New Delhi : The apex consumer commission has dismissed an appeal filed by a real estate developer against a direction to pay nearly Rs 65 lakh to two persons who had jointly booked a flat in its project, saying “unscrupulous” builders who take to litigation “to cover up their faults” should not be spared.

A bench of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NDCRC), also imposed punitive damages of Rs five lakh on the builder Emaar MGF Land Ltd, out of which Rs 2.5 lakh would be given to the buyer as compensation and Rs 2.5 lakh to be deposited in Consumer Legal Aid Account of the commission.

The bench, presided by Justice V B Gupta, passed the order on the appeal of the builder challenging the state commission’s decision of directing it to refund Rs 62,60,750 to the complainants along with interest, to pay Rs two lakh compensation for causing mental agony and physical harassment to them and a cost of Rs 20,000 to them.

A complaint was filed by Chandigarh residents Karnail Singh and his son Harmeek Singh, submitting that they had booked a plot in the builder’s ‘Mohali Plots at Mohali Hills’ project in Sector 104, Mohali by paying a booking amount of Rs five lakh on February 12, 2011.

The builder had assured them that development activity at the site was in full swing and if they booked the plot, the possession would be given to them within 18 months from the date of execution of the Plot Buyer’s Agreement, it said.

When the builder failed to give the possession of the plot by the stipulated date i.e. May 21, 2013, Singhs visited the site and found that there was no development in the area, in which the plot was allotted.

The NCDRC bench, however, said the unscrupulous act on the part of builders should be dealt with heavy hands as after grabbing the money from the purchasers, they enjoy and utilise their money but do not hand over the plot on one pretext or the other.

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