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Possession delay, Consumer forum slaps Rs 1-lakh fine on Unitech
The Indian Express, May 20, 2019

Unitech Limited has been asked to shell out Rs 1 lakh as compensation, refund Rs 13 lakh taken from the complainants and pay Rs 10,000 as cost of litigation.

Taking money in advance from a consumer, despite not having requisite permission for a project has cost a well-known builder company as they have been asked to shell out a sum of Rs 1 lakh as compensation by the consumer courts. The builders Unitech Limited have also been asked to refund Rs 13 lakh taken from the complainants and pay Rs 10,000 as cost of litigation.

The consumer courts observed, “We feel that the actions of the opposite party in taking advance money from innocent consumers like the complainants for their proposed project, despite the fact that they were not having permission for the same, clearly points out towards unfair trade practice on their part.”

Amandeep Sharma and his wife Jyoti Sharma, the complainants, said that they saw an advertisement in the newspaper regarding the launch of a group housing complex under the name and style of ‘Gardens’ in Uniworld City, Sector 97, Mohali, Punjab. When the complainants contacted the builders, they were assured on the project. Hence, the latter decided to purchase a flat. An application dated January 24, 2012, was submitted to the opposite party along with different cheques totaling to Rs 4,41,914. The complainants were given an allotment letter dated January 31, 2012, and were allotted a flat, numbered 0204, in Block C 2 in Gardens (Sector 97), Uniworld City, Mohali for a total of Rs 45,83,475.

The complainants continued to make payments with the builder company as per the agreement and were assured possession of the plot within 36 months, but this did not happen. When in January 2015 the complainants visited the site, they were surprised to see that there was no construction activity going on and hence sought refund of the amount paid by them. But the opposite party failed to do so though a legal notice dated January 30, 2015, was served to them.

The builder company defended itself saying that it was unable to handover the plot due to the global meltdown of the economy worldwide. The opposite party also contended that they were facing problems with regard to providing electricity in the said area as PSPCL had been raising objections on one pretext or the other. They claimed that despite all the these conditions, they were making every effort to provide electricity in the said area.

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