Builders delaying handing over of buildings to buyers within time or using substandard material in construction are liable to pay damages to the purchasers for any financial loss or physical inconvenience suffered by them, a Delhi court has said.
The court’s observation came as it decided a suit filed by Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd seeking damages from a builder alleging that it had used substandard material in constructing their building and the work was not completed in time.
Additional District Judge Kamini Lau, however, said that Dalmia Cement had failed to lead any evidence on the claim of damages and loss allegedly suffered by them and there was nothing on record to establish that any loss was caused to them due to builder Hansalaya Properties and its partners.
The court said non-completion of work within stipulated time or any deficiency in service was an actionable claim.
“A builder who delays the handing over of the building to the buyer after completing the same within time or fails to carry out the construction as per the agreed specifications or has used substandard construction material or fails to provide the facilities as agreed upon, entitles the buyer/purchaser/ occupants of such building to claim damages for any financial loss or physical inconvenience suffered by him on account of the same for which the builder can be made liable,” it said.
The court, however, said the extent of financial loss suffered by Dalmia Cement due to delay or deficient services rendered by the builder has not been justified.
“I am certain that if in case any such loss or inconvenience suffered by the plaintiff, the issue would have surely been taken up in the meeting of Board of Directors of the plaintiff company which has never been done,” it noted.
Dalmia Cement, the plaintiff firm, had filed the suit for recovery of Rs 9.26 lakh against the defendants, Hansalaya Properties, but the court said it was entitled only for Rs 12,000 which was paid to the builder as substitution charges.
The builder claimed in court that delay in completion of the building was due to unavoidable circumstances of non- availability of required quality of cement and was unforeseen.
It said the considerable delay was caused on account of failure of the plaintiff firm, their architects and electrical contractors in providing details of the particular work which they wished to be carried out on two floors of Hansalaya Building at Barakhamba Road in the heart of the capital.
The plaintiff said a contract was signed between the parties and the construction was to be commenced by the defendants in March 1971 to be completed within two years.
The possession of the two floors was to be handed over to Dalmia Cement firm by April 1973 but the builder failed to complete the work and gave possession of the incomplete floors only on April 1, 1977, after a delay of four years, the suit said.