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Mohinder Singh Saini v/s Maxheights Township & Projects (Pvt.) Ltd., New Delhi

    Consumer Case No. 1224 of 2018
    Decided On, 29 August 2022
    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
    By, MEMBER
    For the Complainant: Dr. Balram Singh, Advocate. For the Opposite Parties: Kshitij Sharda, Advocate.

Judgment Text
Subhash Chandra, MemberThis is a complaint u/s 21 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (in short, the Act) seeking refund of amount paid towards a flat in the Opposite Party’s project Maxheights Township and Projects (Pvt.) Ltd. alleging delay in handing over possession and thereby breach of the Agreement to Sell by the Opposite Party. Deficiency in service and committing of unfair trade practice by the Opposite Party has been alleged by the Complainant and accordingly he is before this Commission with the following prayer:-

“i) refund the amount of Rs.30,00,000/- alongwith interest at the rate of 18% p.a. from the date of deposit by complainant in accounts of respondent till the date of payment which becomes Rs.26,14,750 (rupees twenty six lacs fourteen thousand seven hundred fifty only) upto 30.03.2018 till its realization (total Rs.57,04,750/- rupees fifty seven lacs four thousand seven hundred fifty only) to complainant.

ii) pay to complainant Rs.30,00,000/- (rupees thirty lacs) for causing mental agony, harassment wastage of time and financial loss;

iii) pay to complainant Rs.40,00,000/- (rupees forty lacs) as escalation of price of flat;

iv) pay to complainant Rs.2,00,000/- (Rupees two lacs) against expenditure accrued in filing complaint as well as for spending amount for visiting office of respondent and

v) pay to complainant Rs.6,00,000/- (rupees six lacs) paid as rent by complainant for rented accommodation of his children. A total sum in Rs.1,35,04,750/- (rupees one crore thirty five lacs four thousand seven hundred fifty only).”

2. It is also submitted by the Complainant that he had earlier filed a Complaint no.506/17 before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Sonepat (The District Forum), with the following prayer:

(a) To make the interest compensation @ 18% per annum upon the deposited amount which comes to Rs.10,20,122/- from 24.01.2016 to 23.11.2017 and further interest till the delivery of actual and physical possession of the flat to the complainant after developing the flat fully with basic amenities, land scaping, parks, roads, sewerage and internal all development of the flat as per the agreement;

(b) To make the rent @ Rs.5,000/- per month from 24.01.2016 till the date of delivery of possession and to execute the deed in favour of complainant after possession;

(c ) To make payment of Rs.1,00,000/- to the complainant on account of sufferings, mental agony, pain, harassment, loos of time, and rounding in the office of respondent;

(d) To pay an amount of Rs.51,000/- on account of litigation expenses;

(e) Not to cover Rs.2.00 lakh for car parking from the complainant being the such clause is null, void and contrary of law;

(f) Any other relief which this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper be also passed in favour of the complainant;

3. The District Forum’s order in 506/2017 dated 20.02.2018 was as under:

“Thus, taking strength from the order dated 02.02.2018 passed by the Hon’ble State Commission, Haryana, Panchkula in Revision Petition no. 89 of 2017 titled as Ansal Properties vs Sushil Sachdeva, we hereby allow the application filed by the respondents for dismissal of the present complaint on the ground of pecuniary jurisdiction. Since the application filed by the respondents is allowed by this Forum, the present complaint filed by the complainant has become infructuous and we also dismiss the same with no order as to costs. However, the complainant is at liberty to approach the competent authority for the redressal of his grievances, if he is advised or desire so.”

4. This order was not challenged by the complainant.

5. The admitted facts of the case are that the Complainant had booked Flat No. 73 in MF Tower, 4th floor , Maxheights Metroview Apartments, Sector 35, Sonepat, Haryana, in Jatheri Village, Kundli Tehsil, by depositing Rs.1,00,000/-(Rupees one lac) on 22.08.2012 vide various deposits on subsequent dates. He had deposited a total of Rs.30,90,000/-(Rupees thirty lacs and ninety thousand) by 30.09.2014 against a total sale consideration of Rs.37,41,125/-. Possession had been assured by the Opposite Party within 36 months with an extended period of six months, i.e., 42 months from the date of Agreement which was signed on 24.01.2013. Possession has not been handed over as on the date of filing of the complaint.

6. The Opposite Party has contested the averments of the Complainant through written statement and synopsis. They have raised the preliminary objection that the claim of the complainant is highly exaggerated and has been done by the complainant to invoke the pecuniary jurisdiction of this Commission. He has relied upon this Commission’s order in Padmini Malhotra Vs M/s Era Land Marks (India) Ltd. in CC No. 1269 of 2015 dated 15.12.2015, wherein it was held that a Complaint cannot be filed by inflating the value of the relief to fall within the pecuniary jurisdiction of the National Commission as it would amount to abuse of process of law and constitute an attempt to short circuit the hierarchy of the consumer foras.

7. The Complainant has sought refund of the amount paid by him along with 18% interest, which amounts to Rs.26,14,750/-(Rupees twenty six lacs, fourteen thousand, seven hundred and fifty) upto 30.03.2018, which according to him should have been the date of handing over the possession; Rs.30,00,000/- (Rupees thirty lacs) for mental agony; Rs.40,00,000/-(Rupees forty lacs) for escalation of the price of the flat; Rs.2,00,000/- (Rupees two lacs) towards litigation cost and Rs.6,00,000/-(Rupees six lacs) for compensation against rent paid by him for hiring accommodation in the absence of the flat being handed over by the Opposite Party. No documents have been filed to provide any basis for such reliefs other than the deposit of Rs.30,90,000/-(Rupees thirty lac, ninety thousand) towards the flat.

8. In a catena of judgments of the Hon’ble Apex Court and this Commission, compensation to Complainants/allottees of housing projects has been considered. This Commission in Ambrish Kumar Shukla & Ors. Vs. Ferrous Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd., I (2017) CPJ 1 (NC) held as under:

“15. xxxxxx

Issue No.(iii)

“The consideration paid or agreed to be paid by the consumer at the time of purchasing the goods or hiring or availing of the services, as the case may be, is to be considered, along with the compensation, if any, claimed in the complaint, to determine the pecuniary jurisdiction of a Consumer Forum.”

However, compensation awarded is based on certain principles of inclusion of these claims as a just compensation. In the present case, the prayer of the Complainant is not based on any documentary evidence to justify such a high value of compensation sought.

9. We are of the considered view that the compensation claimed in addition to the amount deposited with the opposite party towards

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the sale consideration is clearly an attempt to inflate the amount claimed in order to meet the pecuniary jurisdiction of this Commission. It has also been ordered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in DLF Homes Panchkula Pvt. Ltd., vs D S Dhanda (2020) 16 SCC 318 that “such interest will take into its ambit, the consequences of delay in not handing over his possession”. The Act provides for a hierarchy of Consumer Fora, which are defined by their territorial and pecuniary jurisdictions. It would be appropriate for the Complainant to utilize the same without abusing the process of Law in such a manner. We, therefore, dismiss the Complaint with liberty to the Complainant to file a fresh Complaint before the appropriate fora within 60 days of the receipt of the certified copy of this order.