PUNE: The National consumer disputes redressal commission (NCDRC) has held that a builder cannot sell an already booked flat to a third party without issuing prior notice of cancellation of allotment to the initial buyer.
An NCDRC bench, headed by president Justice DK Jain, dismissed a revision application by three partners of a real estate firm in Dhankawadi against the orders by the lower consumer courts directing handing over of the flat, along with Rs 12,000 compensation and costs, to the complainant and his three legal heirs from Kothrud. Complainant Vishwas Bhagoji Gaikwad, who has since passed away, was represented by his legal heirs, Nirmala Gaikwad, Madhuri Gaikwad and Mandar Gaikwad, all residents of Kothrud.
In an order on February 3, Justice Jain observed, “On a pointed query, the counsel appearing for the petitioners (firm partners) has candidly admitted that there is no material on record to show that before selling the flat to a third party, any notice was issued to the complainant, informing him that in the event of a default on his part in making the payment of the balance, the flat allotment shall be cancelled.”
“In that view of the matter, I do not find any jurisdictional error in the impugned (under challenge) order warranting interference in exercise of revisional jurisdiction,” the order stated while dismissing the revision petition with costs quantified at Rs 10,000.
As per an agreement signed between the firm, J P Constructions, and Gaikwad on May 30, 1996, the latter was allotted a flat on the third floor of a scheme developed by the firm, for total cost of Rs 1,46,500. Gaikwad had paid a booking amount of Rs 5,000 and the remaining consideration was to be paid in phases as per different stages of construction. The flat was to be delivered to Gaikwad on December 31, 1996.
Gaikwad had complained to the Pune district consumer court that the firm had stopped construction work at the site and yet, issued him a letter on May 15, 1998, demanding the balance consideration of Rs 63,500. Since the firm had failed to maintain the schedule of construction, Gaikwad refused to pay the balance amount and issued a legal notice to the firm before filing the complaint before the Pune consumer court. During the pendency of this complaint, the firm sold the allotted flat to a third party without any intimation.
The court held the firm’s action as an unfair trade practice and had directed the firm to hand over the flat to Gaikwad on the latter paying the balance consideration and also pay Rs 12,000 . The firm moved an appeal before the Mahashtra state consumer commission, which dismissed it in 2015.
Credits ET Realty