Holding that the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) and the State Bank of India (SBI) had indulged in unfair trade practice in misleading the applicant-homebuyers, a Bench of the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on January 19 ordered refund of money deposited along with an 18 per cent interest.
The bench of S C Jain and N P Kaushik also ordered each party to pay Rs 2.5 lakh as compensation to each complainant for “causing harassment, inconvenience, sadness, anguish and mental agony” and also to deposit Rs 25 lakh each in the Consumer Welfare Fund of the state maintained by the Commission for making good the loss “caused to those flat buyers who have been declared successful in the draw of lots and have not come to the Consumer Fora and are not identifiable conveniently”.
The complainants, who had been declared successful in draw of lots for flats to be constructed by GNIDA, had surrendered the same. GNIDA refunded only 50 per cent of their initial deposit on the plea that their surrender letter had come after the expiry of the 45-day period from the date of issuance of letter of allotment.
However, the complainants, who had taken loan from SBI, pointed out that they had received their letters from SBI and not GNIDA, that too with just a few days remaining for the 45-day period to lapse.
Their pleas had been dismissed by the District Consumer Forum (North-East Delhi), which had observed that the list of candidates successful in the draw of lots was posted on the website of GNIDA and as such the complainants had ample time to make up their mind for retaining or surrendering the flats. The plea of the complainants that the SBI had misled them by not making it clear to them that it was only going to provide earnest money loan deposit to them and not the complete amount also didn’t find favour with the district forum.
In its order, the State Commission noted that both SBI and GNIDA were in a “dominant position vis-a-vis the complainants” and that the “complainants have been running from pillar to post to receive their letters of allotment”.