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Navneet Sandhu Singh & Another v/s Unitech Reliable Projects Pvt. Ltd.


Company & Directors' Information:- UNITECH RELIABLE PROJECTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U31909DL1985PTC022286

Company & Directors' Information:- M P SINGH PROJECTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U70200DL2010PTC198045

Company & Directors' Information:- SINGH PROJECTS PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45201WB2003PTC096008

Company & Directors' Information:- RELIABLE INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U93000WB2011PTC169680

Company & Directors' Information:- THE RELIABLE CORPORATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Liquidation] CIN = U99999KA1949PTC000634

Company & Directors' Information:- NAVNEET (INDIA) PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U17219WB1976PTC030456

Company & Directors' Information:- RELIABLE CORPORATION LIMITED [Dissolved] CIN = U99999MH1946PTC005382

    Consumer Case No. 1445 of 2015

    Decided On, 16 September 2016

    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER

    For the Complainants: Dr. Harish Uppal, Tileshwar Prasad, Advocate. For the Opposite Party: Sachin Datta, Sr. Advocate, Sahil Sachdeva, Swati Sinha, Manisha Ambwani, Advocates.



Judgment Text

1. The complainants in these matters booked residential flats in a project namely ‘Unitech Verve’, which the opposite party was to develop in Greater Noida. The complainant In Consumer Complaint No. 479 of 2015, namely Alka Agrawal & Anr., made the booking on 07.11.2007 and executed a buyer’s agreement on 21.11.2007. The possession was to be delivered to her within thirty months from the date on which the buyer’s agreement was executed. She has paid a total sum of Rs.47,44,567/-.

CC/559/2015

The complainants Sandeep Verma & Anr. made the booking on 06.12.2006 and executed a buyer’s agreement on 14.03.2007. The possession was to be delivered to them within thirty six months from the date on which the buyer’s agreement was executed. They have paid a total sum of Rs.57,43,037/-. The aggregate of the principal amount paid by the complainants and compensation claimed by her by way of interest comes to more than Rs.1 crore.

CC/565/2015

The complainants Vanit Mehra & Anr. made the booking on 04.12.2006 and executed a buyer’s agreement on 15.03.2007. The possession was to be delivered to them within thirty six months from the date on which the buyer’s agreement was executed. They have paid a total sum of Rs.53,07,180/-. The aggregate of the principal amount paid by the complainants and compensation claimed by her by way of interest comes to more than Rs.1 crore.

CC/566/2015

The complainant Sidharth Singh, made the booking on 04.12.2006 and executed a buyer’s agreement on 17.03.2007. The possession was to be delivered to her within thirty six months from the date on which the buyer’s agreement was executed. He has paid a total sum of Rs.52,40,321/-. The aggregate of the principal amount paid by the complainant and compensation claimed by her by way of interest comes to more than Rs.1 crore.

CC/581/2015

The complainants Sanjiv Kapur & Anr., made the booking on 10.01.2007 and executed a buyer’s agreement on 17.02.2007. The possession was to be delivered to them within thirty six months from the date on which the buyer’s agreement was executed. They have paid a total sum of Rs.52,14,669/-. The aggregate of the principal amount paid by the complainants and compensation claimed by her by way of interest comes to more than Rs.1 crore.

CC/582/2015

The complainants Deepak Malik & Anr., made the booking on 07.01.2007 and executed a buyer’s agreement on 17.02.2007. The possession was to be delivered to them within thirty six months from the date on which the buyer’s agreement was executed. They have paid a total sum of Rs.52,14,669/-. The aggregate of the principal amount paid by the complainant and compensation claimed by her by way of interest comes to more than Rs.1 crore.

CC/650/2015

The complainant Anuj Singh, made the booking on 08.01.2007 and executed a buyer’s agreement on 22.02.2007. The possession was to be delivered to him within thirty six months from the date on which the buyer’s agreement was executed. He has paid a total sum of Rs.58,23,383/-. The aggregate of the principal amount paid by the complainant and compensation claimed by her by way of interest comes to more than Rs.1 crore.

CC/651/2015

The complainants Rashmi Ahooja & Anr., made the booking on 02.12.2006 and executed a buyer’s agreement on 08.01.2007. The possession was to be delivered to them within thirty six months from the date on which the buyer’s agreement was executed. They have paid a total sum of Rs.46,82,247/-. The aggregate of the principal amount paid by the complainants and compensation claimed by her by way of interest comes to more than Rs.1 crore.

