In a recent development, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in New Delhi dismissed the complaint filed by the Mantri Serenity Home Buyers Forum Bengaluru and 47 others against the developers of the Mantri Serenity project.
The case, numbered 151 of 2022, sought various reliefs, including possession of the apartments, compensation for delay, transfer of ownership in common areas, and punitive damages. This article provides an in-depth analysis of the case and the reasons behind the dismissal.
The Mantri Serenity project, located in Doddakallasandra Village, Bangalore, was launched by Mantri Castles Pvt. Ltd. (now known as Castles Vista Pvt. Ltd.) and Mantri Developers Pvt. Ltd. The project comprised six blocks with a total of 2712 flats. The complainants, home buyers from Blocks 1, 3, 4, and 5, alleged that the developers failed to deliver possession of the apartments within the agreed timeframe and did not provide the promised amenities and facilities.
The complainants claimed that they had booked their flats based on the representations made by the developers. They had deposited the required amounts as per the payment plan specified in the construction agreement. However, even after six years since the due date of possession, the developers failed to hand over the apartments. The complainants argued that the opposite parties provided updates on the construction progress but did not provide a specific deadline for possession. They also contended that the defect liability period mentioned in the construction agreement was not in compliance with the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016.
Opposite Parties' Defense
In their written reply, the opposite parties raised a preliminary objection regarding the maintainability of the complaint. They pointed out that some of the complainants had previously filed similar complaints in class-action lawsuits, which were allowed and subsequently decided by the Commission. The opposite parties argued that as the complainants had already sought relief through those proceedings, a fresh complaint for the same relief was not maintainable.
After considering the arguments of both parties and examining the records, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission dismissed the complaint as not maintainable. The Commission referred to the judgment of the Full Bench in Ambrish Kumar Shukla Vs. Ferrous Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd., which established that after the grant of leave under Section 12(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, no fresh complaint for the same relief can be entertained.
The Commission acknowledged that the complainants had sought some additional reliefs not raised in the previous complaints but reasoned that those reliefs could be claimed in the ongoing proceedings before the Supreme Court, where the complainants had filed an application for impleadment.
The dismissal of the complaint filed by the Mantri Serenity Home Buyers Forum Bengaluru and others by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has dealt a setback to the home buyers seeking resolution in their long-standing dispute with the developers. The Commission's decision was based on the grounds of maintainability, as the complainants had already pursued relief through previous class-action lawsuits. However, the dismissal does not completely deny the complainants the opportunity to seek additional reliefs, as those can be claimed in the ongoing proceedings before the Supreme Court.
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 CONSUMER CASE NO. 151 OF 2022
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