Consumer Complaint Nos. 784 and 893 of 2016. Case: Surinder Singh Grewal and Ors Vs Puma Realtors Pvt. Ltd. and Ors.. Chhattisgarh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

Case Number:Consumer Complaint Nos. 784 and 893 of 2016
Party Name:Surinder Singh Grewal and Ors Vs Puma Realtors Pvt. Ltd. and Ors.
Counsel:For Appellant: Arun Kumar, Advocate and For Respondents: Ramnik Gupta, Advocate
Judges:Jasbir Singh, J. (President), Dev Raj and Padma Pandey, Members
Issue:Arbitration And Conciliation Act, 1996 - Section 8; Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) - Sections 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, ; Consumer Protection Act, 1986 - Sections 11, 14(1)(d), 17, 2 (1) (o), 2(1)(d), 2(1)(d)(ii), 2(1)(o), 3; Water (prevention And Control Of Pollution) Act, 1974 - Sections 25, 26
Judgement Date:April 17, 2017
Court:Chhattisgarh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
 
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Order:

Dev Raj, Member, (Chandigarh)

  1. The facts, in brief, are that the complainant applied for a residential plot in the project of Opposite Party No. 1, namely 'IREO Hamlet', total price whereof was Rs. 56,80,310/-. Initially, the complainant paid Rs. 6,50,000/- alongwith the application for booking of a plot, to the Opposite Parties. Vide provisional allotment letter, the complainant was allotted Plot No. IH-Plot-00-233 measuring 246.97 Sq. Yards in the said project in Sector 98, SAS Nagar, Mohali. Plot Buyer's Agreement was executed between the complainant and the Opposite Parties on 10.10.2011 at Chandigarh. Thereafter, the complainant made payment of following amounts/installments as per demand raised by the Opposite Parties:-

  2. As per clause 21.2 of the Agreement, the Opposite Parties were to carry out internal developments by laying roads, water lines, sewer lines and electrical lines etc. Further as per Clause 11.1, 11.2 and 11.3 of the Agreement, possession of allotted plot was to be handed over by the Opposite Parties within a period of 42 months from the date of execution of the Agreement.

  3. The complainant has stated that he visited the spot in the last week of April, 2015, after depositing the payment on 18.04.2015, and found that there was no development at the site i.e. roads, water lines, sewer lines, electrical lines etc. It was further stated that the complainant had already deposited a sum of Rs. 57,98,647.00 i.e. (Rs. 6,50,000.00 + Rs. 51,48,647.00) with the Opposite Parties till April 2015. It was further stated that still finding no development, the complainant requested the Opposite Parties to refund the amount alongwith up-to-date interest @18% p.a. It was further stated that instead of refunding the amount, the Opposite Parties very cleverly issued letter dated 12.05.2015 offering possession to the complainant which was a camouflage and just a paper possession, to usurp the hard earned money of the complainant. It was further stated that till 12.05.2015, the Opposite Parties have not obtained completion certificate from the competent authority. It was further stated that the Opposite Parties used the money for their own profit and have not developed the site as yet and the complainant is not satisfied from the project of the Opposite Parties as the money deposited by him has been blocked. It was further stated that GMADA vide letter dated 22.09.2016 sought explanation from the Opposite Parties that how they offered possession without obtaining the completion certificate. It was further stated that the complainant is no more interested to throw his hard earned money in the project of the Opposite Parties. It was further stated that the acts of the Opposite Parties amounted to deficiency, in rendering service and indulgence into unfair trade practice.

  4. Alleging deficiency, in rendering service, and indulgence into unfair trade practice, on the part of the Opposite Parties, the complainant filed the instant complaint under Section 17 of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 (in short 1986 Act) claiming refund of Rs. 57,98,647/- alongwith interest @18% p.a. from the respective dates of deposits, Rs. 5,00,000/- as compensation on account of mental torture and harassment and Rs. 1,00,000/- as cost of litigation.

  5. The Opposite Parties, in their joint written statement, took-up certain preliminary objections, to the effect, that the complaint was liable to be dismissed, due to existence of arbitration Clause No. 33 in the Plot Buyer's Agreement dated 10.10.2011; that the complainant did not book the plot for his personal use but for investment/commercial purpose as the complainant alongwith his wife Mrs. Baljit Kaur has also purchased the allotment rights of Plot No. 209 in the same project and further H. No. 3641, Sector 69, SAS Nagar, Mohali is also owned and possessed by complainant's wife Mrs. Baljit Kaur where the complainant is living with his family; that since the present complaint related to an agreement to sell/purchase of a plot i.e. an immovable property, therefore, the same is not covered under 1986 Act and further, since the complainant sought enforcement of the Agreement, only a Civil Court has the jurisdiction, and as such, consumer complaint was not maintainable; that this Commission has no territorial jurisdiction on account of existence of Clause 35 in the Agreement and that the relief claimed is beyond Section 14(1)(d) of the 1986 Act.

