(1.) The challenge in these First Appeals, filed under Section 19 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (hereinafter referred to as "the Act"), is to the Order dated 24.01.2013 in Complaint Case Nos. 70, 71 and 72 of 2010 passed by the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (hereinafter to be referred to as "State Commission"), whereby the Complaints filed by the Complainants were dismissed with cost of Rs. 25,000/- to be paid to the Opposite Party No.1, "The City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra".
(2.) Since the facts and question of law involved in these Appeals are similar except for minor variations in the flat numbers and their sale consideration, these Appeals are being disposed of by this common Order. However, for the sake of convenience, First Appeal No. 300 of 2013 is treated as the lead case and the facts enumerated hereinafter are taken from Complaint No. 70 of 2010.
(3.) Briefly stated the facts as narrated in the Complaint are that the Opposite Party No. 1, namely, 'The City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd.' (hereinafter referred to as 'CIDCO') is a limited company duly registered under the Companies Act and engaged in development of new township at Navi Mumbai as a part of its housing Project; Opposite Party No. 2 is the Managing Director of CIDCO; Opposite Party No. 3 is the Marketing Manager-1 working with CIDCO and Opposite Party No. 4 is State of Maharashtra which is a formal party in the Complaint.The CIDCO proposed a housing Project under the name and style of "Seawoods Estate", Phase-II, Part - I&II" situated at Sector - 54, 56, 58, Nerul (West), Navi Mumbai. The Complainant by depositing a sum of Rs. 5,000/- towards Demand Registration Charges (DRC) booked his demand for an Apartment in the said Project with CIDCO on 19.11.2004.In the year 2007, the Complainant came to know about release of allotment of "Seawoods Estate Phase-II (Part-1)" to the registration holders.Since the Complainant was a registration holder, he applied for the allotment of apartment and deposited Rs. 6,00,000/- towards earnest money with CIDCO.CIDCO allotted Apartment No. 303, third floor in Building No. 52 [B-NL-SW2-52-303], admeasuring 1230.610 sq. ft. at Rs. 3,700/- per sq. ft. to the Complainant vide Allotment Letter dated 05.10.2007.According to Allotment Letter total sale consideration was Rs. 45,53,257/- and after adjusting the Demand Registration Charges and Earnest Money, the balance amount of Rs. 39,48,257/- was payable in four installments of Rs. 9,87,064/- each, scheduled to be paid on 04.01.2008, 04.04.2008, 04.07.2008 and 03.10.2008.The Complainant alleged that he had applied for Apartment solely in his name despite that CIDCO wrongly issued the Allotment Letter and the Permission Letter to mortgage the Apartment for obtaining housing loan, in joint names of Bushan Chimanlal Jain and Veena Bushan Jain. The Complainant sent letter dated 08.10.2007 to CIDCO and objected the same and brought the said lapses to their knowledge and requested to issue correct Allotment Letter. CIDCO vide letter dated 31.12.2007 informed the Complainant that "your request for correcting the name in the allotment letter, NOC for loan and the payment has been considered and accordingly the necessary corrections have been made in our record. It is also stated that the said letter be treated as amendment to the original document already issued to him.The Complainant alleged that in the subject of the said letter CIDCO has mentioned Apartment No. B-NL-SW2-48-1303 instead of B-NL-SW2-52-303. The Complainant approached CIDCO Office in the middle of January 2008 to satisfy his doubts. On the advice and instruction of the Assistant Marketing Manager-1, CIDCO, the Complainant paid Rs. 200/- towards the administrative fees for the procurement of fresh allotment documents and pending receipt of earnest money deposited. The Complainant alleged that despite his repeated requests and depositing fees of Rs. 200/- to get the duplicate copy of amended Allotment Letter, the same was not issued by the CIDCO.It is alleged that CIDCO vide letter dated 05.05.2008 threatened him to cancel the allotment of Apartment and to forfeit the earnest money deposited and denied to deliver fresh, correct and authenticated allotment documents because of their computerized network server/system problem. In the year 2008, CIDCO had revised the rate of the apartments from Rs. 3,700/- to Rs. 7,500/- per sq. ft. The Complainant alleged that in order to have illegal monetary gain, CIDCO vide letter No. CIDCO/MM-1/SW2/2008/1241 dated 13th August 2008, cancelled his allotment of apartment and forfeited the earnest money and registration charges. Alleging deficiency in service and unfair trade practice on the part of Opposite Party CIDCO, the Complainant filed a Consumer Complaint before the State Commission seeking following reliefs:-
"A) That this Hon'ble Commission be pleased to issue the orders quashing and setting aside Opposite Party No. 3 fabricated, illegal and unauthorized apartment Allotment Cancellation Letter No. CIDCO/MM-1/SW2/2008/1241 dated 13/08/2008 received by the Complainant on 06.09.2008.
B) That this Hon'ble Commission be pleased to direct the Opposite Party No. 2 and 3 to Either Revoke or Revive the Allotment of Apartment with original payment terms and conditions effective from the date of revival order with interest free waiver OR Else Compensate And Pay the Amount towards the costs for the Apartment Rate Difference as per the Present Market Value and the prevailing price per Sq. Ft. as on today, as detailed in para (12) on page No. (12) of this Complaint, alongwith the valued EMD amount and the registration charges now with interest, paid by the Complainant.
C) That this Hon'ble Commission be pleased to direct the Opposite Parties jointly or severally to pay the costs of Rs. 6,00,000/- (Rupees Six Lacs Only) till date spent by this Complainant towards the Rents of the flats and the conveyance charges etc. due to their not giving Apartment Possession due to their severe documents defects.
D) That this Hon'ble Commission be pleased to direct that the compensation by the Opposite Party must be given to the Complainant towards the Mental Torture and Harassment be compensated at Rs. 15,00,000/- (Rupees Fifteen Lacs Only).
E) That this Hon'ble Commission be pleased to direct that the compensation by the Opposite Party must be given to the Complainant towards the Advocate fees be compensated at Rs. 25,000/- (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand only)." ;