Non-Resident Indians, who return to the country “every now and then”, can purchase a house in India, the apex consumer commission has said while asking Supertech Ltd to pay around Rs 64 lakh to an NRI for denying possession of a flat in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh.
National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), presided by Justice J M Malik, directed the firm to pay Rs 63,99,727 to south Delhi resident Reshma Bhagat and her son, Tarun Bhagat, who had booked a flat in the builder’s project in 2008.
The firm was scheduled to hand over its possession to the complainant in 2009 and when it did not construct the house, the Bhagats approached the consumer commission for refund and damages, the complaint said.
The firm had opposed the complaint seeking refund and other damages, claiming that the flat was booked in the name of Tarun, an NRI, and it was not for residing purpose but solely to earn profit and he could not claim to be a ‘consumer’ himself.
The commission rejected the firm’s contention, saying “it cannot be made a ‘rule of thumb’ that every NRI cannot own a property in India. NRIs do come to India, every now and then. Most of the NRIs have to return to their native land. Each NRI wants a house in India. He (Tarun) is an independent person and can purchase any house in India, in his own name.”
The NCDRC also rejected the firm’s claim that the complainants were offered an alternative flat but they rejected it and hence the complaint should be dismissed.
“It is well settled that nobody can force anybody to accept the flat of the choice of the Opposite Party (firm). Any other flat cannot be imposed upon the consumers. They have got their free will to accept or reject the other flats offered to the complainants. It is difficult to fathom why the flat which was promised to be given to complainants, originally, was not given,” it said.
According to the complaint, the complainants had made payment of Rs 63,99,727 to Supertech Ltd in 2008 for a luxurious flat which was to be built in Greater Noida and the flat’s possession was to be given by December, 2009.
The firm, however, did not construct the flat and the complainants approached the commission seeking Rs 1.40 crore from the firm, including interest and damages.
( Source – PTI )