart from the statutory definition, though has no uniform meaning but in its natural and ordinary meaning, `flat’ is a self-contained set of premises structurally divided and separately owned for dwelling. [Para 23] 1.2 The definition of the term `flat’ u/s. 2(a-1) of the Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulation of the Promotion of Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer) Act, 1963 (MOFA) means that the set of premises has to be a separate and self-contained that forms part of the building which is used or intended to be used for residence or office, showroom or shop or godown or for carrying on industry or business. Separateness of one premises from another premises physically and also in use or intended use for one of the uses specified in the definition clause containing the necessary facilities for self-contained accommodation is sine qua non for a unit being covered by the definition of `flat’ occurring in Section 2(a-1) which includes an `apartment’. It must be a separate unit conforming to the description capable of being used for one of these purposes-namely, residence, office, showroom, shop, godown or for industrial or business purposes. Alternative uses in Section 2(a-1) do expand the ordinary meaning of the term `flat’ but nevertheless such premises that form part of building must be separate and self-contained. A set of premises is called self-contained if it has the following basic amenities available: (a) sanitary; (b) washing, bathing and (c) other conveniences (cooking etc.) for the use of its occupant/s although as provided in the explanation appended to section 2(a-1) such provision may be common to two or more sets of premises. The nature of construction and user are important features of the definition clause. [Para 28] 1.3 A unit or accommodation to fit in the definition of `flat’ must meet twin-test namely: (i) self-contained test and (ii) user test. The other predominant characteristic is that it must form part of a building. [Para 28] 1.4 On technical linguistic basis, the bracketed phrase `(and includes a garage)’ can only attach to the word preceding it. That may not be happy construction nor such construction by reading bracketed portion with the preceding word `business’ appropriately reflects the meaning of the phrase. The scope of the bracketed phrase has to be seen in the context of the definition given to the word `flat’ which is true indication of intent of the legislature. The suggestion that the phrase `and includes a garage’ must be read with the `set of premises’ and not with the user, does not appear to be a correct reading of the expression and cannot be accepted. The statutory definition of `flat’ must be construed keeping in view the intent of the legislature and the context of the statute and, seen thus, the phrase, `and includes a garage’ in the bracket does not bring in `garage’ by itself within the meaning of word `flat’. If stand alone `garage’ (or a garage by itself) were intended by the legislature to be a `flat’ within the meaning of Section 2(a-1), that could have been conveniently conveyed by use of the expression `or garage’ after the word `business’ in the same breath as preceding uses. The bracketed phrase is rather indicative of the legislative intention to include a `garage’ as appurtenant or attachment to a flat which satisfies the ingredients of Section 2(a-1). It is clear that stand alone `garage’ or in other words `garage’ as an independent unit by itself is not a `flat’ within the meaning of Section 2(a-1). [Para 29] Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay and Ors. v. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. 1991 Suppl. (2) SCC 18 – referred to. Dr. K.R. Agarwal vs. Balkrishna AIR 1972 Bombay 343 – disapproved. Murgatroyd v. Tresarden 63 T.L.R. 62; Barnett & Block v. National Parcels Insurance Company Ltd. (1942) 1 All E.R. 221 – referred to. `Principles of Statutory Interpretation’ by Justice G.P. Singh 12th edition, 2010; `Construction of Statutes’ by Earl T. Crawford 1989 reprint p 362; Concise Oxford English Dictionary 10th edition, revised; Webster Comprehensive Dictionary, International edition Vol. 1; Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary 5th edition, Vol. 2; Words and Phrases, Permanent Edition, West Publishing Company, Vol. 17; Advanced Law Lexicon by P. Ramanatha Aiyar 3rd edition, 2005; Maxwell Interpretation of Statutes 12th Edition, pp. 69 to 70 – referred to. 2.1 The Development Control Regulations for Greater Bombay, 1991 define two expressions `garage-private’ and `garage-public’ in Regulations 2(47) and 2(48) respectively. The `garage-private’ means a building or a portion thereof designed and used for the parking of vehicles and `garage-public’ means a building or portion thereof designed other than as a private garage, operated for gain, designed and/or used for repairing, serving, hiring, selling or storing or parking motor-driven or other vehicles. The word `garage’ occurring in Section 2(a-1) must be given a meaning that general public or for that matter a flat purchaser of ordinary prudence would give to that word or understand by that word. [Para 33] Barnett & Block v. National Parcels Insurance Company Ltd. (1942) 1 All E.R. 221 – referred to. Concise Oxford English Dictionary 10th edition, revised; Webster Comprehensive Dictionary, International edition Vol. 1; Words and Phrases, Permanent Edition, West Publishing Company, Vol. 17 – referred to. 2.2 It cannot be said that open parking space is tantamount to a `garage’ within the meaning of Section 2(a-1) read with condition No. 2 Form V of 1964 Rules. A person buying a flat for residence or one of the uses mentioned in Section 2(a-1) will not really think that open to the sky or open space for parking motor vehicles is a garage. The word `garage’ may not have uniform connotation but definitely every space for parking motor vehicles is not a garage. A roofless erection could not be described a garage. What is contemplated by a `garage’ in Section 2(a-1) is a place having a roof and walls on three sides. It does not include an unenclosed or uncovered parking space. In condition No. 2, Form V the words `covered/open garage’ have been used but the word `open’ used in the Model Form V cannot override the true meaning of term `garage’ in Section 2(a-1). As a matter of fact, none of the provisions of MOFA regards `open garage’ connoting `flat’ or an appurtenant/attachment to a flat. Undue importance should not be given to word `open’ which has loosely been used in condition No. 2, Form V. The true meaning of the term `garage’ in Section 2(a-1), is not affected by a Model Form V appended to the 1964 Rules. [Para 35] 2.3 A stilt area is a space above the ground and below the first floor having columns that support the first floor and the building. It may be usable as a parking space but for the purposes of MOFA, such portion could not be treated as garage. Even as per the test accepted in *Barnett & Block case, a place having roof but offering no shelter or protection on two sides cannot be a garage. For the purposes of MOFA, and particularly Section 2(a-1), the term `garage’ must be considered as would be understood by a flat purchaser and such person would contemplate garage which has a roof and wall on three sides. [Para 36] *Barnett & Block v. National Parcels Insurance Company Ltd. (1942) 1 All E.R. 221 – referred to. 3.1 MOFA does not define nor it explains `common areas and facilities’ though the said phrase is used at various places in that Act. It is true that interpretation clause or legislative definition in a particular statute is meant for the purposes of that statute only and such legislative definition should not control other statutes but the parts of the property stated in clauses (2), (3) and (6) of Section 3(f) as part of `common areas and facilities’ for the purposes of MAOA are what is generally understood by the expression `common areas and facilities’. This is fortified by the fact that the areas which could be termed as `common areas’ in a building regulated by MOFA are substantially included in the clauses of Section 3(f) of MAOA. Looking to the scheme and object of MOFA, and there being no indication to the contrary, there is no justifiable reason to exclude parking areas (open to the sky or stilted portion) from the purview of `common areas and facilities’ under MOFA. [Para 37] 3.2 It cannot be said that under MOFA it is for the promoter to prescribe and define at the outset the `common areas’ and unless it is so done by the promoter, the parking area cannot be termed as part of `common areas’. A promoter cannot takeout common passage/lobbies or stair case or RG area out of purview of `common areas and facilities’ by not prescribing or defining the same in the `common areas’. It is not necessary that all flat purchasers must actually use `common areas and facilities’ in its entirety. The relevant test is whether such part of the building is normally in common use. Open to the sky parking area or stilted portion usable as parking space is not `garage’ within the meaning of Section 2(a-1) and, therefore, not saleable independently as a flat or along with a flat. As a matter of fact, the promoter is not put to any prejudice financially by treating open parking space/stilt parking space as part of `common areas’ since he is entitled to charge price for the common areas and facilities from each flat purchaser in proportion to the carpet area of the flat. [Para 38] 3.3 MOFA mandates the promoter to describe `common areas and facilities’ in the advertisement as well as the `agreement’ with the flat purchaser and the promoter is also required to indicate the price of the flat including the proportionate price of the `common areas and facilities’. If a promoter does not fully disclose the common areas and facilities, he does so at his own peril. Stilt parking spaces would not cease to be part of common areas and facilities merely because the promoter has not described the same as such in the advertisement and agreement with the flat purchaser. Even if the two aspects, namely, that the area of stilt parking space is not included in the FSI and such area is not assessable to the Corporation taxes, are excluded; nevertheless, stilt parking space/open parking space of a building regulated by MOFA is nothing but a part of `common areas’. [Para 38] 4. Since `Stilt parking space’ is not covered by the term `garage’ much less a `flat’, but is a part of `common areas’ of the building developed by the promoter, the only right that the promoter has, is to charge the cost thereof in proportion to the carpet area of the flat from each flat purchaser. Such stilt parking space being neither `flat’ u/s. 2(a-1) nor `garage’ within the meaning of that provision is not saleable at all. [Para 39] 5.1 MOFA was enacted by the Maharashtra Legislature as it was found that builders/developers/promoters were indulging in malpractices in the sale and transfer of flats and the flat purchasers were being exploited. The effect of MOFA may be summarized. First, every promoter who constructs or intends to construct block or building of flats in the area to which MOFA applies has to strictly adhere to the provisions contained therein, i.e., inter alia, he has to make full and true disclosure of the nature of his title to the land on which the flats are constructed and also make disclosure in respect of the extent of the carpet area of the flat and the nature, extent and description of the common areas and facilities when the flats are advertised for sale. Secondly, the particulars which are set out in Section 4(1A) (a) (i) to (x) have to be incorporated in the agreement with the flat purchaser. Thirdly, the promoter has to apply to the Registrar for registration of the organization (co-operative society or company or condominium) as soon as minimum number of persons required to form such organization have taken flats. As regards unsold flats, the promoter has to join such organization although his right to dispose of unsold flats remains unaffected. Fourthly, and more importantly, the promoter has to take all necessary steps to complete his title and convey to the organization his right, title and interest in the land and building and execute all relevant documents accordingly. [Para 40] 5.2 The submission that there is no provision either express or by necessary implication in MOFA restricting the sale of stilt or open parking spaces and the promoter continues to have contractual, legal and fundamental right to dispose of the stilt/open parking space in the manner in which he proposes and his consumers accept, if accepted, the mischief with which MOFA is obviously intended to deal with would remain unabated and flat purchasers would continue to be exploited indirectly by the promoters. MOFA does restrict the rights of the promoter in the block or building constructed for flats or to be constructed for flats to which that Act applies. The promoter has no right to sell any portion of such building which is not `flat’ within the meaning of Section 2(a-1) and the entire land and building has to be conveyed to the organization. The only right remains with the promoter is to sell unsold flats. It is, thus, clear that the promoter has no right to sell `stilt parking spaces’ as these are neither `flat’ nor appurtenant or attachment to a `flat’. Thus, the finding of the High Court that undertakings are neither binding on the flat purchasers nor the society also warrants no interference. [Paras 40 and 41] ICICI Bank Ltd. v. SIDCO Leathers Ltd. and Ors. (2006) 10 SCC 452; Karnataka State Financial Corporation v. N. Narasimahaiah and Ors. (2008) 5 SCC 176; Bhikhubhai Vithlabhai Patel and Ors. v. State of Gujarat and Anr. (2008) 4 SCC 144 – referred to. Case Law Reference: (1942) 1 All E.R. 221 Referred to. Para 10, 33, 36 1991 Suppl. (2) SCC 18 Referred to. Para 10 63 TLR 62 Referred to. Para 25 AIR 1972 Bombay 343 Disapproved. Para 29 (2006) 10 SCC 452 Referred to. Para 40 (2008) 5 SCC 176 Referred to. Para 40 (2008) 4 SCC 144 Referred to. Para 40 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal No. 2544 of 2010. From the Judgment & Order dated 25.04.2008 of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay in First Appeal No. 2182 of 2007. With C.A. Nos. 2449, 2456, 2545, 2546, 2547, 2548 of 2010. Pravin K. Samdani, Neeraj Kumar Jain, Tanway Mehta, Kush Chaturvedi (for Vikas Mehta), Mahesh Agarwal, E.C. Agarwala, Rahul Dwarkadas, Gaurav Goel, Neha Aggarwal, Deepti, Pragya, Gaurav Aggarwal (for Manik Karanjawala), Umesh Shetty, Nitin Bhardwaj, Pratham Kant, J.N. Solanki, Umang Shankar, Buddy A. Raganadhan, A.V. Rangam, Praveen Chaturvedi, Aparna Jha for the appearing parties.

