The Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) latest housing scheme offering 5,010 flats across the Capital seems to have hit a legal hurdle.
A Delhi-based NGO — Society of Catalysts — has dragged the DDA to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission for allegedly practising “restrictive” and “unfair” trade practices by imposing certain “pre-conditions” on applicants.
A bench of justices R.C. Jain and Dr P.D. Shenoy on Monday issued notice to the DDA, seeking its response by December 15.
More than 8.64 lakh forms were sold for Rs 100 each. An additional four lakh were downloaded from the DDA website. Finally, 5.12 lakh people submitted the forms along with a bank draft of Rs 1.5 lakh each.
The scheme was launched on August 6 and closed on September 16, 2008. Flats are available in Pitampura, Vasant Kunj, Dwarka, Dilshad Garden, Shalimar Bagh, Nand Nagri, Piragarhi, Rohini and Narela.
The complainant NGO, headed by former Delhi Chief Secretary Omesh Saigal, alleged that forcing the applicants to pay to participate in the draw of lots for the flats amounted to “restrictive trade practices”.
The DDA was making a profit double of what a casino would make, the complainant alleged. It further alleged that the applicants had to bear a cost of about Rs 333 crore as interest paid to banks.
The complainant alleged that considering low chances of allotment, the price advertised by the DDA was much above the market price, though it was claimed to be a bargain price with a premium of 40 per cent.
Saigal said that against the flats worth Rs 500 crore, DDA has collected a whopping Rs 7,800 crore (approx) and was earning interest on applicants’ money.
The NGO has requested the Commission to order the DDA to refund an amount of Rs 6,600 each to the applicants — which they paid for the forms (Rs 100) and as interest to bank on the Rs 1.5 lakh demand draft (Rs 6,500) — and impose punitive damages on the DDA.
Under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, “restrictive trade practice” means a trade practice that tends to bring about manipulation of price or its conditions of delivery or to affect flow of supplies in the market relating to goods or service in such a manner as to impose on consumers unjustified costs or restrictions.
It includes any trade practice, which requires a consumer to buy, hire or avail of any goods, or, as the case may be, services as condition precedent to buying, hiring or availing of other goods or services.