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Atal   09 November 2018

Housing society charged penalty for keeping plants in window

I own a flat in Chennai, Tamilnadu. Recently the housing society charged a penalty of Rs.500 for keeping potted plants in 1.5 feet window sill area outside of my bedroom window. They took away the potted plants and kept in their custody. The manager sighted a society bylaw claiming window sill as a common area where the owner cannot keep anything. I disputed the bylaw as nowhere it was mentioned window sill/ledge as a common area and requested to remove the penalty charged over email. I gave reference links of few cases where a housing society cannot charge penalty for things like keeping potted plants in window sill. The manager ignored it and refused to reverse the penalty. later i kept two pots on the edge of window, again they were taken away and another Rs.500 penalty has been charged to me. Its been two months and both penalties are appearing in my commonfloor group app account which is used by society to issue maintenance invoices and drawing interest. The society office has sent a mail today stating certain facilities like access to gym, garbage collection, powerbqckup will be blocked from 12/11/2018 if the penalty are not paid before. And post that I have to pay 2000 rupees additionally to get such facilities back. What is the law says and what are the next steps i should take as a flat owner?


 32 Replies

Hemant Agarwal ( Mumbai : 9820174108)     09 November 2018

1. FIRSTLY give proper Legal Notice to Society to reverse the illegal penalty, for which the Society has no jurisdiciton.  On failure by Society, you can file a grievance petition before the local Consumer Court, for relief and damages, for the harassment, negligence & deficiency of the Society.

2.  You can also file Police FIR, for intimidation and extortion against the Manager.

Keep Smiling .... Hemant Agarwal

Kumar Doab (FIN)     09 November 2018

The following draft rules provide for NO permission to keep flower post in case of Hospitals..

Draft Tamil Nadu Common Development

Promotion Rules 2018


Local Bodies: 28(g)

GO thru Model Bye Laws/ Society Act in the state and Bye laws and approved by society in GB and   registered by Dy. Registrar abd relate..for penalty for keeping flowe pots in window sill as in query, and confirm if IT amounts to violation of Bye laws!

Keeping flower pots as in query may not necessarily be violation.

If Manager (as in query and not Secretary) has communicated some bye law then IT should be from published version and available in office hence you can relate.

Also check if Manager is empowered to levy penalty or is only to communicate.

You have already protested.

Usually the appeal lies before Dy. Registrar and he/she may reverse the penalty and also comment on authority of society (Manager) to issue Hitler like dictate to cut off power supply etc (as in query) in such instances..and if window sill is common area or not!

You amy also approach police, DCDRF to ward off such dictats in future..and other affected flat owners may also join you.

Kumar Doab (FIN)     09 November 2018

You may take help of elders of your family, competent and experienced well wishers, seasoned and experienced flat owners, seasoned PIP’s, helpgroups, community leaders, NGO’s, experienced colleagues, associations, Flat owners asscociation Leaders etc to resolve the matter if any, and/or  find a very able LOCAL counsel specializing in concerned filed of law e.g; Society/Civil matters as in your case, and well versed with LOCAL applicable rules, precedence, latest judgments etc …. and worth his/her salt, can advise you and even help you.

Online discussions are not substitute to in person discussions with a very able counsel of unshakable repute and integrity specializing in concerned field of law.

There are such very able counsels at each location.

Check for such counsels at LOCAL e.g;, Co-op courts, Civil courts, HC, SC …

Mr. Hemant Agarwal has been helping querists on suich matters and you can benefit from his counsel.


2 Like

Atal   09 November 2018

Following mail has been sent today to me: This letter is to inform you that a payment is outstanding from you. We tried reaching you. The outstanding balance and descripttion of outstanding viewable in the Common floor website. Kindly have the same cleared immediately. As we haven�t heard back from you we would like to notify you that the following services will be discontinued to your apartment with effective date of 12 Nov�18. ● Access to Gymnasium, Swimming Pool, and Community Hall, ● Access to Plumber and Electrician and Garbage Collection, ● No Guest Pass & Parking Stickers, ● Power Backup If the dues are not cleared by 12 Nov�18, upon discontinuation of service, there will be a reinstatement fee of Rs.2000/- will be charged in addition to your existing dues. Thank you for attending to this matter as soon as possible and if you have any questions, please talk to the Facility Manager. If already paid, Please share the payment details to us Thanks & Regards

Kumar Doab (FIN)     09 November 2018

 The Manager has communicated on record and you have agitated as per query and subsequent posts.

