Dr. B.C. Gupta, Presiding Member
The complainant, Parshotam Lal Gupta, filed Consumer Complaint no. 526/2014 on 10.10.2014 before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II, U.T. Chandigarh against the petitioner/OP builder, alleging that he booked a unit in the scheme ‘Accord Corporate Square’ floated by the OP, for his personal use and for earning his livelihood. The said unit had super area of 461.92 sq. ft. and its total price was quoted as Rs. 34,56,536/-. He was allotted unit no. 103 in pursuance of his application dated 02.10.2011, and he deposited a total sum of Rs. 15 lakhs with the OP for the same. However, neither the allotment was issued, nor the buyers’ agreement was executed for a long time. The complainant sent a legal notice dated 02.06.2014 to the OP, demanding refund of the money, following which, the OP sent him buyers’ agreement dated 07.11.2011 by hand for his signatures. Alleging deficiency in service and unfair trade practice on the part of the OP, the complainant filed the consumer complaint in question, seeking refund of the money deposited alongwith interest @ 9% p.a. and compensation of Rs. 50,000/-, apart from Rs. 22,000/- as litigation expenses.
2. The District Forum, vide order dated 30.06.2015, allowed the said complaint and ordered refund of Rs. 15 lakhs by the OP, alongwith interest @ 9% p.a., Rs. 25,000/- as compensation for mental agony and Rs. 10,000/- for litigation expenses. Being aggrieved against this order, the OP, builder challenged the same by way of Appeal No. 225/2015, before the State Commission, which was dismissed vide impugned order dated 16.10.2015. Being aggrieved by the said order, the OP, builder is before this Commission by way of the present revision petition.
3. During hearing before me, the learned counsel for the petitioner stated that the complainant had violated the terms and conditions of the allotment and had not made payments to the petitioner in response to the notices for the deposit of the service tax sent by them. The learned counsel also stated that the State Commission did not allow them to produce certain documents on record. However, on a query from the Bench, the learned counsel replied that the petitioners were prepared to refund the amount deposited by the complainant alongwith reasonable interest.
4. A perusal of the facts on record indicates that the District Forum gave the following directions to the OP, vide their order dated 30.06.2015:-
'In view of the above discussion, we allow the present complaint against Opposite Party. Therefore, the Opposite Party is directed as under:-
1. to refund the amount of Rs. 15 lakhs to the complainant, alongwith interest @ 9% p.a. from the respective date of deposits, till it is paid;
2. to pay Rs. 25,000/- as compensation for causing mental agony and physical harassment to the complainant.
3. to pay Rs. 10,000/- towards litigation expenses.'
5. The State Commission examined the validity of the said order in the appeal before them and concluded that the OP did not issue the allotment letter, neither executed the buyers’ agreement with them, despite the deposit of a sum of Rs. 15 lakhs with them. The State Commission also observed that agreement dated 07.11.2011 was sent for the signatures of the complainant at his residence on 02.08.2014 i.e. after three years of booking the unit. Since there was no agreement between the parties, the terms and conditions as quoted by the OPs were not applicable in the matter. It is very clear, therefore, from record and also admitted during hearing before me that despite the deposit of Rs. 15 lakhs with the petitioners, they did not take any steps to issue the allotment letter or to execute the buyers’ agreement. The petitioners have not been able to show anywhere, whether they made any efforts to have the buyers’ agreement executed. The petitioner even refused to give refund to the complainant, when demanded by him. It has been stated by the petitioner in the grounds of revision petition that there was no material on record to show that the petitioner ever promised any date of delivery to the complainant, or there was any stipulation of time, regarding the agreement to be entered. It is clear from the own version of the petitioner that even after accepting a sum of Rs. 15 lakhs, they did not make any promise about the date of delivery of possession of the unit, or to execute the agreement giving details of the terms and conditions.
6. The petitioners have further taken a plea that the complainant is not covered under the definition of ‘Consumer’, as the property in question was commercial in nature. This plea of the petitioners is also without force, as the complainant has stated that he had booked this property for earning his livelihood and for his personal use only. Even if the version of the petitioner in this regard is correct, they do not have any right to retain the money of the complainant without any assurance that the property shall be delivered by such and such date.
7. As per the orders passed by the District Forum and confirmed by
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the State Commission, the petitioners have only been asked to return the amount deposited by the complainant alongwith interest @ 9% p.a. An amount of Rs. 25,000/- as compensation for mental agony and Rs. 10,000/- towards litigation expenses have also been allowed to him. I do not find any irregularity, illegality or jurisdictional errors in the said order, which may merit interference at the revisional stage. Agreeing with the concurrent findings of the fora below, this revision petition is, therefore, ordered to be dismissed in limine. There shall be no order as to costs.