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REPORTABLE


 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2544 OF 2010

Nahalchand Laloochand Pvt. Ltd. ...Appellant

 Versus

Panchali Co-operative Housing Society Ltd. ...Respondent

 WITH

 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2545 OF 2010
 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2546 OF 2010
 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2547 OF 2010
 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2548 OF 2010
 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2449 OF 2010
 CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2456 OF 2010

 JUDGEMENT

R.M. Lodha, J.

 Of these seven appeals which arise from the

judgment dated April 25, 2008 passed by the High Court of
Judicature at Bombay (Appellate Jurisdiction), five are at the

instance of the original plaintiff and the other two are by the

parties, who were not parties to the proceedings before the

High Court or the trial court but they are aggrieved by the

findings recorded by the High Court as they claim that these

findings are affecting their rights.

The facts:

2. Few important questions of law arise in this group of

appeals. It will be convenient to formulate the questions after

we set out the material facts and the contentions of the parties.

The narration of brief facts from S.C. Suit No. 1767 of 2004 will

suffice for consideration of these appeals. Nahalchand

Laloochand Private Limited is a Private Limited Company. As a

promoter, it developd few properties in Anand Nagar, Dahisar

(East), Mumbai and entered into agreements for sale of flats

with flat purchasers. The flat purchasers are members of

Panchali Co-operative Housing Society Ltd. (for short, `the

Society'). The promoter filed a suit before the Bombay City Civil

Court, Bombay for permanent injunction restraining the Society

 2
(defendant) from encroaching upon, trespassing and/or in any

manner disturbing, obstructing, interfering with its possession in

respect of 25 parking spaces in the stilt portion of the building.

The promoter set up the case in the plaint that under the

agreements for sale it has sold flats in its building and each flat

purchaser has right in respect of the flat sold to him and to no

other portion. It was averred in the plaint that each flat

purchaser has executed a declaration/undertaking in its favour

to the effect that stilt parking spaces/open parking spaces

shown in the plan exclusively belong to the promoter and that

the declarant has no objection to the sale of such spaces by it.

