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Agra Development Authority Through Its Secretary, Jaipur House, Agra U.P. v/s Shamim Mufees

    Revision Petition No. 4082 of 2011

    Decided On, 06 December 2017

    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC

    By, MEMBER

    For the Petitioner: Sudhir Kulshreshtha, Advocate. For the Respondent: Nikhil Jain, Advocate.

Judgment Text

Dr. B.C. Gupta, Presiding Member

This revision petition has been filed under section 21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 against the impugned order dated 14.10.2011, passed by the Uttar Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (hereinafter referred to as ‘the State Commission’) in First Appeal No. 1961/2007, “Agra Development Authority versus Shamim Mufees”, vide which, while dismissing the appeal, the order dated 20.07.2007, passed by the District Forum Agra in consumer complaint No. CC/206/05, filed by the present respondent, allowing the said complaint, was upheld.

2. Briefly stated, the facts of the case are that the complainant Shamim Mufees deposited a sum of Rs.60,000/- for booking a high-income group (HIG) house in Taj Nagari Yojana, Phase-I, Agra launched by the opposite party (OP), the Agra Development Authority. An allotment letter no. 2528/D/AE/P-99 date

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06.11.99 was issued by the OP Authority in favour of the complainant, according to which, the original cost of the house was Rs.5,83,013.00/- The amount required to be deposited on allotment, was Rs.56,604/- and the free-hold charges for the house was Rs.18,731/-, as stated in the allotment letter. The complainant/allottee was asked to deposit a sum of Rs.75,735/- by 05.12.99 in the Union Bank of India, failing which interest @21.5% was to be charged. After deducting a sum of Rs.60,000/- and Rs.56,604/-, the remaining amount to be deposited was Rs.4,66,407/-, payable in 10 years in 40 quarterly instalments and interest @18% was to be charged. The amount for each instalment was mentioned as Rs.25,346.25ps. The case of the complainant is that she wanted to deposit the entire amount of the house as one-time settlement (OTS) and for this purpose, she wrote various letters to the OP Authority to get the details,but she did not get any reply from them. Vide letters dated 17.11.99, 25.01.2000 and 10.04.2000, she requested the OP to deliver the possession of the said house to her and also to provide the details of the total balance amount payable. The Assistant Engineer (property) of the OP issued a letter dated 27.09.2002, as per which, the complainant was required to deposit half the amount in question till 15.10.2002. However, the said letter was received by her on 15.11.2002 and hence, there was no question of depositing the said amount by 15.10.2002. Thereafter, the complainant wrote various letters to the OP, but she did not get reply from them. Alleging that she had to pay a total sum of Rs.11,36,777/- to the OP Authority, including interest on the amount of Rs.5,83,013/-, the complainant filed the consumer complaint in question, seeking directions to the OP to pay a sum of Rs.5,34,603/- alleged to have been charged in excess than the actual price of the house, alongwith accrued interest of Rs.50,000/-, compensation of Rs.1 lakh and pendent-lite interest @18%.3. The OP Authority contested the complaint by filing a written statement before the District Forum, in which they admitted the contents of the allotment letter issued in favour of the complainant, but mentioned that the complainant had failed to deposit the amount demanded by them under the one-time settlement scheme. There was no deficiency in service on their part and they had charged the requisite amount from the complainant in accordance with the terms and conditions of the allotment.4. The District Forum allowed the complaint vide their order dated 27.07.2007 and directed the OP to refund a sum of Rs.5,34,603/- to the complainant, stating it to be an excess amount charged from her and alsoallowed a litigation cost of Rs.1,500/-. Being aggrieved against the order of the District Forum, the OP Authority challenged the same by way of an appeal before the State Commission, but the said appeal having been dismissed vide impugned order, the OP Authority is before this Commission by way of the present revision petition.5. During hearing before us, the learned counsel for the petitioner/OP has drawn attention to the contents of the allotment letter dated 06.11.99, issued in favour of the complainant, saying that they had charged the amount from her, strictly as per the terms and conditions of the allotment. The payment under the lump-sump plan was to be made within a period of 60 days from the date of issue of the allotment letter and the requisite documents were also to be filed. However, the complainant neither deposited the amount within