CC/1445/2015

The complainants Navneet Sandhu Singh & Anr., made the booking on 23.12.2006 and executed a buyer’s agreement on 21.04.2007. The possession was to be delivered to them within thirty six months from the date on which the buyer’s agreement was executed. They have paid a total sum of Rs.61,17,489/-. The aggregate of the principal amount paid by the complainants and compensation claimed by her by way of interest comes to more than Rs.1 crore.

2. The opposite party having failed to deliver possession within the time stipulated in the buyers agreement, the complainants are before this Commission, seeking refund of the amount paid by them to the opposite party, along with compensation in the form of interest etc.

3. The complaints have been resisted by the opposite party on the same grounds, which were rejected by this Commission in Consumer Complaint No. 535 of 2015, Ravi Marwah & Mrs. Aarty Marwah Vs. Unitech Reliable Projects Pvt. Ltd. and Consumer Complaint No. 536 of 2015 Mr. Amit Bhatia & Mrs. Bhawna Bhatia Vs. Unitech Reliable Projects Pvt. Ltd., decided on 20.5.2016. One of the objects taken by the opposite party is that since the original cost of the flat was less than Rupees One crore in these complaints, the complaints ought to have been filed before the concerned State Commission.

4. The following was the view taken by this Commission in Ravi Marwah (supra) and Amit Bhatia (supra):

'4. The learned counsel for the complainants has drawn our attention of the decisions of this Commission in Dewan Ashwani & Ors. Vs. Unitech Reliable Projects Pvt. Ltd. Consumer Complaint No.282 of 2012, wherein in a complaint relating to the booking made by the complainants in this very project i.e. Unitech Verve in Sector Pi-II of Greater Noida, this Commission, after rejecting all the contentions advanced by the opposite party, directed the opposite party to refund the amount paid by the complainant, along with interest @ 18% per annum from the date of receipt of the amount till realization. The complainants therein were also paid Rs. 1,00,000/- as compensation for the harassment and mental agony suffered by them at the hands of the opposite party. Being aggrieved form the aforesaid order passed by this Commission, the opposite party approached the Hon’ble Supreme Court by way of an appeal. Vide order dated 09.10.2015, the Hon’ble Supreme Court, on the reference of the learned Senior counsel appearing for the opposite party granted them leave to withdraw the said appeal with liberty to approach this Commission with some kind of proposal in terms of Clause 4(e)'.

Since a decision rendered by a Coordinate Bench of this Commission, directing refund of the principal amount paid by the buyer, along with interest @ 18% per annum on that amount, has been accepted by the opposite party by withdrawing the appeal which it had preferred before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the complainants, on the principle of parity, are entitled to an identical relief. Therefore, we need not independently examine the ground taken by the opposite party for resisting these complaints.

5. In Consumer Complaint No. 709 of 2015, Ankur Goel Vs. Unitech Reliable Projects Pvt. Ltd. relating to this very project and decided on 27.7.2016, some additional contentions were advanced by the opposite party and were rejected by this Commission, taking the following view:

5. The learned counsel for the complainants also relies upon the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Sudha Jain Vs. Chief Manager & Anr. [(2007) 5 SCC 717]. In Sudha Jain (supra), the State Commission directed return of the complaint for being filed before the District Forum, on the ground that the claim made in the complaint was exaggerated. The order of the State Commission was confirmed by this Commission in the revision petition. Setting aside the order passed by this Commission, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held as under:-

'As the amount claimed was Rs.68,51,321, which was within the jurisdiction of the State Commission and beyond the jurisdiction of the District Consumer forum. The State Commission was not justified in a returning the complaint. Accordingly, the civil appeal is allowed, impugned orders are set aside and the complaint is restored to its original file. Now, the State Commission shall dispose of the complaint in accordance with law after giving opportunity of hearing to the parties.'

Reliance has also placed by the learned counsel for the complainants upon the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Charan Singh Vs. Healing Touch Hospital & Ors. [(2000) 7 SCC 668], where the Hon’ble Supreme Court interalia observed as under:-

'It must be remembered that National Consumer Forum has jurisdiction, without pecuniary limitations, to award proper compensation, even less than the one claimed in a given case, depending upon the established facts and circumstances of that particular case and the evidence led by the parties. The District Commission and the State Commission, on the other hand, have pecuniary jurisdictional limitations for granting compensation beyond their jurisdictional limits. Under Section 11(1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the District Forum has jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed does not exceed Rs.5 lakhs. Section 17(a) of the Act provides that State Commission shall have jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed exceeds Rs.5 lakhs, but does not exceed Rs.20 lakhs. In view of these jurisdictional limitations of the District Forum and the State Commission, these bodies would not be able to award compensation, even if satisfied in a given case that the complainant was entitled to more compensation than what he had claimed, beyond their pecuniary jurisdiction.'

