Builder Fined Rs 5 Lakh for unkept promises

In a Landmark judgment the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum fined the builders Rs. 5 Lakhs, but the complainant is no more. His Family continued his fight against the developer who gave house without any amenities.

WHEN the late Pradip Roy drew up his retirement plans in 1997, little did he know that he was in for a struggle that would last beyond his death. In 1997 Roy booked an Rs 16.5-lakh flat in Gaurav Empire where Ravi Ashish Land Developers had promised amenities such as a pool, garden, community hall, playground and jogging tracks.

As the scheduled date of possession approached, the Roy’s realised that the flat was nowhere near completion. “The project area was occupied by slum dwellers; the building had no access road. The entry to the site as depicted in the plan did not exist and there was only one pathway leading to the building from the adjacent road,” said Roy in his complaint.

Roy and his son Anirban waited 13 months for completion of work and were then forced to shift to an ‘uninhabitable’ house. “Since our previous landlord asked us to move out in July 1998, we had no option but to shift to this flat. It was neither inhabitable nor as per agreement,” he said in the petition. Citing the absence of an approach road, unavailability of regular water supply, absence of BMC Occupation Certificate and poor quality of construction and maintenance, the Roys moved the consumer court in the year 2000.

After a decade-long fight, recently the Roys were finally compensated when the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum observed the developer had severely erred and failed to provide promised amenities even 13 years after the promised date of possession. Compensating the Roys for the “shame of living in such a house”, and “mental harassment”, the state commission ordered the builder to pay Rs 5 lakh to Roys in addition to Rs 1.48 lakh for the non-procurement of OC. The builder has also been asked to pay Rs 25,000 towards litigation cost.

Roy passed away in 2009 at the age of 76 with his son and daughter-in-law was still pursuing the consumer case. “After my father-in-law took ill, we promptly followed up with the matter”. said the complainant’s daughter-in-law and counsel in the case. “For a decade we hoped the builder would give us what was promised, but all our efforts were in vain. We are glad the court has at least held the developers accountable for false promises.”

-      Adv. R. P. Rathod.