Is this the beginning of “Class Action Suits” in India? National Consumer Forum (NCDRC) recently ordered, that all the home buyers of a group housing project with common grievances, should be invited through public notices in newspapers, to be part of the ongoing case.
Flat buyers in a project known as Vedaanta, Sec 108, Gurgaon filed a complaint in National Consumer Forum against Raheja Developers. While the case is still sub judice, the developer claimed that home buyers can’t file a collective complaint in Consumer Forum. The Forum not only rejected this plea of developer but also orders that all the home buyers, who have common grievances, should be informed through individual notices or a public notice in newspaper. They should be allowed to be part of the ongoing case as this will save court’s time in future.
Home Buyer’s Grievances
- Complete construction of the Colony, Vedaanta in Sector- 108, Gurgaon, Haryana, strictly in accordance with the specifications.
- Pay compensation for delay in the handing over possession of the flats @ 18% p.a..
- Carry out third party super area/Floor Area Ration (FAR).
- Disclose the carpet area of the respective flats of the allottees.
- Restrain the Respondent No. 1 from enhancing/revising the EDC/IDC with retrospective effect, unless permissible in law and many more….
An application has been filed by the flat buyers, seeking to file this complaint collectively for the benefit of all the 109 allottees mentioned in the complaint.
There are three sets of building in the project namely Vedas, Vedanta and Vedanta Floors. Some of the flat buyers have purchased flats in Vedas, some in Vedanta and some in Vedanta Floors. There are separate documents executed between each flat buyer and the developers and thus their complaint should not be heard collectively.
- The broad terms and conditions of the agreements between the flat buyers and the builder are identical, though the aforesaid contention is disputed by the learned counsel for the opposite parties.
- As per Hon’ble Supreme Court, Consumer Protection Act is to avoid multiplicity of litigation.
- Even if two views in the matter are possible, the Court or a Tribunal must necessarily take a view which would avoid multiple litigations and result in a uniform verdict being rendered.
- Not only the essential terms of the agreements are identical in all the allotments, the allottees have a common grievance against the developer. No useful purpose will be served by driving a large number of allottees to file separate complaints, for the redressal of grievances, which are more or less common to all of them.
- Even the opposite party will gain nothing by insisting on separate complaints by all the allottees, unless the purpose is to put them to avoidable cost and inconvenience.
Justice V.K. Jain ordered that,
- Either an individual notice to be served on all the persons who are said to have same interest in the subject matter or a public notice to be published in a Newspaper so that all the persons who are so interested come to know of the litigation and get an opportunity to come forward and seek impleadment in the matter before the Court/Tribunal.
- Notice of the complaint be published in Hindustan Times published from Delhi and circulated in Delhi/NCR for 18.11.2015
Copy of the order: Raheja Vedanta – NCDRC Order (CC/73/2015 – AMIT SAGGAR & 64 ORS. vs. RAHEJA DEVELOPERS LTD. & ANR.)
This is a game changer order in the fight of home buyers and builders. Such orders would encourage individual home buyers, who may not be well versed to file individual cases, join hands with others and demand justice.
More judgements by Justice V.K. Jain