Lodha Builders, Directors Asked to Pay Rs2.52 crore to Homebuyer by National Consumer Commission
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has ordered Lodha Crown Buidlmart Pvt Ltd and its present directors, Ramandas Pandey and Pranav Goel, to refund a homebuyer over Rs2.52 crore with interest, which includes his deposit and other expenses, after they failed to deliver the promised 60th floor flat in Worli. 
 
A consumer complaint had been filed by Jagannath and Baby Hiray on the basis that Lodha had continued to demand payments from them, even after realising the fact that Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) would not give the permission to construct beyond 55 floors. The complainants had booked a 3BHK flat on the 60th floor of “Lodha Dioro” costing Rs4.46 crore with a duly registered agreement on 9 May 2012. They also claimed to have paid Rs14 lakh as parking charges for two parking spaces. 
 
The Hirays said that on 19 July 2013 they were informed for the first time by Lodha that the building would be constructed with 55 floors, in order to ensure the completion and possession of flats by the end of 2015. However later in 2014, Lodha revealed that the reason for this was that they did not get permission from the competent authority, which was contrary to their earlier reason. 
 
Counsel for the Hirays argued that the commencement certificate was granted by MMRDA on 20 February 2013 in which permission is granted only up to ground plus 53 floors. It was further argued, that the developer was fully aware that no permission would be granted by MMRDA for a building having more than 55 floors prior to accepting the payment for allotment of flat on the 60th floor to the Hirays. 
 
Furthermore, Hirays stated that Lodha continued to demand payments from them, with dishonest intentions, deliberately and knowingly misrepresenting facts with regards to the number of floors in the building and induced them to book a flat on the 60th floor, consequently charging more for floor rise, view premium, VAT, service tax, and stamp duty. 
 
It was claimed in the complaint that even after receiving the commencement certificate, Lodha neglected to inform the buyer on reduction in number of floors and kept demanding balance amount as per agreement for a flat on the 60th floor. 
 
The buyer finally received a cancellation letter in 2015, after which they filed a consumer complaint seeking Rs2.81 crore along with 18% interest, if the flat could not be given and damages of over Rs1 crore. 
 
In this consumer complaint, Lodha had offered to refund the deposit amounts or a new flat in the same building (on the 50th floor) with the same carpet area, without any extra cost, which the complainant refused. 
 
Lodha claimed that they were proactively making their best efforts to provide the complainant equal benefits, which is being repeatedly refused by them. However, it later came to light that the builder did not have sanction for a flat on the 50th floor either and had misguided the Commission by filing false and fabricated written version on record. 
 
Lodha had received permission to build only 45 floors due to a restriction on height placed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). 
 
The developer had also initially counter argued that the buyers cannot be considered as consumers as they have deposited amounts by way of cheques and payment vouchers issued by Hiray Enterprises Builders and Developers and have the intentions to use the flat for commercial purposes. 
 
In response, Presiding NCDRC member Prem Narain said, “The assertion of the learned counsel for the opposite parties may have some substance in his argument, but the question is whether the said booking was made for commercial purpose. Even, if the amount has been paid by the Hiray Enterprises Builders and Developers, the booking may be and is for the complainants, as the allotment has been made in the name of Jagannath D Hiray.”
 
“Though the opposite parties state that they are ready to allot some other flat, however, no specific proposal has been given to the complainants or has been indicated before this Commission. In such situation, when the booked flat cannot be delivered by the opposite parties as the opposite parties could not get permission to build the flat, clearly, the opposite parties are guilty of deficiency in service”, the Commission observed. 
 
Accordingly, they ordered that a refund of Rs2.52 crore along with simple interest of 9% per annum be paid by Lodha within 45 days from the date of the order. 
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IRCTC launches payment aggregator iPay
In a bid to promote digital transactions, the Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) on Thursday launched its much awaited payment aggregator system 'IRCTC iPay'.
 
The exclusive digital payment gateway will provide better digital experience and improved online digital payment convenience to rail passengers availing online travel-related services through the website, IRCTC said in a statement.
 
"With the launch of IRCTC iPay, the passengers will not need any third-party platforms. IRCTC iPay provides payment options like credit card, debit card, unified payment interface, international card," it said. 
 
The option of IRCTC prepaid card-cum-wallet and auto debit shall also be available soon.
 
The IRCTC, which handles catering, tourism, and online ticketing operations of the Indian national transporter said, under this new arrangement, "IRCTC will have full control of the payment system because of its direct relationship with acquiring banks, card networks and other partners". 
 
"This will help reduce the gap between IRCTC and banks which will eventually lead to substantial reduction in payment failures.
 
"Moreover, in case an online transaction is unsuccessful or some other error occurs, IRCTC can directly get in touch with the bank instead of relying on an intermediate source which usually delays the process," the statement said.
 
IRCTC said iPay promises to be passenger friendly, easy to use, reliable and faster.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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New air passenger charter gives more rights to flyers
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday released a "passenger charter" that lays out the rights of air travellers in the country.
 
The new charter amended the norms for charges incurred by travellers on cancellation and rescheduling of air travel, among others. 
 
But the new compensation structure will apply only if it is found that the flight delay or cancellation was caused by the airline concerned.
 
According to the charter, if a flight is expected to be delayed by more than six hours, the airline would have to arrange for an alternate flight within that time or refund the ticket. 
 
In case of over six-hour delay, the airline would have to inform passengers 24 hours in advance of the original departure time, it said.
 
"The airlines must inform about flight cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure and arrange alternate flights or refund," said the charter, released at the Aviation Conclave 2019. 
 
In case of overbooking, the airline must provide an alternate flight scheduled to depart within one hour of the original flight's departure time. If the airline is unable to do so, it would have to pay compensation, the charter said. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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