Unitech or­dered to pay Rs 4 crore for de­lay in de­liv­er­ing homes

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The Na­tional Con­sumer Dis­putes Re­dres­sal Com­mis­sion (NCDRC) has di­rected real es­tate de­vel­oper Unitech Ltd to re­fund amount of nearly Rs 4 crore to a group of buy­ers for de­lay in de­liv­er­ing homes to them in Gur­gaon. The buy­ers had ap­proached the com­mis­sion af­ter the de­vel­oper failed to give them pos­ses­sion of apart­ments, un­der its Vis­tas pro­ject in Sec­tor 70, as per the agree­ment signed more than five years ago. The builder was sup­posed to give pos­ses­sion within 36 months from the date of the agree­ment.

“The op­po­site party (Unitech) is di­rected to re­fund the amount paid to it by the com­plainants along with com­pen­sa­tion in the form of sim­ple in­ter­est at 18 per cent per an­num cal­cu­lated from the date of each pay­ment till the date the said amount is paid along with the in­ter­est in terms of this or­der,” Jus­tice VK Jain, pre­sid­ing mem­ber NCDRC, and Dr BC Gupta, mem­ber NCDRC, said in the or­der.

The case re­lates to eight buy­ers who had booked the homes with the builder in 2010 af­ter pay­ing in the range of Rs 26.5 lakh to Rs 55 lakh each. In their clubbed plea filed at NCDRC, while six buy­ers wanted the money back with com­pen­sa­tion, two oth­ers sought pos­ses­sion of the flats in a stip­u­lated time and com­pen­sa­tion from the builder.

Ac­cus­ing the builder for fail­ing to of­fer the pos­ses­sion as promised in the agree­ment, the pe­ti­tion high­lighted that ex­cept for a cer­tain por­tion of the pro­ject, con­struc­tion had not even started.

“There was no civil com­mo­tion, war, en­emy ac­tion, ter­ror­ist ac­tion, earth­quake or any act of God which could have de­layed the com­ple­tion of the pro­ject within the time stip­u­lated in the Buy­ers Agree­ment,” the com­mis­sion ob­served while re­ject­ing the “eco­nomic slow­down” ex­cuse of the builder.

The builder has also been di­rected to pay Rs 5,000 to each of the buy­ers as lit­i­ga­tion charges. Count­ing the amount paid by th­ese buy­ers and the in­ter­est taken to­gether, the builder will need to pay nearly Rs 4 crore as per the or­der.

NRIs can pur­chase any house in In­dia: Con­sumer court

Non-res­i­dent In­di­ans (NRIs) who re­turn to the coun­try “ev­ery now and then” can pur­chase a house in In­dia, the Na­tional Con­sumer Dis­putes Re­dres­sal Com­mis­sion (NCDRC) has said while ask­ing Su­pertech Ltd to pay around Rs 64 lakh to an NRI for deny­ing pos­ses­sion of a flat in Greater Noida, Ut­tar Pradesh.

In 2008, Delhi res­i­dent Reshma Bha­gat and her son Tarun Bha­gat had booked a flat in the builder's pro­ject. The firm was sched­uled to hand over its pos­ses­sion to the com­plainant in 2009 and when it did not con­struct the house, the Bha­gats ap­proached the con­sumer com­mis­sion for re­fund and dam­ages, the com­plaint said.

The firm had op­posed the com­plaint, claim­ing that the flat was booked in the name of Tarun, an NRI, and that it was not for re­sid­ing pur­pose but solely to earn profit – so, he could not claim to be a ‘con­sumer’ him­self.

The com­mis­sion, presided by Jus­tice JM Malik, re­jected the firm’s con­tention, say­ing “it can­not be made a ‘rule of thumb’ that ev­ery NRI can­not own a prop­erty in In­dia. NRIs do come to In­dia ev­ery now and then. Most of the NRIs have to re­turn to their na­tive land. Each NRI wants a house in In­dia. He (Tarun) is an in­de­pen­dent per­son and can pur­chase any house in In­dia, in his own name.”

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