CHB fails to meet refund deadline, consumer redressal forum directs it to pay interest to Mohali woman

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SummaryThe UT Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission on Wednesday directed the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) to pay interest at the savings bank rate on the amount of Rs 70,000 to the complainant,

The UT Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission on Wednesday directed the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) to pay interest at the savings bank rate on the amount of Rs 70,000 to the complainant, who had applied for a one-bed room flat under the ‘Self Financing Housing Scheme-2008’ for the employees of the Chandigarh Administration launched by the CHB.

The board shall also a pay compensation to the tune of Rs 20,000 for mental agony and physical harassment caused to Mohali resident Abha Dobriyal, a teacher at Government Middle School, Kishangarh.

Commission issued these directions while accepting the complaint of Dobriyal, who has been seeking a refund of her money since 2010. She claimed to have deposited Rs 70,000 against the scheme on November 4, 2010, wherein the complainant remained unsuccessful. Thereafter, she waited for the refund, as promised by the CHB, but to no avail.

The complainant wrote to the CHB seeking refund of the deposited amount, along with interest at 12 per cent per annum from the date of draw of lots till date of realisation. Refund was eventually received by the complainant, but when the interest on the amount was not paid by the opposite party, Dobriyal filed a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act, directing the board to pay interest on Rs 70,000 and a compensation of Rs 50,000 for mental agony and physical harassment, and cost of litigation of Rs 25,000.

In its reply, CHB stated that the complaint was not maintainable, as the complainant, at the time of submission of application for the allotment of the flat, gave an undertaking that she shall not claim interest on the amount deposited by her. It was stated that the scheme remained under litigation in the high court, following which the payment could not be made in time. After the final decision on January 25, 2012, unsuccessful applicants were refunded, but the name of the complainant was on the waiting list. Refund was made to her after the court orders, but she was not entitled to the interest.

According to the counsel of the complainant, the board was liable to refund the amount, within 30 days of the draw of lots, to the unsuccessful applicants without any interest.

However, if the refund of amount was not made within the stipulated period, then savings bank rate of interest beyond the period of 30 days was required to be granted to the

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