The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the refund of Rs 16.5 crore to 39 buyers who had invested in Unitech’s Vista project in Gurgaon years ago, but are yet to get possession of their flats.
“Voice of anguish is echoed in the courtroom (by the buyers) as their dreams are shattered. A property developer has to have a contractual commitment and has to live up to the terms of the contract and gain trust so that people who dream of having a house can repost faith in him,” a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said while asking the top court’s registry to let the investors withdraw money after their verification.
The order came a day after the same bench asked Parsvnath to return money to those who were not keen to hold on to their flats in the real estate firm’s project in Ghaziabad.
Wednesday’s court direction after some buyers argued their matter personally without seeking a lawyer’s assistance and narrated their agony. “I made 100 per cent of the payment considering it was a company with reputation and hoped to have a house of my own. But, in the process I have lost my job and put my son’s future at stake,” said a man who was one of the first investors in the project.
He found support from a woman who said she was present in the court despite being on a fast. “We have been running from one court to another. Look I am here even on karvachauth,” she told the bench that gave a patient hearing to the buyers.
“The foundation of economy is based on faith. It fails if the faith is lost. Then everything is lost,” the bench noted.
Unitech, which has already deposited Rs 15 crore with the SC registry, was given four weeks to pay up another Rs 2 crore. “The company cannot delay completion of flats on nuances and rest upon the metaphor that Rome was not built in a day,” the bench said, rejecting the company’s offer to hand over possession of flats to some of the buyers in 2017.
The company argued that the court order would set a bad precedent and could jeopardize the project. “It will unintentionally affect the other 1,200 allottees,” senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the bench on behalf of Unitech. But, the bench refused to relent and gave the orders. It fixed January 11 to hear the plea of consumers on how much interest and compensation are they entitled to.
Unitech had approached the top court against the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission’s order directing the company to refund and compensate the buyers for not delivering them the flats within the promised time.