National consumer dispute redressal commission (NCDRC) has ordered New Delhi-based Parsvnath Developers Pvt Ltd and Parsvnath Hessa Developers Pvt Ltd to refund Rs1.62 crore along with an interest of 9%pa (per annum) to a home-buyer for failing to handover possession of the flats in stipulated time.
In the order, the bench of justice Ram Surat Ram Maurya and Dr Inder Jit Singh says, “We have considered the arguments of the counsel for the parties and examined the record. Clause-10(a) of the flat buyer’s agreement provides 36 months period from the commencement of the construction with a grace period of six months for delivery of possession. The due date of possession expired in the year 2011. With an inordinate delay, the opposite parties (Parsvnath Developers and Parsvnath Hessa Developers) issued a letter dated 27 February 2017, offering ‘fit-out possession’, which was not contemplated either in the agreement or under the law. The opposite parties were required to complete construction as per specification but interior finishing was not done till 27 February 2017. There is nothing on record to show that the “occupation certificate” has been obtained till today.”
Bulbul Banerjea and Manoj Bandyopadhyay had booked a flat in the group housing project Parsvnath Exotica at Wazirabad in Gurgaon. A flat buyer agreement was executed on 30 May 2007 for a basic sale price of Rs1.66 crore. The home-buyers had opted for a construction-linked payment plan.
As per the agreement, the flat was to be handed over within 36 months period from the commencement of the construction with a grace period of six months. The builders failed to deliver possession of the flat. They offered ‘fit-out possession’ without completing the construction and without obtaining an occupation certificate (OC) after the expiry of about six years of the due date of possession.
Aggrieved by this, Ms Banerjea and Mr Bandhyopadhyay filed a complaint demanding the developers to return Rs1.62 crore with an interest of 24%pm, Rs2 lakh as litigation cost and Rs6.44 lakh as compensation on account of interest paid to HDFC Bank.
It was contented before NCDRC that Parsvnath Developers was carrying out construction, who later transferred development and sale right to Parsvnath Hessa Developers through an agreement on 9 December 2009. Parsvnath Hessa Developers completed the construction of 11 out of a total of 18 towers and EWS towers and handed over possession to the allottees.
The delay in completion as per the developer companies was due to a lack of financial resources, labour and economic perils, including the 2008 global finance slowdown.
NCDRC dismissed the contention stating that the buyers had opted for a construction-linked payment plan in which the developer charged for the flat as per the stage of construction. The Commission also stated that no record of proof was submitted by both builders to show that an OC has been obtained.
In contrast to the inordinate delay, the Commission ordered both developers to refund Rs1.62 crore to home-buyers. Relying on the judgment of the apex court in Pioneer Urban Land & Infrastructure vs Govind Raghavan, (2019) 5 SCC 725 and Kolkata West International City Pvt Ltd vs Devasis Rudra, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 438, the interest rate was finalised as 9%pa.
(Consumer Case No728 of 2017 Date: 1 March 2023)