made the booking only for investment sake to earn more yield on our money. We had booked these flats at peak time assuring that money will multiply with your esteemed organization.”
DLF in its defence raised the question of jurisdiction of the Consumer Commission, on the plea that the complainant was not a consumer because he had invested the money for commercial purpose and could not be treated in the forum as a consumer.
DLF’s counsel referred to Section 2 (o) d of Consumer Protection Act, the clause that was added to the act via an amendment in 2002. Reference was also made to the earlier decided cases on the subject. One of those cases was Chilkuri Adarsh versus Ess Ess Vee Constructions, wherein it was held that when a consumer booked more than one unit of residential premises, it amounted to booking of premises for commercial purpose. A similar view was taken in the case of Jagmohan Chabraand and others versus DLF Universal as also in Sunil Gupta versus Today Homes Infrastructure – in both these cases, the complainant had booked flats for commercial purposes.
Coming back to the case in question, the only fact to examine before the Commission was to check facts and establish if the present case fell under the category of commercial purpose. During the proceedings, a letter written by the complainants was produced by DLF. In the letter, written in the complainants’ letterhead, it was stated that they had invested in properties for the purpose of yielding profit and the delay was causing them loss. The contents of the letter further included: “…you would recall that we had
The letter proved that the complainant had booked flats solely for the purpose of yielding profits and that they were not entitled to be treated at par with the consumer who would have been struggling to get possession of the house to live in it.
Post this verdict, the National Commission held that if more than one flat was booked with one or more developers, it had to be treated as booking meant for investment purpose even if the nature of property was residential. The Commission also stated that the state and the district forums had the right to refrain from entertaining such complaints.
The Commission made the said judgement to ensure that it did not spend time in resolving issues regarding commercial purposes – it would rather focus on the cases of individuals who were struggling to get possession of their houses from developers. Many individuals across India are fighting to get possession of their houses, for which they are already paying equated monthly instalments in addition to paying the rent of the houses that they are currently living in. The priority of consumer forums will always be to help such individuals instead of property dealers or agents.