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Dr. B.S. Aggarwal & Another v/s VGP Agro Farm Pvt. Ltd.

    Complaint Case No. 293 of 2002

    Decided On, 25 October 2016

    At, Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission New Delhi


    For the Complainants: --------- For the Opposite Parties: ----------

Judgment Text

N.P. Kaushik, Judicial Member

Facts of the care are not in dispute. Complainants Dr.B.S.Aggarwal and his wife Smt. Sharda Aggarwal R/o House No. 123, Sector 7 Panchkula (Haryana) were attracted by a scheme floated by VGP Agro Farm Pvt. Ltd. 9, Bedonpura, Gurudwara Road, Karol Bagh, New Delhi (in short the OP). The scheme was for allotment and development of a garden land. The price of the garden unit was Rs. 1,75,000/-. It was located in VGP Agro Farm Pvt. Ltd. Dharmaraja Koil Street, Saidapet, Madras Tamil Nadu. Out of total price, Rs. 10,000/- were to be paid as earnest money and the balance amount was to be paid in 24 monthly instalments. Registration fee of Rs. 12,500/- along with an amount of Rs. 500/- were also required to be paid. Complainants admittedly paid an earnest money of Rs. 10,000/- on 13.07.1995. Complainants were registered under account No. VGPA/D/368. They received a letter dated 11.09.1995 from New Delhi office of the OP along with a passbook containing the terms and conditions of the agreement along with a record of payments made by the complainants.

2. Contention of the complainants is that they started paying instalments towards costs of garden land, saplings, planting expenses, maintenance and management etc. By 30.03.1998 complainants paid an amount of Rs. 1,88,000/-. OP vide its letter dated 12.11.1997 sent an invoice to the complainants in respect of their unit No. 74. Grievance of the complainants is that on their visit to the site in December 1999 along with a representative of the OP, they found the land neither demarcated nor maintained. Only a few plants stood planted. No club house was in existence. Complainants contended that after 6 years of their enrolment i.e. by July 2001, OP was required to credit the sale proceeds of the yield from the garden to their account. Not even the registration of the said unit in their favour was done despite their having paid the registration charges.

3. On the basis of the aforesaid spectrum of facts, complainants have prayed for refund of the amount of Rs. 1,88,000/- along with compound interest @ 18% p.a. for the period from 31.12.1995 to 30.06.2002. Compensation to the tune of Rs. 1,16,664/- for harassment and mental agony has also been prayed for. Thus the complainants have asked for the refund of the total amount of Rs. 5,58,320/-. Besides this, litigation charges have also been prayed for.

4. OP in its written version raised a preliminary objection with regard to the territorial jurisdiction of this Commission. OP submitted that it was required to render the service of development and maintenance of the garden for a period of 6 years. Subsequent maintenance was to be carried out only after execution of an agreement between the parties. OP further submitted that it would make efforts to market the yields, if any, within first 6 years and credit the sale proceeds to the account of the complainants.

5. OP admitted having entered into 'plot purchaser agreement' with the complainants on 12.07.1995. OP also admitted having received the amount of Rs. 1,88,000/- from the complainants. Contention of the OP is that the complainant did not pay the balance amount of Rs. 20,685/-. On payment of the said balance amount, the necessary sale deed would have been executed. OP submitted that the complainants were sent an invoice dated 12.11.1997 showing the total payment of Rs. 2,08,685/- to be made by the complainants. Even after having received the said invoice, complainants failed to make payment of balance amount of Rs. 20,685/-. In relation to the payment of return to the complainant, OP stated that there was no sufficient yield from the trees planted. Revenue generation was far less than the maintenance costs. OP submitted that it would execute the sale deed in favour of the complainants as and when he receives the amount of Rs. 20,685/-.

6. In their rejoinder complainants submitted that in November 1997 two representatives of the named OP Sh. Sanjay Verma and Sh. Murti/Murli approached them and informed that the sum of Rs. 12,500/- towards registration charges was payable by them. Complainants accordingly paid the said amount. Complainants further submitted that they received a set of blank papers in 3rd week of 1997 written in Tamil Nadu. Complainants were unable to make out what these were about. Two representatives of the OP took those documents after obtaining their signatures along with an amount of Rs. 12,500/-. No further demand of any kind was raised thereafter. Complainants referred to a photograph showing their visit to the site in December 1999 in which the representatives of the OP are allegedly seen.

7. I have heard the arguments addressed by Ms. Shalu Sharma Advocate appearing for the complainants and Sh. Vinod Mehta Advocate appearing for the OP, at length.

8. Before proceeding further it may be recorded here that both the counsels conceded that this Commission has the pecuniary jurisdiction in the matter as the complaint was filed in September 2002.

9. Coming to the objection of territorial jurisdiction, the same is not tanable as the OP has its branch office in New Delhi where all the payments were made by the complainants.

10. The only controversy that arises is whether the OP was 'deficient in service' or not. Complainants have placed reliance upon the photograph taken by them in December 1999 showing few trees planted at the site. Said trees are very young. The same are also not laden with fruits. OP contented that there were not sufficient yields. Be that as it may, admittedly no sale deed in respect of the plot in question (measuring 9600 sq. ft.) was executed in favour of the complainants. Defence raised by the OP is that the complainants failed to make the payment of the amount of Rs. 20,685/-. Now the question arises whether the OP ever demanded the said amount from the complainants. OP admittedly did not send any letter of demand after having received an amount of Rs. 1,88,000/-. For this purpose OP has relied upon the invoice dated 12.11.1997. Perusal of the said invoice shows that the same is a simple of narration of amounts to be paid on various counts. It does not indicate if an amount of Rs. 20,685/- was outstanding against the complainants on that very date. Admittedly the OP did not cancel the allotment in question. It also did not specifically demand the amount of Rs. 20,685/- from the complainants. There is no communication from the side of the OP calling upon the complainants to pay the amount of Rs. 20,685/- and get the sale deed executed. OP never informed the complainants of any yield from the trees whatsoever. Now it does not lie in the mouth of the OP to state that only for the short fall of Rs. 20,685/- it did not go for execution of the sale

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deed. Clearly, it was a case of 'deficiency in service' on the part of the OP. OP is, therefore, directed to refund to the complainant an amount of Rs. 1,88,000/- along with simple interest @ 18% p.a. from the date of its deposit till the date of its realization. No order as to compensation and costs of litigation as the same have been taken care of by the rate of interest. The said amount shall be paid by the OP to the complainants within a period of 30 days from today failing which interest @ 24% p.a. shall be chargeable after the expiry of the period of 30 days. Complaint is accordingly disposed of. 11. Copy of the orders be made available to the parties free of costs as per rules and thereafter the file be consigned to Records.