The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission of Punjab directed a real estate firm to pay compensation and furnish Rs 20,000 as cost of litigation to a Karnal resident, for the delay in providing possession of a unit.
Complainant Kush Wadhawan, a resident of Karnal in Haryana, said that he had applied for the allotment of a serviced apartment in Ansal Lotus Melange project at Sector 115 at Kharar-Landran road in Mohali and he had paid a booking amount of Rs 1 lakh for the same. After being declared a successful allottee, he was allotted a service apartment for total Rs 18.43 lakh, out of which, he paid Rs 10.02 lakh and as per Clause-11 of the allotment letter, the possession of the unit was to be delivered within 18 months from the date of allotment.
The letter had said that if payments were not received within the stipulated period or in the event of the breach of terms and conditions of the allotment, the company was entitled to cancel the allotment at its discretion and forfeit 20 per cent of the price of the unit, along with 18 per cent interest amount on any outstanding payment at the time of cancellation was also to be forfeited.
The counsel for Wadhawan, advocate Yoginder Nagpal argued that the complainant had visited the site in January 2014, and he had found that there was no significant progress in the construction and the delivery of possession of the unit was not possible. On the other hand, the complainant had made timely payments of instalments. The possession of the unit, in question, was never offered. He, thus, filed a formal complaint at the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission of Punjab on July 1, 2019.
The real estate firm, Ansal Lotus Melange, had submitted in its reply that the complainant does not fall under the definition of ‘consumer’, as he purchased the unit for commercial purpose and only a tentative period of 48 months, with extended period of six months, was provided for the delivery from the date of allotment, which was to run from the date of receipt of all the requisite sanctions, approvals, permissions, and clearances from the competent authorities.
After hearing the arguments, the commission held that “The plea of the opposite party (Ansal Lotus Melange), that the said period was tentative and was to be started from the date of receipt of necessary approvals from the competent authorities was not tenable because as per natural justice, a builder or developer is supposed to obtain such approvals before launching the project and not thereafter.”
The commission, thus, ordered the real estate firm to deliver the actual and physical possession of the unit to the complainant, with
complete construction in all respects. It further directed the firm to pay 12 per cent interest on the amount deposited by the complainant, from February 7, 2014, as a compensation for delay in the delivery of possession, and also pay Rs 20,000 as cost of litigation.