The Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has set aside orders of the Pune District Consumer Redressal Forum indicting the Goel Ganga Developers Private Limited in a case filed by a resident of Mohammedwadi alleging deficiency of services. The dispute between Goel Ganga Developers Private Limited and the resident was over the booking of a flat in their Ganga Sparsha project, which was later cancelled.
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission’s presiding member PN Kashalkar and member Dhanraj Khamatkar issued the order in this regard on an appeal moved by Goel Ganga Developers Private Limited.
The commission observed that the Pune District Forum had not taken into consideration that the developers had returned the booking amount of Rs1 lakh to the plaintiff, which the plaintiff had accepted, and therefore there was no contract between the two. Major Harshinder Thakur and his wife Preetika had moved the plaint in the district forum on April 5, 2011. The district forum had issued an order on August 16, 2011 directing Goel Ganga Developers Private Limited to execute agreement to sale deed of Flat No 601 ad measuring 915 sq ft in the name of the plaintiffs at the rate of Rs2,700 within 30 days of the order’s issuance. The consumer forum also directed Goel Ganga Developers Private Limited to pay compensation of Rs25,000 and suit cost of Rs5,000 in 30 days from the date of order. The forum’s order instructed Goel Ganga Developers Private Limited to pay interest on the compensation and suit cost amount at the rate of 12% in case it didn’t pay the sum by the deadline.
As per the plaint, “The Thakurs had booked a flat ad measuring 915 square feet at Ganga Sparsha in Undri at the rate of Rs2,700 per square feet. Of the total cost of Rs26.50 lakh, the Thakurs had paid Rs1 lakh and had withdrawn 75% of the amount from government provident fund for this. They had prepared two demand drafts of Rs52,420 and Rs26,210 denomination to pay stamp duty and registration. The drafts became outdated, as the agreement deed was not executed in time. Later, they were told to pay at the rate of Rs 3,200 per sq ft.”
After the district forum ruled in favour of the plaintiff, Goel Ganga Developers Private Limited appealed against the forum order in the state commission through its lawyer Hitesh Jain. Jain argued that firstly there was no agreement between the Thakurs and Goel Ganga Developers Private Limited under the Maharashtra Ownership of Flat Act, and secondly the builder had returned the booking amount of Rs1 lakh by cheque, which had been accepted by Thakurs.
He argued that the Thakurs neither encashed the cheque given by Goel Ganga Developers Private Limited nor returned it to the builder. He also argued that the district forum had no pecuniary jurisdiction to consider the matter, as it can entertain the matter involving amounts of up to only Rs20 lakh.
Kumar Devi, CEO, Goel Ganga Group reacted to the commission’s decision saying, “We are satisfied with the court’s verdict, because it vindicates our stand that customer needs to get into a valid agreement with the developer for accepting the price stipulated by the customer. Any customer who does not sign the agreement and yet demands a price, which has become invalid with passage of time is unjustified.”