Pune District Court orders realty firm to return Rs 25 lakh to four buyers

Team SoOLEGAL 8 Jan 2018 10:51am

Pune District Court orders realty firm to return Rs 25 lakh to four buyers

The Pune district consumer court has ordered a construction firm, headed by Leena Mahesh Motewar, a co-accused in the multi-crore rupees Samruddhi Jeevan chit fund scam, to refund Rs 25.20 lakh with 9% p.a. interest and Rs5,000 each, to four homebuyers in Samruddhi Jeevan Park, a residential project at Narhe.

Leena Motwar, who is in jail since her arrest in August 2016, is one of the two partners in the firm, Symbol Constructions at Kashinath Patil Nagar in Dhankawadi. The other partner, Swati Sambhaji Chaudhari, died during the course of consumer complaint hearings and the matters against her were abated. The court's directive is now applicable to the firm and Leena Motewar, who have been given 45 days to from the date of receipt of order to implement the same.

Two of the four complaints were filed by Abhishekh Vilas Mane and Pradip Jaywant Walhekar, both residents of Dhankawadi. The other two complaints were jointly filed by Vaijayanti Jaywant Walhekar and Prashant Jaywant Walhekar and Vaijayanti Jaywant Walhekar and Pradip Jaywant Walhekar, all residents of Dhankawadi.

The complainants had booked flats in Samruddhi Jeevan Park project between 2010 and 2012 for considerations in the range of Rs 9 lakh to Rs 13 lakh. The construction firm executed registered agreements with these homebuyers and even acknowledged, in its joint written submission to the court, the receipt of part consideration of varied amounts from these buyers.

Though, a dispute arose between the firm and the homebuyers over the payment of the balance consideration as the latter alleged that the firm was demanding more consideration than what was agreed to and claiming that the buyers failed to respond to their demand notices as per the registered agreements and that it was legally entitled to cancel the agreements due to such failure. There were also claims and counterclaims over payments made in cash.

The consumer court bench of president V P Utpat and member Kshitija Kulkarni referred to the documentary evidence on record and the pleadings and written versions from either sides and found certain discrepancies in the payments claimed to have been made by the homebuyers vis-a-vis terms and conditions of the registered agreements. The bench held that the firm was entitled to forfeit the booking amount and cancel the agreement if the balance consideration was not paid as per the demand letter.

The bench cited a 1996 judgement by the Supreme Court which held that a party who signs the registered agreement is presumed to know the legal consequences of the same. In the present case, the complainants had signed registered agreements but failed to comply with the terms and conditions, the bench noted. It, however, ruled that the construction firm by not refunding the amounts after deducting the booking amount, had caused deficiency in service and it was liable to that extent. The bench went on to pass separate orders in the four complaints directing the refund with interest and cost.

Lawyer Nilesh Bhandari, who represented all the four complainants, told TOI, "We are not satisfied with the consumer court's order as we never prayed for a refund but wanted directions for the firm to accept the balance consideration and hand over possession of the flats. We will soon move an appeal before the state consumer commission."

Tagged: Pune district consumer court   Leena Motwar   District Court orders   Samruddhi Jeevan Park  
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