BHRIGU KAUSHIK Vs. ANSAL HI TECH TOWNSHIP LTD
LAWS(NCD)-2020-10-32
NCDRC
Decided on October 16,2020

Bhrigu Kaushik Appellant
VERSUS
Ansal Hi Tech Township Ltd Respondents




JUDGEMENT

V.K.Jain, J. - (1.) An entity by the name 'Uttam Steel & Associates' (hereinafter referred to as 'Consortium/Developer Company) was selected by Government of Uttar Pradesh for development of a township namely 'Sushant-Megapolis' comprising of plots, flats etc. in Greater Noida. The Consortium members formed an SPV under the name & style of 'Ansal Hi-Tech Township Ltd.' which is the OP in this complaint. The detailed project report for the township was approved on 08.02.2008 and detailed lay-out plans were also approved by the Nodal Agency pursuant to which, a development agreement was signed between the Nodal Agency and the Consortium/Developer Company. The OP invited applications inter-alia for allotment of plots in the proposed township. A large number of persons including the complainants herein, booked residential plots in the above referred project and executed agreements with the OP. No time frame for delivering possession of the plots to the allottees was incorporated in the agreements but the case of the complainants is that verbally they were told that the possession would be handed over within 36 months from the execution of the agreement. The allotments of plots were made and agreements in respect thereto, were executed between 2008 and 2014. The case of the complainants is that the township has not been developed by the OP and the possession has not been offered to them as well as other similarly situated allottees. The complainants therefore, approached this Commission by way of a class section u/s 12(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act seeking refund of the amount paid by the aforesaid allottees to the OP alongwith compensation etc. Vide order dated 19.09.2017, this Commission granted permission in terms of Section 12(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act to the complainants to institute this complaint on behalf of all such allottees who wanted refund of the amount paid to the OP. Pursuant to the grant of permission, public notice in two newspapers, circulated in Delhi/NCR were published and several allottees were permitted to join this complaint.
(2.) The complaint has been resisted by the OP which has taken a preliminary objection that the complaint is barred by limitation. On merits, the defence of the OP is contained in the affidavit dated 05.03.2020 filed by Mr. F.N. Rai, Authorized Representative of the company. In nutshell, the following are the grounds taken in the said affidavit: (a) Due to protest by farmers who were dissatisfied with the orders passed by the Hon'ble High Court and the Hon'ble Supreme Court in land acquisition cases, they were unable to acquire the land and develop it as per approved DRP. (b) As per the agreement between the parties, the lay-out plan design could be changed and modified and the location of the plot allotted to a person could be changed due to unavoidable circumstances. In such a case, the allottee was required to accept equivalent alternative arrangement made by the developer. (c) All the fourteen original complainants have settled the matter with the OP. (d) The OP is also in the process of settling with the other allottees who have subsequently been impleaded in this complaint. (e) There were some land parcels in between the project which the developer had not purchased and which were required to be acquired by the Government. (f) There was no inordinate delay in the project and complainant no.1 had made multiple bookings. It is also alleged that the project was delayed due to Court orders and farmers' agitation. Reliance is placed upon the decision of the National Green Tribunal on 21.08.2013 and 12.09.2017 in O.A. No. 121 of 2013. (g) The land owners had not sold their land to the OP despite 56 of them having agreed to do so at a particular rate.
(3.) As far as the preliminary objection is concerned, the OP having not completed the development and having not offered possession of the allotted plots to the allottees, they had a recurrent cause of action to file the Consumer Complaint. A reference in this regard may be made to the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Meerut Development Authority Vs. Mukesh Kumar Gupta, 2012 4 CPJ 12 (SC). Therefore, I find no merit in the contention that the complaint is barred by limitation.;


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