1. Mr. Vijay Bhikaji Kharmale, one of the complainants is present. Arguments heard. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has dismissed the Review Petition filed by the Opposite Party. Evidence has already been filed. Final arguments heard.
2. M/s. Akhil Bhartiya Grahak Panchayat, Branch Pune-Complainant No. 1 is a Volunteer Consumer Organization. Ad-Hoc Committee for flat purchasers, and its representatives Mr. Vijay Bhikaji Kharmale and Mr. Ajay Eknath Suryawanshi are arrayed as Complainant No. 2.
132 complainants booked the flats from the OP-M/s. KDS Infra Buildcons and its partners, who were arrayed as Opposite Parties No. 2, 3 & 4. Copy of details of payments paid by the complainants is attached with the complaint as Annexure C-6. 132 Consumers/allottees paid the booking amount of Rs. 1,34,28,518/-. The following are the details of transaction:-
3. The complainants state that they under the influence of mischievous advertisement as well as fraud assurance given by the builders, found the deficiency on the part of the OPs/Builders. The complainants have not yet received the premises in dispute. The said amount was paid in 2009/2010. The complainants have pointed out the following deficiencies:-
"a) The Respondent KDS Infra Buildcon advertised through newspapers, hoardings pamphlets/brochures about their schemes namely KDS Dham and KDS Angan and gave attractive/misleading advertisements and attracted complainants by furnishing false information.
b) The Respondent builder with the help of his Architecture prepared the drawing of the flats and displayed the same and also shown to the booking holders and started to take the bookings for the schemes named above and taken the amount ranging from Rs. 50000/- Rs. 450000/- as a booking amount from the customers'.
c) The Respondent Builder issued booking receipts to the complainants but he has not made any agreement or MOU but he has committed to do the agreement in 2-3 month after the date of the booking and failed to do the agreement as per the commitment.
d) After that, the respondent Builder contacted to all booking holders and asked to submit the documents like Payment slip, form 16 etc. for loan purpose and assured to do the agreement within some days and again not fulfilled his commitments.
e) That the Respondent Builder had organized a meeting with all booking holders to update the status of the project at S.M. Joshi Bhavan Khadki and declared that the project was delayed due some economical issues and asked for some more time to find the Financier and assured all booking holders for the completion of the project.
f) The Respondent again conducted a meeting with all the booking holder at the same place and again asked some time for finding of the Financier but this time people not believed him and FIR registered by one of the complainant against the respondent Builder in Vishrantwadi Police Station, FIR copy is also attached with the complaint.
g) Thereafter we came to know that the respondent builder sold the owned land on which the site was proposed and stopped all the activities at the site also closed his office which was at the above mentioned address. Copy of the 7/12 extract is annexed herein as Annexure C-14.
h) Respondent KDS builder had given cheque to one of the customer as the refund of booking amount but the said cheque was dishonoured due to insufficient funds. The copy of return cheque of one of the complainant is annexed herein as Annexure C-8.
The above said details of status of project shows that there is false representation made by the Respondent builder and made unfair trade practice within the consumer protection Act".
4. Ultimately, the complaint was filed before this Commission on 31.12.2012, with the following prayers:-
(A) That this Hon'ble National Commission is pleased to hold and declare that the services rendered by the Respondents are deficient and the practices adopted by the Respondents are unfair trade practices.
(B) That if the Respondent Builder has failed to start the construction work of the proposed project and he has sold the land of this project also this Hon'ble National Commission is pleased to direct the Respondents Builder to return the total amount deposited by all the complainants as Rs. 1,34,28,518/- (as per the attached Annexure C-6)
(C) That this Hon'ble National Commission is pleased to direct the Respondents Builder to pay the 18% interest on the above said amount from the date of depositing the amount paid to the Respondent Builder till realization of the above said amount to the Complainants.
(D) That this Hon'ble National Commission may direct to the Respondent builder to pay the cost difference of cost escalation charges at the time of judgment (while booking the flat per sq. feet rate was Rs. 1,800/- and in the same vicinity as on 01.12.2012, the market rate is Rs. 3,000/- per sq.ft. The difference is Rs. 1200/- per sq. and same may be calculated and paid to each of the complainant separately at the time of judgment.
