Sudha & Ors. vs Jaiprakash Associates Limited

Sudha & Ors. vs  Jaiprakash Associates Limited 

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



NON­REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6439 OF 2021
Sudha & Ors.                         …Appellants
        v.
Jaiprakash Associates Limited              ...Respondent
J U D G M E N T
ABHAY S. OKA, J.
FACTUAL MATRIX
1. This   is   a   statutory   appeal   under   Section   23   of   the
Consumer Protection Act, 1986. This appeal takes exception
to the final judgment and order dated 29th April 2021 of the
National   Consumer   Disputes   Redressal   Commission,   New
Delhi (for short, ‘the National Commission’). The appellants
are the complainants before the National Commission. By the
impugned judgment and order, the National Commission has
dismissed their complaint.
2. It is necessary to set out relevant factual aspects which
are necessary for the disposal of the appeal.
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3. The third appellant is a member of the Bar. On 27th
January 2013, the third appellant booked a two­bedroom flat
in   the   project   of   the   respondent­Company,   called   Garden
Isles.   According   to   the   case   of   the   appellants,   the
construction of the flat was inordinately delayed. When the
appellants visited the office of the respondent­Company in
January   2015,   the   officials   of   the   respondent­Company
suggested to the appellants that the booking of the said flat
can be cancelled and the appellants can book an apartment
in Imperial Court – Tower­1 in the project known as Jaypee
Greens,   NOIDA.   The   officials   of   the   respondent­Company
suggested to the appellants that the amount of consideration
paid by the third appellant while booking the earlier flat can
be adjusted towards the consideration of a flat in Jaypee
Greens. The appellants accepted the suggestion. Accordingly,
an allotment letter dated 11th  July 2015 was issued by the
respondent­Company in the name of the appellants in respect
of   Unit   Reference   No.IMP0128A4,   having   an   approximate
covered   area   of   3072.48   sq.   ft.   (for   short,   ‘the   said
apartment’). The agreed consideration was Rs.2,77,91,313/­
(Rupees two crore seventy­seven lakh ninety­one thousand
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three hundred and thirteen). According to the case of the
appellants, the possession of the said apartment was agreed
to be handed over to them within a period of 24 months from
the date of the allotment letter. 
4. The case of the appellants is that they were granted a
loan by ICICI Bank (for short, ‘the said Bank’). Apart from the
other   documents,   the   said   Bank   executed   Quadripartite
Agreement   dated   9th  December   2016.   The   appellants,   the
respondent­Company,   Jaypee   Infratech   Limited   (as   the
confirming party), and the said Bank were parties to the said
agreement. The agreement records that the loan amount shall
be disbursed by the said Bank directly to the respondentCompany, which will be adjusted towards the consideration
payable in respect of the said apartment. Accordingly, the
consideration earlier paid by the third appellant in respect of
the   apartment   booked   in   the   Garden   Isles   project   was
transferred towards the consideration payable in respect of
the   said   apartment   to   the   respondent­Company.   The
respondent­Company addressed a letter to the appellants on
24th  October 2016 stating therein that the said apartment
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was ready for pre­possession formalities and for handing over
the   possession   to   the   appellants.   In   the   said   letter,   the
respondent­Company   mentioned   that   the   completion
certificate   dated   20th  July   2016   has   been   issued   by   the
concerned authority. The letter recorded that though the area
of   the   apartment   mentioned   in   the   allotment   letter   was
3724.67 sq. ft of super area, in fact, the area of the said
apartment has been increased by 3.98 sq. ft of super area. By
the said letter, the appellants were called upon to deposit a
sum of Rs.1,82,26,309.30. The respondent­Company, by the
said letter, called upon the appellants to make the payment of
the   said   amount   on   or   before   23rd  November   2016   and
complete   all   the   pre­possession   formalities,   which   would
enable the respondent­Company to carry out final finishing
work   and   to   handover   possession   of   the   said   apartment
within   a   period   of   45   days   from   the   date   of   making   the
payment. Annexure­A to the said letter incorporated details of
the pre­possession formalities required to be completed by
the   appellants   for   the   execution   of   the  sub­lease  deed   in
respect of the said apartment. Annexure­B to the said letter
contained the description of four car parking slots reserved
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for   the   appellants.   Annexure­B   also   recorded   that   certain
work involving final finishing has not been done to avoid any
damage to the flat before the possession thereof was handed
over   to   the   appellants.   According   to   the   case   of   the
appellants, though the said letter offered possession of the
said apartment to the appellants, in fact, a lot of work was
incomplete. According to the case of the appellants, on 31st
December   2016,   they   paid   a   balance   consideration   of
approximately   Rs.1.80   crores   to   the   respondent­Company.
