MUMBAI: The state consumer disputes redressal commission held that a letter issued by a builder for cancellation of bookings and failure to hand over possession of a flat amounted to deficiency of service. The commission directed the developer to hand over flats to two buyers within four months at Everest World. The buyers, who had after booking the flats and paid over Rs 6 lakh and Rs 9 lakh each in 2009, were directed to pay the remaining amounts of Rs 41 lakh and Rs 38 lakh respectively in two months.
The builder had given buyers the option to withdraw or continue their bookings. The buyers, A R Deshmukh and D L Reddy, said they continued the booking. The cancellation letter issued in August 2013 by the builder hence does not cancel their bookings, said the commission.
The order by presiding judicial member P B Joshi and judicial member Vinay Borlikar on August 4 also directed the builder, Money Magnum Constructions, to pay Rs 25,000 each to the two, who had in 2014 filed complaints seeking possession of flats they booked. The buyers alternately claimed about Rs 70 lakh and Rs 80 lakh as compensation to enable them to buy new flats in the same area at Kolshet Road, Thane, and for the mental agony caused by the ‘cancellation letter’.
The commission did not accept the builder’s plea that it was only a “provisional booking’’ for a rental housing scheme of the government. The builder’s lawyer, Tushar Goradia, argued that the buyers were not ‘consumers’ but were ‘investors’, and that the allotment was subject to sanction to be obtained for construction. There was “no concluded contract’’, the flats do not exist and the building cannot be constructed as plans are not approved since the state did not sanction the rental housing scheme, the builder argued. But the commission did not accept the arguments. The builder had, along with the cancellation letter, issued cheques to refund the initial amount along with 15% annual interest, which the buyers did not encash.
Both flats were booked in Lilac building. The buyers, said their lawyer Vijay Kadam, had sought documents from the builder to avail housing loans for flats booked. Observing that the builder brought nothing on record to support its claim that they were investors, the commission said, “It is very clear that the complainants are consumers.’’ It rejected the plea that the complaint was delayed.
Credits ET Realty