GURGAON: In a landmark ruling, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) on Monday asked real estate major Unitech to pay buyers compensation at the rate of 12% per annum for delay in delivery of flats, overruling the builder-buyer agreement that had set the rate at 1.8% per annum.
The order came in a case filed by 24 buyers of a housing project, Vistas, in Sector 70 of Gurgaon. The buyers alleged that they had booked the flats in 2009-10 and delivery was promised in 36 months.
In his order, Justice V K Jain directed the company to pay compensation at the rate of 12% per annum on the amount paid for the period from the date of delivery originally promised to the new date. The new delivery dates promised by the company are between February 2016 and February 2018.
The NCDRC also ruled that any delay beyond the new deadline promised would draw a compensation of 18% per annum.
“In order to ensure that the opposite parties honour the revised date of delivery of possession, compensation in the form of interest at a rate higher than 12% per annum should be paid by the developer if the revised date of delivery of possession is not honoured,” the judge said.
A Unitech spokesperson told TOI the company hadn’t seen the order yet and would respond only after it went through it.
In its last hearing in the case on June 1, the apex consumer court had rejected Unitech counsel Sunil Goel’s contention that it did not have the jurisdiction to surpass the builder-buyer agreement.
Buyers welcome order
The NCDRC had said any unfair trade practice can be challenged by it, even if there is a prior agreement between the parties. “When the buyer is made to pay 18% penalty for default, is it fair on the developer’s part to pay a mere 1.8%?” Justice Jain had said. The lawyer who represented the buyers, Sushil Kaushik, said, “When the buyers are made to pay a penalty at 18% (for default), the same rule should apply to the developer also.”
Prasoon Dubey, one of the buyers, said, “The court has given a positive judgment for the original allottees, who stand to get a handsome amount as compensation. By March 2013, I have already paid Rs 50 lakh out of the total cost of Rs 54 lakh for a flat of 1,560sqft. Now, I am hoping that the developer honours the new deadline.”
HomeShikari’s View – by P.Sunder, CEO
This is the first ruling that overturns the one sided contract that builders force buyers to sign. It is indeed a welcome sign. But it is high time, buyers should resist such one sided agreements and boycott such builders. Additionally, if there is a delay they should get together and proceed with filing a consumer case rather than doing endless talks with the builders. Yes, it will take time but there is justice at the end of the tunnel if you are patient.
Courtesy:Times of India(Gurgaon).