To pee or not to pee,
that is the question

Mumbai Mirror
By Sharmeen Hakim Indorewala
30 June 2015

Vegetable seller goes to court saying he has right to use housing society's toilet; no way, says building secretary.

A fruit and vegetable vendor has moved court after the housing society he works in refused him access to the toilet. Nivruti S Jadhav, the vendor, operates out of a cubbyhole adjoining Dilkosh Condominium on Altamount Road.

Jadhav claims that the stall has been in his family for over 55 years. and for as long as he can remember, neither he nor his employees have ever been stopped from using the washroom located on the 'ground floor' and meant for drivers, watchmen and other support staff working in the society.

"My forefathers have been running this shop and I myself have been here since the time I was born. We have been using the washroom peacefully but for the past year it has almost become impossible after a new secretary was sworn in. Also there is no public toilet around, so what do we do?" asked Jadhav.

To bolster his case - and stake claim over the toilet rights -- Jadhav has cited a letter from BEST that says his shop's electricity meter is installed inside the society alongside the society meter. There are five meters belonging to the society and the sixth one is Jadhav's. "Why would his meter be in their premise if as they (the society) claim, the shop isn't?" asked Sathish Kekane, Jadhav's lawyer.

The society, on the other hand, maintains that Jadhav's stall is not inside the condominium but on the footpath outside it. It said that the stall was allowed to be set up on the express condition that it would not cause inconvenience to people living inside the building. "They have no right to use the toilet or bathroom in the building which is meant for the members/occupants of condominium or their servants etc.," said Mohit Jadhav, the society's lawyer.

But Jadhav, the vegetable vendor, is refusing to take it lying down. "We have cited one of the oldest society members as a witness in our case. The current secretary's father had absolutely no problem with us using the washroom, the society has never even objected to our shop since it is legal. But the new management that came last year has created hell for us." Jadhav said.

Jadhav's lawyer claimed that Jadhav secured an electricity connection way back in 1966 and also has got shop licence and a ration card at the address of the premises and thus has the right to use the toilet in the building. He also claimed that Jadhav and his family members have had to suffer great hardship as the "plaintiff and his family members are required to travel long distance to go to toilet or to take bath".

As of now the court has refused to grant interim relief to Jadhav saying that there is no specific document saying that they have the right to use the toilet or the bathroom. "The plaintiff says he was using that facility but that can be taken as permissive user and such user can be stopped at any time by the person who had permitted it. Thus, no prima facie case is made out to show that plaintiff has right to use the toilet or bathroom in the building of the defendants. It is not relevant whether he is required to travel long distance to go for toilet from his shop. Balance of convenience or hardship is also irrelevant in this case," Justice SD Darne said.

Despite repeated attempts, society secretary Nitin Netraprakash could not be reached.

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