The defendant (Society) traversed the claim and set up the plea

that the promoter has no right to sell or dispose of spaces in the

stilt portion and that the undertakings given by the flat

purchasers are not binding being contrary to law and based on

such undertakings, the promoter has not acquired any right to

sell stilt parking spaces.

3. The parties let in evidence (oral as well as

documentary) in support of their respective case.

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4. On April 4, 2007, the Presiding Judge, City Civil

Court, Greater Bombay dismissed the suit with costs.

5. The promoter preferred first appeal before the High

Court which was dismissed on April 25, 2008.

6. For brevity, we shall describe Maharashtra

Ownership Flats (Regulation of the Promotion of Construction,

Sale, Management and Transfer) Act, 1963 as `MOFA',

Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulations of the Promotion of

Construction, Etc.) Rules, 1964 as `1964 Rules', Development

Control Regulations for Greater Bombay, 1991 as `DCR',

Maharashtra Apartment Ownership Act, 1970 as `MAOA', The

Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 as

`MRTP Act' and Transfer of Property Act as `T.P. Act'.

The summary of findings recording by the High Court:

7. While dismissing the appeal, the High Court

recorded the following findings :

 7 The carpet area of any of the 56 flats/tenements
 in Panchali building is not less than 35 sq. mtrs.

 4
7 The parking space either enclosed or unenclosed,
 covered or open cannot be a `building'.

7 It is compulsory requirement to provide for
 parking spaces under DCR.

7 It is obligatory on the part of the promoter to
 follow the DCR. The agreement signed under
 MOFA between the developer and the flat
 purchaser must be in conformity with the model
 form of agreement (Form V) prescribed by the
 State Government.

7 The model agreement does not contemplate the
 flat purchasers to separately purchase the stilt
 parking spaces.

7 The rights arising from the agreement signed
 under the MOFA between the promoter and the
 flat purchasers cannot be diluted by any contract
 or an undertaking to the contrary. The
 undertakings contrary to DCR will not be binding
 either on the flat purchasers or the Society.

7 The stilt parking space is a common parking area
 available and the developer is obliged to provide
 the same under the DCR when the carpet area of
 the flat is 350 sq. meters It is not an additional
 premises/area that he is authorized to sell either
 to flat purchaser or any outsider. It is part and
 parcel of the Society building and it cannot be a
 separate premises available for sale. As soon as
 the Corporation issues the occupation certificate
 and the Society is registered, the building as well
 as the stilt parking spaces, open spaces and all
 common amenities become the property of the
 Society.

7 The stilt parking spaces cannot be put on sale by
 the developer as he ceases to have any title on

 5
 the same as soon as the occupation certificate is
 issued by the Corporation and it becomes the
 property of the society on its registration.

 7 The stilt parking spaces cannot be termed as
 `open/covered garages' and Clause 2 of the
 Model Agreement--Form V provides for sale of
 covered/open garage in addition to the flat/shop.

 7 It is immaterial if the purchase agreement does
 not include stilt car parking spaces in the common
 area of amenities. The stilt car parking spaces is
 part of the common amenities and it cannot be
 treated to be a separate premises/garage which
 could be sold by the developer to any of the
 members of the society or an outsider.

 7 Under MOFA, the developer's right is restricted to
 the extent of disposal of flats, shops and/or
 garages, which means that any premises which is
 included in the Flat Space Index (FSI) can be sold
 by the developer/promoter. The stilt parking
 space is not included in the FSI nor it is
 assessable for the Corporation taxes.

The submissions:

8. Mr. Tanmaya Mehta, learned counsel appearing for

the promoter--Nahalchand Laloochand Private Limited

(appellant) contended that: the stilt parking space being

`garage', as an independent unit is covered by the definition of

`flat' in Section 2(a-1) of MOFA; Section 2(a-1) creates an

artificial definition of `flat' and since in common parlance a

 6
garage would not be considered as a flat, the legislature

clarified and explained that the term `flat' means...... and

`includes a garage'; as long as premises are covered from the

roof or which have a covered roof and used for the parking of

vehicles, that would qualify as `garage' and since stilt parking

spaces are covered parking spaces and form part of the

building, they fall within the definition of a `garage'; even if stilt

parking spaces do not fall within the definition of `flat', they are

nevertheless sellable as independent units since right to sell

such spaces flows from the bundle of rights associated with

ownership of the property and Sections 10 and 11 of MOFA

read with Rule 9 of 1964 Rules are not exhaustive of the rights

retained by the promoter upon execution of conveyance.

Moreover, if stilt parking spaces are treated as `common areas'

then the proportionate price for the same would have to be paid

by each flat purchaser, irrespective of whether he requires the

parking space or not and there may be situations where the

number of parking spaces will not be equal to the number of

flats and, thus, a person who has paid proportionate price for

 7
the common parking space may find himself without parking

space, even though he has paid for the same. Lastly, the

learned counsel submitted that in any event the promoter

undertakes that the parking spaces shall be sold only to

persons purchasing flats within the subject layout, i.e. the

purchasers of flats in the seven buildings which form part of the

layout and exist in close proximity.

9. Mr. Pravin K. Samdani, learned senior counsel for

one of the appellants viz., Maharashtra Chamber of Housing

Industry adopted a little different line of argument. He

contended that the provisions of MOFA permit a promoter to

sell garage/open/covered car parking space along with the flat.

His submission is that MOFA does not define the word `garage'

and that word has to be understood and interpreted in

accordance with the plain grammatical meaning and not with

reference to DCR which have been framed under MRTP Act

having different legislative object. As to whether the stilt parking

spaces are `common areas', Mr. Pravin K. Samdani would

submit that MOFA does not list out the `common areas' and

 8
`limited common areas' while MAOA does define these terms

and parking spaces thereunder are `common areas and

facilities' unless otherwise provided in the declaration by the

owner of the property. Under MOFA, it is for the promoter and

under MAOA, the declarant has to prescribe at the outset the

`common areas' and `limited common areas'. He referred to

Sections 3(2)(h), 4(1)(a)(v), 10 and 11 of the MOFA and

submitted that the promoter must at the outset indicate the

nature of organization (condominium or society or company)

that would be formed at the time of sale of flats and on

formation of such organization, the promoter joins such

organization with a right and power to dispose of remaining flats

that would include the remaining unsold open/covered parking

space/garage and the organization is transferred unsold

open/covered parking spaces only if all the flats have been sold

by the promoter. Learned senior counsel would submit that it is

wholly irrelevant whether stilt/podium/basement/covered car

park attracts FSI or not but the only relevant criterion is

whether the promoter has listed it as a part of common area or

 9
not and if he has not done so then it is sellable. If he has listed

it, then every flat purchaser is proportionately required to

contribute for the same.

10. In the appeal filed by one Chirag M. Vora, Mr. Sunil

Gupta, learned senior counsel appeared. He argued that MOFA

was enacted and enforced in the year 1963 as a regulatory

piece of legislation and barring the few aspects in respect of

which MOFA makes specific inroads into the rights of the

promoter in the matter of construction, sale, management and

transfer of flats, all other aspects of the right of the promoter

who enters into contract with the flat purchaser remain

unaffected and undisturbed. His submission is that MOFA gives

a wide meaning to the word `flat' so that buildings of all

permutations and combinations may be covered within the

scope of that Act and keeping in mind both the plain language

of Section 2(a-1) as well as the object of that Act, widest

meaning to the word `flat' deserves to be given so that the plain

language is satisfied and also the object of the Act is better

subserved. He adopted the line of interpretation put forth by Mr.