If you are unable to resolve then approach a very able counsel as already suggested.

Kumar Doab (FIN)     09 November 2018

LCI Admin has removed the option to post links. Apparrntly IT is as per requests made by some members/Experts that do not want that querists/memebrs/Experts get access to links and illustrated responses to benefit one and all is shared.  Send a PM to LCI Admin to refrain aceeding to such requests. There are many citations and available threu Google, Indiankanoon etc  


Your posts also that contain weblink shall not appear in thread.

Kumar Doab (FIN)     09 November 2018

You may keep on posting but your posts containing weblinks shall not appear in thread.

Atal   09 November 2018

Thank you for pointing out the post with link restriction. In fact I was trying to post a mail sent by me to manager a month back which had links to posts on LCI and responses from Hemant in a similar case.

Atal   10 November 2018

Kumar, I have gone through the tamilnadu 2018 document, that talks about not keeping flower pots, statues in the corridors in hospitals specifically for ease of movement of patients during emergencies.

G.L.N. Prasad (Retired employee.)     10 November 2018

My personal advice as common man is first pay that penalty under protest and ensure smooth relations and to continue the facilities enjoyed.

To be frank, when a bye-law states something, you have to raise your voice against such bye-law, complain to Sub-registrar, get clarification from them, and then act as per laid down norms.

It is true that there is seepage of water from flower pots damaging the structures, and accidental fall through gales in many past instances and to ensure the safety of residents, many societies prohibit such flower pots.  It is also true that many residents keep a plate beneath the pot to arrest seepage, and also use flower pots only when there is a protected grill.

Either to discard the flower pots to maintain good relations with society by obeying the bye-laws or to fight with neighbors and society for sake of flower pots is your discretion, but remember it becomes a precedent and tomorrow you may get affected. 

Atal   10 November 2018

Thank you for the advice Prasad. I am not emotional about keeping flower pots, specially after the society maintenance team removed it. I am specific about my right to use the window sill for specific purpose like keeping a decorative item like flower pot. Society can't claim ownership of such areas, neither the bylaws say that. Secondly, does a society has authority to impose a financial penalty/s for such things. I am paying all maintenance fees and charges before due dates and in advance. Can a society stop me from accessing facilities for which i am paying per month a sizable amount for a dispute of INR1000 penalty?

G.L.N. Prasad (Retired employee.)     10 November 2018


At this stage it is highly debatable.  I am very clear in my reply to pay the demanded amount under protest.

The following services are not essential services and nominal services and it may not affect your day to day living.

today stating certain facilities like access to gym, garbage collection, powerbqckup will be blocked from 12/11/2018 if the penalty are not paid before. And 

Keep calm, pay the amount under protest through Regd ack due post, in the same post request them to provide copy of that Bye law in which flower pots are banned, and then escalate it to District Consumer Forum and fight it over for a good decision.  The complaint may state facts in brief that there is no such bye-law, the flower pots are kept under a plate and as such there is no seepage, pots were stored in a cage-like structure preventing sudden collapse outside, that you have never received any oral warning or notice pointing out such irregularity and stipulation in bye law, they have removed the asset without your consent, the asset was in your possession and not in common area obstructing passage, without giving opportunity of personal hearing, they have acted arbitrarily and imposed fine, threatening to cut out amenities and forced consumer to part with huge sum for a minor violation if any through serving notice, that amount was paid in good faith under protest and state all these as deficiency of service, illegal and arbitrary.  Pray for directions to Society for refunding the amount, interest at 18%, compensation for harassment during festival days etc.  Make it as brief as possible with details and mark this as copy to Sub registrar for taking action against the concerned office bearers in person  like 1.President 2. Secretary and the person that has removed the pots and issued notices.

A complaint can be filed in the District Consumer forum free of cost, and as you know the facts, and as proceedings are summary in nature, you are sure to win.   In the meanwhile make a google search with key words to find such enactments if any.

Hemant Agarwal ( Mumbai : 9820174108)     10 November 2018

1.  DO NOT PAY, even under protest.  Let the Facilities to you be stopped first and then immedaitely file Police FIR, for intimidation and extortion against the Manager.

2.  NO POINT in beating around the bush.

Keep Smiling .... Hemant Agarwal

Kumar Doab (FIN)     10 November 2018

In your very 1st post you have mentioned that said Manager has cited a bye law.

If you are unable to resolve on your own, entrust the mater to your counsel, and your counsel shall do the needful to fetch you relief.

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