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In a landmark and in some ways historic judgement, the Maharashtra state consumer disputes redressal commission has ruled that once the builder takes token money and signs on an agreement (it need not be registered), he is liable to complete the deal. The commission also ruled that the law of limitation (passage of substantial time between the offence being committed and the complaint being lodged) will not apply in this case as there is continuing cause of action.
The judge said this in the dispute between Sunita Salunke, Vindhya Ramesh and Vasumathi Krishnan V/s Sheth Developers ltd.
The complainants had given the builder 65,000 each for a 1 bhk flat in 2003.The builder did not execute the agreement of sale and instead sent them letters cancelling the agreements.
In 2007, the women lodged a complaint in the consumer forum asking the builder to execute the agreement and deliver the flats to them.
The builder tried to bluff the court by stating that he had informed the complainants that since the building plans were not sanctioned, he could not accept the booking amount for the flats. He stated that the complainants forced him to accept the payment despite knowing these facts.
The consumer forum passed its order that the builder is liable to handover the possession of the flats after receiving the balance payment as stated in the non executed sale agreement. The order was passed in Sept 2010.
The builder appealed this judgement in the state consumer commission in 2011 but yesterday the commission denied him any relief.
This is an almost unprecedented judgement and should encourage more and more people to bring rogue builders to book for their high handedness.