National Consumer Commission observed that for delay in construction, a builder cannot claim that time was taken to procure requisite permission from the authorities.
“The Supreme Court has held that time taken in obtaining approval from the competent authorities is always expected. The builder cannot take this defence for delaying construction. Therefore, we do not find any force in this plea and the same is rejected,” the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission said.
It also said a flat purchaser is entitled to a refund with 9% interest and compensation for delay in construction. It ordered Kapstone Constructions Pvt Ltd to pay around Rs 63 lakh in interest and refund Rs 1.17 crore to flat buyers Anuj and Somara Biswas. The couple had sought a refund with interest after possession of the Thane flat was delayed for over a year. They refused to take delayed possession and instead sought a refund.
The commission cited an earlier judgement which held that after the promised date of delivery, it is the discretion of the complainant whether he wants to accept the offer of possession, if any, or seek refund of the amounts paid with reasonable interest. “It is held that it is well within the complainants’ right to seek for refund of the principal amount with interest and compensation,” the commission said.
It noted that the only defence taken for the delay by the developer was that the municipal corporation belated issuance of the occupation certificate.
The commission also directed the developer to pay an additional Rs 50,000 as costs.
The couple, which moved the commission in 2018, said they had purchased the 12th floor 750 square feet flat for Rs 1.32 lakh at Rustomjee Urbania Azziano. They said that in 2013 through a bank loan and other sources they made 90% payment. The couple said that they did not know that the entire loan amount of around Rs 99 lakh would be released to the developer in one installment at the very initial stage of project. As a result of this, they were burdened with huge interest amount and suffered financial losses.
The couple said that while they were informed that they would get possession by December 31, 2015, and maximum grace period would be of six months, in the actual registration document, the date of handing over the possession was indicated December 2016. They alleged that after repeatedly attempts to get in touch with the developers, in an August 2018 meeting they were requested to take possession of the purchased apartment subject to payment of possession charges. But the couple refused.