Out of the said amount, a sum of Rs.89,20,000/­ was paid by
the appellants by taking a loan from the said Bank. The
appellants   have   claimed   that   to   expedite   the   process   of
completion, they accepted the suggestion of the respondentCompany of taking a discount of Rs.4,72,900/­ against giving
up facilities of air­conditioners, wardrobes, modular kitchen
and jacuzzi agreed to be provided in the said apartment. The
appellants have relied upon correspondence made by them
with the respondent­Company from time to time for informing
that the condition of the said apartment was pathetic. The
appellants called upon the respondent­Company to specify
the   date   and   time   at   which,   the   possession   of   the   said
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apartment will be handed over to them after rectifying all the
defects.   The   appellants   have   stated   that   though   the   said
apartment was not ready in July 2017, they obtained e­stamp
paper by depositing stamp duty of Rs.13,67,700/­. According
to the case of the appellants, even thereafter, the work in the
said   apartment   was   not   completed,   notwithstanding   the
assurance given in writing by the respondent­Company to
keep the flat ready by the second week of August 2017. The
third appellant addressed a letter through e­mail dated 21st
September 2017 to the respondent­Company stating that a
consumer complaint has already been filed by them against
the respondent­Company before the National Commission. By
the said e­mail, the appellants called upon the respondentCompany to refund the entire amount paid by them towards
consideration of the said apartment. During the pendency of
the complaint filed by the appellants, by the letter dated 23rd
November   2017   addressed   to   the   third   appellant,   the
respondent­Company informed that the said apartment was
ready for the delivery of possession and that the possession
will be handed over on the date and time as intimated by the
appellants.
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5. It is necessary to make a brief reference to the complaint
filed by the appellants before the National Commission on
which, the impugned judgment has been passed. The basic
contention raised by the appellants was that the possession
was to be handed over to them within 24 months from 11th
July 2015 and though the entire consideration was paid by
the   appellants   to   the   respondent­Company   in   December
2016, even by September 2017, the said apartment was not
at all ready for possession. As the entire payment was made
on 31st  December 2016, within 45 days from the said date,
the possession of the said apartment ought to have been
handed   over   to   the   appellants.   But,   the   work   inside   the
apartment was not completed even till September 2017. The
complaint was filed by the appellants alleging deficiency in
service rendered by the respondent­Company. The condition
of the said apartment as of 6th September 2017 was also set
out   in   the   complaint   which,   according   to   the   appellants,
showed that a lot of work was still not carried out. The first
prayer   in   the   complaint   was   for   refund   of   the   entire
consideration amount paid by the appellants in respect of the
said apartment as well as the other miscellaneous charges
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with interest thereon at the rate of 18% per annum on the
entire amount till the date of payment of refund. Another
prayer was made to refund the sum of Rs.15 lakhs paid by
the   appellants   by   way   of   late   payment   charges   to   the
respondent­Company   as   well   as   the   monthly   installments
paid   by   the   appellants   to   the   said   Bank.   The   appellants
prayed for grant of compensation on account of the mental
agony caused to them due to the failure of the respondentCompany in rendering service.
6. The respondent­Company contested the complaint. The
respondent­Company   pointed   out   that   immediately   after
obtaining the completion certificate, on 24th  October 2016,
the appellants were called upon to complete pre­possession
formalities   and   to   pay   the   entire   balance   amount.   The
contention raised by the respondent­Company was that the
entire consideration was not paid by the appellants within 45
days of the receipt of the letter dated 24th October 2016 and
the   payment   of   the   entire   amount   of   the   balance
consideration   was   made   only   in   May   2017.   One   of   the
contentions raised is that as per Clause 9 of the general
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terms and conditions referred to in the allotment letter and
signed and executed by the appellants, the appellants could
claim a refund only if the possession was not handed over
within three months from the completion of the period of 24
months from the date of the allotment letter. It is contended
that even before the expiry of the said grace period of three
months, the complaint was filed claiming the refund.
