National consumer dispute redressal commission (NCDRC) has directed Delhi-based BPTP Ltd and Countrywide Promotors Pvt Ltd to refund the entire money collected from a homebuyer along with an interest of 9% for failing to deliver the flat in timely manner. The Commission also asked the developers to pay a compensation of Rs50,000.
In the order, the bench of justice Ram Surat Ram Maurya and Dr Inder Jit Singh says, “At present, there is the order of the bench concerned giving liberty to either take refund or to take possession. There is no justification to postpone the hearing only on this ground pendency of review applications. In the present complaint, the buyer Rakesh Kumar does not want to take possession of the flat after such a delay; therefore, waiting for a disposal review application is not required.”
“The counsel for the complainant submits that as the opposite parties are charging interest on delayed payment at 18% per annum, therefore, they are liable to pay interest at 18% per annum on the refund. We are not able to accept this argument in view of the judgment of the Supreme Court (SC) in Experion Developers Pvt Ltd vs Sushma Ashok Shiroor case, in which it has been held that in the cases of refund, interest with 9% per annum is just compensation, which amounts to restitutory and compensatory both.”
Rakesh Kumar had booked a flat in a group housing project in the name of Terra, at Gurgaon launched by BPTP, Countrywide Promotors. The total value of the apartment was Rs1.04 crore. The buyer had taken a loan as per the demand of the builders. He paid up to Rs77.77 lakh to them till 2015.
According to the flat buyers’ agreement executed on 15 January 2013, BPTP and Countrywide Promotors promised to hand over possession of the flat within 42 months from obtaining sanction for the building plan. The tenure was over by 14 July 2016, and the builders failed to fulfil their obligation.
However, the builders demanded Rs20.96 lakh from Mr Kumar even though the payment plan was a subvention plan and the balance amount was payable when handing over possession. Aggrieved by all these events, Mr Kumar filed a complaint with NCDRC.
During the hearing, the counsel for the developers stated that the project was completed in 2021, and after obtaining an occupation certificate (OC), it offered possession to homebuyers.
In its judgement in January this year, the Commission had directed BPTP and Countrywide Promotors to either refund the entire money collected from buyers and hand over the possession. However, the developers filed a review petition against NCDRC judgement.
Their counsel requested the bench to postpone the hearing in Mr Kumar’s case until a judgement is issued on its review petition.
NCDRC, however, rejected the builders' plea and stated that Mr Kumar could not be made to wait due to the pendency of the review application.
In addition to refunding the entire amount within two months, the builders are ordered to pay Rs50,000 to Mr Kumar as compensation.
(Consumer Case No 81 of 2017 Date: 3 March 2023)