(E) The compensation/damages to the tune of Rs. 2,00,000/- be awarded in favour of each of the complainant/flat purchaser for the purchaser for the physical and mental harassment, agony and stress caused to them and their family members because of deficient services rendered and unfair trade practices adopted by the Respondent Builders.
(F) That costs of these proceedings quantified at Rs. 2,00,000/- be awarded in favour of the present complainant.
(G) Any other relief as deemed fit in the circumstances may please be granted".
5. We have heard the Complainant Mr. Vijay Bhikaji kharmale and perused the evidence. We have gone through the documents under the heading "M.T.:-Office Letter of Rights (Village Sample No. 6) ", which runs as follows:-
"M.T.:- Office Letter of Rights (Village Sample No. 6)
42, Budhwar Peth, Ganpati Chowk
Laxmi road, Pune-2,
Phone No. 020-24456676
Documentation Date 17/10/2013
6. The complainants were assured that the project at Charholi Bk Survey No. 155 would start. This has similarity with the above said sale order. This is clear that the OPs had led the gullible persons up the garden path.
7. At this stage counsel for the OP has appeared. He admits that they have to pay back Rs. 1,34,28,518/- to the complainants. He further submits that the interest rate claimed by the complainants, i.e. 18%, is on the higher side. He submits that the person with whom he had the agreement further sold the property to the third party without his acknowledgment and therefore he was also cheated. The above said sale order hardly dovetails with his contention.
8. Counsel for the Opposite Party submits that only 10% of the amount was paid in the year 2009/2010. It must be borne in mind that the complainants have waited for their houses for the last six years. It is now apparent that the complainants would not get the houses during their lifetime from the OPs. They will have to try somewhere else, which may take a decade further. It is well said that Justice delayed is not only Justice denied, it is also Justice circumvented, Justice mocked and the system of Justice undermined. The opposite parties pull a fast one to consumers. When they were to sell the land to a better buyer, it is difficult to fathom why did the OPs take the consumers for a ride.
9. In the case of K.A. Nagamani Vs. Karnataka Housing Board, Civil Appeal Nos. 6730-31 of 2012, decided on 19.09.2012, the Hon'ble Apex Court has held at paras 25, 26, as under:
"25. The case of the complainant is covered by one of the examples cited by this Court in Ghaziabad Development Authority Vs. Balbir Singh, as quoted above. In this case also, the amount was simply returned and the complainant is suffering a loss inasmuch as she had deposited the money in the hope of getting a flat, but she is being deprived of that flat and thereby deprived of the benefit of escalation of the price of that flat. Therefore, the compensation in this case should necessarily have to be higher, as per the decision of this Court.
26. For the reasons aforesaid, we allow the appeals and pass the following orders:-
i) The respondent is directed to pay the appellant-complainant interest at the rate of 18% per annum on Rs. 2,67,750/- from the date of its respective deposit till the date of realization with further direction to refund the amount of Rs. 3,937/- to her, as directed by the Consumer Forum.
ii) The re
spondent is directed to pay the appellant - complainant further sum of Rs. 50,000/- as compensation for deficiency in service on their part. iii) The respondent is also directed to pay the appellant-complainant a sum of Rs. 20,000/- towards cost of the litigation incurred by her". 10. Keeping in view all the facts and circumstances, we hereby order that the OPs would pay Rs. 1,34,28,518/- alongwith interest @ 18% per annum, as per law laid down in the authority reported in K.A. Nagamani Vs. Karnataka Housing Board (supra) from the date of payment, till the date of payment of realization of the said amount. The complainants are also awarded costs of this case. It must be mentioned here that the complainants reside in Pune. They have come all the way from Pune to file the complaint before this Commission at Delhi. They are contesting this case for the last about four years, therefore, we grant them total compensation in the sum of Rs. 4,00,000/-, which will be paid to the complainants within 90 days from today, otherwise, it will carry interest @ 18% p.a., till realization. All the OPs are saddled with the above said liability jointly and severally.