NCDRC Directs Builder To Refund Rs 68 Lakhs To Homebuyers For 2 Years Delay In Delivery Of Flat
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) invoked the principle of restitutio in integrum as it directed real estate major Super tech Limited to refund the entire amount to an aggrieved homebuyer along with 12 per cent interest.
A bench of President Justice R K Agrawal and Member M Shreesha directed Supertech Limited to refund Rs 68,03,954 to a Dwarka-based couple Ankur and Richa Saxena who had approached the forum ruing of almost two years in delivery of possession of apartment in the company's project in Gurgaon.
Saxenas had booked an apartment in 'Supertech Hues' in year 2013. Since there was change in the layout plan, the company asked them to execute another Buyer Developer Agreement on 06.06.2014. As per the terms of the Agreement, the possession of the Unit was to be delivered by October, 2017 i.e.within 42 months, which was extendable further for a grace period of 6 months due to unforeseen circumstances.
Despite receiving Rs.68.03,954, the project remained far from completion.
Saxenas asked for refund but in vain. This forced them to move the Consumer Commission where their counsel advocate Aditya Parolia sought full refund with 24 percent interest besides a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for mental agony, harassment and undue hardship.
Supertech, on the other hand, pleaded force majeure and submitted that the work on the project is not going on in full swing and the possession would be provided to all the allottees very soon.
After hearing both sides, the bench relied on Supreme Court's decision in Kolkata West International City Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Devasis Rudra and Pioneer Urban Land & Infrastructure Ltd. Vs. Govindan Raghavan to say, "the Complainants cannot be made to wait for an indefinite period and, therefore, they are entitled for refund of the amount deposited by them with interest. In our considered opinion, simple interest @ 12% p.a. on the amount of refund would meet the ends of justice".
"While arriving at this conclusion, we have also kept in mind the principles of restitutio in integrum, which provides for restoration of an affected party to the situation which would have prevailed had no wrong or injury been sustained," it said, directing that the Developer "shall refund the entire amount of ₹68,03,954/- collected from the Complainants, along with simple interest @ 12% p.a. from the date of respective payments till realization, within a period of six weeks from today".
Welcoming the order, Parolia said, "The Honble courts have now crystallised their view against the errant builders and have decided to apply the doctrine of restitutio in integrum. Such judgements of the courts create a deterrent on the builders and suggest that no wrong, if committed, will go unpunished. The strict approach principles adopted by the courts also builds the faith of a common person, who is aggrieved, in the judicial system of the country . This issue was decided by the Honble court in just 12 months from its institution, which should also be highly regarded".