The National Consumer Commission, New Delhi, has imposed unprecedented punitive damages of Rs 5 lakh on Emaar MGF Land Ltd for filing a frivolous appeal challenging the orders of the State Commission, Chandigarh.
The State Commission had held the company guilty of failing to deliver possession of a plot within the promised period to a Chandigarh father-son duo.
Justice (retd) Sham Sunder had ordered Emaar MGF to refund Rs 62.6 lakh to the complainants, Karnail Singh & Harmeet Singh, for not providing possession of a plot in Mohali Hills, Sector 102, in 2011, in the promised 18 months. The developer was also asked to pay Rs 2 lakh as compensation with Rs 20,000 as cost of litigation.
It was against this order that the developer had appealed before the national commission.
Justice VB Gupta of the National Commission said in its July 25 order, “The builders in the present case ‘wants to have the cake and eat it too’, as admittedly it had received more than 95% of the amount of the plot. The appellants being the builders are enjoying the possession of the plot as well as substantial amount of consideration paid by the respondents. On the other hand, respondents after having paid
substantial amount of consideration of the plot are still empty-handed.”
The order added, “Such type of unscrupulous act on the part of builders should be dealt with a heavy hand, who after grabbing the money from the purchasers, enjoy and utilise their money but do not hand over the plot, on one pretext or the other… no leniency should be shown to such type of litigants who in order to cover up their own fault and negligence, go on filing meritless appeal in different foras. A strong message is required to be sent to such type of builders that this commission is not helpless in such matters.”
Pankaj Chandgothia, president, Consumer Courts Bar Association, hailed the orders of the National Commission. “Companies and service providers are in the habit of filing unnecessary appeals before higher courts, resulting in harassment of the consumer. Such hard-hitting orders will check the unfair practice of
challenging court orders just to delay paying the money.”