AUG-16: SETTLED IN COURT
Parsvnath told to pay monthly penalty for delayÂ Â Â Â Â Â
In a landmark judgement in favour of consumers, the NationalÂ Commission has ordered Parsvnath Developers to pay a monthly penalty to allottees for delay in handing over flats in Parsvnath Planet in Lucknow. As per the agreements executed in 2006, the developers were to give possession within 42 months in 2009-10. However, this did not happen. Later, the buyers were told the project would be completed only by 2015! Also, even the partial construction was defective and did not match specifications.
Hence, several separate complaints were filed before the Uttar Pradesh State Commission. In its order dated 25 February 2015, the Commission directed the opposite parties to hand over possession of flats to the complainants in 2015, issue statement of accounts to each complainant and pay 9% interest on amount collected in excess. Aggrieved by the order, the complainants filed separate appeals before the National Commission.
The National Commission partly allowed the appeals and modified the State Commissionâ€™s order. It directed the opposite parties to pay Rs. 15,000 per month to people who had bought flats up to 175 sq m in area and Rs 20,000 per month to buyers of flats over 175 sq m. The penalty had to be paid from the beginning of the 55th month from the date of execution of the flat buyer agreement till delivery of possession.
Point of law
Flat allottees are entitled to compensation from builders for delayed possession.
Officer liable for issuing flawed passportÂ
Richa Bhandari of Udaipur applied online for issuance of passport by the passport office in Jaipur. On receiving her passport, she and her husband booked tickets to London. The fare was Rs. 28,558 per head. To their shock, at Ahmedabad airport, they were not allowed to board the flight as the passport did not have a barcode! Aggrieved at being issued a defective passport, Richa filed a complaint in the District Forum which directed the passport officer to pay Richa Rs. 82,800 along with interest at 9%, Rs. 1 lakh as compensation for mental agony and Rs. 5,000 towards legal expenses.
The passport officer appealed to the Rajasthan State Commission, which modified the forumâ€™s order. It directed him to refund Rs. 10,000, reimburse expenses of Rs. 25,000, pay compensation of Rs. 50,000 and pay Rs. 5,000 towards legal expenses. TheÂ passport officer approached the National Commission contending that as he exercises a â€œsovereign function of the stateâ€, the complainant was not a consumer.Â Â
The National Commission observed that while the decision whether or not to issue a passport was a sovereign function, the subsequent preparation work could not be considered so. Also, as the passport officer rendered services for a fee, the applicant was a consumer. Accordingly, it upheld the State Commissionâ€™s order.
Point of law
Since the work of preparing and issuing a passport is done for a fee, the officer is liable for any error.