7. The National Commission by the impugned judgment
and order held that refund could have been sought by the
appellants   only   if   possession   was   not   handed   over   on   or
before 11th  October 2017, but the appellants rushed to the
National   Commission   and   filed   the   complaint   on   21st
September 2017. The National  Commission referred to  its
interim   order   dated   17th  October   2017   by   which   the
appellants were called upon to file a report of a qualified
architect specifying defects/ deficiencies on account of which,
they   were   not   willing   to   take   possession   of   the   said
apartment.   The   National   Commission   observed   that
compliance with the said directions was not made by the
appellants. The National Commission observed that there was
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no   valid   reason   for   the   appellants   not   to   accept   the
possession of the said apartment and therefore, there was no
merit in the complaint filed by the appellants. 
FAILED ATTEMPT TO SETTLE THE DISPUTE
8. We may note here that we had called upon the parties to
explore a possibility of amicable settlement. The parties could
not arrive at an amicable settlement. However, during the
course of submissions, it was accepted that the appellants
had brought a purchaser who was willing to purchase the
said apartment at the cost of Rs.2.85 crores. The learned
senior counsel appearing for the respondent­Company stated
that considering the fact that the third appellant is a member
of the Bar, the respondent­Company is prepared to give up a
sum   of   approximately   Rs.30   lakhs   still   payable   by   the
appellants and transfer the said apartment to the purchaser
brought  by  the appellants.  In the  alternative, the  learned
senior counsel appearing for the respondent­Company stated
that   by   giving   up   the   claim   to   receive   the   amount   of
approximately  Rs.30   lakhs  payable  by  the   appellants,   the
10
respondent­Company   is   willing   to   put   the   appellants   in
possession   of   the   said   apartment   which   is   ready   for
possession.   However,   this   offer   was   not   accepted   by   the
appellants who are still insisting on getting refund of the
amount paid by them with interest. Therefore, the parties
could not arrive at an amicable settlement.
SUBMISSIONS ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANTS 
9. The   third   appellant   who   is   an   Advocate,   has   made
submissions on behalf of the appellants. He submitted that
as there was a gross delay on the part of the respondentCompany in completing the construction of the apartment
earlier booked by the third appellant, the appellants had no
choice   but   to   accept   the   offer   given   by   the   respondentCompany in respect of the allotment of the said apartment.
Relying upon the correspondence made from time to time and
photographs placed on record, the third appellant submitted
that the entire balance consideration in respect of the said
apartment   was   paid   by   the   appellants   by   31st  December
2016, and therefore, the respondent­Company was under an
obligation   to   complete   the   said   apartment   in   all   respects
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within   45   days   from   31st  December   2016   and   put   the
appellants in possession thereof. He pointed out that though
the   appellants   repeatedly   protested   by   addressing
communications   to   the   respondent­Company   that   the
construction of the apartment was incomplete, no steps were
taken   by   the   respondent­Company   to   complete   the   work.
Moreover, the appellants were forced to pay certain amounts
towards   social   club   subscription   and   the   maintenance
advance, though no facilities were in existence. He pointed
out   that   after   granting   enough   opportunities   to   the
respondent­Company to complete the work in the apartment,
on   21st  September   2017,   the   complaint   was   filed   by   the
appellants.   The   third   appellant   also   pointed   out   that   the
entire consideration amount paid by the appellants towards
the   booking   of   the   apartment   in   Garden   Isles   was   not
transferred   by   the   respondent­Company   towards   the
consideration of the said apartment.
