MeraNews Network, Ahmedabad: In an important judgment passed today in the hearing regarding parking fee charged by theatres and shopping malls from visitors and customers, the Gujarat High Court ordered that customers and visitors should not be charged for parking their vehicles in the mall premises for the first hour. The mall and theatre operators can charge the customers for the later hours.

The owners and operators of malls and multiplexes in Ahmedabad moved a writ petition in HC seeking cancellation of this order by the city police. Justice Bela Trivedi heard the arguments from both the sides and even the police commissioner and ordered that malls and multiplexes should not charge the customers for parking for the first hour. But it can later charge the Rs 20 for two-wheelers and Rs 30 for four-wheelers for the consequent hours of parking.

The order further stated that the state government must come out with a parking policy to be implemented across the state which would clarify whether parking in certain places should be chargeable or not. This policy would be helpful in curbing the menace of illegal parking.

A few months ago, the city police commissioner of Ahmedabad had ordered the malls and multiplexes operating in the city to stop charging customers and visitors for parking their vehicles in their premises. This move had come after the city police came under heavy criticism by the Gujarat High Court for failing to tackle the menace of illegal parking on streets. The Ahmedabad city police had claimed that the malls and multiplexes had taken the responsibility of providing adequate parking space while getting permits from the municipal corporation, but visitors were discouraged by the charges they had pay for parking their vehicles, and thus would park their vehicles outside the malls and multiplexes on the street.