Mumbai: About 27 years after they booked flats in a residential project at Kopar Khairane in Navi Mumbai, two residents of Lokhandwala will receive amounts equal to seven times the price of the flats as the builder failed to complete the project and handover over ready flats.
During the pendency of a proceeding before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), builder Jaswant Kumar Bhatia, the proprietor of City Builders, on May 11 agreed to pay compensation of ₹91 lakh and ₹88 lakh to Gul Achra and Kanta Achra, respectively.
Gul had booked a flat admeasuring 1,570 square feet in the City Embassy project of City Builders for total consideration of ₹12.56 lakh in November 1995 and paid the sum of ₹7.70 lakh in parts, while Kanta had also booked a flat in the same project, admeasuring 1,645 square feet of built-up area for total consideration of ₹13.16 lakh and paid amount of ₹10 lakh to the builder.
In April 1996, the Debt Recovery Tribunal at Mumbai had attached the under-construction building, which was also attached by the Income Tax department in January 2003. Consequently, the builder could not complete the project and hand over ready flats to the complainants.
Eventually, in 2012, the flat buyers moved the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and acting on their complaints in October 2016, the State Commission directed the builder to complete the flats in all senses in four months and handover them over to the complainants, who in turn were ordered to pay the balance consideration to the builder in two months.
The builder, however, refused to accept their payment and carried the matter in appeal before NCDRC. The National Commission decided on the builder’s appeals on March 8, 2019, and directed him to refund the amount equivalent to the current ready reckoner value of the flat after noticing that it was not possible for the builder to complete the construction as he had given the project to a third party.
The parties were directed to appear before the state commission for determination of the ready reckoner value of the flats. Accordingly, on April 24, 2019, the state commission determined the ready reckoner value of the flats, but as the builder failed to pay the balance amounts, the complainants filed recovery certificates for the realisation of the balance amount and the state commission on December 31, 2021, issued recovery certificates to the Collector, Thane district for recovery of the balance amounts.
Instead of paying the amounts even at this stage, the builder again filed an appeal before the NCDRC, but eventually agreed to pay the balance amounts – ₹91.59 lakh to Gul and ₹88.03 lakh to Kanta. The amount, however, will be paid to them in five, two monthly instalments, respectively.