Mumbai: Consumer body penalizes society, builder for allotting wrong flat
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A district consumer commission has ordered a cooperative housing society of railway employees and a builder who had developed a project for it, to pay refund over Rs. 6 lakhs to a society member that he had spent on repairs and pay additional compensation for not allotting the flat promised in the agreement and instead allotting another in an unfit condition.

The complaint was filed in 2015 by Dadar resident Ratnakar Malpekar, a central government employee. He had become a member of the society Railway Mens ‘D’ Group Category in 1984. As per the agreement, a builder would be constructing the building on behalf of the society. Malpekar was promised flat B/G 201 of 475 sq. ft. in the agreement for which he had paid Rs. 1.05 lakh. He was however given another flat B/G 203 instead. To his chagrin, he found that the allotted flat was being used as a godown and the promised flat had already been given away to someone else. He also found the flat was not in a condition fit to live in and basic facilities such as that of electricity had not been provided in it.

Malpekar, through his advocate, Uday Warunjikar also complained that till date he had not been provided documents related to the flat. Share certificates of the flat were given to him only in 2008 when the society was registered in 1995. Advocate Warunjikar told the commission that the complainant had to remove furniture that had been lying in his flat at his own cost as the opposite parties did not pay heed for long. Also, he had to conduct repair and renovation which cost him Rs. 6.25 lakhs.

The commission in its order noted that the complainant was not given the assigned flat despite there being a proper agreement and that the share certificate was given to him in 2008 though the society was registered in 1995. It also said that when handed over, the flat was not in a habitable condition and had all sorts of building material strewn across all rooms, did not have electricity connection, had damaged walls and was covered completely in dust and pigeon dung. A coram of commission observed that therefore, it was not in a condition to be occupied by the complainant, leave alone reside in it.

The order authored by member Preethi Chamikutty noted that Malpekar had been given a flat that was 20 sq ft lesser in dimension and that neither parties have refunded him the additional consideration for the same.

Calling the deficiency on part of the opponents “continuous and recurring” and that they had “completely left it to the complainant to make his flat habitable, without carrying out their statutory duties,” the commission asked them to repay with 12 percent interest the Rs 6.25 lakhs he had spent on repairs as well as pay Rs. 50,000 as compensation for the hardship he had to endure and an additional Rs. 10,000 as costs.

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