A consumer forum here has asked a real-estate firm to pay Rs 5.8 lakh to a woman whose allotment of shop was cancelled and over Rs 6.5 lakh forfeited due to non-availability of bank loan, terming the builder's actions as "not justified" and "unconscionable".
New Delhi Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, presided by C K Chaturvedi, asked Ansal Properties and Infrastructures Ltd to pay Delhi resident Bindu Verma Rs 5,82,224, which included 80 per cent of the money deposited by her and Rs 50,000 compensation.
Verma had booked a shop with the builder in its proposed project but the allotment was cancelled as no bank was ready to give loan.
The builder forfeited the woman's deposit of Rs 6,65,280, after cancelling the allotment, the forum noted.
"...We hold that Opposite Party (builder) should have returned the deposit by deducting usual 20 per cent from the deposited Rs 6,65,280. We hold Opposite Party deficient and direct it to pay 80 per cent of deposit made by complainant... We award lump sum compensation of Rs 50,000 for deficiency inclusive of litigation expenses," the forum, also comprising its member S R Chaudhary and Ritu Garodia, said.
The forum said that forfeiture of entire deposit was not justified and was unconscionable too.
It noted that the forfeiture clause in the agreement permitting 20 per cent of total cost could apply to a plan where full down payment was made but not to a plan where the payment had to come slowly, adding that no one can be compelled to pay, even if one cannot afford for any reason and seeks exit for various reasons.
"The forfeiture of 20 per cent of total cost will always be more than deposit, and in that event question arises will Opposite Party (builder) file a recovery suit for the balance, to complete 20 per cent of basic sale price. This will be unfair and absurd. It is unfair trade practice to forfeit the entire deposit," the forum said.
Verma had told the forum that she had booked a commercial space by paying Rs 6,65,280, out of total cost of Rs 33,26,400 in the proposed shopping mall in Greater Noida which was to be constructed by the builder firm.
The rest of the instalments were to be paid by arranging a loan, but it could not be made available since the builder's site plan was not sanctioned by that time, and