The Supreme Court has said that in the event that the apartment is not delivered within the stipulated time, the buyers can approach the consumer court under the Consumer Protection Act for refunds and damages. The court said that even after the RERA Act, the consumer is not barred from going to the consumer court, he can resort to that legal remedy.
The builder argued that in this case, the claims made by the Buyers for refunds were made in the Consumer Court whereas jurisdiction of the Consumer Court is not made but the buyers should complain under RERA. The Supreme Court then dismissed the builder’s company argument and said that the RERA Act provides that if there is any legal remedy available then it will not be affected. The Supreme Court has given this important decision in the case of consumers upset due to the incomplete project of the builder and the delivery of the flat on time.
A bench headed by Supreme Court Justice UU Lalit dismissed the builder’s company argument in the case. The question before the Supreme Court was whether the RERA Act prevents the proceedings under the Consumer Protection Act? The Supreme Court said that after coming to RERA, there is no restriction on filing a case under the Consumer Protection Act.
What was the current case?
Buyers had booked the apartment in a project in Gurgaon. The 1650 sq ft apartment was booked by the complainant Byers. It was priced at 3395 per sq ft. In this way, the basic price was fixed around 56 lakhs. The total cost of the apartment was fixed at 76 lakh 43 thousand by adding the price of View plc, parking and club etc.
For this it was decided that the builder would give this apartment in three and a half years. If the apartment is not delivered within the stipulated time, then the builder will pay 9% interest along with the refund. For this, the agreement was signed on 30 November 2013 in the builder and the buyers. The flat was booked earlier. Later RERA law came.
During this period, during four years, the buyers made 63 lock 53 thousand payments but the project did not show signs of completion when they complained to the Consumer Forum and claimed for refund. The developers / builders there claimed that the juridication of the Consumer Forum does not take place as the project is registered under RERA and in the definition of consumer, the buyers are not covered under the Act but the project is registered in RERA.
In this case, apart from the aforementioned buyers, other buyers had also filed an application seeking refund. Buyers had demanded 9% interest and 50-50 thousand rupees compensation along with refund.
National Consumer Court’s decision and then appeal
The National Consumer Forum said in the judgment in this case that the construction has not been completed within the stipulated time and the complainant has taken a bank loan whose EMI is going. In this case, the developers should refund the money with 9 percent interest. This decision was given on 12 September 2018, after which the case reached the Supreme Court. The developers approached the Supreme Court.
In the Supreme Court, the developers argued that if the buyers (allottee) were allowed to initiate parallel proceedings under the Consumer Protection Act, it would adversely affect the promoter. The matter should be pursued under RERA Act. Juridication is not made under the Consumer Act, in such a case, file an application under Alloti Rera.
Important decision of Supreme Court
This case has been initiated under the Consumer Protection Act. After RERA, there is no ban on filing a case under the Consumer Protection Act. Section-18 of the RERA Act states that if no further legal remedies are available then it will not be affected.
When Parliament enacted the law, the intention of Parliament was clear that it is up to the alotti to use the legal remedies under the Consumer Protection Act or under RERA. Special authority was created and provision of Section-18 was made under the RERA Act under which there is no restriction on other legal remedies.
In such a situation, we dismiss the plea of the developers. The court said that the project in the current case is registered under RERA and booking of the apartment took place in 2011-12 and an agreement was signed between the builder and the buyers in November 2013. It was decided that the apartment work would be completed in 42 months, but this deadline was over.
This time is over before being registered under Project RERA, the consumer forum that the deal was signed under the agreement is absolutely safe and correct. The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the National Consumer Forum and directed the developers company to pay Rs 50,000 each to the complaining buyers as compensation.