State consumer forum directs Unitech to repay Rs 1.31 crore to 5 complainants
The state consumer disputes redressal commission has directed Unitech Limited to refund Rs 1.31 crore with 15% interest compounded quarterly and pay compensation to the tune Rs 4.60 lakh to five complainants for failing to give timely possession of a plot.
The complaints were filed by Sanjay Kakar of New Delhi, Saurabh Parakh of Bankers Enclave, Sector 50-D, Chandigarh, Kumar Gaurav of Phase VII, Mohali, Ashwani Kumar Gupta of Sector 20, Panchkula, and Pushpa Parashar of Sector 38 (West), Chandigarh. All five complaints were heard together as all sought refund of amount paid against the price of flats in Unitech Limited and Alice Developers Private Ltd projects.
In the complaint it was stated that despite repeated assurances the possession of the plot was not given even when the entire amount was paid as and when the company asked for the same.
The realtors replied by stating that the plot in question was purchased for future gain and as such the complainant being investor does not fall within the definition of consumer as defined under Section 2 (1) (d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. This stand was rejected by the forum. The realtors further stated that Unitech could not hand over possession of the plot to the complainant by the stipulated date as there was global meltdown/recession of the economy worldwide, resulting in financial hardships. Besides, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) raised objections a number of times with regard to issuance of approvals/sanctions. They said that they faced “force majeure circumstances” that led to the delay, thus allowing them to extend time for giving possession. It was stated that development and construction at the project site was in full swing and builders were making efforts to give possession of the developed plot purchased by the complainant.
The forum held that, “There is material violation on part of the realtors.” In its order it stated that, “Recession in the market/global meltdown would not fall under the definition of ‘force majeure circumstances’, for not completing the construction and development work at the site. Neither any new legislation was enacted, nor an existing rule, regulation or order was amended, which led to stopping, suspending or delaying of the construction/development work of the project, in which plots were agreed to be sold to the consumers.” They were then directed to refund the amount and pay compensation along with litigation charges.