The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC), Maharashtra, has directed a developer to refund Rs 51.70 lakh with interest of nine per cent to a homebuyer for delay in possession.
The commission also awarded Rs 25,000 for mental agony and Rs 10,000 as litigation cost. The order dated August 23, 2022 was passed by the commission’s president Justice SP Tavade and judicial member ST Barne.
The complainant couple, Shekhar and Sharmista Rijhwani, are residents of Bandra and wanted a spacious flat with various facilities. They booked a flat in Malad with Era Realtors Pvt. Ltd. and Omkar Realtors and Developers Pvt. Ltd. The total cost of the flat was Rs 2.50 crore.
The Rijhwanis were told they would get the flat 18 months after booking in 2016. As a token amount to apply for the flat, they paid Rs 7 lakh. Over a period of time, they paid a total of Rs 51.70 lakh, which amounted to 20 per cent of the total consideration of the flat.
When the couple did not get possession, they approached the opponents for cancellation of booking and refund. The opponents countered the demand by saying that homebuyers were not regular with the payment of instalment as they were facing financial troubles. They also contended that the couple was unable to pay the remaining amount and hence wanted to cancel the booking. The developers said that some part of the instalment was due and that the initial booking amount of Rs 7 lakh should be forfeited as per the cancellation clause.
During the hearing, the commission observed that there was no execution of the registered agreement despite receiving 20 per cent of the amount of consideration and that the buyers had proved their case of not receiving the flat on time. The commission also observed that there was no agreement for the forfeiture of the booking amount.
Stating that it found deficiency in the conduct of the opponents, the commission allowed the complaints and asked the opponents to pay the refund with interest to be calculated from the date of filing of the complaint to the day they get the money.