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The District Collector, Kottayam & Another v/s K.P. Varghese

    Appeal No. 72 of 2000

    Decided On, 29 January 2001

    At, Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Thiruvananthapuram

    By, MEMBER

    For the Appellants: M. Rajagopalan Nair, Advocate. For the Respondent: None.

Judgment Text

L. Manoharan, President:

1. The opposite parties in O.P. No. 898/1998 on the file of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Kottayam is the appellant. The grievance of the complainant was that he participated in the auction dated 11.7.1996 and was successful bidder, the said auction was conducted by opposite party. Being t

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e successful bidder he deposited the amount, later the said sale came to be set aside by the opposite parties on the ground that the said sale was conducted when there was an attachment on the property from O.S. No. 554/90 of the Hon’ble Sub Court, Kottayam. On setting aside the said auction O.P. returned only the amount that he has deposited, the return of the amount was delayed the insisted for interest and for the same he filed the complaint. The opposite parties sought to maintain that the said claim is not sustainable as the said sale came to be set aside because of the attachment by the Sub Court. The District Forum overruled the objection and made a direction to the opposite parties to pay interest at 10% on the principal amount Rs. 89,600/- for the period from 11.7.1996 to 29.11.1997 and also to pay costs Rs. 1,500/-. It is the said direction to pay interest on the principal amount and costs that this appeal is filed. Learned Counsel urged consistent with his position before the District Forum that inasmuch as the sale came to be set aside because of the attachment, it cannot be held that there was any deficiency on the part of the opposite party/appellants. He also made reliance on Section 55 of the Kerala Revenue Recovery Act to maintain that there could be no obligation to pay interest. It is urged an earlier O.P. 130/1997 with respect to the prior auction with respect to the same property was instituted by the present respondent consequent upon the setting aside of the sale by the present appellants. Alleging that they returned only part of the amount deposited by him he filed the said complaint for return of the balance and interest thereon. The said O.P. 130/1997 was allowed by the District Forum against which the Appeal 981/1997 was filed; the same was dismissed. Thus the dispute is a consumer dispute cannot be now challenged in view of the decision in the earlier O.P. Then the only question is the propriety of allowing interest. It should be noted that there is no case that the attachment was from a suit instituted by the auction-purchaser/respondent. Therefore, the cause for setting aside the sale by the appellant cannot be said to be on account of any act or omission on the part of the respondent. Then ordinarily consequent upon the setting aside of the said sale the appellants were bound to return the amount without delay. Normally the money belonging to another when lies with another, the money would be deemed to generate interest. Section 55 of the KRRA enjoins that on setting aside the sale the amount deposited by the auction purchaser shall be returned to the purchaser. That means the amount has to be returned without delay. That cannot be interpreted to mean that the said return can be indefinitely delayed and the appellant would get immunity from paying interest. The section is not capable of such an interpretation. Therefore, the argument of Counsel for the appellant cannot be upheld. The appeal is liable to be dismissed.In the result the appeal is dismissed.

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