THE Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has passed an order against a construction firm — W S Developers Private Limited — and two of its directors, for allegedly delaying the process of giving possession of flats to customers who had paid the booking amount. Thirty four persons, who had booked flats in ‘Srushti Regency’ and ‘Srushti Orbit’ residential projects, launched by the construction firm in Wade Bolhai in Wagholi by publishing advertisements in January-February 2012, had filed a complaint before the Forum.
As per the judgment dated May 30, 2017, passed by Forum president M K Walchale and members S J Dunakhe and S K Pacharne, W S Developers Private Limited and its directors Yogesh Vasant Shelar and Jayant Chandrakant Waidande have been asked to “pay jointly and severally” the amounts taken from complainants, along with “interest there on at 12 per cent per annum from the date of receiving the amounts.”
The order also mentioned that the construction firm and its directors should pay “jointly and severally” compensation of Rs 50,000 and the cost of Rs 5,000 to the complainants. If the order is not complied with within 45 days, then the firm and its directors would be “liable to pay the interest at 15 per cent per annum instead of 12 per cent per annum.” Advocate Nilesh Bhandari and advocate Mohanish Patekar represented the 34 complainants.
“When the complainants paid booking amounts, they were told that the plan will be sanctioned within two to three months. The construction firm had published advertisements claiming that the project will have 18 buildings. The firm didn’t have the non-agriculture (NA) permission in 2012, but still advertised the project and took booking amounts from the complainants. The NA permission was sought in 2015. The project was shown as spread across 24 acres, but they sold five acres of it…. Till today, no environmental clearance certificate has been obtained…. After finding out that the firm did not even commence construction of buildings, some flat buyers claimed back their booking amount. The firm issued cheques to the flat buyers, but they bounced,” said Patekar.
According to the complainants, the construction firm had violated provisions of the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act (MOFA). After realising that construction had not started and chances of getting possession of the flats were nil, the complainants moved the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, demanding refund of the amount paid, along with interest and compensation.
In its defence, the firm had told the Forum that “NA permission was received in 2015, the environment clearance certificate is at the last stage and after getting it, the sanction to the buildings, other than the buildings A, B and C, will be obtained. The construction of buildings A, B, C has been commenced, and the construction of other buildings will be undertaken after sanction order.” The firm also said it was willing to complete the project, but could not do so due to unavoidable circumstances.