Holding that real estate companies must fulfil their obligation to hand over flats to buyers on time, the Supreme Court has directed Supertech Limited to refund around Rs One crore to a buyer for delay in giving possession of a flat in its Noida project.
A bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit turned down the plea of the company that it could not complete the project on time as construction was stayed because of order from National Green Tribunal (NGT) and held that the buyer should not suffer because of delay in project.
In this case the buyer, Ankur Goswami, had booked a flat worth of Rs 1.1 crore in Supertech’s Capetown project in Sector 74 in Noida in October 2012 and he was assured by the company to hand over the flat within a year by October 2013. As the company failed to complete the construction even three years after the deadline, Goswami initiated legal proceedings against the company in 2016 and filed a complaint before National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission through his advocate Dushyant Singh.
The Commission in July directed the company to refund the entire amount of Rs 96 lakh deposited by him with 10% interest. It rejected the contention of the company which had taken the defence that the flat buyer had not deposited the amount on time and allowed his plea. “Having not cancelled the allotment on account of the delay in making payment, the company now cannot deny refund of the amount paid to it by the complainant on account of the aforesaid alleged delay,” the commission had said.
The Company thereafter approached the Supreme Court challenging NCDRC’s verdict. Advocate Preetika Dwivedi, appearing for Supertech told the bench that delay in the project was because of unforeseen reasons and the company was committed to complete the project as soon as possible and pleaded the court to set aside the order.
The bench, however, was not satisfied with her arguments and said that there was a violation of contract as the company had promised to hand over the flat in 2013 itself and there was inordinate delay of almost four years. “As a builder you must fulfil your promise to hand over the possession on time and you must also be ready for all eventualities,” the bench said.
The bench also rejected her plea to waive off interest on the amount deposited by Goswami. It said that 10% was very less in comparison to 24% interest which real estate companies charged from flat buyers for default in payment.
“We do not find any ground to interfere with the impugned order. The appeal is, accordingly, dismissed. The statutory deposit of Rs. 50,000 in this Court may be withdrawn by the respondents,” the bench said.
As carried in TOI