NCDRC upholds MSCRDC order: At least one vehicle parking space to be allocated to the homebuyer
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) recently upheld an order of the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (MSCRDC) declaring that a builder must provide space for parking of at least one vehicle to each homebuyer in a residential complex.
 
Prem Narain, presiding member, NCDRC, dismissed an appeal by the property developer, Saroj Sales Organisation (SSO), which had moved the consumer forum after its appeal was dismissed by MSCDRC following complaints by the homebuyers, Dolly Bharucha and Aarati Chorge.
 
The complainant home buyers who had bought flats in /Breezy Corner’, developed by SSO, in Kandivali (West), had filed complaints in 2009 after the property developer declined to provide space for parking of their vehicles inside the residential complex. 
 
In 2015, the district forum admitted their complaint and directed the builder to provide parking space to both the homebuyers. It also imposed a fine of Rs50,000 and litigation costs of Rs10,000 on SSO.
 
The builder moved NCDRC after MSCDRC authorities on June 13, 2017, dismissed its appeal, challenging the district order, and also imposed additional litigation costs of Rs 10,000.
 
MSCRDC authorities maintained that a homebuyer should be entitled to a parking space for at least one car and SSO must guarantee the facility.
 
SSO claimed that the complainants did not opt for any parking space at the time of booking their flats and as a result, are not entitled to the facility. SSO also argued that the onus is on the residential welfare association (RWA) authorities, who are in charge of running the housing society complex, to provide the parking space to the complainant homebuyers.
 
The order states “The complainants have suffered a lot of mental agony and harassment as they were not having any parking space. The award of compensation and litigation costs is justified.”
 
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    Home Buyers to Lose Only Booking Amount, if They Decide to Cancel, Rules NCDRC
    The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has ruled that the builder or developer can forfeit only part of booking amount or earnest money deposit (EMD) taken from a buyer at the time of booking if the buyer is not ready to take possession and wants to cancel the flat without a valid reason. 
     
    In an order issued earlier this week, the bench of Justice VK Jain says, "...the builder should be allowed to forfeit (Rs10 lakh from) the earnest money, which the buyer paid to it and it should refund the balance (principal) amount to the buyer, along with appropriate interest from the date on which first default in paying the unpaid instalment was committed. The senior counsel for the developer submits that the instalment which still remains unpaid was demanded by them on 25 May 2017 and should have been paid within 30 days meaning thereby that it could be paid by 24 June 2017. Therefore, the builder, in my opinion, should pay interest on the balance amount left after deducting the earnest money with effect from 25 June 2017."
     
    The case is related with booking of a flat by New Delhi-based Ramesh and Renu Malhotra. In 2013, they booked residential flat worth Rs1.68 crore with Emmar MGF Land Ltd in a project namely Imperial Garden. On 26 February 2013, the senior citizens also paid a booking amount of Rs10 lakh. The builder issued them a provisional allotment letter dated 27 February 2013 followed by execution of agreement on 15 April 2013.  As per clause 14(a) of the agreement the possession was to be delivered within 42 months from the start of construction though a grace period of three months was also available to the builder. The payment was to be made in installments linked with the progress of the construction.
     
    The Malhotras obtained a loan of Rs1 crore from HDFC Bank and a tri-partite agreement was executed between the buyer, builder and lender on 30 March 2015. 
     
    On 30 October 2018, Emmar MGF offered possession of the flat to the Malhotras after paying and additional payment. However, the senior citizen couple told that they were no more interested in taking possession. They then approached the NCDRC seeking full refund from Emmar MGF.
     
    In their plea, the Malhotras claimed that they had booked the flat for their son. However, since they did not receive the possesion in time, their son left for abroad and since he was not here, they had no need for the flat, they contended.
     
    The NCDRC bench observed, "Though it has been pleaded in the consumer complaint that the flat in question was booked for their son and he having left for abroad, they do not require the flat any more and want only refund of the amount paid to the builder with interest. The ground taken by the complainants for refusing to take possession of the flat does not seem to be justified, considering that the possession as per the agreement could be delivered by 11 August 2017, whereas the son, according to the Malhotras, left India way back in the year 2014. Therefore, the ground given by them for refusing to take possession does not seem to be justified."
     