6. The learned counsel for the OP on the other hand refers to Nandita Bose Vs. Ratanlal Nahata [Civil Appeal No.1544 of 1987] decided on 4.8.1987 where the Hon’ble Supreme Court interalia observed and held as under:-

'The principles which regulate the pecuniary jurisdiction of civil courts are well settled. Ordinarily, the valuation of a suit depends upon the reliefs claimed therein and the plaintiff's valuation in his plaint determines the Court in which it can be presented. It is also true that the plaintiff cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a court by either grossly over-valuing or grossly under-valuing a suit. The Court always has the jurisdiction to prevent the abuse of the process of law. Under rule 10 of Order 7 of the Code the plaint can be returned at any stage of the suit for presentation to the court in which the suit should have been instituted.'

However, in the present case, considering the provisions contained in section 21 of the Consumer Protection Act when read with in the light of the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Ghaziabad Development Authority (supra), it cannot be said that the claim for payment of more than Rs.1 crore is deliberately exaggerated or inflated in order to bring the matter for pecuniary jurisdiction of this Commission and, therefore, amounts to abuse of the process of law. Therefore, the aforesaid decision does not help the opposite party.

6. In Ankur Goel (supra), this Commission considering its earlier decisions rendered hereinabove involving allotment of flat in this very project held that on the principle of parity alone, the complainants were entitled to identical reliefs and it would be neither necessary nor appropriate to examine afresh the issues involved in the said complaints. It was also held that if the decisions of this Commission rendered in Ravi Marwah (supra) are set aside or modified by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, before the order being passed in that complaint was complied, the view taken by the Hon’ble Supreme Court would apply to the said complaint as well.

7. The learned senior counsel appearing for the opposite party seeks to make additional submissions which according to him were not urged in Dewan Ashwani & Ors. (supra), Ravi Marwah (supra) and Ankur Goel (supra). The learned counsel for the complainant however, opposes such a liberty submitting that the written version filed by the opposite parties in these complaints is identical to the written version filed by it in Ankur Goel and Ravi Marwah (supra). He further states that with a view to avoid further litigation and ensure a time bound payment to them, the complainants are even ready to accept the refund of the principal amount paid by them, along with compensation in the form of interest @ 10% per annum from the date of the payment till the date the said amount is refunded, provided that the opposite party undertakes to refund the entire amount, along with interest at the rate of 10% p.a. within 45 days from today. The learned counsel for the opposite party however, submits that if refund is given to the complainants, the entire project would collapse since no one would be willing to accept the possession of the flats, as the market price of the flats in the locality in which these flats are situated has depreciated substantially in the meanwhile. The learned senior counsel for the opposite party therefore, expresses his inability to offer refund even with interest @ 10% per annum.

8. The learned counsel for the complainant has pointed out that in these matters even today, the opposite party is not in a position to offer possession of the flats to the complainant though the booking was made by them about 9 - 1

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0 years ago and even the committed date for delivering possession of the flats expired more than six years ago. He further submits that in Dewan Ashwani & Ors. (supra) where the complainant even after the order of this Commission was maintained by the Hon’ble Supreme Court agreed to accept possession coupled with registration of the conveyance deed in their favour, the opposite party has not executed the conveyance deed despite repeated extension of time given by this Commission for this purpose. 9. For the reasons stated hereinabove, the complaints are disposed of with the following directions: (i) The opposite party shall refund the principal amount received from the complainants to them, along with compensation in the form of simple interest @ 18% per annum from the date of each payment till the date on which the principal amount, along with compensation in the form of interest is paid, in terms of this order; (ii) The opposite party shall also pay Rs.10,000/- each as the cost of litigation in all the complaints; (iii) The payment in terms of this order shall be made within three months from the date of this order. No other relief is pressed. (iv) If the order passed by this Commission in Ravi Marwah (supra), Amit Bhatia (supra) or Ankur Goel (supra) is set aside or modified by the Hon’ble Supreme Court before this order is complied, the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court will apply to these complaints as well.
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