In a significant ruling by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, a builder has been held accountable for unfair trade practices and has been ordered to refund the amount to a buyer along with compensation. This landmark decision, issued in First Appeal No. 118 of 2017, challenges the builder's actions and sets a precedent for consumer protection in the real estate industry. The case sheds light on the importance of upholding consumer rights and ensuring fair practices within the sector.
Background of the Case (Case No. 67/2016)
The dispute revolves around a builder-buyer conflict, wherein M/S. Premium Acres Infratech Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. was accused of engaging in unfair trade practices and causing mental agony and physical harassment to the buyer, Mr. Bobbel Nagra. The State Commission in Chandigarh had initially addressed the complaint and issued an order on 6th October 2016, which is being challenged in this appeal.
State Commission's Order and Ruling
The State Commission, in its order, partly accepted the complaint filed by Mr. Bobbel Nagra. It held M/S. Premium Acres Infratech Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. jointly and severally liable for their actions and issued the following directives:
Refund: The builder was instructed to refund the amount of Rs. 34,20,000/- deposited by the complainant, along with interest at 12% per annum, within 45 days from the receipt of the order.
Compensation: A sum of Rs. 2,00,000/- was to be paid as compensation for deficiency in service, unfair trade practices, mental agony, and physical harassment.
Litigation Costs: The builder was also directed to bear the litigation costs, amounting to Rs. 50,000/-.
Cancellation Notice: The cancellation notice issued by the builder on 10th March 2016 was declared null and void.
Interest and Penalties: In case of non-compliance within the stipulated period, the builder would be liable to pay interest at an increased rate of 15% per annum on the refunded amount and 12% per annum on the compensation amount. Additionally, the builder would be responsible for further costs of litigation.
Arguments and Consent of the Parties
During the appeal hearing, the builder company, represented by its counsel Mr. Pawan Kumar Ray, expressed their willingness to comply with the order. They proposed refunding the deposited amount of Rs. 34,20,000/- with interest at a reduced rate of 10% per annum, along with a lump sum compensation of Rs. 2,00,000/- and the litigation costs of Rs. 50,000/-. The builder company also requested that the case not be treated as a precedent, and the issues involved be kept open.
Mr. Bobbel Nagra, the complainant, represented by his counsel Mr. Anil K. Sagar, accepted the proposed terms, confirming his consent during the hearing. The agreement between the parties facilitated the resolution of the dispute and led to the modification of the State Commission's order.
Modification of the State Commission's Order
Based on the consent of both parties, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission modified the State Commission's order. The builder company was directed to refund the deposited amount of Rs. 34,20,000/- with interest at the rate of 10% per annum from the respective dates of deposit until realization. Additionally, the builder was ordered to provide a lump sum compensation of Rs. 2,00,000/- and bear the litigation costs of Rs. 50,000/-. Any amount previously deposited by the builder company with the State Commission was to be released to the complainant. The builder was given a period of twelve weeks to fulfill the remaining payment. Failure to comply within the given time frame would lead to enforcement and penalties as per the law.
Significance and Implications of the Ruling
This ruling holds significant implications for the real estate industry in India. It emphasizes the need to address unfair trade practices, protect consumer rights, and ensure transparency in builder-buyer transactions. The decision reaffirms the authority of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in resolving consumer grievances and providing timely justice.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission's ruling in First Appeal No. 118 of 2017 against M/S. Premium Acres Infratech Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. highlights the importance of fair practices and consumer protection in the real estate sector. The case demonstrates the commission's commitment to upholding consumer rights and ensuring accountability for unfair trade practices. This landmark decision serves as a reminder to builders and developers to prioritize ethical conduct and transparency in their dealings with homebuyers.
Note: Please note that the information provided in this article about the complaint filed in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) is for educational purposes only. The complaint number for reference is FIRST APPEAL NO. 118 OF 2017
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