Invite all flat buyers to join the case through public notices – Consumer Forum

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.

Case Summary

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.

Builder’s Defense

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.

Court’s Observations

  • 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.

The Order

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.)

Conclusion

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 

National Consumer Forum awards 12% delay compensation to Sahara Grace buyers

National Consumer Forum orders refund at 18% for long delays

Maintainability of complaints by Home Buyers Associations – landmark judgement by NCDRC

14 thoughts on “Invite all flat buyers to join the case through public notices – Consumer Forum

  • October 1, 2015 at 11:58 am
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    This is wonderful news for all buyers.
    Yes this should become a class action suit, to demolish the Builder and authority nexus.

  • October 1, 2015 at 2:58 pm
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    Excellent !! really applaud the NCDRC for such a judgment…infact, the Consumer Protection Act should be amended to include the provision that it should be a mandate on the Court to direct publication of notice in newspapers in all cases where the court thinks that affected parties are many more than those who are contesting the matter.

  • October 1, 2015 at 3:06 pm
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    Wake up Parliamentarians !! Do some work to help the common public

  • October 1, 2015 at 11:28 pm
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    The time frame and multiplicity in going legal is adding to woes of honest flat buyers and support scrupulous builders . Supreme Court and Parliament should step in. Parliament should function for the benefit of people to pass Real Estate bill and other bills and not serve as a L” AKHADA”” for defeated and small in numbers parties to stall business. Supreme court should consider this as a PIL and form SIT to investigate NCR Builder’s fraudant ways and give justice to home buyers. Influential lawyers like Mr P. Chidambaran is hired by UNITECH to fight honest buyers. Can honest buyers afford fees of Mr Chidambaran? My point is senior lawyers must come to rescue of these beaten house buyers to fight against senior Lawyers ike Mr PM Chidambaran. Mr Prashant Bhushan, Mr. Subramanium Swamy and few others who file PIL’S should offer free service. This is necessary as top supreme court lawyer’s fees are beyond the reach of individual buyers to fight influential Builders who contribute hefty amount to their party funds as well as oblige politicians in various forms in kinds or services.

  • October 2, 2015 at 10:27 am
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    Hope only vedantas or raheja related people should file or join.

  • October 2, 2015 at 11:26 am
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    It can only be Vedaanta!

  • October 12, 2015 at 9:41 am
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    Few points to learn from the buyers of DLF Westend Heights, Bengaluru:

    Grievance:
    1. Possession delayed by more than 3.5 years (promised delivery was within 3 years of signing application, but it ‘s already 7 years now!)
    2. Unreasonable charges (to the tune of minimum Rs. 8 Lakh/flat on top of the total price quoted during agreement signing
    3. No amenities whatsoever
    4. Loading of CSR charges on buyers!
    5. No provisions of visitors parking
    6. Extremely shabby quality of construction and fittings (from the so called number 1 builder in India)!
    7. Dummy association formed with DLF employees to further siphon off money from hapless buyers on one context or the other!
    8. Non-payment of Delay penalty, Early Payment Rebate, Timely Payment Rebate, Preferential Locations charges by builder to buyer despite defaulting on all factors and buyer being eligible for all the penalties!
    9. Builder’s representative (AVP level employee heading the project) was not even ready to meet the buyers and in-fact buyers were threatened by security guards that their legs would be broken if they forcibly tried to meet the official!