10. The third appellant appearing in person pointed out that
the   conduct   of   the   respondent­Company   is   fraudulent   as
without furnishing even a copy of the standard terms and
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conditions of the allotment, signatures of the appellants were
taken   on   the   last   page   of   the   terms   and   conditions.   He
submitted that therefore, Clause 9.5(a) in the standard terms
and conditions will not be binding on the appellants. Hence,
the   argument   of   the   respondent­Company   that   the   grace
period of three months was available to it after the expiry of
24 months from the date of the letter of allotment, is without
any foundation and ought not to have been accepted by the
National Commission. The third appellant also pointed out
the   terms   and   conditions   of   the   Quadripartite   Agreement
dated 9th  December 2016 to which the appellants, the said
Bank and the respondent­Company were parties. He pointed
out that as per Clause 17(d), the respondent­Company agreed
that in the event of termination of provisional allotment for
any reason, the said company was under an obligation to pay
the consideration received by it directly to the said Bank after
retaining   an   amount   up   to   10%   of   the   total   sale
consideration.   He   would,   therefore,   submit   that   once
termination is made by the appellants by demanding a refund
of the consideration, the respondent­Company is bound by its
obligation   to   immediately   refund   at   least   90%   of   the
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consideration amount received from the appellants. The third
appellant appearing in person, pointed out certain documents
placed on record to show that the first appellant is suffering
from liver disease and the first appellant’s husband, who is
also a member of the Bar, is suffering from chronic liver
disease and has been recently operated upon for removal of a
cancerous tumor from his liver. The third appellant pointed
out that the appellants are entitled to the refund of the entire
consideration and other charges paid in respect of the said
apartment   as   well   as   in   respect   of   the   apartment   earlier
agreed to be allotted to the third appellant with interest at the
rate of 12% per annum till the date of realisation. The third
appellant relied upon a decision of this Court in the case of
Bangalore   Development   Authority   v.   Syndicate   Bank1
.
The third appellant also relied upon another decision of this
Court   in   the   case   of  United   India   Insurance   Company
Limited v. Antique Art Exports Private Limited2
.
SUBMISSIONS OF THE RESPONDENT
1 2007 (6) SCC 711
2 2019 (5) SCC 362
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11. The   learned   senior   counsel   appearing   for   the
respondent­Company   firstly   invited   our   attention   to   the
interim order of the National Commission dated 17th October
2017 by which, the appellants were directed to file a report of
a   qualified   architect   specifying   the   defects/deficiencies   on
account   of   which   they   were   not   willing   to   accept   the
possession   of   the   said   apartment.   He   stated   that   till   the
disposal of the complaint, the appellants never complied with
the interim order. The learned senior counsel pointed out that
the   allotment   letter   refers   to   the   standard   terms   and
conditions of the allotment. He submitted that the appellants
never disputed the terms and conditions referred to in the
letter of allotment dated 11th  July 2016, which specifically
refers to the standard terms and conditions of allotment. He
pointed out that though a reference to the said general terms
and conditions appears in several documents, the appellants
never made any grievance that a copy of the same was not
provided to them. He submitted that there is no dispute that
the signatures of the appellants appear on the last page of the
said standard terms and conditions and that it is not the case
pleaded before the National Commission by the appellants
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that their signatures on the last page were taken without
giving them copies of the original pages. He submitted that
Clause 9.5 (a) specifically provides that the allottee shall be
entitled   to   cancel   the   allotment   only   on   default   of   the
respondent­Company   to   deliver   possession   of   the   said
apartment within 27 months from the date of the allotment
letter. He submitted that only after completion of 27 months
from 11th  July 2016, the appellants could have claimed a
refund. He submitted that the said period expired on 10th
October 2017. However, even before the expiry of the period
of   27   months,   the   appellants   demanded   a   refund   of   the
consideration paid by them and filed the complaint with the
National Commission on 21st  September 2017. The learned
senior counsel also pointed out that by e­mail dated 23rd
November 2017, possession of the said apartment was offered
to the appellants. He submitted that there is absolutely no
deficiency in service rendered by the respondent­Company.
He stated that it is only because of the fact that the husband
of the first appellant is ill and that he is a member of the Bar,
that  the offer given  by the  respondent­Company  which  is
noted   in   paragraph   8   above,   stands,   though   there   is   no
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settlement. He would, therefore, submit that no fault can be
found with the impugned judgment.