    "...despite there being no justification for refusing to take possession of the allotted flat, the delay in offering possession not being unreasonable. In my opinion, in such circumstances, the builder should be allowed to forfeit the EMD... The builder, in my opinion, should deduct only a sum of Rs10 lakh out of the total amount received by it in the complainants either directly or through HDFC Bank and the balance amount be refunded along with interest with effect from 25 June 2017," the NCDRC order says.
     
    Justice Jain also passed strictures on the agreement executed between Emmar MGF and the Malhotras. He says, "As regards the terms of the agreement executed between the complainants and the builder, such agreements being wholly one sided constitutes an unfair trade practice and, therefore, cannot be bind the flat buyer. It has to be kept in mind that the initial payment was made by the complainants on 26 February 2013. The buyer’s agreement came to be executed on 15 April 2013. The complainants had no option but to sign on the dotted lines they already having made initial payment to the builder even before the agreement came to be executed."
     
    "The complainants have taken substantial loans from HDFC Bank. The amount with the Malhotras had raised by way of loan from HDFC Bank should be refunded by the builder along with same interest, which the Malhotras had paid to the Bank. The interest on the balance amount if any contributed by the Malhotras, considering all the facts and circumstances of the case should carry interest at the rate of 10% per annum. The bank, of course, should be paid first before making any payment to the complainants," the bench says.
     
    The NCDRC asked HDFC Bank to intimate within four weeks to Emmar MGF the amount payable by the Malhotras and the amount to be paid to the Bank at the earliest and in any case within six months. 
     
    It also directed HDFC Bank to give to Emmar MGF, breakup of the principal amount as well as of the interest component along with rate at which interest was charged from time to time. "Since the Malhotras have also been making payments to the bank in the interregnum, for the purpose of this order, the builder shall compute the interest on the principal amount received from the bank at the rate of interest conveyed to it by the bank. On the balance amount, which the complainants had contributed from their own funds, interest would be paid at the rate of 10% per annum from 25 June 2017," the NCDRC order says.
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    COMMENTS

    Sudhir Bhimani

    1 month ago

    1) Can this rule be applied for possession due in June / Dec 2020 where builder is going to pay PRE-EMI till Dec 2020 as per tripartite agreement with builder, buyer & HDFC but now possession will not be given by that date due to COVID-19?

    2) Will builder reimburse stamp duty, GST & registration charges also which is 25 + lakhs paid by buyer when installments were paid by HDFC?

    3) Is there any lawyer who can help me with above? I will pay his fees when I get reimbursement of GST, Stamp duty & registration charges to me. No advance payment as bank will go behind me for PRE-EMI from 1st Jan 2021 and I will still not have possession of flat. Property is located in Kandivali, Mumbai. Please send me your email address, WhatsApp number.

    tillan2k

    1 month ago

    alll delays by builders are not unreasonable but any delay by light weight purchasers would visit legal pain in any form this is tilted judgement in many property buying cases

    tillan2k

    1 month ago

    what about cash which is as much as 50/60 % that is lost as it is paid upfront .. Looks builders have captured regulators also how long institution aam admi will suffer at the hands of regulators/ builders/law makers policy tweekers, Ruling party touts ??/

    Mention of 'country of origin' may be mandatory for goods sold online
    Amid the growing push for inclination towards Indian goods and manufacturers, the government is seriously considering to make the mention of 'country of origin' mandatory for products sold on e-commerce platforms.
     
    The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) on Wednesday held a discussion with representatives of e-commerce platforms, including Amazon and Flipkart, on the matter and sought their views.
     
    Speaking to IANS, DPIIT Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra said that the matter is under consideration with the ministry because this is consistent with the 'Make in India' vision and also gives the customer more choice as he/she would know from where the product has come.
     
    He told IANS that no advisory or directive has been given yet, and the matter was only discussed with the players and a decision will be taken after due consideration.
     
    People in the know of things further said that the e-commerce portals are not the actual sellers on most instances, and vendors sell the products, who are numerous in number. During Wednesday's meeting, it was discussed how the proposed idea could be implemented with the large number of vendors.
     
    The development gains significance as the government is giving a major push to Indian goods and has called for a 'Self Reliant India'. The chorus for turning to Indian products has grown further on the back of the border tensions with China.
     
    The meeting comes just days after the Centre made it mandatory for sellers to enter the 'Country of Origin' clause while registering all new products on government e-marketplace (GeM).
     
    The e-marketplace is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, which facilitates the entry of small local sellers in public procurement, while implementing the 'Make in India' and MSE Purchase Preference Policies of the Centre.
     
    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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