The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has set aside the order of the Consumer Forum, and has directed the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) to pay Rs 50,000 to a city resident for not providing details of transfer fee.
Bhartendu Sood, a resident of Sector 45-A, had filed a complaint against CHB, in the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum earlier this year alleging that he had applied to the CHB for transfer of ownership of a dwelling unit in Sector 45-A, Chandigarh, on the basis of general power of attorney (GPA) executed in the year 1995 under normal category and he paid Rs 13000 (Rs 10,000 for publication fee and Rs 3,000 for processing fee) to the board.
On September 27, 2017, CHB requested Sood to deposit a transfer fee of Rs 1,99,944 and ground rent of Rs 2,051 for transferring the dwelling unit in his name. Following this, Sood wrote a letter to CHB to provide details of the transfer fee but the housing board failed to furnish the details. Meanwhile, on December 19, 2017, a notice was received from the Chandigarh administration wherein instructions were issued to the board to discontinue all kinds of transfer on the basis of general power of attorney (GPA) and the board discontinued the scheme.
The CHB in reply at the Forum submitted that due to heavy rush of transfer cases on GPA basis, the turn of application of the complainant came in the end of September, 2017 and accordingly, letter was sent to him for deposit of transfer fee of Rs 1,99,944 which includes GST of Rs 30,500. It was also stated that GPA transfer request of all the applicants were dealt with in accordance with First In First Out method adopted by them and the Tatkal cases have been dealt by another branch of CHB while a notice was received from Chandigarh Administration on December 19, 2017 which were issued to CHB to discontinue all kinds of transfer on GPA basis. Following which, Sood moved to Forum against the CHB, however on May 2, the complaint was dismissed.
Sood thus filed an appeal against the Forum order at the Commission, where the Commission bench after hearing the appeal held that it was the primary duty of the CHB to inform the applicant about the new development especially when his application was pending for a long period. But after the development, the CHB did not return documents of the appellant such as GPA and after ten months when the appellant sent a notice to the board, the same was returned. It was also observed by the Commission bench that Rs 1,99,944 is huge amount for a common man and it is the right of the applicant to demand details of the amount at any time. Moreover, it was the duty of the Chandigarh Housing Board to mention the details in the letter.
The commission thus directed the CHB to pay Rs 50,000 to Sood as compensation.