 1
Tanmaya Mehta that `garage' includes covered parking spaces

and even open parking spaces and is a `flat' in itself under

Section 2(a-1). Relying upon Barnett & Block v. National

Parcels Insurance Company Ltd.1, learned senior counsel

submitted that the minimum requirement of garage is that there

should be roof (even if there are no walls) and for the purpose

of MOFA, not only a covered parking space like a stilt parking

space but also an open parking space is tantamount to

`garage'. According to learned senior counsel the word `garage'

is not to be read simply as another kind of user as contrasted

with residence, office, showroom or shop or godown or industry

or business rather it has to be read in contrast and juxtaposed

against the expression `set of premises'; it is the alternative to

the `set of premises' and not merely to the different users of the

set of premises mentioned in Section 2 (a-1). Mr. Sunil Gupta,

learned senior counsel would submit that each stilt parking

space as well as each open parking space is a `flat' in itself de

hors the other accommodations amounting to `flat' under

Section 2(a-1) of MOFA. In support of his argument, he relied
1
 [1942] 1 All E.R. 221

 1
upon a decision of this Court in the case of Municipal

Corporation of Greater Bombay & Ors. v. Indian Oil Corporation

Ltd.2. In the alternative, he submitted that if the stilt parking

space or open parking space is not held to be a `flat' under

Section 2 (a-1), still that space/area cannot be treated as part

of `common areas and facilities'. Firstly, he submitted that

common areas and facilities do not include garage/parking

spaces and such parking spaces remain ungoverned by MOFA.

Sections 3 and 4 of MOFA concern with matters pertaining to

`common areas and facilities' but MOFA does not define the

meaning of `common areas and facilities'. Section 3(2)(m)(iii)

leaves it to the promoter to disclose to his flat purchaser the

nature, extent and description of the common areas and

facilities. Section 4, by mentioning a prescribed form of

agreement, rather opened the possibilities for the promoter to

continue to exercise his traditional and pre-Act right to dispose

of such parking spaces according to his choice. The

stilt/covered/open parking spaces do not figure as part of the

common areas and facilities in any project and remain within
2
 1991 Suppl. (2) SCC 18

 1
the contractual, legal and fundamental rights of the promoter to

dispose of the same in the manner in which he proposes and

his customers accept. Section 16 of MOFA does not override

this right of a promoter. Secondly, learned senior counsel

would submit that the provisions of MOFA must not be made to

depend on the provisions of some other enactment just

because the subject matter of the two legislations appears to be

the same. In this regard, he referred to Maxwell Interpretation of

Statutes, 12th Edition, pages 69 to 70 and G.P. Singh on

Principles of Statutory Interpretations, 8th edition, pages 150 to

160. He, thus, submitted that for the purposes of understanding

the meaning of `flat' under Section 2(a-1) of MOFA, the

provisions of MAOA may be looked at but there would be no

justification in understanding the expression, `flat' defined in

MOFA with reference to MRTP Act, DCR, rules related to FSI

and the provisions concerning property tax in the Bombay

Municipal Corporation Act.

 1
11. On the other hand, Mr. Neeraj Kumar Jain, learned

senior counsel and Mr. Umesh Shetty, learned counsel for the

Societies stoutly supported the view of the High Court.

The issues:

12. In view of the contentions outlined above, the

questions that arise for consideration are : (i) whether stand

alone `garage' or in other words `garage' as an independent unit

by itself is a `flat' within the meaning of Section 2(a-1) of

MOFA; (ii) whether stilt parking space/open parking space of a

building regulated by MOFA is a `garage'; (iii) If the answer to

aforesaid questions is in the negative, whether stilt parking

space/open parking space in such building is part of `common

areas and facilities' and (iv) what are the rights of the promoter

vis-`-vis society (of flat purchasers) in respect of open parking

space/s / stilt parking space/s.

13. All these questions have to be considered in the

light of statutory provisions. At this stage we notice some of the

provisions of MOFA. As regards other statutory provisions, we

shall refer to them wherever necessary.

 1
Relevant provisions of MOFA:

14. The definition of `flat' in Section 2(a-1) is most vital

and during course of arguments it has been rightly said that

meaning of the word `flat' is the actual fulcrum of MOFA.

Section 2(a-1) reads thus:

 "S.2(a-1).- "Flat" means a separate and self-contained
 set of premises used or intended to be used for
 residence, or office, show-room or shop or godown or
 for carrying on any industry or business (and includes a
 garage), the premises forming part of a building and
 includes an apartment.

 Explanation.--Notwithstanding that provision is made
 for sanitary, washing, bathing or other conveniences as
 common to two or more sets of premises, the premises
 shall be deemed to be separate and self-contained."

15. `Promoter' is defined in Section 2(c) as under :

 "S.2(c).- `Promoter' means a person and includes a
 partnership firm or a body or association of persons,
 whether registered or not who constructs or causes to
 be constructed a block or building of flats, or apartments
 for the purpose of selling some or all of them to other
 persons, or to a company, co-operative society or other
 association of persons, and includes his assignees; and
 where the person who builds and the person who sells
 are different persons, the term includes both;"

 1
16. The general liabilities of the promoter are set out in

Section 3. To the extent it is relevant to the present case it

reads thus :

 "S.3.- (1) Notwithstanding anything in any other law,
 a promoter who intends to construct or constructs a
 block or building of flats, all or some of which are to be
 taken or are taken on ownership basis, shall in all
 transactions with persons intending to take or taking
 one or more of such flats, be liable to give or produce,
 or cause to be given or produced, the information and
 the documents hereinafter in this section mentioned.

 (2) A promoter, who constructs or intends to
 construct such block or building of flats, shall--

 (a) make full and true disclosure of the nature
 of his title to the land on which the flats are constructed,
 or are to be constructed; such title to the land as
 aforesaid having been duly certified by an Attorney-at-
 law, or by an Advocate of not less than three years
 standing, and having been duly entered in the Property
 card or extract of Village Forms VI or VII and XII or any
 other relevant revenue record;

 (b) make full and true disclosure of all
 encumbrances on such land, including any right, title,
 interest or claim of any party in or over such land;

 (c) to (h) .....

 (i) not allow persons to enter into possession
 until a completion certificate where such certificate is
 required to be given under any law, is duly given by the
 local authority (and no person shall take possession of a
 flat until such completion certificate has been duly given
 by the local authority);

 1
 (j) to (l) .....

 (m) when the flats are advertised for sale,
 disclose inter alia in the advertisement the following
 particulars, namely :-

 (i) the extent of the carpet area of the
 flat including the area of the balconies which
 should be shown separately;

 (ii) the price of the flat including the
 proportionate price of the common areas and
 facilities which should be shown separately, to be
 paid by the purchaser of flat; and the intervals at
 which the instalments thereof may be paid;

 (iii) the nature, extent and description of
 the common areas and facilities;

 (iv) the nature, extent and description of
 limited common areas and facilities, if any.

