This revision petition has been filed by the petitioner Haryana Urban Development Authority and Anr against the order dated 2nd March 2015 passed by the Haryana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Panchkula (in short “the State Commission”) in first appeal No. 96 of 2014 and first appeal No. 221 of 2014.
2. Brief facts of the case are that on 27.01.2006 plot No.364 Sector-2, Mansa Devi Complex Panchkula, Haryana allotted to Smt. Rachna vide allotment letter No.25. The original allottee Smt. Rachna applied for transfer of plot in favour of Jaswant Singh respondent herein. On 29.07.2008, after completion of all formalities, the said plot was transferred in favour of Jaswant Singh vide reallotment letter No.8040. On 14.07.2011, possession was offered by the petitioners to respondent vide letter No.9908, as all the development works were complete at site. On 18.07.2011, respondent took possession of the said plot. On 09.11.2011, water connection was given to respondent on the plot/site in question. In May, 2012, respondent filed a false and frivolous complaint having No.72/2012 under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act against the petitioner, falsely alleging that possession of said plot has been offered to him without completion of development work at site by the petitioner and sought/prayed payment of interest @24% on the total amount deposited by the respondent after 3 years from the date of allotment letter till the area is developed by the petitioner and further sought payment of interest @ 24% per annum on the amount spent on construction from the petitioner and further compensation and cost of the complaint. In September, 2012, petitioner filed a detailed reply to the said complaint No.72/2012. On 10.01.2014, complaint No.72/2012 was finally disposed off by the District Forum, Panchkula, Haryana awarding a compensation of Rs.50,000/- to the respondent. In the month of February & March, 2014, against the said order dated 10.01.2014 passed by the District Forum, Panchkula, Haryana, cross appeal Nos.96/2014 titled Jaswant Singh vs. HUDA & anr. & 221/2014 titled HUDA & anr. vs. Jaswant Singh, both under Section 15 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, were filed by the petitioners and respondent before State Commission, Panchkula. On 02.03.2015, cross appeal Nos.96/2014 titled Jaswant Singh vs. HUDA & anr. & 221/2014 titled HUDA & anr. vs. Jaswant Singh, were disposed of by the State Commission, Panchkula, Haryana, enhanced the amount of compensation to Rs.1 lakh instead of Rs.50,000/- and also awarded Rs.11,000/- as litigation expenses.
3. Hence the present petition.
4. Heard the learned counsel for the parties and perused record. The learned counsel for the petitioner stated that the District Forum as well as the State Commission have relied on the report submitted by the local commissioner. The objections raised by the petitioner on this report have not been considered by the District Forum or the State Commission. In fact, the possession was offered only when all the basic facilities were complete and the concerned Executive Engineers had sent the completion reports. Letter No. 3842 dated 31st March 2008 was written by the Executive Engineer division No. 3 Panchkula to the state office informing that work of water supply lines, sewer lines and road work up to WBM level stood completed in front of the plot in question. Similarly, the water connection was given to the respondent on 9th November 2011. The sewer connection was also provided to the respondent’s plot on 30th January 2013. The learned counsel further argued that the occupation certificate was issued to the respondent on 16th January 2013. The issuance of occupation certificate, in a way, confirms that construction is complete as per the layout plan. Thus, clearly the report of the local commissioner is one-sided favoring the complainant. The evidence submitted by the petitioner has not been properly considered by the fora below. There was no justification for enhancing the compensation from Rs.50,000 to Rs.100,000 as the complainant has not furnished any fresh evidence in support of deficiency in service on the part of the petitioner or any fresh evidence in respect of any expenditure made by the complainant for removing the deficiency alleged against the petitioner. The learned counsel for the petitioner stated that the compensation has to be commensurate with the loss or injury suffered by the complainant due to negligence of the opposite party. The complainant has not suffered any loss as he constructed his house on the said plot. In this regard, the learned counsel referred to the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in Chief Administrator, HUDA & anr. versus Shakuntla Devi, Civil Appeal No.7335 of 2008, decided on December 8, 2016 wherein the Supreme Court has observed the following:-
“The sine qua non for entitlement of compensation is proof of loss or injury suffered by the consumer due to the negligence of the opposite party. Once the said conditions are satisfied, the Consumer Forum would have to decide the quantum of compensation to which the consumer is entitled. There cannot be any dispute that the computation of compensation has to be fair, reasonable and commensurate to the loss or injury. There is a duty cast on the Consumer Forum to take into account all relevant factors for arriving at the compensation to the paid.”
5. On the other hand, the learned counsel for the respondent complainant stated that when the possession was given, the facilities of sewer line and water tank as well as the road connecting to other MCD routes were not there and therefore complainant had to face lot of difficulties in construction over the plot. Both the fora below have given concurrent finding in respect of the deficiency on the part of the petitioner opposite party and the facts cannot be reassessed by this Commission against the concurrent finding of facts by the fora below. Even the compensation of Rs.1 lakh is very meagre as compared to the sufferings of the complainant.
