Status as on- 21/11/2019
The apex court on 30th July 2019, in the matter of Marvel Omega Builders Pvt Ltd Vs. Srihari Gokhale upheld the order given by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). NCDRC ordered a Pune based builder – Marvel Omega to refund Rs 8.14 crores along with 10% annual interest to the buyer.
Srihari Gokhale booked a villa in a project by the developer in 2012, whose possession was promised to be provided by December 2014. Thereafter, owing to delay a complaint was filed before NCDRC seeking a refund of Rs 13.24 crores from the builder. After the order by NCDRC, the builder moved to the supreme court, saying that they are ready to provide the possession to the buyer. The apex court after hearing the arguments held that – the builder cannot force the buyer to take possession and buyer is justified to take refund after such extraordinary delay.
SC quoted as follows:
“Even assuming that the villa is now ready for occupation (as asserted by the Appellants), the delay of almost five years is a crucial factor and the bargain cannot now be imposed upon the Respondents. The Respondents were, therefore, justified in seeking a refund of the amounts that they had deposited with reasonable interest on said the deposited amount. The findings rendered by the Commission cannot, therefore, be said to be incorrect or unreasonable on any count.’’
A very similar matter against Pioneer Urban Land & Infrastructure was before NCDRC recently, where the commission said that a homebuyer had full freedom on whether to take possession of his/her flat in a delayed housing project or seek refund and a builder could not refuse to return the amount on the ground that the flat was ready. The case was regarding a property located in Gurugram. NCDRC ordered the developer to refund the entire paid amount with compensation for the delay to the buyer.
This Judgment by the apex court comes as a landmark in real estate matters, since now the buyer has a say in whether he wants the possession or the refund once the delay has been done by the builder. The builders are responsible for the completion of the project and provide timely possession to the buyer as a repeated extension in possession date leads to extraordinary delays which in turn harms the buyer monetarily and also mentally.
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