While setting aside a letter for cancellation of allotment, the national consumer disputes redressal commission (NCDRC) directed New Delhi-based Raheja Developers Ltd to refund with 9% interest the entire amount deposited by the home-buyers.
In an order, the bench of justice Ram Surat Ram Maurya (presiding member) and Dr Inder Jit Singh (member) says, "The opposite party (Raheja Developers), through a letter dated 3 May 2017, cancelled the allotment of the complainants, which is illegal, inasmuch as in 'construction link payment plan' demands were made without achieving the stage of construction. As admitted, the construction was not going on due to a high tension electricity line passing through the project...the home buyer cannot wait for possession for an unlimited period."
Two home-buyers, Virender Goel and JP Gupta, had filed the appeal before NCDRC seeking to set aside the cancellation of the allotment letter issued by the builder and directing Raheja Developers to refund Rs1.19 crore with 18% interest, Rs10 lakh as compensation and Rs5 lakh as cost of litigation.
In 2011, Raheja Developers launched Raheja Revanta at Sector-78 in Gurgaon. Mr Goel and Mr Gupta booked a flat by paying Rs14.42 lakh. Till 7 May 2012, they paid a further Rs21.64 lakh. On 13 June 2012, the developer issued an allotment letter to them for a flat for total consideration of Rs1.64 crore and executed the agreement to sell. It contained a construction-linked payment plan, and the developer mentioned 48 months with a grace period of six months for delivery of possession.
Raheja Developers raised the demand for instalments, which were paid by the home-buyers. While the construction period, including the grace period, expired on 12 December 2016, there was no sign of handing over the possession of the flat. On enquiring, they were told that the possession would likely be handed over by the last quarter of 2017.
After visiting the site, the homebuyers found that the construction was stopped. On 22 February 2017, Raheja Developers told them that due to the high-tension line passing through the middle of the complex, the construction was stopped, and they were making an effort to shift it underground. The developer also revised the construction completion schedule up to December 2018. However, on 3 May 2017, the developer cancelled the allotment.
After perusing all documents on record, NCDRC observed that Raheja Developers had raised the demand for instalments paid by the home-buyers. Further, the developer had accepted the issue of high tension line passing through the complex, due to which construction was stopped.
The bench noted that all demands made by Raheja Developers under construction linked payment plans are unauthorised. Citing three orders from the Supreme Court (SC), NCDRC noted that home-buyers could not be made to wait for possession for an unlimited period.
While partly allowing the complaint, NCDRC set aside the cancellation of the allotment letter and asked Raheja Developers to refund, within two months, the entire amount deposited by the home-buyer with an interest of 9%pa (per annum) from the date of deposit till the date of refund.
(Consumer Case No3335 of 2017 Date: 18 May 2023)