 (n) sell flat on the basis of the carpet area only:

 Provided that, the promoter may separately
 charge for the common areas and facilities in proportion
 `to the carpet area of the flat'.

 Explanation.--For the purposes of this clause, the
 carpet area of the flat shall include the area of the
 balcony of such flat."

17. Section 4 of MOFA mandates that promoter before

accepting advance payment or deposit shall enter into an

agreement with the prospective flat purchaser and such

agreement shall be registered. It provides as follows:

 1
"S.4.- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any
other law, a promoter who intends to construct or
constructs a block or building of flats all or some of
which are to be taken or are taken on ownership basis,
shall, before, he accepts any sum of money as advance
payment or deposit, which shall not be more than 20 per
cent of the sale price enter into a written agreement for
sale with each of such persons who are to take or have
taken such flats, and the agreement shall be registered
under the Registration Act, 1908" and such agreement
shall be in the prescribed form.

 (1A) The agreement to be prescribed under sub-
section (1) shall contain inter alia the particulars as
specified in clause (a); and to such agreement there
shall be attached the copies of the documents specified
in clause (b)--

 (a) particulars--

 (i) if the building is to be constructed,
 the liability of the promoter to construct it
 according to the plans and specifications
 approved by the local authority where such
 approval is required under any law for the time
 being in force;

 (ii) to (v) .....

 (vi) the nature, extent and description of
 limited common areas and facilities;

 (vii) the nature, extent and description of
 limited common areas and facilities, if any;

 (viii) percentage of undivided interest in
 the common areas and facilities appertaining to
 the flat agreed to be sold;

 1
 (ix) statement of the use for which the
 flat is intended and restriction on its use, if any;

 (x) percentage of undivided interests in
 the limited common areas and facilities, if any,
 appertaining to the flat agreed to be sold;

 (b) ..... "

18. Section 10 casts duty upon the promoter to take

steps for formation of co-operative society or company, as the

case may be. The said provision reads as follows :

 "S.10.- (1) As soon as a minimum number of persons
 required to form a Co-operative society or a company
 have taken flats, the promoter shall within the
 prescribed period submit an application to the Registrar
 for registration of the organization of persons who take
 the flats as a co-operative society or, as the case may
 be, as a company; and the promoter shall join, in
 respect of the flats which have not been taken, in such
 application for membership of a co-operative society or
 as the case may be, of a company. Nothing in this
 section shall affect the right of the promoter to dispose
 of the remaining flats in accordance with the provisions
 of this Act.

 Provided that, if the promoter fails within the
 prescribed period to submit an application to the
 Registrar for registration of society in the manner
 provided in the Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act,
 1960, the Competent Authority may, upon receiving an
 application from the persons who have taken flats from
 the said promoter, direct the District Deputy Registrar,
 Deputy Registrar or, as the case may be, Assistant
 Registrar concerned, to register the society :

 1
 Provided further that, no such direction to
 register any society under the preceding proviso shall
 be given to the District Deputy Registrar, Deputy
 Registrar or, as the case may be, Assistant Registrar,
 by the Competent Authority without first verifying
 authenticity of the applicants' request and giving the
 concerned promoter a reasonable opportunity of being
 heard."

19. There is also obligation cast upon promoter to

execute the documents of title and convey to the co-operative

society or the company or an association of flat

purchasers/apartment owners, right, title and interest in the land

and building by virtue of Section 11 which reads thus:

 "S.11.- (1) A promoter shall take all necessary steps to
 complete his title and convey to the organization of
 persons, who take flats, which is registered either as a
 co-operative society or as a company as aforesaid, or to
 an association of flat takers or apartment owners his
 right, title and interest in the land and building, and
 execute all relevant documents therefore in accordance
 with the agreement executed under section 4 and if no
 period for the execution of the conveyance is agreed
 upon, he shall execute the conveyance within the
 prescribed period and also deliver all documents of title
 relating to the property which may be in his possession
 or power.

 2. It shall be the duty of the promoter to file with the
 Competent Authority, within the prescribed period, a
 copy of the conveyance executed by him under sub-
 section (1).

 2
 3. If the promoter fails to execute the conveyance in
 favour of the co-operative society formed under Section
 10 or, as the case may be, the company or the
 association of apartment owners, as provided by sub-
 section (1), within the prescribed period, the members
 of such co-operative society or, as the case may be, the
 company or the association of apartment owners may,
 make an application, in writing, to the concerned
 Competent Authority accompanied by the true copies of
 the registered agreements for sale, executed with the
 promoter by each individual member of the society or
 the company or the association, who have purchased
 the flats and all other relevant documents (including the
 occupation certificate, if any), for issuing a certificate
 that such society, or as the case may be, company or
 association, is entitled to have an unilateral deemed
 conveyance, executed in their favour and to have it
 registered.

 (4) .....

 (5) ....."

20. Section 16 of MOFA provides that the provisions

contained therein are in addition to the provisions of the T. P.

Act and shall take effect notwithstanding anything to the

contrary contained in the contract.

Re: question nos. (i) and (ii):

(A) What is `flat'?

21. For proper consideration of questions (i) and (ii) as

afore-referred, it is of considerable importance to ascertain the

import and meaning of the term `flat' defined in Section 2(a-1) of

 2
MOFA. Rather the answer to the questions presented for

consideration must squarely or substantially depend on what is

a `flat'. Justice G.P. Singh in the `Principles of Statutory

Interpretation' (12th edition, 2010) says that the object of a

definition of a term is to avoid the necessity of frequent

repetitions in describing all the subject matter to which that

word or expression so defined is intended to apply. In other

words, the definition clause is inserted for the purpose of

defining particular subject-matter dealt with and it helps in

revealing the legislative meaning. However, the definitive

clause may itself require interpretation because of ambiguity or

lack of clarity in its language. In the `Construction of Statutes'

by Earl T. Crawford (1989 reprint) at page 362, the following

statement is made: ".......the interpretation clause will control in

the absence of anything else in the act opposing the

interpretation fixed by the clause. Nor should the interpretation

clause be given any wider meaning than is absolutely

necessary. In other words, it should be subjected to a strict

construction."

 2
22. The definition of term `flat' in MOFA at the time of

its enactment was this: `flat' means a separate and self-

contained set of premises used or intended to be used for

residence, or office, showroom or shop or godown (and

includes a garage), the premises forming part of a building. By

Maharashtra Act No. 15 of 1971, the definition of `flat' got

amended and the words `and includes an apartment' were

inserted after the word `building'. Thereafter by Maharashtra

Act 36 of 1986, the words `or for carrying on any industry or

business' were inserted after the word `godown' and before the

bracketed portion `(and includes a garage)'.

23. Before we analyze Section 2(a-1), if we ask what

the term `flat' means, apart from the statutory definition, the

reply must be that though it has no uniform meaning but in its

natural and ordinary meaning, `flat' is a self contained set of

premises structurally divided and separately owned for dwelling.

Concise Oxford English Dictionary (10th edition, revised)

explains `flat' --a set of rooms comprising an individual place of

residence within a larger building.

 2
24. Webster Comprehensive Dictionary; International

edition (Vol. 1) explains `flat'-- 1. a set of rooms on one floor,

for the occupancy of a family; apartment. 2. A house

containing such flats.

