At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Petitioner: Amber Sachdeva, Advocate. For the Respondents: Shubham Bhalla, Advocate.
Oral:The petitioner society purchased some land which was later acquired by Ludhiana Improvement Trust. A Writ Petition was filed by the Society challenging the acquisition. Pursuant to the decision of the Hon’ble High Court and the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in a Special Leave Petition preferred against the order of the Hon’ble High Court, the Trust forwarded the request of the Society for grant of the requisite exemption to the State Government. The exemption was agreed by the Government vide its letter dated 21.9.1982, subject to the conditions stipulated therein. The Society submitted a list of 333 members to the Trust vide its letter dated 20.1.1983.2. Thereafter, the Trust vide its letter dated 3.2.1983 allotted 296 plots of different sizes to the Society for allotment to its members. It would be pertinent to note here that the Trust was to retain 50% of the land of the Society with it and was to allot plots equivalent to remaining 50% of its land. The case of the Society is that out of the plots allotted to it by the Trust, possession of 52 plots was not given to it. The numbers of those plots have been given in para 6 of the impugned order. The Society, therefore, approached the concerned District Forum by way of a consumer complaint seeking possession of those remaining 52 plots or alternative plots in lieu thereof for such of its members who had not been delivered possession of the plots which the Society had allotted to them.3. The complaint was resisted by the Trust, which interalia stated in its reply that since the land of the Society was joint with some other persons and there had been no partition of the said land, the possession of the entire land was not given to it by the Society. According to the Trust, the Society was to give possession of 100508 Sq. yards of land to them and on that basis they had allotted land measuring 50250 Sq. yards to the Society in the form of 296 plots of different sizes, for allotment to its members. It is the case of the Trust that the Society had failed to deliver possession of land measuring 25198 Sq. yards out of the aforesaid 100508 Sq. yards and delivered possession of only 75310 Sq. yards of land. The Trust, therefore, was to give possession of 39914 Sq. yards of land to the Society in the form of plots and the said 39914 Sq. yards constituted 53% of the land given to them by the Society. The Trust had given, to the Society, land measuring 40708 Sq. yards in the form of different plots thereby giving excess land to the extent of 794 Sq. yards.4. The District Forum having dismissed the consumer complaint, the Society approached the concerned State Commission by way of an appeal. The said appeal having been dismissed vide impugned order dated 5.12.2008, the Society is before this Commission.5. It is not in dispute that pursuant to the terms on which exemption was granted, the Trust was to make available 50% of the land of the Society to it in the form of plots meant for allotment to its members. Later on, that ratio was increased to 53%. To this extent, there is no dispute between the parties. The dispute between the parties is with respect to the extent of the land which the Society had given to the Trust. The case of the Trust, as noted earlier, is that since the land was jointly owned by the Society with some individuals, the possession of the entire land admeasuring 100508 Sq.yards was not given to it and the Society gave possession of land measuring only 75310 Sq.yards. No record was placed by the Society before the District Forum to show that the land actually given by it to the Trust measured more than 75310 Sq.yards. Since the Trust had come out with a specific plea that the land made available to it by the Society measured only 75310 Sq.yards, it was obligatory for the Society to lead evidence to prove that the land given by it to the Trust was more than 75310 Sq.yards. That having not been done, inevitable inference is that the Society had given land admeasuring only 75310 Sq.yards to the Trust. It is not in dispute that the Society has got more than 53% the land admeasuring 74. Therefore, the Society has no claim for allotment of any additional plot from the Trust.6. The case of the Society is that all the plots which were allotted to it by the Trust vide its letter dated 3.2.1983 were allotted by it to its members. However, in the consumer complaint the Society did not disclose even the names of the members to whom 52 plots, subject matter of the consumer complaint, were allotted by it. None of those members came forward seeking impleadment in the consumer complaint filed by the Society. Had the Society bonafidely allotted these 52 plots to its members, it ought to have disclosed their particulars in the consumer complaint. This is another circumstance which creates strong suspicion on the genuineness of the case set up by the Society.7. The allotment of 296 plots was made to the society vide letter dated 3.2.1983. The Society approached the District Forum by way of a consumer complaint filed in the year 2003. I can understand the Society waiting for a reasonable time for possession of all the plots which the Trust had allotted to it
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vide its letter dated 3.2.1983. But, by no logic that period can be stretched upto 20 years. Even if I give a reasonable period of 5 years to the Society for this purpose, the consumer complaint ought to have been instituted by the year 1988. Having been instituted in the year 2003, the complaint was hopelessly barred by the limitation prescribed in Section 24A of the Consumer Protection Act.8. For the reasons stated hereinabove, I find no ground to interfere with the orders passed by the Fora below. The revision petition is, therefore, dismissed with no order as to costs.