The apex consumer commission has dismissed an appeal filed by a real estate developer against a direction to pay nearly Rs 65 lakh to two persons who had jointly booked a plot in its project, saying "unscrupulous" builders who take to litigation "to cover up their faults" should not be spared.
A bench of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NDCRC), also imposed punitive damages of Rs five lakh on the builder Emaar MGF Land Ltd, out of which Rs 2.5 lakh would be given to the buyer as compensation and Rs 2.5 lakh to be deposited in Consumer Legal Aid Account of the commission.
The bench pulled up the builder for filing an appeal against Chandigarh State Consumer Commission order and said it was well settled that no leniency should be shown to such type of litigants who in order to cover up their own fault and negligence, go on filing meritless appeal in different foras.
"Unscrupulous builders like appellants who after taking almost the entire cost of the plot, do not perform their part of obligation, should not be spared. A strong message is required to be sent to such type of builders that this Commission is not helpless in such type of matters," a bench presided by Justice V B Gupta said.
The bench passed the order on the appeal of the builder challenging the state commission's decision of directing it to refund Rs 62,60,750 to the complainants along with interest, to pay Rs two lakh compensation for causing mental agony and physical harassment to them and a cost of Rs 20,000 to them.
A complaint was filed by Chandigarh residents Karnail Singh and his son Harmeek Singh, submitting that they had booked a plot in the builder's 'Mohali Plots at Mohali Hills' project in Sector 104, Mohali by paying a booking amount of Rs five lakh on February 12, 2011.
The builder had assured them that development activity at the site was in full swing and if they booked the plot, the possession would be given to them within 18 months from the date of execution of the Plot Buyer's Agreement, it said.
It said the basic price of the plot was Rs 55 lakh and apart from this, the buyer had to pay Rs 6,87,500 towards Preferential Location Charges (PLC) plus additional charges.
After some discount, Singhs had to pay Rs 65,30,250 towards the plot.