National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): Coram of Justice Deepa Sharma (Presiding Member) and Subhash Chandra (Member)directed a full refund of the principal amount along with interest, due to failure of delivering timely possession of an apartment purchased by the complainant.
Facts in a nutshell
Complainant had booked an apartment and made an initial payment of Rs 15,00,000 and an allotment letter was issued. Builder -Buyer agreement was also executed, and the complainant had paid a total sum of Rs 2,23,91,480 on several dates.
It was submitted the due date of delivery of possession was 42 months with a grace period of six months from the date of approval of the building plan. The delivery of the subject flat was not made within the stipulated period.
In view of the above grievance, complainant filed a complaint and prayed that OP be directed to hand over the subject property along with delayed compensation containing all the facilities promised otherwise a direction for a full refund should be ordered along with an interest of 18%.
Analysis, Law and Decision
Coram expressed that a person who buys a good ceases to be a consumer, if that person indulges itself in commercial activities qua the goods and in case of purchase of residential houses, it can be said that buyer is indulging into the activity of buying/selling the properties and purchased it for that purpose.
Settled Position of Law
Burden is upon the OP to prove that the complainant is indulging in commercial activities of sale and purchase of the flats and that he had booked the subject flat with the intention to sell it to earn profit as part of his commercial activities.
Since the OP failed to prove the above in the present matter, Commission held that the complainant was a consumer within the meaning of Section 2(1)(d) of the Act.
OP shall refund the entire principal amount of Rs 2,23,91,480/- to the complainant alongwith compensation in the form of simple interest at the rate of 10.25 % per annum, which is stated to be the interest rate under RERA, in Haryana, in respect of the cases where refund is made to the flat buyer on account of delay on the part of the developer in offering possession of the house, from the date of each payment till the date of refund.
OP shall also pay a sum of Rs 25,000 as cost of litigation to the complainant. [Aloke Anand v. IREO Pvt. Ltd., Consumer Case No. 1277 of 2017, decided on 1-11-2021]
Advocates before the Court:
For the Complainant: Nithin Chandran, Advocate
For the OP: Abhimanyu Bhandari, Advocate