A judge has dismissed a civil case submitted by a man in Singapore, who took his condominium’s management corporation (MC) to court over not issuing him a car park label.
According to court documents, Manohar K. D. Nanwani challenged a by-law of the condominium that allows only residents with vehicle log cards bearing an address within the Fort Gardens estate to be issued a car park label.
Nanwani argued that this by-law was invalid as it contravenes existing regulations, and sought “reliefs” from the MC for his application.
In his decision, District Judge Jonathan Ng described Nanwani’s case as an abuse of Singapore’s legal process.
He also noted that Nanwani appeared to never have been interested in the legal merits of the case, nor in obtaining a car park label. Ng elaborated:
“His only interest has been in using the judicial process to vex and oppress the Respondent [the MC].
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.”
The dispute in question
Nanwani had moved into the Fort Gardens condominium in Sep. 2022.
He later applied for a car park label from the MC, and submitted a document which he claimed was his vehicle log card in his application.
However, the document only bore Nanwani’s old address, and not his current address at Fort Gardens.
The MC thus never issued a car park label to Nanwani.
Nanwani was then informed by a security guard in Oct. 2022 that he would have to produce an updated vehicle log card with his Fort Garden’s address to receive the car park label.
What followed was a series of confrontations that eventually escalated to court.
The timeline of the escalation
On Nov. 30, 2022, MC issued a “final warning” placed on Nanwani’s car, informing him that unauthorised parking would result in his car being wheel-clamped.
Nanwani’s lawyers then wrote to the MC’s lawyers on Dec. 9, 2022, asking for a car park label “immediately”.
After an episode happened on Dec. 11, 2022, where Nanwani’s car was wheel clamped and then unclamped, his lawyers once again sent a letter to the MC, requesting a car park label, and reserving Nanwani’s right to claim “aggravated damages”.
The lawyer’s letter also requested the MC to provide its “additional by-laws”.
On Dec 14, the condo’s estate manager replied to Nanwani’s lawyers, detailing their version of events and giving him a deadline (Dec. 17) by which to produce a vehicle log card bearing his Fort Garden’s address.
The MC also offered Nanwani the opportunity to view the condo’s by-laws.
More back and forth ensued, with the MC threatening to wheel clamp Nanwani’s car again if he did not submit his updated vehicle log card.
Meanwhile, Nanwani’s lawyers threatened to claim “aggravated damages” should the MC proceed to wheel clamp Nanwani’s car, and also indicated in a separate email that they would file a “restraining order”.
On Dec. 20, Nanwani subsequently filed a court application against the MC, seeking: a declaration that the condo’s by-law was invalid, that the MC issue him a car park label for his car, and a restraining order to stop the MC from wheel-clamping his car for as long as he remains a resident at Fort Gardens.
In response to Nanwani’s argument that the parking by-law is invalid as it is inconsistent with existing regulations, the MC countered that it is not bound by the regulations in the first place.
The regulations that Nanwani brought up state that an MC “shall not unreasonably withhold its approval to the parking or leaving of a vehicle on the common property”, and came into effect Apr. 2005.
However, the MC was constituted in Mar. 1995, before this law came into effect, it noted.
In his decision, the judge ruled that the MC is thus not bound by these existing regulations, whether directly or indirectly.
The MC also countered Nanwani’s claims that its parking by-law was unreasonable and onerous.
Elaborating on the reason behind the condo’s parking by-law, the MC explained that the rule was created to prevent an abuse of the condo’s parking system.
Prior to the implementation of the by-law, the MC shared that residents would “abuse the system” by sharing their car park labels with friends or family who did not live at the condo.
To address this abuse, the by-law was therefore laid out, to ensure that car park labels were issued only to residents, and also tied to specific vehicles.
The vehicle log card is required as part of the application process for the car park label, as it normally bears the name of the owner as well as their registered address, the MC added.
To this, the judge agreed that there was indeed a “good reason” for the parking by-law.
The judge also noted that the parking by-law itself was not onerous, as the steps only involved updating one’s NRIC to reflect the Fort Gardens address, and then retrieving the vehicle log card via the LTA website to submit to the MC.
The judge pointed out that Nanwani had since been able to update his NRIC to reflect his Fort Gardens address.
According to evidence that was submitted, the MC had clearly set out the three steps Nanwani needed to take to retrieve his vehicle log card back then, but Nanwani had chosen to do something different.
As such, he was eventually not able to produce the vehicle log card required.
The judge added that even when it became clear that Nanwani would have only needed to print (or download) a copy of the vehicle log card, then produce it to the MC in order to obtain the car park label, Nanwani chose to persist with his originating application.
“…the Applicant [Nanwani] could have simply taken these steps. 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.”
Top image via Google Maps Street View