Vistas row: SC orders Unitech to pay homebuyers Rs 80,000 each as compensation
Vistas flat-buyers have already received a refund of the principal amount they invested, besides 14% interest payable from January 1, 2010, through a Supreme Court order in April.Updated: Sep 20, 2017 20:04 IST
In an unprecedented order, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered Unitech to pay Rs 80,000 to each of the 39 homebuyers who booked flats at the real estate giant’s Vistas project in Gurugram as compensation and litigation charges.
Though the project was supposed to be handed over to these homebuyers in 2012, it still remains under construction.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra issued the direction while disposing of Unitech’s appeal against a National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission order, which imposed penalties on the company for delaying the delivery of flats, in 2015.
The first-of-its-kind order is likely to add to Unitech’s woes. Company promoter Sanjay Chandra and his brother, Ajay Chandra, are already in jail in connection with a cheating case pertaining to another project. Their bail pleas have been rejected, and the Supreme Court has refused to release them until the complainants in the case have been paid. During one of the hearings, Chief Justice Misra said the company would have to either hand over the flats or refund the money by the end of the financial year.
Vistas flat-buyers have already received a refund of the principal amount they invested, besides 14% interest payable from January 1, 2010, through a Supreme Court order in April.
The homebuyers, who had booked the flats in 2009, moved the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in 2014 after Unitech failed to deliver them on time. The consumer forum then directed the real estate firm to refund the principal amount with an interest of 18%. Unitech later appealed against the order in the Supreme Court.
Advocate Pawanshree Aggarwal, who assisted the court in the matter, told HT that the compensation amount was over-and-above the refund and interest the homebuyers had already received. “The money has to be handed over to the buyers within two months,” he said.
Aggarwal said Unitech has deposited Rs 32.6 crore with the Supreme Court registry in connection with the case. “The principal amount was distributed on a pro-rata basis. If there is any balance left with the registry, that would be given out before the company makes the payments,” he added.
The Supreme Court had indicated that the interest payment for delay will not attract tax liability, according significant relief to homebuyers. It also warned Unitech of property attachment if it fails to deposit the interest amount.
First Published: Sep 20, 2017 13:11 IST