Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): A Single Member Bench of V.K. Jain, J., allowed an appeal filed against the order of the State Commission.

The respondent was allotted a flat in a project which was to be developed by the appellant company. The respondent paid more than 50% of the cost of the flat to the appellant on different occasions, however, he defaulted in paying one installment to the appellant. On account of failure to pay the installment after 2 reminders, the appellant cancelled respondent’s allotment and forfeited the money already received.

The main issue that arose before the Commission, in this case, was whether the appellant was justified in canceling the allotment on account of one default.

The Commission observed that the respondent had undoubtedly defaulted in making payment of an installment even though two reminders were sent to him. The respondents had not even cited any reason for their failure to make the payment or that the payment was not made for reasons beyond their control. The Commission further observed that the respondent had raised a false plea about the discount of 5% to be offered by the appellant. The appellant being a private builder required money to complete construction within time limit agreed between the parties.

The Commission held that in the facts and circumstances of the case, the appellant was justified in cancelling the allotment of the respondent and forfeiting the earnest money. However, the Commission also held that the appellant cannot deduct more than the earnest money out of the amount paid to it by the complainants. The tribunal referred to the case of DLF Ltd. v. Bhagwanti Narula, I (2015) CPJ 319(NC) and held that an amount exceeding 10% of the total price cannot be forfeited by the seller, since forfeiture beyond 10% of the sale price would be unreasonable and only the amount, which is paid at the time of concluding the contract can be said to be the earnest money. Hence the Commission allowed the appeal but it also directed the appellant to refund the money above the earnest money forfeited by it. [Prateek Realtors (P) Ltd. v. Vivek Kumar Gupta,2018 SCC OnLine NCDRC 378, order dated 08-10-2018]

High Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Showcasing the spirit of judicial review the Court in a significant decision cancelled the allotment of 350 acres of land to realty bigwig DLF by the Government of Haryana and ordered de-novo process of re- allotment of the land in question for the professed public purpose.

Briefly stating the facts, the PIL revolved around the acquisition of a Gram Panchayat land by the HSIIDC and later allotted to DLF for the purported public purpose of development of recreational and leisure project including a golf course. The petitioner represented by Sudhanshu Makkar termed the acquisition and the allotment as colorable exercise of power and argued that the acquisition by HSIIDC was being done at the behest of DLF to provide the company benefits thus amounting to fraud on public. The State of Haryana represented by H.S. Hooda, Advocate General refuted the arguments.

The Court on examining the facts and arguments declined to reject the petitions for the want of locus standi and observed that the Court cannot wholly ignore the presence of DLF in the State which puts it in the position to exercise a certain degree of influence and as it was proved that the land in question originally belonged to the sister companies of DLF which then later came to be owned by the Panchayat then acquired by the HSIIDC before making the disputed allotment therefore casts a shadow of doubt on the bona fides of the allotment. The Court further observed that the chain of events appearing from the facts are far from being co incidences therefore have impaired the element of public interest.

Om Prakash Mukdam v. State of Haryana, CWP No.2367 of 2012, decided on 03.09.2014  

High Courts

Allahabad High Court:  While deciding a case regarding the distribution of work made by higher authorities, the Court held that the distribution of work to the subordinates is purely administrative exercise of power by a superior authority and employee has no right to claim which particular work should be allotted to him. The Court further elaborated that if there are any guidelines in this regard, it should be followed but it does not have any binding force, hence, they cannot be enforced through court of law.

In the instant case, Petitioner who was represented by Counsels Krishan Ji Khare, Mritunjay Khare and Respondents who were represented by Counsels V S Singh, Vishwajeet Singh were at loggerheads because they both worked as senior assistants in the office of Executive Engineer, Public Works Department and wanted to work as cashier.

The Court finally, while dismissing the petition, held that Superior Authority, who is incharge of an organization, has to be given sufficient room to take decision relating to allotment of work, keeping in mind various factors for improving the efficiency.

Durg Vijay Yadav v. State of U.P., Writ-A No. – 30990 of 2014, Decided on 25.07.2014

To read the full judgment, refer to SCCOnLine