6. The learned counsel for the respondent further argued that the present revision petition has been filed with delay of about 30 days as reported by the Registry of this Commission and therefore the revision petition is liable to be dismissed as no proper explanation has been given by the petitioner for such delay.
7. I have carefully considered the arguments advanced by both the learned counsel for the parties and examined the record. There is a delay of 30 days in filing the present revision petition as reported by the Registry of this Commission. The petitioner has stated in the application for condonation of delay that the delay occurred due to obtaining legal advice and higher orders to file the revision petition as well as in contacting advocate to prepare and file the revision petition. As the delay is only of 30 days, the same is condoned on the grounds mentioned in the application for condonation of delay in the light of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Manoharan Vs. Sivarajan & Ors, Civil Appeal No.10581 of 2013, decided on 25.11.2013 (SC) where the following has been observed:-
“9. In the case of State of Bihar & Ors. v. Kameshwar Prasad Singh & Anr., it was held that power to condone the delay in approaching the Court has been conferred upon the Courts to enable them to do substantial justice to parties by disposing the cases on merit. The relevant paragraphs of the case read as under:
“11. Power to condone the delay in approaching the Court has been conferred upon the Courts to enable them to do substantial justice to parties by disposing of matters on merits. This Court in Collector, Land Acquisition, Anantnag v. Mst. Katiji (1987)ILLJ 500 SC held that the expression 'sufficient cause' employed by the legislature in the Limitation Act is adequately elastic to enable the Courts to apply the law in a meaningful manner which subserves the ends of justice-that being the life purpose for the existence of the institution of Courts. It was further observed that a liberal approach is adopted on principle as it is realised that:
1. Ordinarily a litigant does not stand to benefit by lodging an appeal late.
2. Refusing to condone delay can result in a meritorious matter being thrown out at the very threshold and cause of justice being defeated. As against this when delay is condoned the highest that can happen is that a cause would be decided on merits after hearing the parties.
3. 'Every day's delay must be explained' does not mean that a pedantic approach should be made. Why not every hour's delay, every second's delay? The doctrine must be applied in a rational common sense pragmatic manner.
4. When substantial justice and technical considerations are pitted against each other, cause of substantial justice deserves to be preferred for the other side cannot claim to have vested right in injustice being done because of a non-deliberate delay.
5. There is no presumption that delay is occasioned deliberately, or on account of culpable negligence, or on account of mala fides. A litigant does not stand to benefit by resorting to delay. In fact he runs a serious risk.
6. It must be grasped that judiciary is respected not on account of its power to legalize injustice on technical grounds but because it is capable of removing injustice and is expected to do so.”
8. Now coming to the merits of the case, it is seen that both the fora below have given concurrent finding that some of the basic facilities like sewer line, proper water supply and the connecting road were not complete when the possession was handed over to the complainant. The District Forum had appointed a local commissioner and he has submitted his report on 27th May 2013 wherein he has clearly agreed with most of the shortcomings mentioned in the complaint in respect of connection to sewer lines, proper water supply from water tank and absence of connecting road. Local inspection was done by the local commissioner in the presence of representatives of both the parties and therefore there seems to be no reason for doubting the report of the local commissioner. Otherwise also, this Commission would not like to reassess the facts on which both the fora below have given concurrent finding in the light of the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in in Lourdes Society Snehanjali Girls Hostel and Ors. Vs. H&R Johnson (India) Ltd. and others, (2016) 8 Supreme Court Cases 286, wherein the Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed the following:-
“23. The National Commission has to exercise the jurisdiction vested in it only if the State Commission or the District Forum has either failed to exercise their jurisdiction or exercised when the same was not vested in them or exceeded their jurisdiction by acting illegally or with material irregularity. In the instant case, the National Commission has certainly exceeded its jurisdiction by setting aside the concurrent finding of fact recorded in the order passed by the State Commission which is based upon valid and cogent reasons.”
9. So far as the question of compensation is concerned, the State Commission has enhanced the compensation from Rs.50,000/- to Rs.100,000/-.The possession was given to the complainant on 18th July 2011 and the local commissioner has inspected the site on 14th May 2013, and the position of approach road, sewer line and the supply of w
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ater has been found to be not satisfactory by the local commissioner. Thus, it is clear that serious deficiencies existed when the possession was granted. The gist of the judgment relied upon by the learned counsel for the petitioner in Chief Administrator HUDA and anr. versus Shakuntala Devi (supra) is that the compensation should be commensurate with the loss and injury suffered by the complainant due to negligence on the part of the opposite party. The idea is that the order should not suffer from vice of unreasonableness. In the present case, though the State Commission has enhanced the compensation from Rs.50,000/- to Rs.1 lakh, but it cannot be said to be an unreasonable compensation for the deficiencies of the opposite party noted by the State Commission. Hence in my view, this judgment does not help the petitioner in any way. 10. As no interest has been awarded by the State Commission, I would not like to interfere with the order passed by the State Commission as the deficiencies are proved. 11. Based on the above discussion, I do not find any illegality, material irregularity or jurisdictional error in the impugned order which calls for any interference from this commission. Consequently, the revision petition No. 2399 of 2015 is dismissed.