Residents of Ardee City have decided to take legal action against the developer, Ardee Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, for serving 'unconstitutional' indemnity bonds to new buyers in favour of the maintenance wing.
The builder has been attaching a bond with their buyer-seller agreement, wherein the buyers are made to forfeit all rights to move courts against the company in future.
'The executant (read buyer) indemnifies and holds harmless the company… from all claims, demands, actions, liens, suits, disputes, proceedings and litigations of any nature whatsoever,' reads the first clause of the bond.
Further, the buyer has to declare, in the same clause, that he or she will not initiate any 'criminal or civil proceedings in any court of law/police authorities in relation to any dispute…on account of entering into the above maintenance agreement.'
Anil Hasija, vice-president of Ardee Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, denied having any knowledge of the bond in question. However, the company's head office told HT that the bond had been designed to stay clear of possible litigations in the future, while passing the buck to Hasija for further clarification.
"This is wholly unconstitutional and legally ultra vires (beyond the powers) to the law of contract. This clause is not feasible legally and it is null and void. The builder can write anything but they cannot subject my right to buy a house hostage to signing this bond. This bond is useless. No builder can curtail our rights," said advocate Harish Malhotra, who practices in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
In the third clause of the bond, the buyer has to declare that he/she is not a member of any resident welfare association (RWA) in the residential complex.
It reads thus, 'The executant further declares that he/she is not a member of any RWA in Ardee City, Gurgaon.'
"You get a house after paying a huge amount to the builder/developer as well as the state. The builder cannot subject basic amenities as electricity or water to this kind of a bond or to being part of an RWA, which is again a fundamental right," added Malhotra.
Major (retd) DP Gupta, a resident of Ghaziabad, who bought a house in Ardee City in 2012, said, "When I went to take possession, they served me this bond and they rushed me to the extent that I hardly got time to go through what I was made to sign on. Later when I realised, I wrote to them that I had signed the papers hurriedly and that I do not agree with the clauses therein."
Another buyer, Krishna Kumar Goyal, a resident of Sarai Rohilla in Delhi, who bought a house recently told HT, "The Ardee staff harassed me so much that I did not even get the time to read the documents."
Vineet Nair, another buyer, said he has not yet signed the bond as he has read the clauses. "I am still holding the papers with me. I am still looking at my options and I have contacted the RWA in this respect," added Nair, a resident of Eldeco Mansionz in Gurgaon.
TN Kaul, president of the Ardee City RWA, said the issue of revising maintenance charges was at the heart of the matter.
"We have resisted hiking of charges by the developer owing to pathetic services provided to us so. They are now cajoling new buyers to sign the bond at revised rates. They just want to weaken the RWA as we have opposed their unilateral actions," added Kaul.
"We are soon going to call a meeting of the buyers who have been made to sign this bond and we will take legal action against the developer," said RWA secretary.