The Madras High Court on Friday disposed of a batch of cases related to lack of vehicle parking space in restaurants after the Greater Chennai Corporation reported that it had closed down 186 eateries in the city.

A Division Bench of Justices M. Venugopal and S. Vaidyanathan ordered that permission for any new restaurant in the city limits should be granted only if they complied with the parking space requirements stipulated under the second master plan drawn up by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) in 2013.

As per the master plan, every restaurant should have one car parking space for every 50 square metres of the dining area and one two-wheeler parking space for every 25 square metres. Licences would not be issued to restaurants which did not comply with the requirement.

In so far as the existing restaurants were concerned, the judges made it clear that they should make alternative arrangements such as providing valet parking for their customers so that the roads did not get choked and traffic disrupted.

The Bench directed that the Corporation officials should put up no parking boards at appropriate places along with warning messages that any vehicle parked in those places would be towed away.

It was made clear that the electricity and drinking water connections should be snapped if restaurants did not comply with the parking requirements.

Those connections should be restored only after the defects were rectified, the judges said.

They also took note of a complaint made by advocate S. Vijayan, representing the Chennai Hotels Association, that the traffic police had begun to issue notices to existing hotels asking them to obtain licence from the police too.

They recorded the submission of the Corporation counsel that the process of obtaining dual licences had been done away with long back and it was sufficient if the existing hotels obtained licence from the Corporation alone.

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