Homebuyers can form registered association and approach NCDRC directly

NEW DELHI: Clearing the way for homebuyers planning to file complaints against builders in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) through an association route, the Supreme Court on Tuesday has made it clear this is well within their rights and the focus should be on addressing their grievances. The decision also marks significance since it would remove multiplicity of cases for state and national consumer forums and allow homebuyers to directly approach the national commission by forming a registered association, saving their time and money.

Dismissing multiple appeals filed by Amrapali Sapphire Developer challenging the right of a registered consumer association to file a complaint on behalf of multiple buyers of the same project, the apex court observed that it is the grievances of homebuyers that needs to be looked into, informed Sahil Sethi, senior associate at law firm Saikrishna & Associates, who represented the Amrapali Sapphire Flat Buyers Welfare Association.

The apex court also remarked that Amrapali has taken money from buyers and neither given them possession nor is refunding their money, informed Sethi. “The apex court did not entertain our appeals and dismissed the same. We will be continuing the proceedings in NCDRC,” said Rakesh Kumar, advocate representing Amrapali Sapphire Developer.

In May last year, around 100 buyers of Amrapali Sapphire project in Noida filed a complaint before NCDRC, to which Amrapali in its response said that in order to file a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 an association should receive recognition from the Bureau of India Standards.

Amrapali further challenged the complaint on the ground that as the apartments in the project were priced lesser than Rs 1 crore, which is the pecuniary jurisdiction of the national commission, NCDRC should not entertain complaints from buyers and the complaint should be filed before the state commission in Lucknow.

In August 2016, NCDRC ruled in favour of the buyers on both these counts. Amrapali then approached the Supreme Court, getting a stay on the NCDRC order. The apex court also issued notice to the buyers’ association to file a response. The association in its response said the appeal is merely a tactic adopted by Amrapali to avoid/delay the proceedings before NCDRC.

Credits ET Realty

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