Labourers work at a real estate construction site in Mumbai (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Consumer Redressal Body Asks Unitech To Refund Rs 40 Lakh To Delhi Homebuyer

One cannot expect a homebuyer to wait indefinitely for the possession of a property when the builder is not handing it over, the apex consumer commission has said, while asking real estate firm Unitech Ltd. to refund over Rs 49 lakh to a customer.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) asked Unitech to refund Rs 49,21,840, with 10 percent interest per annum to a Delhi resident Sanjeev Miglani, who had booked a flat with the firm’s project at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh.

The commission observed that the real estate firm has failed to deliver the possession of the apartment even nine years after the expiry of the stipulated date of delivery and also asked it to pay Rs 10,000 as cost of litigation, apart from refund.

The opposite party (firm) is not in a position to offer possession of the apartment. The company shall refund the amount with simple interest at 10 percent per annum without any further liability, NCRDC said.

“Thus, in our view, this is a case of the opposite party not being in a position to offer possession of the apartment as the allottee cannot be expected to wait for possession of the apartment for indefinite period,” the bench, headed by Presiding Member Ajit Bharihoke, said.

According to the complaint, Miglani had booked a flat in ‘Unitech Horizon’, at Greater Noida in 2006 with an assurance by the firm that possession would be given by November 2008.

The complainant claimed that an amount of Rs 49,21,840 was paid but the company failed to complete the construction and deliver possession of the apartment even after the expiry of stipulated date of delivery of possession.

The company, however, claimed that the construction had to be stopped due to an agitation by farmers seeking higher compensation as their lands were acquired by Noida Authority and allotted to Unitech for the project development.

The real estate major also contended that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had passed an interim order on January 11, 2013 restraining all the builders in Noida and Greater Noida from extracting any quantity of underground water for the purpose of construction.

The commission observed that reference to the NGT direction was only an excuse to justify the inordinate delay on the part of the firm and asked it to refund the amount.