In a recent case before the Rajasthan Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), the matter revolved around a project named "Mayur Dhwaj Grand" registered under No. RAJ/P/2017/324. The complainants, Lata Chhugani and Ajay Chhugani, had purchased a flat in the project from Alokik Buildcon Pvt. Ltd. The case, Comp. No. RAJ-RERA-C-2022-5326, raised issues concerning the delay in project completion and the subsequent demand for a refund. Let's delve into the details of this case and the order passed by the authority.
Lata Chhugani and Ajay Chhugani entered into a sale agreement on 21.03.2017, wherein they agreed to purchase a flat in the "Mayur Dhwaj Grand" project. The total sale consideration for the flat amounted to Rs. 60.75 lakh. Out of this amount, the complainants had already paid Rs. 43.35 lakh through RTGS from their own account or bank loans. As per the agreement, the project was required to be completed within sixty months from the date of the agreement, including the period of force majeure or grace period.
The complainants' advocates, Unnati Vijay and Saloni Nogaja, presented their case before the RERA authority. They argued that the flat should have been handed over to the complainants by 21.03.2022, as per the agreed timeline. However, the project was far from completion, with the respondent's own admission that only 30 percent of the project was complete based on the Quarterly Project Reports (QPRs) submitted in March 2022. The complainants further revealed that the bank was sending legal notices and demand notices due to their inability to deposit further EMIs, adding to their financial distress. They also highlighted a previous complaint filed in 2021, which was considered premature at the time but granted them the liberty to approach the authority with a fresh complaint if possession was not delivered by 20.03.2022. Moreover, the respondents had misled the authority in their reply to the previous complaint by claiming that the project was 90 percent complete and would be handed over as per the agreed date mentioned in the sale agreement.
The respondent, represented by their counsel, raised a procedural point, stating that the landowners mentioned in the agreement should also be impleaded as necessary parties to determine the reason for the delay. The respondent's senior counsel argued that the landowners, Maharaja Hari Singh and Maharaja Rajveer Singh, should be considered necessary parties and further emphasized the importance of their involvement in the case.
After careful consideration of the arguments, examination of documents, and review of the case file, the RERA authority reached a decision. They noted that the possession of the flat was supposed to be handed over within 60 months from the date of the agreement, a deadline that had already passed. The previous application for a refund was rejected as premature, but the respondent's representation in their reply misled the authority by falsely claiming 90 percent project completion. However, the QPRs submitted by the respondent in March 2022 painted a different picture, showing only 30 percent completion of the project. Thus, it was evident that the project was far from completion and possession could not be handed over in the foreseeable future. The argument about impleading the landowners as necessary parties was dismissed, as the agreement clearly stated their role was limited to signing the sale deed.
Order and Refund:
Relying on the Supreme Court's judgment in the case of Newtech Promoters and Developers Pvt. Ltd. vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and others, the RERA authority held that the complainants had an unconditional right to seek a refund under the relevant sections of the Rajasthan Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2017. Consequently, the respondent, Alokik Buildcon Pvt. Ltd., was directed to refund the entire amount of Rs. 43.35 lakh to the complainants. The refund was to be made with interest at the rate prescribed in the Act, which was determined to be the State Bank of India's highest Marginal Cost of Funds Based Lending Rate (MCLR) plus 2%. In this case, the interest rate amounted to 9.30%. The interest would be calculated from the date of each deposit until the refund was made.
Compliance and Execution:
The respondent was granted a period of 45 days from the date of the order to comply with the refund directive. Additionally, they were required to submit a compliance report within 15 days after the refund was made. In the event that the respondent failed to make the payment within the specified period, the complainants were granted the liberty to recover the amount through execution of the decree in accordance with the relevant sections of the Act and Rules.
In conclusion, the Rajasthan RERA case involving the "Mayur Dhwaj Grand" project and complainants Lata Chhugani and Ajay Chhugani resulted in a favorable decision for the buyers. The authority, taking into account the project's delay and the misrepresentation of completion status, granted the complainants the right to seek a refund as per the provisions of the Rajasthan Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2017. The respondent, Alokik Buildcon Pvt. Ltd., was directed to refund the amount of Rs. 43.35 lakh along with interest at the prescribed rate. This case serves as a reminder of the importance of adhering to agreed timelines and providing accurate information in real estate transactions, safeguarding the rights of buyers and ensuring accountability in the industry.
Note: The information provided in this article about Rajasthan Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RRERA) is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal or professional advice and readers should consult qualified professionals for advice specific to their circumstances. The information provided in this article is based on the Comp. No. RAJ-RERA-C-2022-5326 before the Rajasthan Real Estate Regulatory Authority
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