Settling the claims of 39 homebuyers of Unitech’s Vistas project in Gurugram, the Supreme Court has asked real estate developer to pay within eight weeks an additional Rs 80,000 to each buyer for mental agony and towards litigation costs. The company had deposited a total Rs 32.6 crore with the SC registry. The sum has been disbursed among homebuyers. A bench of chief justice Dipak Misra finally disposed of the matter after home buyers informed it that they have received the principal amount paid to the developer along with interest at the rate of 14% per annum effective January 1, 2010, as ordered by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. “The amount of interest will be treated as compensatory amount for delay in delivery of the flats on the part of the builder,” it said. The apex court also asked advocate Pawanshree Agarwal, who appeared for some of the home buyers, to return the original documents along with ‘no objection certificates’ from banks or financial institutions to the developer.
The SC did not entertain impleadment applications of other buyers of the Unitech’s Vistas project in the present batch, but allowed them to join the litigation in another batch which is coming up for hearing on Thursday. The apex court had on February 20 slapped a penalty on Unitech Resorts for delaying handing over of flats and had directed it to deposit 14% interest on Rs 16.55 crore invested by 39 home buyers with it. The 39 home buyers, who have moved the court, had booked flats in Unitech’s Vista housing project in Sector 70, Gurugram. They had sought refund of their principal amount, totalling Rs 16.55 crore with interest after the developer, which had promised to give the possession by 2012, delayed it. More than two dozen home buyers of Unitech’s housing projects in Noida and Gurugram had approached the NCDRC after the firm had failed to give them possession of flats as per schedule. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission had imposed a 12% penalty on Unitech in June 2015 for delaying delivery of flats in Vistas project. The builder moved the Supreme Court against the commission’s order in August 2015. Launched in mid-2009, the Vistas project was to be delivered in December 2012.