Home buyers are going through hard times, especially in Delhi/NCR where almost every other housing project is facing delays. Having invested their life’s savings into the project – buyers are frantic to either get their homes delivered or get their money back. However, developers have so far been unwilling or unable to do anything about the situation. But now there is hope in the form of the National Consumer Disputes and Redressal Commission (NCDRC), which has increasingly been giving rulings favouring home buyers.
NCDRC Cracks The Whip
The NCDRC’s role came into sharp focus recently when the apex consumer court cracked the whip on The Jaypee Group. Home buyers in Jaypee’s Kalypso Court project in sector 128, Noida were unhappy about delays in delivery and arbitrary increases in super-built up area of the project and filed a case in the NCDRC in December of 2015. The commission responded with its ruling this month, ordering Jaypee Group to:
· Pay a penalty of 12% per annum for the period of delay of the project.
· Pay a penalty of Rs 5,000 per day if the developer fails to offer possession by the 21st of July.
· Not charge for any increase in super built-up area without the customer’s consent.
The NCDRC’s ruling came just 5 months after the case was filed, shattering the myth that legal cases can last decades. “This judgement cannot solve the delay issue and the time lost. But this is definitely a big relief for the agony we are going through for the last 5 plus years” says Rupinder Sawhney, a complainant and a buyer of Jaypee Kalypso Court project
NCDRC Sets A Precedent For RERA
Over the past two years, NCDRC has given a number of important judgements in favour of home buyers. In 2015, the commission ordered the Unitech Group to shell out 12% per annum as penalty for delays to the buyers of the company’s Vistas project in Gurgaon. Buyers in Parsvnath’s Exotica project heaved a sigh of relief when the commission gave a judgement asking the company to refund the entire amount paid by around 70 buyers with 12% interest. In a more recent order, the court asked the Lodha Group to refund Rs 1.02 crore to a buyer with 18% interest.
Legal experts believe the NCDRC’s rulings will set the stage for disputes to be resolved all the more quickly once a regulator comes into place. “I see this as a positive outcome in the line of judgements that the NCDRC nowadays is giving in favor of buyers. I am glad that this judgement goes a step further in protecting the rights of the buyers.” says Sahil Sethi, Senior Associate at Saikrishna & Associates, who won the NCDRC case for Jaypee’s Kalypso buyers. “Once the tribunal is in place, it will do the same job as NCDRC is doing at the moment. Such judgements are setting the right tone and buyers can hope for verdicts in their favour.” claims Vaibhav Gaggar of Gaggar & Associates.
The NCDRC has opened the floodgates, with at least 100 such cases pending before the commission. Lawyers say there has been an increase in the number of enquiries from home buyers looking at filing cases either individually or as a group. All in all, this is definitely a welcome development for thousands of home buyers across the country.
Reporter: Chankya Bhatia, NDTV
Web Editor: Nikhil Narayan Sivadas, NDTV