NCDRC asks Unitech to pay up for delay in handing over flat possession
Jagdish Chandar Singal, a resident of Panchkula, booked a flat in the Uniworld City project. It was to be developed in Greater Noida. A flat in the said project was allotted to them.
However, Unitech failed to deliver possession of the flats. More than 50 complainants applied for a refund of the money they paid and were persuaded to switch to another project, Alder Grove Nirvana Country II which Unitech was to develop in Sector 71 and 72 of Gurgaon.
Possession of the villas in the said project was to be delivered in two years from the date of the buyers agreement. Sale consideration for the villas was more than Rs 1 crore. Complainants in other cases either directly booked a villa with Unitech or purchased them from the original allottee within a few months of execution of the buyers agreement. But Unitech failed to deliver possession of the villas to complainants within the agreed time-frame.
Unitech opposed all complaints on grounds the National commission has repeatedly rejected in a number of consumer complaints. These include delay on the part of authorities in according approvals, shortage of labour due to Commonwealth Games and implementation of schemes such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Jawahar Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.
Unitech alleged that the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in an order dated July 16, 2012, stopped the use of ground water for construction purposes and permitted use of only treated water from the available sewerage treatment plant. But sufficient water from the plant was not available. The firm also gave a number of other reasons.
The court found that, in the buyer’s agreement, the firm did not inform complainants either that they are yet to apply for obtaining the requisite environmental clearance or that though they had applied for the said clearance, it had not been granted.
Had Unitech disclosed the said information to flat buyers, only then could it have justified the delay, to the extent it was attributable only to the alleged delay in obtaining environmental clearance. In the absence of such a disclosure, buyers could not have suspected that delivery of the possession could be delayed on account of delay on the part of the concerned authority in granting requisite environmental clearance for the project.
Unitech told court that after completing construction in all respects and obtaining requisite completion certificate, possession would be offered to complainants within 21 months. The court said Unitech shall resume construction of the villas sold to complainants on or before August 3, 2016. Construction shall be completed in all respects on or before November 3, 2017.
Unitech was directed to pay compensation in the form of simple interest at 12% from the expected date of possession till the date on which possession is actually offered to complainants after completing construction in all respects and obtaining the requisite completion certificate. Unitech will also pay Rs 10,000 to complainants as cost of litigation.