    Action taken by Buyers (a few brave ones though, in the face of tremendous discouragement and opposition from all quarters):
    1. Huge protests conducted since last 3 years which got ample publicity from media
    2. Systematic twitter campaign through which Central Cabinet ministers were made aware of the issues (yes, we were able to personally get D V Sadananda Gowda, the Union Cabinet Law Minister to mediate with the builder)!
    3. Hunger strike (one of the buyers actually fasted for 7 days and had to be hospitalized) followed by relay hunger strike
    4. Case filed at the Karnataka State Consumer Redressal Forum
    5. Case filed against the CA firm who used to certify all these illegal demands being made by the builder, with ICAI (currently in advanced stages of investigation with high chances of the CA firm losing their practicing license)
    6. Case filed with SEBI under the financial frauds clause (Ouch, this is going to hurt the most)!
    7. Case filed with MCA (Ministry of Corporate Affairs) which may result in cancellation of the builder’s license altogether!
    8. Case filed with ‘Registrar of Societies’ against the fraudulent association formed and imposed on the buyers and the buyers being forced to transfer money to this third party in the name of various charges
    9. Case filed with Central Commissioner of taxes against the various taxes being demanded by builder whereas non-of it has been paid to the government
    10. Few more extremely crucial actions which cannot be disclosed at this point of time!

    The Results:
    1. Couple of hearings already conducted at the State Consumer Forum
    2. Historical decision given by NCDRC in the form of a class action suit (only the second one ever in India, the first being filed by Govt. of India against Nestle in the Maggie episode). Details can be found here – http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Gallery.aspx?id=09_10_2015_010_016&type=A&eid=31806
    3. Reversal of charges loaded on the buyers by the builder (which builder showed as CSR in their books)!
    4. Agreement to provide ample visitor parking space
    5. Much more to come in the near future.

    So, dear friends, as you can see from the points above, it’s time to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH against these white collared robbers who don’t think twice before devouring the life’s savings of a common man invested in his dream home by taking advantage of the various lacunae in the law of the land.
    However, let me assure you that despite its various shortcomings, the India law is strong enough to nab these criminals by the scruff of their necks and drag them to jail (remember Subroto Roy Sahara)!
    It’s high time to stand up, get united and hit back hard – where it hurts them most)!

  • November 3, 2015 at 12:24 pm
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    Raheja is a big cheat. He has multiple complaints pending with various courts filed by customers of various projects.
    Raheja is now trying to extort money by increasing the super area and Electricity installation charges. Electricity installation charges were supposed to be included in the basic selling price. The overall increase in price is coming in multiple lakhs. Road, Water and Electricity are still not available. The connecting road which has been shown in the layout is supposed to be developed by Rahjeja but he has very happily put the onus on HUDA.

    I don’t know how Naveen Raheja manages to become the chairman of various committees and can claim to become an elite developer

  • November 16, 2015 at 11:21 am
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    Although corruption is common but corruption to a level where Sebi and other associations are involved not only raises worries but raised a question for all Indians out there there – that will Justice be given to all those vulnerable flat buyers- oh I am sorry the poor buyers who actually dream of owning a flat in Vedaanta ? – The answer is simply No – as RAHEJA BROTHERS HAVE LINK WITH MINISTRY- and we all know how it works in India ?
    Cases are in court but you’d be in grave by the time a verdict is given in favour of Raheja Brothers ( UNITECH ) – please please provide justice to hard working individuals and prove that corruption is not part of your system …!!! All the best for all those who filed a petition against – RAHEJA BROTHERS UNITECH ltd.

  • January 25, 2016 at 1:06 pm
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    This is a great development. I had the unfortunate experience of buying several properties from Vipul Ltd. (earlier Vipul Infrastructure), and faced problems in all projects. These projects include Vipul / Orchid Metropolitan at Aurorobindo Marg, New Delhi and Vipul/ Orchid Villa Nova on Golf Course Rd., Gurgaon, which has now apparently been relaunched as Aarohan.

    I am creating a platform for consumers/customers to exchange information to help each other. If you have faced problems with Vipul or Orchid you can submit your experiences through the following form: http://goo.gl/forms/o4VFYtUJFI. These responses will be kept private, visible only to me.

  • May 31, 2016 at 2:55 pm
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    I am a victim of Raheja Vedaanta .Pl guide me as to how I can join the ongoing legal case in consumer forum in the case Amit Saggar vs Rahejas.thanks. sackum2010@gmail.com

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