(1.) The complainant booked a residential apartment with the opposite party Supertech Limited, in a project namely "Supertech Hues", which the opposite party was to develop in Sector 68 of Gurgaon. The booking was made on 14.01.2017 and after allotment of flat number F/0101 in the aforesaid project to the complainant for a consideration of Rs.92,52,038/- a Buyer Development Agreement was executed between the parties on 18.07.2014. As per the aforesaid agreement the possession was to be offered to the complainant within 42 months i.e by July,2017 with a grace period of 6 months. The grievance of the complainant is that even the construction was not complete by the opposite party despite he having paid Rs.27,60,864/- to them. The complainant is therefore before this Commission with the following prayers:-
"a. To direct the First Opposite Party to give the allotment of similar residential unit immediately; and;
b. In the alternative, refund the principle amount of Rs. 27,60,864/- along with 12% from date of payment till refund of entire amount to the Complainant wherein the complainant already made payment of interest to Bank from 2014-2017 on the loan amount; and;
c. Grant compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs as compensation for mental agony and harassment; and;
d. Grant litigation cost of Rs. 50,000/- in favour of the complainant."
(2.) The complaint has been resisted by the opposite party which has admitted the allotment made to the complainant as well as the payment received from him. A preliminary objection has been taken by the opposite party that this Commission lacks pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain the consumer complaint. On merits it is stated in the written version filed by the opposite party that the construction has been delayed on account of (1) an order dated 07.04.2015 passed by National Green Tribunal, placing restrictions on construction activities and (2) on account of the opposite party having sought to enhance the construction quality and having sought to strengthen the structure by applying advanced shuttering technology which took some time to be implemented. It is also been stated in the Written Version that the complainant was defaulter in making payment of the balance sale consideration having failed to pay the payment of Rs.34,25,453/- demanded vide letter dated 05.08.2017 followed by a reminder dated 19.09.2017.
(3.) As for as the pecuniary jurisdiction of this commission is concerned in terms of Section 21 of the Consumer Protection Act, this Commission possesses the requisite pecuniary jurisdiction where the value of the goods purchased or the services hired or availed as the case may be and the compensation if any, claimed in the complaint exceeds Rs.1 Crore. It was held by a Three-Members Bench of this Commission in Ambrish Kumar Shukla Vs. Ferrous Infrastructure & Ors. Vs. Ferrous Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. on 07.10.2016, that the value of the services in such a case would mean the sale price agreed to be paid by the buyer to the seller. The aforesaid decision to the extent it is relevant reads as under:-
"12.Section 21 of the Consumer Protection Act, to the extent it is relevant provides that this Commission shall have jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed exceeds Rs.1.00 crore. Therefore, what has to be seen, for the purpose of determining the pecuniary jurisdiction, is the value of the goods or services and the amount of the compensation claimed in the complaint. If the aggregate of (i) the value of the goods or services and (ii) the compensation claimed in the complaint exceeds Rs.1.00 crore, this Commission would have pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain the complaint. Similarly, if the aggregate of the value of (i) the goods or services and (ii) compensation, if any, claimed in the complaint exceeds Rs.20.00 lacs but does not exceed Rs.1.00 Crore, the State Commission would have the pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain the complaint.
14. It is evident from a bare perusal of Sections 21, 17 and 11 of the Consumer Protection Act that it's the value of the goods or services and the compensation, if any, claimed which determines the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Consumer Forum. The Act does not envisage determination of the pecuniary jurisdiction based upon the cost of removing the deficiencies in the goods purchased or the services to be rendered to the consumer. Therefore, the cost of removing the defects or deficiencies in the goods or the services would have no bearing on the determination of the pecuniary jurisdiction. If the aggregate of the value of the goods purchased or the services hired or availed of by a consumer, when added to the compensation, if any, claimed in the complaint by him, exceeds Rs. 1.00 crore, it is this Commission alone which would have the pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain the complaint. For instance if a person purchases a machine for more than Rs.1.00 crore, a manufacturing defect is found in the machine and the cost of removing the said defect is Rs.10.00 lacs, it is the aggregate of the sale consideration paid by the consumer for the machine and compensation, if any, claimed in the complaint which would determine the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Consumer Forum. Similarly, if for instance, a house is sold for more than Rs.1.00 crore, certain defects are found in the house, and the cost of removing those defects is Rs.5.00 lacs, the complaint would have to be filed before this Commission, the value of the services itself being more than Rs.1.00 crore.
The Hon'ble Supreme Court thus recognized that the interest to the flat buyers is paid by way of compensation. In fact, though the Consumer Protection Act, authorises the Consumer Forum to award compensation, no specific powers to award interest has been conferred upon it. Therefore, in view of the provisions contained in Sections 21, 17 and 11 of the Consumer Protection Act, the amount of the interest, which can be paid as compensation, must necessarily be taken into account for determining the pecuniary jurisdiction.;