Lottery or reward?
The mailman had just delivered a Speed-Post letter. The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) stamp on the envelope aroused my expectation, since I was awaiting a "no-dues certificate" for my flat, for which I had fought a long-drawn legal battle with the sender. Bhartendu Sood writeschandigarh Updated: Nov 28, 2013 10:43 IST
The mailman had just delivered a Speed-Post letter. The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) stamp on the envelope aroused my expectation, since I was awaiting a "no-dues certificate" for my flat, for which I had fought a long-drawn legal battle with the sender.
I was flummoxed to see inside a bank draft for Rs 1 lakh, and a letter that read: "In compliance of the order of the honourable Supreme Court." "How could the Supreme Court reward me any compensation when the national commission concerned had closed the case already by rejecting the CHB's review petition and the district forum had paid me the entire amount in compliance of the orders of all trial courts?" I thought to myself.
Thanks to the Internet, I had the order of the Supreme Court before me. It read: "The petition falls in the category of frivolous cases, the number of which has increased considerably in the past few years, and it is apposite that matters such as this are dismissed at the threshold with exemplary cost so that valuable time of the courts is not wasted by unscrupulous litigants. Accordingly, the petitioner is saddled with a cost of Rs 1 lakh."
By now, my better half had also joined. Excited, I shared the news with her. "Wow, a heaven-sent lottery," I said. "Don't call it a lottery, it is the reward for the stand you took against the wrong done to you," she said in her wisdom.
Her remarks put me down memory lane. In 1995, I had bought this flat on general power of attorney (GPA) from the original allottee. In 2008, when the CHB gave the GPA holders the opportunity to get the flats transferred, I also applied. The board worked out arrears of Rs 52,000, though I had cleared all instalments and dues long ago.
Friends advised me to pay off the amount, as this was once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and everyone else was paying without fuss. Instead, I moved the district consumer forum, which upheld my interpretation of the penalty rule, and the state and national commissions also stood by the opinion.
Different courts not only declared the CHB's demand illegal but also awarded me another Rs 46,000 as compensation and cost of litigation; hence, now an unexpected award of `1 lakh. The man who deserved it the most was my father, for teaching me: "All that is necessary to defeat a wrong is that we raise our voice."