  6. On merits, it was denied that the total cost of the plot was Rs. 56,80,310/-, which in fact was only the basic sales price, whereas the total price agreed between the parties was Rs. 60,81,660.95. It was further stated that the amounts were paid by the allottee towards discharge of his contractual obligations of payment of consideration price of the plot in advance and were received by the Opposite Parties towards development, reimbursement of the cost of land, CLU charges and other charges. It was further stated that the complainant in utter disregard to the term and condition No. 19.1 of the Agreement, failed to adhere to the payment schedule and always defaulted in making timely payments. It was further stated that it was not agreed that possession was to be offered after expiry of 42 months from the date of Agreement. On the contrary, it was agreed vide Clause 19.1 of the Agreement that the complainant shall punctually pay the due installments in time and further, if the Opposite Parties failed to offer possession on expiry of grace period, the Opposite Parties shall be liable to pay compensation @Rs.50/- per sq. yard per month till actual date fixed for handing over of possession. It was further stated that the complainant never opted for termination of allotment before dispatch of notice of possession dated 12.05.2015. It was further stated that the possession was offered vide letter dated 12.05.2015, which was duly received by the complainant.

  7. It was further stated that development work commenced on site w.e.f 01.05.2013 and stood carried on continuously in a phased manner at a good pace till April, 2015 and resultantly, the Opposite Parties started process of handing over of the developed plots by way of issuing notices of possession to various allottees w.e.f. May 2015. It was denied that there was no development at the site in April 2015. It was further stated that even the report of Local Commissioner filed in complaint titled 'Abha Arora v. PUMA Realtors Pvt. Ltd. and another', bearing No. 170 of 2015, clearly unveils the false allegations made by the complainant.

  8. It was further stated that the Opposite parties are possessed of all the necessary approvals and permissions to sell, develop and offer possession of the plots to its allottees but not limited to the notification dated 14.08.2008 issued by Government of Punjab exempting the Opposite Parties from the provisions of the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995 (in short 'PAPRA 1995'). It was further stated that NOC for withdrawal of ground water was granted on 19.08.2011, environmental clearance was granted on 30.11.2012; NOC by Punjab Pollution Control Board was granted on 14.05.2013, which was then extended vide letters dated 09.12.2014 & 29.06.2015; NOC for various services subject to fulfilling number of conditions was given on 18.05.2015; NOC by PSPCL was granted on 08.07.2015; approval for commissioning of electrical installations was accorded on 07.08.2015; consent to operate was granted by Punjab Pollution Control Board on 05.01.2016 and Bank Guarantee to the tune of Rs. 3,24,10,301/- was submitted to PSPCL on 22.03.2016.

  9. It was further stated that since the Opposite Parties have been exempted from the provisions of PAPRA, as such, they were/are not under any obligation to obtain the completion certificate. It was denied that the Opposite Parties ever issued any letter to the allottee whereby they admitted that there were no basic amenities like internal roads and sewerage at the site. It was submitted that whatever amount has been paid by the complainant or by other allottees, the same have been spent on the development of the site in order to issue the valid and legal notices of possession of the developed plot to them. It was further stated that in terms of Clause 11.3 of the Agreement, since the complainant has never sought refund of the amount, therefore, the question of refund of the deposited amount does not arise as no refund was payable to him at any point of time. It was further stated that neither there was any deficiency, in rendering service, on the part of the Opposite Parties, nor they indulged into any unfair trade practice. The remaining averments, were denied, being wrong.

  10. The complainant, in support of his case, submitted his affidavit, by way of evidence, alongwith which, a number of documents were attached.

  11. The Opposite Parties, in support of their case, submitted the affidavit of Shri Rajneesh, their Authorised Representative, by way of evidence, alongwith which, a number of documents were attached.

  12. We have heard the Counsel for the parties, and have gone through the evidence, and record of the case, carefully.

  13. It is evident, on record, that Plot No. 233 in the residential project "IREO Hamlet" admeasuring 246.97 sq. yd., Sector 98, SAS Nagar, Mohali, was allotted to the complainant, basic sale price whereof was Rs. 56,80,310/- @Rs.23,000/- per sq. yard besides External Development Charges (EDC) @Rs.1,275.10 per sq. yard and IFMS charges @Rs.350/- per sq. yard. Admittedly, Plot Buyer's Agreement was executed between the complainant and the Opposite Parties on 10.10.2011 (Annexure C-1) at Chandigarh. The payment against the aforesaid plot was to be regulated as per payment plan, Annexure I (at Page 45 of the file). Against the total price of the plot including External Development Charges and IFMS Charges, the complainant made payment in the sum of Rs57,98,647/-. As admitted by the Opposite Parties...

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