Consumer Courts Must Deal with Abuse of System with a Heavy Hand
The Indian judicial system moves at a snail’s pace, often leaving the justice seeker gasping for breath. The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (COPRA) was enacted, precisely to beat such endemic delays and provide speedy, cheap and effective consumer grievance redress system. Although consumer courts do not exactly deliver speedy justice, they are faster than civil courts. Unfortunately, there...
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MahaRERA imposes penalty on developer for selling single flats to many buyers, directs refund with interest
In a landmark judgement, Maharashtra Real Estate (Regulation and Development) (MahaRERA) directed a Virar-based developer not only to give full compensation to flat buyers, but also imposed a penalty for the unfair trade practice as defined under RERA.
 
MahaRERA member and adjudicating officer BD Kapdanis, in his judgement on 27 April 2018, while disposing a complaint filed by Sanjay Lohar and Sukhram Kushwah, directed developer Raju Sulire, to pay the penalty of Rs2.50 lakh for indulging in unfair trade practice. Sulire is one of the partners of the ‘Om Mandar Realtors’, along with Ashok Pande.
 
Lohar had booked a flat in project “Mandar Avenue” located at village Dongre Virat (West), after paying Rs32.70 lakh in 2012. The developer had issued an allotment letter on 28 November 2013. Then Lohar came to know that the same flat was sold to one Vishal Khavale on 23 September 2013. Thereafter, the developer offered another flat to Lohar in 2016, but even that flat was sold to another buyer.
 
Similarly Kushwah on 15 May 2012 had booked a flat by paying Rs10 lakh. He was stated to have been issued an allotment letter. However, the developer sold the flat to one Vinay Adhav on 7 March 2014. This flat was sold to one Vinay Choradiya on 18 September 2017.
 
Both the flat buyers complained to MahaRERA against builder for unfair trade practice under section 7 of RERA Act, which authorises the authority to revoke registration of the project under sub Section (3) of Section 7. It also gives discretion to the authority to permit registration to remain valid subject to further terms and conditions as it deems fit in the interest of an allottee.
 
Kapadnis directed the developer to refund Lohar and Kushwah the amounts paid by them, along with simple interest at the rate of 10.05% per annum from the date of receipt of the amount till the amounts are refunded. Besides, the developer was asked to pay Rs20,000 towards cost of the complaint. The developer was also asked to pay a penalty of Rs2.50 lakh on each case on charges of violating section 7.
 
According to social activist Sulaiman Bhimani, MahaRERA has already issued four orders against this developer, but it is for the first time a penalty has been imposed for unfair trade practices. This is expected to clear the muck in real estate, he added.
 
One more complaint against ‘Om Mandar Realtors’ filed by Bhojpuri actor Sudeep Pandey is pending with the Mumbai Police. Pandey, in a letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) has alleged threat to him by Sulure, in whose housing project, he had booked flats and is yet to get possession despite paying full cost of the flats.
 
In the letter dated 5 May 2018, Pandey stated he had bought two 2BHK flats in Mandar Heights, at village Dongare, in Virar (west) during 2013. He paid Rs48.06 lakh as total cost of the flat at Rs24.03 lakh per flat each (flat No 104 and No 304). The sale deeds were registered on 24 July 2013 at Registrar’s office in Virar.
 
The flats were booked through two agents Rohit Naval and Dharam Pal both based in Virar.  
However when Pandey visited the site on 24 January 2018, he noticed that flat No 104/K was sold to one Mukesh Agarwal and flat No 304/K was sold to one Prabhavati  S Chaudhari as per the name plates on the door.
 
Subsequently Sulure, the developer asked Pandey to cancel his flat bookings and gave him some cheques as refund cost. However the cheques were bounced. Sulure also allegedly threatened Pandey with dire consequences and there was also an attempt to attack him. Since Pandey was unable to visit the site fearing attack, he filed the complaint with Mumbai police, seeking urgent help in the matter.
 
When contacted, Senior Police Inspector Kolekar of Arnala police Station (Virar West) said that he was on medical leave. The cell phone numbers of Sulure continued to remain engaged all through out. His manager Bhagwan Chawan also could not be reached till writing this story. 
 
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COMMENTS

Amey Dhumaskar

9 months ago

I am also one of the victim of their fraud. So, what i did to get my refund is the loan i have taken from the bank against their property to purchase. I have logged complaint against the bank for approving the loan on property of Mandar housing to purchase without conducting the technical search report of property. By doing contineous follow ups with NHB/RBI over my valid complaint id i made bank to make pressure on builder to get my fund back. Finally bank surrendered and got ready to resale the flat to builder on same rate. I have got my all refund by builder with interest and down payments ....get involve the banks whoes are approving the loan of any individuals without conducting the property technical search report

REPLY

Adv Prashant Jadhav

In Reply to Amey Dhumaskar 7 months ago

Make complaint against said builder before RERA

Gupta

10 months ago

Is this a cause for celebration? Someone pays 33 lacs and 6 years later, you get paid back the money with 10% "simple interest" and 2.5 lac rupees penalty. Anyone can do the math and you will know that a FD in a bank would have yielded better return. Such thugs usually borrow money from open market at 36% - 60% often compounded monthly... that's the embedded risk of lending to these builders. But courts effectively make individuals lend to the same builders at 10% simple interest i.e. somewhere close to 6-7% interest rate even if we include the penalty as interest income. What a joke!!!.... maybe just a shade better than the court telling Navjot Singh Sidhu to pay a fine of Rs. 1000 to compensate for killing someone on the road intentionally, that too 30 years after the crime after making the victim's family go to court every other day all these years... Long live Indian judiciary... Is Mr. Malcolm of Moneylife here to defend these ridiculous judgments of the judiciary for which he always keeps singing praises??

