A doctor is staying on the ground floor of a society. The doctor, a general practitioner, runs a dispensary in one room, and has also put up a board for the practice. Is it permissible to run a commercial dispensary in a residential society without the society's permission? If no - what alternative is there to stop the doctor from running a commercial organisation in residential society? If yes, what additional charges can the society demand from the doctor?
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  • There is a vast difference between a business and profession. The activity of a doctor is a professional activity. A doctor, if residing in the flat, is entitled to use a part of the premises for professional activities. Development Control Rule No. 51 (iv) of the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, stipulates that a doctor can utilise an area not exceeding 30 sq. mtr. for professional activities.

    As regards the levy of charges, the same is linked to the flat. The definition of the flat includes shops as well as residential flats. In my opinion, the society has no right of any nature whatsoever to charge additional charges, just because a doctor is utilising the flat for professional activities.
  • The judgment delivered by the Bombay High Court in the case of Sunanda Janardan Rangekar with Rahul Co-operative Housing Society Ltd., states that the society cannot charge additional amounts even if commercial activities are carried out from the premises. I may add that no additional services are provided by the society, if a doctor utilises the flat allotted to him for his professional activity. So, a society posseses no right to charge additional charges from him
  • what can be done if a general practitioner uses his flat only as a dispensary and stays in another society, and also no dispensary word is mentioned in the approved BMC plan nor in the sale agreement