The Supreme Court ordered Unitech Ltd. to refund the money of three homebuyers for the delay in delivery of possession of their home and directed it to deposit Rs 2 crore before its registry.
The bench of justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy rejected the plea of the developer that it is facing financial difficulties and it was difficult to refund the money. Unitech’s counsel Kapil Sibal told the bench that other homebuyers would also approach the court to get their money back and it would worsen the situation.
Sibal further argued that the promoter was not getting money and pleaded in the court to make it clear that any similar request from other home-buyers in the project would not be entertained.
The bench, however, turned down Kapil’s plea and directed the developer to deposit Rs 2 crore by December 22 as an interim measure and said the homebuyers could withdraw the money from the Supreme Court registry on pro-rata basis. The court said it would take a decision on the rate of interest and compensation to be paid to investors at a later stage.
Advocate Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for three aggrieved homebuyers, told the bench that her clients had paid Rs 2.69 crore and booked their flats in 2011 in Unitech’s South Park project in Sector 70 in Gurugram and the company had promised to deliver possession within three years. She said the flats had not been completed even after five years and sought the refund of money.
The court passed the order on a plea of the investors challenging the Delhi High Court order which had stayed the directive of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) to the company to refund the money. The consumer court had directed the developer to refund the money to the three investors with 18 percent interest per annum and awarded a compensation of Rs. 3 lakh for each buyer.
The Supreme court, which is examining the plea of investors, took strong exception to the HC order saying that it amounted to overruling the Supreme Court’s order. “We are very shocked on how a company judge of HC can control our order. We are taking exception to the approach of the court which passed the order.”
The HC had granted an opportunity to the company to complete its delayed housing projects and directed the homebuyers across the country to hold meetings for approval or disapproval of the proposed scheme of compromise to enable the company to complete the pending projects.
HC’s order was in contradiction to the Supreme Court’s order which had on October 19 directed the company to refund Rs 15 crore to 39 home buyers in another project in Gurugram, saying a property developer must respect the contractual commitment and live up to the terms of the contract.