REPLY

Gupta

In Reply to Gupta 10 months ago

And by the way, we shouldn't forget that the property must be worth 60 lacs by now, which the builder will get away by refund of principle and simple interest and a nominal penalty, which might still be less than the cost of the property today... so after all the fraud, he will still make more money while the victim won't even get compensated for the interest he paid to his bank

Maharashtra FDA takes steps for tamper proof cosmetic products
With a view to prevent adulteration of cosmetic products, the Maharashtra Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has decided to urge cosmetic manufacturers to make their products tamper proof by putting a seal on the packaging, the way it is put on pharmaceutical products.
 
As part of this exercise, FDA headed by Commissioner Dr Pallavi Darade, is planning to organise a seminar of manufacturers of cosmetic products soon. In the seminar, the ill effects of adulterated products will be highlighted, Assistant Commissioner Suhas Mohite told this correspondent.
 
Although the seal on pharmaceutical products is essential under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, such a seal is not required for the cosmetic products available across the counter.
 
Since used bottles of cosmetics are easily available, the racket of recycling and refilling these bottles with spurious products goes on rampantly and many beauty parlours too contribute to this clandestine business by making available used bottles, Mohite said, adding, that in fact all used bottles should be destroyed. “Besides there is a possibility of some of the beauty parlours themselves using counterfeit products since gullible customers are anxious only to beautify themselves.”
 
In a recent case, spurious shampoo and related raw material worth over Rs1 crore was seized after raiding three places in the western suburbs and an FIR (No244/2018) was registered against three accused at Amboli police station in Andheri in North West Mumbai.
 
During the raid, it was revealed that the spurious shampoo was being refilled in recycled bottles of L’Oréal, at Yamunabai Chawl located at Andheri East. The bottles filled with spurious shampoo worth Rs40 lakh and raw material worth Rs3.38 lakh was seized from this place.
 
Similarly, in a simultaneous raid on a room at Sethia Nagar, Pol Chawl No.2, Saki Naka, Andheri East, raw material worth Rs90 lakh was sized and one person called Pujari was detained for interrogation. In the third case, the raw material worth Rs4.88 lakh was seized from D’Souza Chawl, located at Vile Parle and one Henry D Souza was detained. The FDA officers also detained one Khingar Ravaria, involved in refilling and repacking the shampoo for selling it online through his trading company “Bio Cosmetics”. The raid was conducted by the officers under the directions of Joint Commissioner Arjun Phadtare. 
 
Ironically the accused D’Souza, was booked after raiding his first floor work shop located at D’ Souza Chawl on 13th September last year and machinery and goods worth Rs18 lakh including empty bottles of L’Oréal Professional hair colour cream, Matrix shampoo, L’Oréal Deactivator, a machine used to churn out liquid shampoo and a stirrer, was seized. The FIR lodged at Vile Parle Police station under section 27(A) of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, is still pending. Even the accused Khingar Ravaria, engaged in sourcing out semi-finished products like shampoo, cream, ointment, oil and other products of the reputed brand and refilling them, was interrogated earlier. 
 
FDA had recorded nine cases of spurious cosmetics sale in 2016 and seven cases in 2017. They included a seizure of fake cosmetics worth Rs1.8 crore from a shop in Bhuleshwar in South Mumbai. The laboratory analysis of the products showed variation in Potential Hydrogen (PH) levels and hydrogen peroxide could cause mild to severe skin irritation and varying level of hair loss. The “potential hydrogen” describes the acid-alkaline ratio of substances. It’s a scale that ranges from 0 (battery acid) to 7 (water) to 14 (household bleach). To protect our skin, we need just the right balance between acidity and alkalinity (to be exact, it’s 5.5).
 
Since 2016, L’Oréal itself have seized seven lakh fake units of their brand from the Indian market and has filed cases against counterfeited cosmetic units for Intellectual Property Rights violations with different authorities.
 
However, the business of recycling goes on. In the process, a recycled bottle of L’Oréal shampoo is bought for Rs3, from four Dharavi-based garbage dealers, who network with beauty parlours to purchase empty bottles. Then the raw material including hydrogen peroxide, fragrance and active ingredients are procured from dealers in Mumbai. Then the shampoo is manufactured and refilled in washed bottles. About 5-10 ml of the original shampoo is added to the top to give an authentic fragrance, before the bottles are resealed and sold to parlours at discounted rates.
 
The FDA routinely prosecutes the accused spurious cosmetics sale, which attracts fine of Rs50,000, and imprisonment for three years. Yet the clandestine business goes on.
 
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