CHENNAI: I filed a consumer complaint against a builder in 2018 for non-refund of money. He has not obtained completion certificate nor has he completed the project. In these two years, the opposite party rarely attends the hearing. But the commission automatically adjourns the case, even without hearing my side. Till date, the opposite party has not filed the written arguments. I am a senior citizen and I have filed a memo requesting for speedy disposal of the case. The builder is sending people to my house threatening me to pay the money. He has sent a list of bank’s representatives whom I have approached for getting the loan. The disputed outstanding amount is around `1,00,000. I am buying the property from my retirement benefits. I am 70 years old, was affected by COVID- 19 and I am very weak. Can I send a representation through email to the state commission for speedy disposal of the case? Should I sign and upload the email like a physical letter?
— Anonymous Consumer Court is a judicial forum. Hence, there is no question of sending letters to government. Ask your lawyer/ representative to make a request before the court for early disposal.
When a house is built with some deviation — like a room, or balcony, a room in the terrace — from the plan approved by the local body, but not violating the building rules such as frontage space, or back or sideway space, what does the law say and what is the punishment? Can it be demolished by the local body? When a person builds a house violating the building rules such as insufficient space given in the front or back or sideways, what does the law say and what is the punishment for this violation. Can it be demolished by the local body?
— Murali R, Chennai
Any structure constructed contrary to the plans or in violation of TCP Rules is liable for fine as well as demolition in case of gross abuse.
In 2018, my father made a deed of settlement in my elder sister’s and my name in a nationalised bank for `3.80 crore. We used an OD loan. The account becomes NPA & the SARFAESI Act 13 (2) & 13 (4) was initiated by the bank. Revenue records such as patta, house tax, EB are still in the name of my father. The bank failed to get the above documents in our name before sanctioning the loan. On the basis of registered documents, the bank will impose SARFAESI as only title deeds are deposited in our name without completing the entirety of property documents. May I assail this? What is the legal procedure?
— NC Jitendra, Chennai
There is no doubt regarding the ownership of the land and the fact that they were pledged for a loan. The defects pointed out by you are not worth enough to challenge before the court.
Five accused were convicted for 20 years (maximum punishment) by a trial court. Accused no 2, in his confession statement (which is heavily relied upon by trial judge) admits he was forced to participate in an alleged offence in which he is charged by the investigating agency. Can he be given the same punishment as other accused?
— R Balasubramaniam
The question of leniency in punishment can be considered only when the court accepts that A2 was forced to participate in the offence.
After a successful run for more than four years, the Expert Explains column will be discontinued from October. Team CE thanks its readers for their support in sending queries and making this space a valuable one.
Justice K Chandru is a former judge of the Madras High Court