Bottom Line: Track2Realty explains how an aggrieved homebuyer can file complaint before the consumer court.
Gaurav Gupta, a homebuyer, was subject to dual cheating when he bought the house. Not only was he forced to pay additional amount for no fault of his but also the apartment had serious construction and seepage issue. He finally filed a complaint with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).
“The apartment I bought was already mortgaged with a financial institution and hence my loan was not approved. The builder promised to get NOC and asked me to wait but then he charged the late payment penalty, as if it was my fault,” says Gaurav.
He approached Amit Kumar, Supreme Court Advocate, who took up his case before the NCDRC. Amit Kumar believes when it comes to a costly purchase like the housing a consumer has every right to file a case with claims for damages for harassment, hardship and suffering caused to the buyer.
“Contrary to the general belief, the consumer is empowered in contesting the builder in consumer courts, provided one can establish that there is deficiency in the house, and the developer has not addressed the issue despite of requests made,” says Amit.
Amit Kumar also points out to step-wise process in filing the consumer complaint:
Jurisdiction: Identify the Jurisdiction of the Forum where the complaint is to be filed. This issue needs to be identified from two angles of jurisdiction – Territorial and Pecuniary. Complaint can be filed with District Forum for property value up to Rs. 20 lakhs; State Commission can be approached for Rs. 20 Lakhs to Rs. 1 Crore; and National Commission I there for amount exceeding Rs. 1 Crore.
Fee: The complainant has to pay a prescribed fee along with complaint before the District Forum, State Commission & the National Commission as the case may be.
Time frame: The Act provides for limitation period of two years from the date of cause of action, that is possession of the house. In case there is delay in filing the complaint, one has to explain the delay that can be condoned by the Tribunal.
Draft: The complaint draft must narrate facts necessary to establish a cause of action. At the end of the complaint one has to put signatures and in case any other person is authorised to file the complaint then complaint has to be accompanied with authorisation letter. The complaint draft must mention the name, description and address of the complainant and the name, description, address of the opposite party or parties against whom relief is claimed.
Documents: Copies of all the documents supporting the allegations has to be attached, including the Builder-Buyer Agreement and repeated requests made to rectify the defect or fault.
Affidavit: A buyer is also required to file an affidavit along with the complaint that facts stated in the complaint are true and correct.
Damage claim: The complainant must ask for compensation costs which should be specifically alleged in the complaint. Besides compensation, a homebuyer can also ask for the refunds, damages, litigation costs, and interest amount. One should submit the breakup of amount claimed under different heads but do remember to claim compensation or other relief as per the pecuniary value of the forums.
By: Ravi Sinha