Consumer forum orders Hyderabad builder two-year jail for duping buyer
A builder was sentenced to two years jail and told to cough up10,000 by the district consumer forum-III, Hyderabad, for duping buyer of a flat in Trimulgherry.
While the flat owner N Harshada was happy that justice had been delivered to her after a six-year-long legal battle, RTI activists pointed out that the harsh punishment meted out to the accused, MR Venkat Reddy, could be first such instance where a builder had been penalized and sent to jail. The consumer forum had issued the orders on December 12.
It all began in 2012 when home-maker Harshada, 38, filed a petition in the forum against the builder for his failure to hand over key documents like revised sanctioned plan, completion certificate and occupancy certificate (issued by the SCB) to her as per rules after she purchased the flat.
After hearing her plea, the forum had issued an order in 2016 to pay 2 lakh to her towards damages to address water leakages and cracks in the building.
“Despite several representations, the builder did not bother to rectify the problems or hand over the documents to me. In fact, Venkat Reddy forced me to pay an additional 8,000 every month since I was unable to shift my home loan to a public sector bank, as the revised sanctioned plan was not made available,” Harshada told media.
The builder obtained sanctions for constructing two buildings in 300 square yards each, but sold 150 square yards to another party and instead constructed the apartment in 450 square yards, ignoring the SCB guidelines issued under section 248(1) of the Cantonments Act, 2006.
“With no response coming from Reddy, I filed an execution plea in 2016. After 46 adjournments and hearings, the consumer forum issued a directive under section 27(1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, convicting him for noncompliance of its earlier order,” Harshada said.
The builder, on his part, approached the Southern Command, Pune, seeking exemption but his appeal was dismissed by defence officials.
City-based RTI activist Venkata Ramana told STOI that this case was first-of-its kind in Secunderabad Cantonment. “The verdict sets an example to other builders to not flout rules, take flat owners for a ride and dupe them,” he said.