Mumbai: The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) has ordered developers to refund Rs10.34 lakh to a Navy Captain with 12% interest for failing to provide him with the flat he had booked. The commission held that the developer's failure to execute the sale of agreement and the absence of any construction in 10 years amounted to deficiency in service and caused mental agony to the naval officer.
In addition to the refund, the commission directed the developers to pay compensation of Rs3.75 lakh towards mental agony and litigation costs to the buyer within 90 days. Failure to make the refund within 30 days will result in enhanced interest of 18% per annum.
The order, dated May 15, was issued in response to a complaint by Captain Bhupesh Aneja and his wife against Prathmesh Construction, Prathmesh Infra Realty Pvt. Ltd., and its partners and directors Vijay Singh and Ajit Singh. Aneja, who was seeking to settle in Mumbai after retirement, had booked a seventh floor flat in the 'Prathamesh Empire' project in Ulwe. The total consideration of the flat was Rs60.38 lakhs and Aneja paid Rs10.34 lakh by March 2013, but the construction never started. After repeated follow-ups, and a partner threatening to neither provide the flat nor refund, Aneja filed a complaint.
The developers contended that they never came up with a brochure for the project as alleged, the buyers were not consumers but investors, and they were informed that the required permission was not in place and there might be a delay. They also offered an alternate flat in the locality and claimed that the buyers were aware of the disputes related to the land.
However, the commission rejected these arguments and observed that the developers had accepted the money and issued an allotment letter specifying the details of the flat, and agreed to the various emails by the buyers to execute an agreement. The commission also noted that the buyers had filed an FIR against the developers, and the latter had to take bail from the High Court. Therefore, it could not be claimed that the complaint was false or that the buyers were not consumers but investors.