Most of the Non-Resident Indians have to return to their native land and can purchase any house in India, the apex consumer commission has said while asking Supertech Ltd to pay around Rs 64 lakh to an NRI for denying possession of a flat in Greater Noida.
National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), presided by Justice J M Malik, directed the firm to pay Rs 63,99,727 to south Delhi resident Reshma Bhagat and her son, Tarun Bhagat, who had booked a flat in the builder’s project in 2008.
The firm was scheduled to hand over the possession of the flat to the complainant in 2009 and when it did not construct the house, the Bhagats approached the consumer commission for refund and damages, the complaint said.
The firm had opposed the complaint before the NCDRC for refund and other damages by claiming that the flat was booked in the name of Tarun, an NRI, and it was not for residing purpose but solely for earning profit and he could not claim himself to be a ‘consumer’.
However, the commission rejected the firm’s contention saying, “It cannot be made a ‘rule of thumb’ that every NRI cannot own a property in India. NRIs do come to India, every now and then. Most of the NRIs have to return to their native land. Each NRI wants a house in India. He (Tarun) is an independent person and can purchase any house in India, in his own name.”
The NCDRC also rejected the firm’s claim that the complainants were offered an alternative flat but they rejected it and hence the complaint should be dismissed.
“It is well settled that nobody can force anybody to accept the flat of the choice of the Opposite Party (firm). Any other flat cannot be imposed upon the consumers. They have got their free will to accept or reject the other flats offered to the complainants.
It is difficult to fathom why, the flat which was promised to be given to complainants, originally, was not given,” it said.
According to the complaint, the complainants had made payment of Rs 63,99,727 to Supertech Ltd in 2008 for a luxurious flat which was to be built in Greater Noida and the flat’s possession was to be given by December, 2009.
The firm, however, did not construct the flat and the complainants approached the commission seeking Rs 1.40 crore from the firm, including interest and other damages.
The firm denied the allegations made by the complainants and claimed that Bhagats had booked the flat to invest their money to gain profit and, therefore, they were not consumers.
The commission said, “They (firm) have been utilising the money received from the complainants and had no hesitation to feather its own nest, i.e., to make profits to oneself, often at the expense of others. This is how the builders like to adopt a Fabian policy”.
It added that “Instead of working against the clock, they harass the consumers to the greatest extent. That is why the consumers are exasperated by senseless delay.”
Regarding the delay, the commission said that “the firm arbitrarily abandoned the premises after giving the promise to the allottees and went on to construct another Tower of their own choice. This is an indisputable fact that Napolean-I, as promised, was never constructed. The firm is long in promises but short in performances.”