No light yet for city’s ‘power’ less couple

No light yet for city’s ‘power’ less couple

More than thirty days have passed. More than thirty long nights of darkness since October 6 when Maurishka Park Apartment Owners’ Association (MPAOA) disconnected power supply to the flat (No 403) owned by couple Shantaram Prabhu (57) and Veena Shantaram.

Each day begins with a hope that the association will
restore power supply to their flat.

Towards the end of the day as darkness envelopes the rooms, the couple sit huddled in their sofas with their faith on humanity and institutions
promoting Human Rights shaken.

The diabetic husband Shantaram, who had slipped on the floor in the dark a couple of times, is being nursed by Veena.

Though the incident has stirred the conscience of many owners and tenants residing in the apartment, none had dared to raise a finger for the fear of incurring the wrath of the association and the builder R K Builders.

The couple’s relative Damodar Shenoy also had received threatening calls for having stood by the couple in their hour of need.

Shenoy said police, MESCOM, Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) and district administration have refused to intervene declaring it as a ‘civil case’ between the association and the flat owner. “So why did the police acting on a tip-off bust a prostitution racket in the Maurishka park apartment complex ?’’ he asked and added that these institutions, in order to act, are waiting for someone to die.

“Though Supreme Court’s judgement (Chameli Singh versus UP state, 1996), Chattisgarh,  Himachal  Pradesh  High  Court’s judgement declare the right to electricity as a fundamental right, the onus is on the couple to seek legal help as institutions upholding Human Rights are in a paralytic state,’’ he lamented.

Despite breaking rules, the association, safeguarding the interests of builders, has escaped scrutiny, he rued.

Advocate and Association President Dayanand Rai had told media persons recently that they will file a case against their builder Ramesh Kumar of R K Builders for not handing over an amount of Rs 3.60 crore to the association.

Rai, who has appeared on behalf of Ramesh Kumar, is perhaps unaware that National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum had forced Ramesh to refund money to a customer, it is learnt. The customer was no less than the educationist Manjunath Bhandary and his wife Prasanna Bhandary.

Ramesh Kumar had filed an appeal against the state consumer forum verdict.

But the National Consumer Forum had declared that the builder is duty bound to deliver the apartment on the agreed date, furnish completion certificates and refund the money to the association.

“In all, I had received about Rs 4 lakh from Ramesh,’’ Bhandary said when contacted.

Well-known advocate Vivekananda Paniyal said the Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act 1972 (which the association claimed to have taken action against the defaulter couple under this act), drafted nearly five decades ago, is an outdated Act.

Due to changing demands, this outdated Act has not been able to offer an effective remedy, he stressed.

Paniyal said the need-of-the-hour is to have a quasi-judicial ombudsman to effectively redress the grievances of flat owners and apartment associations.

The disputes also can be settled by involving the parties in a mediation meeting. The District Legal Services Authority Can act as the third neutral party, he said.

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