The Supreme Court on Wednesday accepted an undertaking given by real estate firm DLF to pay the remainder of the R630 crore penalty in instalments. The penalty was imposed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for resorting to unfair business practices with regard to a residential society in Gurgaon.
A bench headed by Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya accepted DLF’s undertaking to pay the penalty in a staggered manner through instalments of R75 crore each month. Earlier, the court had allowed the real estate firm to commence the payment in instalments of R75 crore from January 15 this year.
While posting the matter for further hearing on February 7, the apex court said that it will look into the issue raised by DLF whether the CCI or the consumer forum had the jurisdiction to hear the case.
DLF through its senior counsel Ramji Srinivasan informed the bench that the firm had already deposited R150 crore with the court’s registry.
DLF had expressed difficulty in meeting the November 26 deadline to deposit the entire R630 crore as a pre-condition to entertain its appeal.
It had sought six months’ time to comply with the SC’s August direction that asked it to deposit R50 crore within three weeks and the rest R580 crore in the next three months, that is before November 27.
The real estate company had sought more time for depositing rest of the amount claiming that it was in serious financial difficulty, which was aggravated by Sebi’s decision to ban the company and six of its senior officials from accessing the capital markets for three years for an alleged non-disclosure in the 2007 IPO filing. DLF has offered to pledge land in lieu of the outstanding amount and said its land would remain pledged till it deposited the money in the apex court’s registry.
The CCI had levied the penalty on DLF on August 12, 2011 for abuse of its dominant position, which involved selling of flats. Even the Compat had upheld the CCI’s order.
The stringent orders came on complaints filed by the flat buyer associations of two DLF projects in Gurgaon — DLF Park Palace and The Belaire. These buyer’s associations had lodged complaints with the CCI alleging delays and increase in the number of floors from what was initially planned, among other things. They also complained that DLF imposed highly arbitrary, unfair and unreasonable conditions on the apartment allottee of the housing complex. The Belaire.
According to the DLF advertisement, Belaire was to consist of five multi-storeyed residential buildings, each to have 19 floors. The total number of apartments to be built was 368 and the construction was to be completed within 36 months. However, in place of 19 floors with 368 apartments, 29 floors were constructed, CCI had said.