The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has imposed a penalty of 12% per annum on Jaypee Associate Limited for delaying the possession of homes to buyers in Kalypso Court project on the Noida Greater Noida expressway.

The Home buyers welcome this judgment dated 02.05.2016 passed by the Hon’ble NCDRC. Against all odds, the NCDRC delivered the judgment within five months from the date of filing. It would be interesting to know if the Supreme Court also upheld the same. One thing is for sure, this would give jitters to thug builders.

Brief facts:

In this case, the buyers of “Kalypso Court” apartments were promised delivery of homes in lessthan four years but only the structure was completed after eight years.

(a). Buyers Grievances:

1. Home buyers alleged that their homes were to be delivered within 39 months of booking. The grievance of the buyers is that their case has further delayed by four years and the Opposite Party has violated to make any headway towards their houses. Only structure has been raised within the span of eight years. The buyers have paid the amounts to the extent of nearly 90%.

2. The increase in super area was made without the consent and knowledge of members of complainant society.

3. The further grouse of the buyers is that there has been the unlawful sale of stilt/open parking slots.

(b). Builder’s defense:

1. Delay has been beyond the control of the Company: (a) There was shortage of labor, scarcity of water, restrictions in excavations etc., (b) In view of the environment order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the relevant authorities have been restrained granting Completion Certificates.

2. On super area, the members of the complainant society understood that the plan was only tentative and subject to change, if necessary.

3. They also mentioned that the buyers defaulted in making the timely payments to him.

(c). Court’s Observations:

1. On super area: Although, the internal area has not been changed, even by an inch, yet, the builder is claiming that the super area of the apartments has increased on account of increase in common areas, a consequence of which, would be a financial burden on Home Buyers. The alleged increase in super area was done without the consent of the allottees or even in the knowledge of the members of the complainant Society. The commission referred to the U.P Apartment Act 2010 which doesn’t allow the change in layout plans without the prior consent of flat buyers.

2. On Stilt/Open Parking: Builder has no right to sell the stilt parking spaces and decide this point in favour of the complainant Society.

3. On delay: This is an indisputable fact that no stay was granted by the National Green Tribunal at any time. The defense taken by the developer does not just stack up.
The developer does not have a bone to pluck with the complainants. He has raised copious objections, merely for the sake of cavil. He has made a vain attempt to tilt at windmills (to contend against imaginary opponents).

(d). NCDRC Order:

The Hon’ble judge quoted the famous lines to begin with his order:
“Home is a name, a word, it is strong one, stronger than magician, ever spoke or spirit, ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration (The act of calling or invoking a sacred name or Emanating from God)”.

“Charles Dickens”.

NCDRC passed the order as following:

1. Handover the flats within three months, otherwise, it will pay penalty in the sum of Rs.5,000/ per flat / per allottee/allottees, per day, till the needful is done;

2. For the delayed period, the developer is directed to pay interest @ 12% p.a., on the amount(s) deposited by the respective buyers w.e.f. 39 months’ from the date of respective provisional allotment letters, till the actual physical possession.

3. The developer is further directed to provide adequate car parking spaces in the project for the complainants therein and refund the excess amount, if any, collected from the members of the Complainant Society towards car parking slots, with interest @ 12% p.a., from the date(s) of charging, till its realization.

4. We further impose costs in the sum of Rs.50,000/ payable to each of the flat allottee/allottees, total being Rs.5,00,000/ , for all the flat owners.

This has come as a relief for many flat owners and could be the beginning where the law is coming down heavily on the builder community. There are thousands of buyers who are stuck with Jaypee Group for 5‐10 years. Many other face similar predicament with their builders. Only 10 buyers came together to file the above case. It is high time more buyers rolled up their sleeves and took the first real step to a fair deal. Lack of regulatory oversight and enforcement has resulted in this situation. Builders are betting that they can get away with huge delays and non‐delivery of homes after taking bulk of the money from buyers.

Dinesh Kumar Chaurasia