25. In Stroud's Judicial Dictionary (5th edition, Vol. 2), a

reference has been made to the observations of Somervell L.J,

in Murgatroyd v. Tresarden, 63 T.L.R. 62 and it is stated; the

natural meaning of the word `flat' is a separate self-contained

dwelling.

26. In Words and Phrases, Permanent Edition, (West

Publishing Company), Vol. 17, while dealing with the term `flat'

generally, it is stated :

 "The word `flat' has no technical, legal meaning, so that
 a court can pronounce absolutely one way or the other.
 A building is a `flat' or not, and, where the testimony is
 conflicting, the question is one of fact".

27. Advanced Law Lexicon by P. Ramanatha Aiyar (3rd

edition, 2005) explains the term `flat', in the following way - `in

the ordinary use of the term a flat is a self-contained set of

rooms, structurally divided and separately owned or let from

 2
the rest of a building, which for the most part consists of other

flats separated in like manner'.

28. Reverting back to the definition of the term `flat'

under Section 2(a-1), for a `flat' within the meaning of this

definition clause, the set of premises has to be a separate and

self-contained that forms part of the building which is used or

intended to be used for residence or office, showroom or shop

or godown or for carrying on industry or business.

Separateness of one premises from another premises

physically and also in use or intended use for one of the uses

specified in the definition clause containing the necessary

facilities for self-contained accommodation is sine qua non for a

unit being covered by the definition of `flat' occurring in Section

2(a-1) which includes an `apartment'. In other words, it must

be a separate unit conforming to the description capable of

being used for one of these purposes--namely, residence,

office, showroom, shop, godown or for industrial or business

purposes. Alternative uses in Section 2(a-1) do expand the

ordinary meaning of the term `flat' but nevertheless such

 2
premises that form part of building must be separate and self-

contained. A set of premises is called self-contained if it has

the following basic amenities available: (a) sanitary;

(b) washing, bathing and (c) other conveniences (cooking etc.)

for the use of its occupant/s although as provided in the

explanation appended to Section 2(a-1) such provision may be

common to two or more sets of premises. The nature of

construction and user are important features of this definition

clause. A unit or accommodation to fit in the definition of `flat'

must meet twin-test namely: (i) self contained test and (ii) user

test. The other predominant characteristic is that it must form

part of a building. Crucially, for the relevant premises to be `flat':

 7 It must be a separate and self contained premises;

 7 It must form part of building;

 7 It must be used or intended to be used for any of

 the uses namely--residence, office, showroom,

 shop, godown or for carrying on any industry or

 business.

 2
29. In the discussion made above, we have not referred

to the bracketed portion namely - `(and includes a garage)' so

far. What is the meaning and significance of this bracketed

portion? On technical linguistic basis, the bracketed phrase can

only attach to the word preceding it. That may not be happy

construction nor such construction by reading bracketed portion

`(and includes a garage)' with the preceding word `business'

appropriately reflects the meaning of the phrase. The scope of

the bracketed phrase has to be seen in the context of the

definition given to the word `flat' which is true indication of intent

of the legislature. It was suggested by learned senior counsel

and counsel for the promoters that the phrase `and includes a

garage' must be read with the `set of premises' and not with the

user. This does not appear to be a correct reading of the

expression. We are not persuaded to accept such construction.

We think that statutory definition of `flat' must be construed

keeping in view the intent of the legislature and the context of

the statute and, seen thus, the phrase, `and includes a garage'

in the bracket does not bring in `garage' by itself within the

 2
meaning of word `flat'. If stand alone `garage' (or a garage by

itself) were intended by the legislature to be a `flat' within the

meaning of Section 2(a-1), that could have been conveniently

conveyed by use of the expression `or garage' after the word

`business' in the same breath as preceding uses. The

bracketed phrase is rather indicative of the legislative intention

to include a `garage' as appurtenant or attachment to a flat

which satisfies the ingredients of Section 2(a-1). To this extent

Mr. Pravin K. Samdani is right in his submission. It is clear to

us that stand alone `garage' or in other words `garage' as an

independent unit by itself is not a `flat' within the meaning of

Section 2(a-1) and we answer question (i) in the negative. The

judgment of Bombay High Court in Dr. K.R. Agarwal Vs.

Balkrishna3 to the extent the expression `or garage' has been

read after the word `godown' in para 5 (clause 2) of the report

does not state the correct legal position in what we have

already said above.

(B) Whether stilt parking space is a garage?

3
 AIR 1972 Bombay 343

 2
30. The next question is, whether stilt parking space in

a building regulated by MOFA is a `garage'. The term `garage'

has not been defined in MOFA and, therefore, we need to first

find out what is the extent and scope of that term in Section

2(a-1). The general term `garage' is appropriated in English

from the French language and means `keeping under cover' or

`a place for keeping' of wagons as well as automobiles.

Concise Oxford English Dictionary (10th edition, revised)

explains `garage'-- 1 a building for housing a motor vehicle or

vehicles. 2 an establishment which sells fuel or which repairs

and sells motor vehicles.

31. Webster Comprehensive Dictionary, International

edition (Vol. 1) explains the word `garage'--a building in which

motor vehicles are stored and cared for.

32. Words and Phrases, Permanent Edition, (West

Publishing Company), Vol. 17, states that `garage' generally is

a station in which motorcars can be sheltered, stored, repaired,

cleaned, and made ready for use; it is also place for private

storage for motorcars; stable for motor cars.

 2
33. The DCR define two expressions `garage-private'

and `garage-public' in Regulations 2(47) and 2(48)

respectively. According to these Regulations, `garage-private'

means a building or a portion thereof designed and used for the

parking of vehicles and `garage-public' means a building or

portion thereof designed other than as a private garage,

operated for gain, designed and/or used for repairing, serving,

hiring, selling or storing or parking motor-driven or other

vehicles. In our view, we must give to the word `garage'

occurring in Section 2(a-1) a meaning that general public or for

that matter a flat purchaser of ordinary prudence would give to

that word or understand by that word. Learned senior counsel

Mr. Sunil Gupta referred to Barnett and Block1 wherein

Atkinson, J. stated as follows:

 "Now what is a garage? No evidence was given to
 suggest or prove that the word "garage" in the trade had
 got any special meaning, and it was agreed to take four
 dictionary definitions set out in the agreed statement of
 facts. The four definitions were these. From the
 SHORTER OXFORD DICTIONARY: "A building for the
 storage or refitting of motor vehicles." From the NEW
 CENTURY DICTIONARY : "A building for sheltering,
 cleaning or repairing motor vehicles. To put or keep in
 a garage." From the NEW STANDARD DICTIONARY:
 "A building for stabling or storing of motor vehicles of all

 3
 kinds." From NUTTAL'S STANDARD DICTIONARY :
 "A storehouse for motor vehicles." Those are four
 definitions from leading dictionaries all containing at any
 rate one word in common, and that is "building." As
 there is no evidence as to how the general public
 understand the word "garage," I suppose one is
 entitled to use one's own knowledge. I am inclined to
 think that ordinary man in the street does regard a
 garage as connoting some sort of a building; how far he
 would go I do not know. I do not know whether he
 would think that there should be a wall all round it, or
 whether it would be sufficient if there were three sides
 walled in and a roof. I have one in mind where there is
 a row of sheds without any protection in front, which are
 commonly spoken of as "garages," but I am going to
 apply here the test suggested by counsel for the
 insured. He said "A garage is a place where one can
 get reasonable protection and shelter for a car." Can I
 say that you are getting reasonable protection and
 shelter for a car, if there is nothing to protect the car
 from above - if there is no roof of any sort? I think the
 ordinary man, as counsel for the insurers suggested,
 who took a house with a garage, if he came and found
 merely an open shed without any roof, would think he
 had been swindled, however high the walls might be. I
 cannot think that one is entitled to say that it is adequate
 or reasonable protection or shelter if there is no roof; but
 this is worse than that, though I agree that the walls are
 very good here. Wherever you put a car in this yard, in
 addition to there being no shelter from above, there will
 be no shelter on two sides. That seems to me to be
 really conclusive."