the time mentioned in the allotment letter, nor filed the documents. The learned counsel has drawn attention to an affidavit filed by the Assistant Engineer of the OP Authority, saying that the interest and penal interest was charged from the complainant as per the terms and conditions of the allotment. In addition, the detailed calculations for the cost of the property and the charging of interest etc. had been filed on record, and according to the OP, they charged the amount strictly as per these calculations. The learned counsel for the OP Authority stated that the order passed by the consumer fora below were not based on a correct appreciation of the facts and circumstances on record and hence, they were perverse in the eyes of law and should be set aside.6. The learned counsel for the respondent/complainant stated on the other hand that the complainant had sent several letters to the Authority asking them to intimate the details of payment to be made under the OTS scheme. The complainant was required to make payment under the scheme, only after the possession had been delivered to her. The orders passed by the consumer fora below were, therefore, in accordance with law.7. Another point has been raised during arguments that the conveyance deed for the property in question mentions the value of the property as Rs.5,83,013/-, whereas a much higher amount of above Rs.11 lakh was charged from the complainant. The learned counsel for the OP Authority stated, however, that the sale-deed etc. are executed on the original price of the property. The amount charged as interest/penal interest are never shown in the sale-deed document.8. We have examined the entire material on record and given a thoughtful consideration to the arguments advanced before us.9. A careful perusal of the material on record makes it clear that the allotment letter dated 06.11.99 issued in favour of the complainant mentions the cost of the HIG House as Rs.5,83,013/-. The detailed terms and conditions are a part of this allotment letter, according to which, if an allottee wants to enjoy the benefit of lump-sum plan, he has to deposit the balance amount within a period of 60 days from the date of issue of allotment letter, alongwith the required non-judicial stamp papers and the photographs. It was open to the complainant to have deposited the necessary amount in accordance with the aforesaid letter and enjoy the benefit of making lump-sum payment. There was no requirement to obtain any clarification from the OP Authority in this regard. The version brought on record, however, shows that the complainant simply indulged in making correspondence with the OP Authority but did not deposit the requisite amount. The OP Authority is, therefore, within its rights to charge interest/penal interest on the amount in question from the complainant as per the terms and conditions. The OP Authority has filed the details of the calculations of interest/penal interest alongwith affidavit of the concerned official and they have taken the stand that the amount was charged in accordance with these calculations only. The complainant has taken the plea that the letter dated 27.09.2002 was received by her on 16.11.2002, by which time, the date of making payment had already expired. Even if it was so, it was the duty of the complainant to approach the office of the OP Authority and make the necessary payment, if she wanted to avail the benefit of OTS scheme. The complainant has nowhere been able to prove, as to whether the calculations placed on record by the OP Authority are incorrect in any manner. It is obvious, therefore, that the orders passed by the State Commission as well as the District Forum do not reflect a correct appreciation of the facts and circumstances on record and hence, are perverse in the eyes of law.10. In so far as the amount mentioned in the conveyance deed is concerned, it is a matter of common knowledge that only the original value of the house, i.e., Rs.5,83,013/- had to be mentioned in the said deed alongwith the free hold charges of Rs.18,731/-. There was no need to mention interest/penal interest charged from the complainant in the said conveyancedeed. It is not understood, therefore, as to how the consumer fora below reached the conclusion that a sum of Rs.5,34,063/- was refundable to the complainant. Even if the payment was made by the complainant under protest, she would not be liable to get refund of any part of amount deposited.11. From the foregoing discussion, it is clear that there are material defects in the orders passed by the State Commission as well as the District Forum and these orders are set aside in the exercise of powers under the revisional jurisdiction. This revision petition is, therefore, allowed. The consumer complaint is ordered to be dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs.

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