Consumer Can't Be Made To Suffer For Delay In Issuance Of Occupancy Certificate : NCDRC Directs Supertech To Refund The Amount With 10% Interest
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) had held that a consumer cannot be made to suffer for any delay in the issuance of Occupancy Certificate to the builder due to some deviations or deficiencies in the project.
Justice VK Jain also reiterated that in case there was an order restraining the builder from extracting groundwater for construction purposes, it was for the builder to arrange water for construction purposes from alternative sources and the flat buyers cannot be made to suffer on account of such an order.
While saying so, the commission directed real estate developer Supertech Limited to refund the entire amount of over Rs 1 crore along with 10 percent interest to a couple who had booked a villa in one of its projects in Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Area (YEIDA) in the year 2015.
In the instant case, the complainants, both residents of Noida in Uttar Pradesh, had booked a residential flat with Supertech in its project named "Up Country" to be developed in a plot in YEIDA. The possession was to be delivered by March 2015.
When the couple sought refund and moved the forum through their advocate Aditya Parolia, the developer blamed the delay on landowners challenging the acquisition of the plot on which the project was to be developed. It also contended that the National Green Tribunal had prohibited the use of groundwater for construction purposes and the supply of raw material and labour was totally disrupted due to farmers' strikes/agitation thereby causing the delays.
To this, the NCDRC relied on its own decision dated April 16, 2019 in STUC Awasiya Grahak Kalyaan Association Vs. Supertech Ltd., which was related to the allotments made the same project.
The commission had in that case considered and rejected all these grounds pleaded by Supertech. It noted that the NGT's restriction was for construction projects in Noida and Greater Noida while the instant project was in YEIDA and said, "In case, there was an order restraining the Opposite Party (Supertech) from extracting ground water for construction purposes, it was for the opposite Party to arrange water for construction purposes from alternative sources and the flat buyers cannot be made to suffer on account of such an order, if any."
"In the present case, the allotment letter stipulating delivery of possession by March, 2015 was issued by the OP on 20.02.2015. The order by National Green Tribunal prohibiting use of ground water for construction purposes had been passed more than two years before the said letter was issued. In fact, the booking itself was made by the complainants on 12.09.2013, much after the said order had been passed by the National Green Tribunal. Even the order by Allahabad High Court on the Writ Petitions challenging the acquisition of land had been passed on 21.10.2011, about two years before the booking was made by the complainants. Therefore, the aforesaid orders being very much in the knowledge of the OP at the time the booking was expected as well as at the time the allotment letter was issued in February 2015, it cannot be said that the OP could not complete the construction on account of the aforesaid factors," said Justice Jain.
Supertech's counsel then informed the commission that the completion drawings for the project had been submitted on 15.02.2015.
Justice Jain then said, "If this is so, that would mean that the construction had been completed by them by that date but the requisite Completion Certificate/Occupancy Certificate has not been issued, as far as the allotted villa is concerned. Therefore, the grounds given for the delay in construction become irrelevant in this case. The learned counsel for the OP states that a part Occupancy Certificate was issued to the OP but the said part Occupancy Certificate does not cover the villa allotted to the complainant. If the Occupancy Certificate has not been granted to the OP in respect of the villa allotted to the complainant despite the completion drawings having been submitted way back on 15.02.2015 as is stated by its counsel, the inevitable inference is that there are some deviations/deficiencies in the project on account of which the requisite Occupancy Certificate in respect of the allotted villa has not been issued.
"The complainants cannot be made to suffer for such an act of the OP and cannot be made to wait indefinitely for the allotted villa. This is more so considering that more than 31⁄2 years have already passed from the date by which the possession was to be delivered to the complainants even after giving the benefit of the grace period to the OP".
Read the Order Here