CONSIDERATION OF SUBMISSIONS
12. We   have   carefully   considered   the   submissions   and
perused   the   documents   placed   on   record   along   with
additional   documents.   The   question   before   us   is   whether
there   was   any   deficiency   in   the   service   rendered   by   the
respondent­Company. The letter of allotment provides that
the possession of the said apartment shall be given to the
appellants within 24 months from the date of the allotment
letter. The allotment letter of 11th July 2015 specifically refers
to the standard terms and conditions. The relevant part of the
letter of allotment reads thus.:
“The   Standard   Terms   and   Conditions
including the Undertaking(s) given by you
forms part of this allotment. This allotment
letter   cancels   and   supercedes   all   previous
written and oral understandings in respect of
the allotment of the said Unit done by this
letter.”
(emphasis added)
13. We may note here that the appellants have relied upon
the terms and conditions of the Quadripartite Agreement to
17
which   the   appellants   and   the   respondent­Company   are
parties. Clause 22 of the said agreement specifically refers to
the  standard terms  and conditions  of  the allotment. It is
pertinent   to   note   that   Clause   22   of   the   said   agreement
provides   that   notwithstanding   anything   contained   in   the
Quadripartite Agreement, the appellants shall continue to be
liable for the payment of dues to the respondent­Company
under the standard terms and conditions of the allotment.
The appellants have made a prolonged correspondence with
the   respondent­Company.   In   none   of   the   letters/e­mails
addressed by the appellants, a grievance has been made that
a copy of the said standard terms and conditions was not
provided to the appellants. Moreover, it is not the case made
out either in the correspondence or in the complaint that the
signatures of the appellants were obtained on the last page of
the standard terms and conditions without providing a copy
thereof to them. Thus, it is not open for the appellants to urge
that   the   they   are   not   bound   by   the   standard   terms   and
conditions.
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14. The letter of allotment dated 11th July 2015 records that
possession of the said apartment is expected to be offered to
the appellants within a period of 24 months. Clause 9.5 (a) of
the standard terms and conditions reads thus.: 
“9.5(a) The   Applicants/Allottee   shall   be
entitled  to  cancel  the  Allotment  only  on
default   of   the   Company   to   deliver
possession   of   the   Said   Premises   within
the   stipulated   period   as   mentioned
hereinabove and within the further period
of three months thereafter. Upon expiry of
stipulated period and upon the request of the
Applicant/Allottee,   the   Company   shall
refund   the   amount   (a)   had   been   received
from   the   Applicant/Allottee   along   with
simple interest of the rate of 12% per annum
(subject to deduction of tax as applicable).”
                                        (emphasis added)
Clause 7.1 of the standard terms and conditions provides that
the possession will be handed over within the period described
in the letter of allotment. The said period is of 24 months from
the date of the allotment letter. However, a grace period of
three   months   has   been   made   available   to   the  respondentCompany.   If   within   this   grace   period   of   three   months,
possession is not handed over, the appellants were entitled to
seek a refund. Thus, as per Clause 9.5(a), the appellants were
19
entitled to seek a refund of the consideration paid provided the
possession of the said apartment was not offered within the
said   period   of   27   months   from   the   date   of   the   letter   of
allotment. 
15. Thus, as per the terms of the letter of allotment, the
respondent­Company was under an obligation to complete the
construction of the apartment and offer possession thereof, on
or   before   10th  July   2017.   In   view   of   Clause   9.5(a)   of   the
standard terms and conditions, the appellants were entitled to
seek a refund only if the possession of the said apartment was
not handed over within 3 months from 11th July 2017. It is in
the context of the standard terms and conditions read with the
terms   and   conditions   in   the   allotment   letter   that   the
controversy will have to be resolved.
16. The   appellants   have   not   disputed   that   the   competent
authority had granted completion certificate to the tower in
question on 20th  July 2016. A copy of the said document is
placed   on   record   by   the   respondent­Company   along   with
application for filing additional documents. The letter dated
24th  October 2016 addressed by the respondent­Company to
20
the appellants records that the said apartment was ready for
pre­possession formalities and for handing over possession.
