HYDERABAD: The Ranga Reddy District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum here has directed a private real estate firm to refund Rs 94,200 with interest and pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 to a customer for failing to register the plot in his name due to lack of proper title or approvals from statutory authorities.
M.Manohar Reddy decided to purchase a plot (No.58) measuring 200 sq. yards in a venture, Millennium Township, in Shamshabad mandal in Ranga Reddy district. The total cost of the plot was Rs 1.05 lakh, of which he paid Rs 94,200 in instalments between March 24, 2001 and November 28, 2004. After that the firm’s collection agents have never turned up to collect the balance payments from Reddy.
Meanwhile, through a public notice issued by Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA), he came to know that the layouts in Survey No.70 were unauthorised. Upon further inquiries, he came to know that due to disputes with the real estate firm, the land owners had cancelled the agreement of sale.
In spite of several requests made to the firm’s managing director to show the required documents pertaining to the venture and to register the plot by collecting the balance amount, there was no response. On May 28, 2009 Reddy issued a legal notice seeking return of the amount he had paid along with interest. The firm replied that they cannot refund the money if the customer failed to pay the instalments regularly and demanded payment of the balance amount to register the plot. When he approached the firm later, they promised to give an alternative plot near Ramoji Film City but failed to keep the promise. Left with no option, Reddy approached the forum for refund of the money.
The managing director of the firm, in his written version, submitted that the complainant was a stranger and had never approached them at any point of time. They also pointed out that he approached the forum only after a gap of seven years. As the complainant was not their member (buyer), there was no question of ‘deficiency of service’, the managing director said and prayed for dismissal of the complaint.
During trial, the bench observed that the firm had failed to give satisfactory answer regarding their title or approval of the layouts. “It is very unlikely that having paid `94,200 out of the total cost of `1,05,000, the complainant would default on further payments and seek refund of the amount paid so far. Hence we are of the opinion that when opposite parties are unable to convey a clear title to the complainant, they should refund the amount with reasonable interest,” the bench said.
The forum, comprising president R Gopala Krishna Murthy and member IL Prasanthi passed an order in favour of Reddy and directed the firm to repay `94,200 with 12 per cent interest per annum from November 20, 2004 till realisation, to pay a compensation of `10,000 and to pay `2,000 towards costs.