He, thus, submitted that even a place with merely a roof may

well be a `garage'. By placing reliance on condition No. 2 in

Form V of 1964 Rules, learned senior counsel submitted that

 3
for the purposes of MOFA, even an open parking space is

tantamount to a `garage'.

34. The relevant portion of condition No. 2, Form V

appended to 1964 Rules reads as under:

 "2. The Flat Purchaser hereby agrees to purchase
 from the Promoter and the Promoter hereby agrees to
 sell to the Flat Purchaser one flat No. .......... of the
 Type .......... of carpet area admeasuring .......... sq.
 meters (which is inclusive of the area of balconies) on
 .......... floor as shown in the Floor plan thereof hereto
 annexed and marked Annexures D/Shop No. ..........
 /covered/open Garage No. .......... in the ..........
 Building (hereinafter referred to as "the Flat") for the
 price of Rs. .......... including Rs. .......... being the
 proportionate price of the common areas and facilities
 appurtenant to the premises, the nature extent and
 description of the common/limited common areas and
 facilities/limited common areas and facilities which are
 more particularly described in the Second Schedule
 hereunder written. The Flat Purchasers hereby agrees
 to pay to that Promoter balance amount of purchase
 price of Rs. .......... (Rupees .......... ...............)
 having been paid to the Promoter on or before the
 execution of his agreement in the following manner."

35. We do not perceive any force in the argument that

open parking space tantamounts to a `garage' within the

meaning of Section 2(a-1) read with condition No. 2 Form V of

1964 Rules. Can a person buying a flat for residence or one of

the uses mentioned in Section 2(a-1) really think that open to

 3
the sky or open space for parking motor vehicles is a garage?

We do not think so. The word `garage' may not have uniform

connotation but definitely every space for parking motor

vehicles is not a garage. A roofless erection could not be

described a garage. What is contemplated by a `garage' in

Section 2(a-1) is a place having a roof and walls on three sides.

It does not include an unenclosed or uncovered parking space.

It is true that in condition No. 2, Form V the words

`covered/open garage' have been used but, in our view, the

word `open' used in the Model Form V cannot override the true

meaning of term `garage' in Section 2(a-1). As a matter of fact,

none of the provisions of MOFA regards `open garage'

connoting `flat' or an appurtenant/attachment to a flat. We do

not think undue importance should be given to word `open'

which has loosely been used in condition No. 2, Form V. The

true meaning of the term `garage' in Section 2(a-1), we think, is

not affected by a Model Form V appended to the 1964 Rules.

36. The question then is as to whether the stilted

portion or stilt area of a building is a garage under MOFA. A

 3
stilt area is a space above the ground and below the first floor

having columns that support the first floor and the building. It

may be usable as a parking space but we do not think that for

the purposes of MOFA, such portion could be treated as

garage. It was argued that the test accepted by Atkinson, J. in

Barnett & Block1-that a garage is a place where one can get

reasonable protection and shelter for a car--is satisfied by stilt

car parking space and such space is a garage. We are unable

to agree. The test accepted by Atkinson, J. in Barnett and

Block1 also does not support this argument. Even as per that

test a place having roof but offering no shelter or protection on

two sides cannot be a garage. It is worth repeating what

Atkinson,J. said, `....I am inclined to think that the ordinary man

in the street does regard a garage as connoting some sort of

building; how far he would go I do not know. I do not know

whether he would think that there should be a wall all round it,

or whether it would be sufficient if there were three sides walled

in and a roof. I have one in mind where there is row of sheds

without any protection in front, which are commonly spoken of

 3
as "garages".' Atkinson,J. applied the test of `reasonable

protection and shelter for car' as was suggested by the counsel

for the insurer while construing the term `garage' in a policy of

insurance. For the purposes of MOFA, and particularly Section

2(a-1), the term `garage' must be considered as would be

understood by a flat purchaser and such person would

contemplate garage which has a roof and wall on three sides.

Our answer to question No. (ii) is, therefore, no.

Re: question no. (iii) - Whether stilt parking spaces are
part of `common areas and facilities'?

37. The High Court has held that the stilt car parking

spaces are part of the common amenities. Is the High Court

right in its view? MOFA does not define nor it explains

`common areas and facilities' though the said phrase is used at

various places in that Act. Mr. Pravin K. Samdani, learned

senior counsel for Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry

submitted that following could be termed as part of the

`common areas':

 7 15% Recreation Ground (RG) Area;

 3
 7 Recreational facilities and/or club house on above
 RG Areas;
 7 Society Office;
 7 Security guards cabin;
 7 Common passage/lobbies;
 7 Stair case;
 7 Lift;
 7 Terraces over the roof of the building;
 7 Landings on each floor;
 7 Columns and beams of the building
 7 Playgrounds, if any.

According to him, the following could be part of `Limited

Common Areas':

 7 Separate lift attached to a particular flat and/or
 certain number of flats;
 7 Terrace attached to a flat;
 7 Servants toilet on each floor, meant for the user
 of the flats on that particular floor;

The aforesaid list as suggested by the learned senior counsel,

in our opinion, is not exhaustive. It may not be out of place to

refer to Section 3(f) of MAOA which defines `common areas

and facilities' as follows:

 "3(f) "common areas and facilities", unless
 otherwise provided in the Declaration or lawful
 amendments, thereto means--

 (1) the land on which the building is located;

 3
 (2) the foundations, columns, girders, beams,
 supports, main walls, roofs, halls, corridors, lobbies,
 stairs, stair-ways, fire-escapes and entrances and exits
 of t he buildings;

 (3) the basements, cellars, yards, gardens,
 parking areas and storage spaces;

 (4) the premises for the lodging of janitors or
 persons employed for the management of the property;

 (5) installations of central services, such as
 power, light, gas, hot and cold water, heating,
 refrigeration, air conditioning and incinerating;

 (6) the elevators, tanks, pumps, motors, fans,
 compressors, ducts and in general all apparatus and
 installations existing for common use;

 (7) such community and commercial facilities
 as may be provided for in the Declaration; and

 (8) all other parts of the property necessary or
 convenient to its existence, maintenance and safety, or
 normally in common use;"

It is true that interpretation clause or legislative definition in a

particular statute is meant for the purposes of that statute only

and such legislative definition should not control other statutes

but the parts of the property stated in clauses (2), (3) and (6) of

Section 3(f) as part of `common areas and facilities' for the

purposes of MAOA are what is generally understood by the

expression `common areas and facilities'. This is fortified by the

 3
fact that the areas which according to the learned senior

counsel could be termed as `common areas' in a building

regulated by MOFA are substantially included in aforenoticed

clauses of Section 3(f) of MAOA. Looking to the scheme and

object of MOFA, and there being no indication to the contrary,

we find no justifiable reason to exclude parking areas (open to

the sky or stilted portion) from the purview of `common areas

and facilities' under MOFA.

