NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today asked realty firm Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) to deposit Rs 200 crore with its registry in two instalments for paying back the home buyers, who have opted for refund instead of getting possession of flats.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked the real estate firm to deposit Rs 100 crore by April 15 and the rest by May 10.
"JAL shall deposit a further sum of Rs 200 crore in two instalments, as agreed by the managing director who is present in court today. The first instalment of Rs 100 crore shall be deposited by April 15, 2018 and the second instalment of Rs 100 crore shall be deposited by May 10," the bench said, adding that its earlier orders, asking the firm to deposit Rs 2,000 crore had not been complied with.
The real estate major said it had deposited Rs 550 crore so far with the apex court registry and sought indulgence on the ground that only eight per cent of the over 30,000 home-buyers had opted for refund and rest 92 per cent wanted delivery of flats.
"We would intend to make it absolutely clear that for the present, we are only concerned with the home-buyers who intend to have refund.
In the next phase, we may consider the grievances, if any, of the home buyers who intend to have the flats," the bench said.
Lawyer Pawan Shree Agrawal, who is assisting the court as an "amicus curiae" (friend of the court), informed the court that as per his portal, an amount of Rs 1,300 crore, at present, had to be refunded towards the principal sum to the home-buyers.
The top court asked Agrawal to prepare a "project-wise chart", giving details of the home buyers, so that an appropriate order could be passed for disbursement of the amount on pro-rata basis.
It asked the amicus to keep the portal operational for registering further grievances of the home-buyers.
The court, however, made it clear that the requests for refund would be processed of those home-buyers who had registered with the portal till today.
The bench took note of the submissions of the home-buyers, who are seeking refund, that the developer was still making demands towards monthly instalments.
"We direct that no demand towards outstanding or future instalments shall be raised by the developer to the flat-buyers who have, as of today, opted for refund.
The demands raised by the developer in respect of the home-buyers, who have already opted for refund till today, shall remain stayed," the bench said.
It also said the Interim Resolution Professional (IRP) might proceed to finalise the resolution plan, but the same should be implemented after taking the leave of the court.
The bench appointed advocate Gaurav Agrawal as another "amicus curiae" to espouse the cause of home-buyers before the Committee of Creditors, after senior advocate Shekhar Naphade expressed his inability to continue as an amicus.
The firm had, on January 25, deposited Rs 125 crore in the Supreme Court, after being directed to do so, to safeguard the interests of the home-buyers.
The top court had, on January 10, directed JAL, the holding firm of Jaypee Infratech Ltd (JIL), to provide details of its housing projects in the country, saying the home-buyers should either get their houses or their money back.
It had refused to accord an urgent hearing on a plea of the Reserve Bank of India, seeking its nod to initiate insolvency proceedings before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) against JAL, saying it would be dealt with at a later stage.
The home-buyers, including Chitra Sharma, had moved the apex court, stating that around 32,000 people had booked flats and were now paying instalments.
The plea had further stated that hundreds of home-buyers were left in the lurch after the NCLT, on August 10 last year, admitted the IDBI Bank's plea to initiate insolvency proceedings against the debt-ridden realty company for defaulting on a Rs 526-crore loan.