Installing shrine and garland outside flat: human rights dimension?

In Goodwell Property Management Ltd v Garg Lalit Kumar ([2012] HKEC 1014, Lands Tribunal) a flat owner installed a shrine with a garland above the front door outside his flat. The Lands Tribunal found that the shrine fell within the meaning of ‘sign’ so that the shrine was a breach of the DMC prohibition on erecting signs. There was also a breach of the House Rules. The court decided that there was no evidence of acquiescence in the breach (and in any event managers have no authority to authorise a breach of the DMC).  Nor was there evidence of any representation that the shrine could be installed that could be the basis of an estoppel. Since the manager was not a public body, the argument that the decision not to allow the shrine was an infringement of the right to freedom of religion contained in the Bill of Rights Ordinance could not be entertained (section 7 of the Bill of Rights Ordinance).

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