38. It was argued that under MOFA it is for the promoter

to prescribe and define at the outset the `common areas' and

unless it is so done by the promoter, the parking area cannot be

termed as part of `common areas'. We are quite unable to

accept this submission. Can a promoter take common

passage/lobbies or say stair case or RG area out of purview of

`common areas and facilities' by not prescribing or defining the

same in the `common areas'? If the answer to this question is

in negative, which it has to be, this argument must fail. It was

also submitted that by treating open/stilt parking space as part

of `common areas', every flat purchaser will have to bear

 3
proportionate cost for the same although he may not be

interested in such parking space at all. We do not think such

consideration is relevant for the consideration of term `common

areas and facilities' in MOFA. It is not necessary that all flat

purchasers must actually use `common areas and facilities' in

its entirety. The relevant test is whether such part of the

building is normally in common use. Then it was submitted that

if a parking space is sold to a flat purchaser, it is to the

exclusion of other flat purchasers and, therefore, logically also it

cannot be part of `common areas'. This submission is founded

on assumption that parking space (open/covered) is a `garage'

and sellable along with the flat. We have, however, held in our

discussion above that open to the sky parking area or stilted

portion usable as parking space is not `garage' within the

meaning of Section 2(a-1) and, therefore, not sellable

independently as a flat or along with a flat. As a matter of fact,

insofar as the promoter is concerned, he is not put to any

prejudice financially by treating open parking space/stilt parking

space as part of `common areas' since he is entitled to charge

 3
price for the common areas and facilities from each flat

purchaser in proportion to the carpet area of the flat. MOFA

mandates the promoter to describe `common areas and

facilities' in the advertisement as well as the `agreement' with

the flat purchaser and the promoter is also required to indicate

the price of the flat including the proportionate price of the

`common areas and facilities'. If a promoter does not fully

disclose the common areas and facilities he does so at his own

peril. Stilt parking spaces would not cease to be part of

common areas and facilities merely because the promoter has

not described the same as such in the advertisement and

agreement with the flat purchaser. Although there is some

merit in the contention of the appellant that High Court erred in

placing reliance on the two aspects--namely, that the area of

stilt parking space is not included in the FSI and such area is

not assessable to the corporation taxes - in reaching the

conclusion that stilt parking space is part of `common areas' but

in our view even if these two aspects are excluded, in what we

have discussed above stilt parking space/open parking space

 4
of a building regulated by MOFA is nothing but a part of

`common areas' and, accordingly, we answer question no. (iii)

in the affirmative.

Re: question no. (iv) - what are the rights of a promoter
vis-`-vis society in respect of stilt parking spaces?

39. We have now come to the last question namely--

what are the rights of a promoter vis-`-vis society (of flat

purchasers) in respect of stilt parking space/s. It was argued

that the right of the promoter to dispose of the stilt parking

space is a matter falling within the domain of the promoter's

contractual, legal and fundamental right and such right is not

affected. This argument is founded on the premise, firstly, that

stilt parking space is a `flat' by itself within the meaning of

Section 2(a-1) and in the alternative that it is not part of

`common areas'. But we have already held that `stilt parking

space' is not covered by the term `garage' much less a `flat'

and that it is part of `common areas'. As a necessary corollary

to the answers given by us to question nos. (i) to (iii), it must be

held that stilt parking space/s being part of `common areas' of

the building developed by the promoter, the only right that the

 4
promoter has, is to charge the cost thereof in proportion to the

carpet area of the flat from each flat purchaser. Such stilt

parking space being neither `flat' under Section 2(a-1) nor

`garage' within the meaning of that provision is not sellable at

all.

40. MOFA was enacted by the Maharashtra Legislature

as it was found that builders/developers/promoters were

indulging in malpractices in the sale and transfer of flats and the

flat purchasers were being exploited. The effect of MOFA may

be summarized as follows. First, every promoter who

constructs or intends to construct block or building of flats in the

area to which MOFA applies has to strictly adhere to the

provisions contained therein, i.e., inter alia, he has to make full

and true disclosure of the nature of his title to the land on

which the flats are constructed and also make disclosure in

respect of the extent of the carpet area of the flat and the

nature, extent and description of the common areas and

facilities when the flats are advertised for sale. Secondly, the

particulars which are set out in Section 4(1A) (a) (i) to (x) have

 4
to be incorporated in the agreement with the flat purchaser.

Thirdly, the promoter has to apply to the Registrar for

registration of the organization (co-operative society or

company or condominium) as soon as minimum number of

persons required to form such organization have taken flats. As

regards unsold flats, the promoter has to join such organization

although his right to dispose of unsold flats remains unaffected.

Fourthly, and more importantly, the promoter has to take all

necessary steps to complete his title and convey to the

organization his right, title and interest in the land and building

and execute all relevant documents accordingly. It was argued

by Mr. Tanmaya Mehta, learned counsel for the promoter that

in view of the provisions of MOFA, Section 6 of T.P. Act and

Article 300A of the Constitution, the right of the promoter to

transfer parking spaces is not at all restricted. Relying upon the

decisions of this Court in ICICI Bank Ltd. v. SIDCO Leathers

Ltd. & Ors..4, Karnataka State Financial Corporation v. N.

Narasimahaiah & Ors.5 and Bhikhubhai Vithlabhai Patel & Ors.,

4
 (2006) 10 SCC 452
5
 (2008) 5 SCC 176

 4
v. State of Gujarat & Anr.6, he submitted that the provisions

contained in MOFA must be construed strictly and there is no

provision either express or by necessary implication in MOFA

restricting the sale of stilt or open parking spaces. Mr. Sunil

Gupta also argued that promoter continues to have contractual,

legal and fundamental right to dispose of the stilt/open parking

space in the manner in which he proposes and his consumers

accept. We think this argument does not bear detailed

examination. Suffice it to say that if the argument of learned

senior counsel and counsel for promoter is accepted, the

mischief with which MOFA is obviously intended to deal with

would remain unabated and flat purchasers would continue to

be exploited indirectly by the promoters. In our opinion,

MOFA does restrict the rights of the promoter in the block or

building constructed for flats or to be constructed for flats to

which that Act applies. The promoter has no right to sell any

portion of such building which is not `flat' within the meaning of

Section 2(a-1) and the entire land and building has to be

conveyed to the organisation; the only right remains with the
6
 (2008) 4 SCC 144

 4
promoter is to sell unsold flats. It is, thus, clear that the

promoter has no right to sell `stilt parking spaces' as these are

neither `flat' nor appurtenant or attachment to a `flat'.

41. In view of the above, it is not at all necessary to deal

with the factual submissions advanced by Mr. Tanmaya Mehta.

Having regard to the answer to question no. (iv), the finding of

the High Court that undertakings are neither binding on the flat

purchasers nor the society also warrants no interference.

42. These appeals, accordingly, fail and are dismissed
with no order as to costs.

 ..............................J
 (R. M. Lodha)

 .............................J
 (A. K. Patnaik)
New Delhi.
August 31, 2010. 4
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