Therefore, the appellants were called upon to complete prepossession   formalities   as   listed   in   Annexure­A   to   the   said
letter. One of the pre­possession formalities incorporated in
Annexure­A was a submission by the appellants of a nonjudicial e­stamp paper of the amount equivalent to 5% of the
value specified therein. The appellants were also required to
pay certain amounts towards the cost of electricity meter, gas
pipeline connection, and registration expenses. Annexure­B to
the letter dated 24th October 2016 incorporates the description
of four car parking slots allotted to the appellants. Annexure­B
also records that certain works specified therein, such as final
coat of painting/polish, fixing of C.P. fittings and chinaware
hardware   fittings/   equipment,   fixing   of   wooden   flooring,
wardrobe, and modular kitchen has been withheld to avoid
damage before actual possession is handed over. By the said
letter   dated   24th  October   2016,   the   appellants   were   called
upon to pay the balance amount of Rs.1,82,26,309.30, the
breakup of which was set out in the said letter. The appellants
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were called upon to make the   payment on or before 23rd
November 2016. The said letter records thus:
“We would request you to make the above
payment,   within   30   days   i.e.   before
23.11.2016 (due date), and complete the
pre­possession   documentation   to   enable
us to complete the final finishing works, if
any, and to hand over the above apartment
to   you   within   45   days   of   the   aforesaid
payment.”
17. Thus, the said letter was essentially addressed to the
appellants   calling   upon   them   to   complete   pre­possession
formalities by 23rd November 2016 which included payment of
the aforesaid amount. According to the case of the appellants,
they paid an amount of Rs.1.80 crores on 31st December 2016.
Apart from the fact that the appellants failed to pay the entire
amount specified in the letter dated 24th October 2016 on or
before   23   November   2016,   the   statement   of   accounts   at
Annexure­A­18 to the appeal shows that the last payment was
made   on   2nd  May   2017.   Thus,   the   appellants   themselves
committed default in payment of the balance amount payable
by them. Moreover, as stated in Annexure­A, one of the prepossession formalities included the procurement of e­stamp
duty of Rs.13,67,700/­ on or before 23rd November 2016. But,
22
Annexure A­23, which is the e­mail addressed by the third
appellant to the respondent­Company shows that the stamp
duty   was   paid   as   late   as   on   3rd  July   2017.   Though   the
respondent­Company had time available till 10th October 2017
(including the grace period of 3 months) to complete the said
apartment   in   all   respects   and   offer   possession   to   the
appellants, by e­mail dated 17th  July 2017, the respondentCompany informed the appellants that the said apartment will
be ready by the second week of August 2017. In view of Clause
9.5(a) of the standard terms and conditions, the appellants
could have demanded the refund of the amount only if the
possession of the said apartment was not handed over to them
on or before 10th October 2017. However, without waiting till
10th  October   2017,   by   e­mail   communication   dated   21st
September   2017,   the   third   appellant   called   upon   the
respondent­Company to process the refund of the amount. In
fact, in the same letter, it was mentioned that the complaint
subject matter of this appeal was already filed on the same day
before   the   National   Commission.   The   appellants   were   not
entitled to claim the refund till 10th October 2017. Hence, the
complaint was premature. As stated earlier, the appellants did
23
not   complete   the   pre­possession   formalities   set   out   in   the
letter dated 24th October 2016 and its Annexure­A within the
time   stipulated.   Moreover,   during   the   pendency   of   the
complaint before the National Commission, by e­mail dated
23rd November 2017, the appellants were called upon to take
possession of the said apartment on any day between Monday
and Saturday, after intimating the time and date.
18. Reliance was placed on the obligation of the respondent
incorporated in Clause 17(d) of the Quadripartite Agreement to
refund 90% of the amount paid by the appellants to the said
Bank. However, Clause 22 of the same agreement provides
that   notwithstanding   anything   contained   in   the   said
Agreement,   the   appellants   shall   continue   to   be   liable   for
payment of their dues to the respondent under the standard
terms and conditions.
19. At this stage, we may note the interim order dated 17th
October 2017 passed by the Tribunal, which read thus:
“The learned counsel for the complainants states
on   instructions   that   the   possession   of   the   flat
offered   vide   letter   dated   24.12.2016   was   not
accepted by the complainants for several reasons
including the defects in the flat offered to them.
