New Delhi: A Delhi-based builder has been asked by the top consumer court to refund Rs 1.91 lakh charged in excess from an elderly couple, to whom the delivery of two flats in Gurgaon was delayed for 20 months on the ground that an electricity connection was lacking.
The delay by Today Homes Infrastructures amounted to deficiency in service, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission said.
The national commission upheld the state commission`s decision against the interest collected by the builder from the flat applicants, OP Ratra, 72, and his wife Harmeet, 68. Ratra and his wife booked two floors in the project of the builder`s units bearing No 86 at the ground floor and the first floor, Blossom-II at Sector-51, Gurgaon. The two complainants totally paid Rs 66.88 lakh.
"In our observation, the builder claiming that he has right to charge interest at the rate of 15 percent per annum appears to be unjust and an exploitation of consumers. Hence, the builder charging interest of Rs 1.91 lakh was not proper and is an unfair trade practice," said commission Presiding Member JM Malik and Member SM Kantikar.
Hauling up Today Homes Infrastructures for delaying the delivery of possession of the flats by 20 months, the national commission said: "The complainants (couple) had paid the entire price of the units, the possession should be given with all amenities. The petitioner failed to do so, which is deficiency in service."
"The builder tried to cover up its deficiency by taking the plea that the delay was caused due to non-availability of the electricity by the electricity department and the possession could be taken without the electricity connection," the commission said.
"As the complainants are 72 and 68-year-old, the senior citizens suffered exploitation and inconvenience due to non-delivery of the flat within specified period of time and were made to run from pillar to post," the national commission said.
Upholding the state commission`s decision against Today Homes Infrastructures, Malik said: "It is very clear from the documents on record that the (builder) had not given physical possession of the units to Ratra and his wife after 21 months from the date of agreement but the same was delivered after 41 months. Hence, the petitioner delayed the possession for 20 months. This is deficiency in service."
The builder was also pulled up for delay in filing the appeal in the national commission.
"We do not find any merit in this petition, as well there is unexplained delay of 87 days in filing this revision petition. There is no illegality in the order of state commission. Therefore, we dismiss this revision petition," Malik said.
The builder has the option of challenging the national consumer commission`s decision in the Supreme Court.