The Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission directed a builder, Ganaraj Group, to pay a compensation of Rs13.50 lakh to a Jogeshwari couple (the Dhotres) for a five-year delay in handing over possession of a flat in Thane. The couple had paid more than 95% of the flat’s price of Rs30 lakh. The Commission also directed the builder to hand over the flat within 45 days failing which Rs1,000 per day would be payable to the Dhotres, until handing over of possession of the flat.
In March 2007, the Dhotres had entered into a registered agreement to purchase a flat, which was to be constructed and developed by the builder and developers, for a total of Rs30 lakh. The couple had paid Rs29 lakh and, yet, the builder had not handed over possession. Ganaraj Group did not respond to the complainants’ repeated persuasion for handing over possession. The Dhotres filed the complaint before the Commission in 2010.
Ganaraj Group alleged that the complaint was not maintainable as the complainants were not a consumer under the provisions of Consumer Protection Act, 1986. While the company accepted that the Dhotres had paid the amount, no reason was mentioned for the abnormal delay.
The Commission said that, on carefully going through the written version on record, no tangible reasons were revealed about the delayed possession of the flat. “On going through the registered agreement to sale, we find that the possession was to be delivered on or before November 2009. The terms and conditions set out are binding on the parties. As rightly pleaded by the advocate, the opponents have incurred deficiency of service to the complainants by not delivering the vacant and peaceful possession,” the Commission said.