24
The complainants are directed to file report from a
qualified   architect,   specifying   the   defects/
deficiencies   on   account   of   which   they   are   not
willing to take possession of the flat offered to
them.   In   the   meanwhile,   the   complaint   is
admitted, subject to just exceptions. Issue notice
in   terms   of   Section   13(1)   of   the   Consumer
Protection Act alongwith a copy of the complaint
to the OP for 13.02.2018 alongwith notice of IA
No.16392 of 2017 directing it to give its version of
the case within a period of 30 days from the date
of receipt of the notice.”
The   appellants   have   not   shown   compliance   with   the   said
order. The failure of the appellants to do so is very relevant in
the context of their allegation that the work in the said flat was
not   completed.   Therefore,   adverse   inference   can   be   drawn
against   the   appellants.   Hence,   the   appellants   failed   to
substantiate   the   grounds   pleaded   by   them   for   not   taking
possession.
20. At this stage, we may consider here whether there was
any   defect/deficiency   in   the   service   rendered   by   the
respondent­Company.   Words   ‘defect’   and   ‘deficiency’   have
been defined under Clauses (f) and (g) of Section 2 of the
Consumer Protection Act, 1986, which read thus.:
“2.(f)"defect" means any fault, imperfection
or   shortcoming   in   the   quality,   quantity,
25
potency,   purity   or   standard   which   is
required to be maintained by or under any
law for the time being in force or 2[under
any contract, express or implied or] as is
claimed   by   the   trader   in   any   manner
whatsoever in relation to any goods; 
(g)"deficiency"   means   any   fault,
imperfection,   shortcoming   or   inadequacy
in   the   quality,   nature   and   manner   of
performance   which   is   required   to   be
maintained by or under any law for the
time being in force or has been undertaken
to be performed by a person in pursuance
of a contract or otherwise in relation to any
service;”
21. In this case, we are concerned with the alleged deficiency
in service rendered by the respondent­Company. Till the date
on which the complaint was filed by the appellants, we do not
find that there was any fault, shortcoming or inadequacy in
the quality, nature and manner of the performance on the
terms   and   conditions   on   which   allotment   of   the   said
apartment   was   offered   to   the   appellants.   Therefore,   the
appellants   were   not   entitled   to   claim   the   refund   of   the
consideration paid by them in respect of the said apartment.
Hence, it is not possible to find fault with the reasons recorded
by the National Commission in the impugned judgment and
26
order. Accordingly, there is no merit in this appeal and the
same is dismissed.
22. However, in view of the solemn statement made by the
learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the respondentCompany, we grant time of two months to the appellants to
bring   a   prospective   buyer   interested   in   acquiring   the   said
apartment   along   with   the   right   to   use   four   reserved   car
parking slots as mentioned in the letter dated 24th  October
2016. Within the said period of two months, the appellants
shall submit to the respondent – Company, the letter of offer
signed by the prospective buyer. If such a buyer is brought by
the appellants within a period of two months from today, the
respondent­Company shall transfer the said apartment to the
appellants by completing all formalities within a period of one
month from the date of the offer letter. In such an event, the
entire amount liable to be paid by the appellants to the said
Bank   shall   be   paid   over   by   the   respondent­Company
immediately on receipt of the consideration amount from the
purchaser. The balance amount, if any, shall be paid over by
the respondent­Company to the appellants. If the appellants
27
are not able to procure a buyer for the said apartment within a
period   of   two   months   from   today,   it   will   be   open   for   the
appellants to take possession of the said apartment together
with the right to use four car parking slots as mentioned in the
letter dated 24th October 2016 within a period of three months
from today by giving advance intimation of at least seven days
to the respondent­Company. Needless to add that as the entire
consideration in respect of the said apartment has been paid
by   the   appellants,   the   respondent­Company   shall   not   be
entitled   to   demand   any   amount   from   the   appellants   as   a
condition for handing over the possession or for transferring
the same to the purchaser brought by the appellants, as the
case may be. On failure of the appellants to take possession of
the   aforesaid   apartment   within   3   months   from   today,   the
appellants will have no claim over the said apartment. In such
case, it will be open to the respondent­Company to alienate
the said apartment.
……..…………………J.
      (SURYA KANT)
……..…………………J.
(ABHAY S. OKA)
New Delhi;
September 16, 2022. 
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