“It is flat or money”, held the Supreme Court Wednesday as it asked all the real estate firms to live up to their promises of delivering house in time to the buyers.
“It needs no special emphasis to state that the property developer has to respect the contractual commitment. It has to live up to the terms of the contract and gain trust so that the people who dream of houses can repose faith in him,” said a bench led by Justice Dipak Misra.
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The court underlined “the foundation of any economy is faith and if faith is lost, everything is lost” as it directed real estate major Unitech to refund the principal cost of flats to 39 buyers who had booked apartments in a Gurgaon project seven years back but have still not got possession of their houses.
Noting the anguish of the buyers, the court held: “The appellant (Unitech) by delaying or procrastinating the completion of the flats cannot base its stand on excuses or any subterfuge to advance the stand that the constructions take time. The submission in a way rests upon the metaphor that ‘Rome was not built in a day’ but it serves no purpose. It is ‘flat’ or ‘money’. And nothing else.”
It pointed out that the buyers are collectively making a demand for refund of money because they have fought the litigation with ceaseless vigour and enormous hope. “The voice of anguish is echoed in the court room as they say their dreams have been shattered and they have been constrained to pave the path of impecuniosity,” said the bench as it ordered for disbursal of principal amount to the buyers.
The bench said the question of interest and compensation for failure to deliver the possession of flats would be considered at the next hearing of the case in the second week of January next year. Unitech has so far deposited Rs 15 crore and the court on Wednesday directed it to deposit a further sum of Rs 2 crore in two weeks towards refund. The apex court has been hearing separately a clutch of cases relating to refund to home buyers. There are petitions seeking refund from developers such as Supertech, Unitech, Parsvnath and Sahara.
A day ago, the court had reproached Parsvnath for failing to honour its commitment to hand over flats in time and observed that purchasers should get their money back when they lose trust in the builders’ ability and intention to deliver.
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