Sa­hara or­dered to re­fund Rs 84 lakh to 12 home­buy­ers

Consumer Voice - - In The News -

The district con­sumer court in Pune has di­rected Sa­hara Prime City Lim­ited, a project by Sa­hara In­dia in Dhanori, to re­fund a to­tal of Rs 84 lakh with 9 per cent per an­num in­ter­est and Rs 5,000 cost to each of 12 home­buy­ers for de­fi­cient ser­vice.

Be­tween De­cem­ber 2012 and Jan­uary 2013, Sa­hara Prime City had col­lected amounts in the range of Rs 6 lakh and Rs 11 lakh for flats cost­ing over Rs 45 lakh from the 12 home­buy­ers. On 5 July 2014, Sa­hara Prime City is­sued let­ters to these home­buy­ers that due to an apex court's or­der in June 2014 it had ini­ti­ated process for sell­ing the project land to some other builder. The project de­vel­oper then gave the op­tion to these home­buy­ers to with­draw from the project by opt­ing for re­fund with in­ter­est on the part-con­sid­er­a­tion they paid for pur­chas­ing flats.

The home­buy­ers opted for with­drawal and in­ti­mated the same to Sa­hara Prime City. How­ever, the de­vel­oper nei­ther com­pleted the project nor re­funded the amount re­ceived from these buy­ers. “It is crys­tal clear that there is de­fi­ciency on the part of the op­po­site party (Sa­hara) while ren­der­ing hous­ing con­struc­tion ser­vice to the com­plainants,” the con­sumer court bench of VP Ut­pat and Onkar G Patil said in ex-parte or­ders on 21 June re­lat­ing to each of the 12 com­plaints. Sa­hara Prime City had failed to re­spond to the con­sumer court's no­tices as the de­vel­oper nei­ther filed a writ­ten state­ment nor was rep­re­sented by any lawyer dur­ing the case hear­ing.

The bench observed in its rul­ing that the part-con­sid­er­a­tion paid by the com­plainants was not a gra­tu­itous (given free of charge) act and they were bound to get a re­fund. The bench re­ferred to the pro­vi­sions un­der the In­dian Con­tract Act and observed, “When a con­tract has been bro­ken, the party who suf­fers by such breach is en­ti­tled to re­ceive from the party who has bro­ken the con­tract, com­pen­sa­tion for any loss or dam­age caused. As such, the com­plainants were en­ti­tled for re­fund.” The bench cited pro­vi­sions of Ma­ha­rash­tra Own­er­ship Flats Act to the ef­fect that a sim­ple in­ter­est is payable on re­fund amount when the pro­moter and de­vel­oper fails to han­dover posses­sion within spec­i­fied time.

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