M/s. ASHOKA INVESTMENT CO. VERSUS M/s. UNITED TOWERS INDIA (PVT.) LTD.

M/s. ASHOKA INVESTMENT CO. VERSUS M/s. UNITED TOWERS INDIA (PVT.) LTD. 


NON­REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO(s).4913 of 2015
M/s. ASHOKA INVESTMENT CO.      …APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
M/s. UNITED TOWERS INDIA (PVT.) LTD.   …RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
Vikram Nath, J.
1. This   appeal   by   the   Consumer   under   Section   23   of   the
Consumer   Protection   Act,   19861
  has   been   filed   assailing   the
correctness of the order dated 16.03.2015 passed by the National
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission2
, (NCDRC), Delhi in
Original   Petition   No.377   of   2000   between   M/s.   Ashoka
Investment Company Vs. M/s. United Towers India (Pvt.) Ltd. By
the said order, the NCDRC directed the respondents to refund an
amount of Rs.4,95,000/­(four lakhs and ninety five thousand)
1 In short “the 1986 Act”
2 In short “NCDRC”
pg. 1
being total sale consideration to the appellant with interest @ 9 %
per annum w.e.f. 17.01.1995 till the date of refund/compliance.
2. The admitted facts are that, the appellant on 12.05.1980
applied for purchase of two flats bearing Nos.501 and 502 on the
5
th  Floor, 1st  Block, Krishna Apartments, Bangalore for a total
sale consideration of Rs.4,95,000/­(four lakhs and ninety five
thousand).   Along   with   the   application,   the   appellant   paid
Rs.1,00,000/­ (one lakh) each for the two flats by way of two
Demand­Drafts. 
3. An agreement to sell was executed between the parties on
17.05.1980. As per para 3 of the agreement, possession was to be
delivered   within   a   period   of   18­21   months   under   normal
conditions subject, however, to the availability of cement, steel
and other building materials, electrical or power connections,
drainage connection and subject to and including any Act of God,
drought,   flood   or   any   other   natural   calamity   and/or   war
restrictions by the Government, Municipal Corporation or any
other public authorities or any other acts beyond the control of
the builders.
pg. 2
4. Under paragraph 6 of the agreement, it is provided that if
there was any default in payment of installments, the builder
would be at liberty to insist for payment of the amount due
together with interest @ 18% per annum from the date of default
till the date of payment on the defaulted amount.
5. The entire amount of Rs.4,95,000/­ (four lakhs and ninetyfive   thousand)   has   since   been   paid   by   the   appellant   to   the
respondent.   A   dispute   arose   sometimes   in   1991   when   the
respondent   raised   demand   of   Rs.1,56,046/­(one   lakh   fifty   six
thousand   and   forty   six)   with   respect   to   one   apartment   and
Rs.1,62,202/­(one lakh sixty two thousand and two hundred two)
for the other apartment. These demands were raised vide bill
dated   15.12.1991.   These   demands   were   objected   to   by   the
appellant and a request was made to hand over the possession of
the two flats.
6.   Apparently,   possession was not given and, thereafter, it
appears   that   in   January,   1999,   the   appellant   visited   the
apartments only to find that both the apartment Nos.501 and
502 had been transferred by the respondent in favour of third
parties. It was thereupon that the appellant made enquiries and
pg. 3
came to know that the respondent had cancelled the allotment on
17.01.1995 and, thereafter, transferred it to the third parties. 
7. After   giving   due   notice,   the   appellant   approached   the
NCDRC by way of a complaint praying for following reliefs:
"(a)  To direct the Opposite Party to forthwith hand
over   to   the   Complainant   vacant   and   peaceful
possession   of   the   flats   allotted   to   it   being   Flats
No.501   and   502,   Krishna   Apartments,   Corporation
No.13, Ali Asker Road, in Corporation Division No.59,
Bangalore   and   to   further   pay   a   sum   of
Rs.22,50,000/­ towards delayed delivery till the date
of the application together with damages in the sum
of   Rs.3,00,000/­   as   specified   in   para   22   of   the
application:
(b) In the alternative to pay to the Complainant a
sum of Rs.48,27,000/­ as detailed in Paras 21 and
22 above, with pendente lite and further interest at
the rate of 18% per annum.
(c) Costs of and incidental to these proceedings be
provided for, and
(d) Such other and further orders as this Hon’ble
Commission   may   deem   fit   and   proper   in   the
circumstances of the case be passed.”
8. The   respondent   contested   the   complaint   on   technical
grounds   as   also   on   merit.   According   to   the   respondent,   the
appellant was not a consumer and further that the cancellation
pg. 4
had taken place after several opportunities and due notice. The
appellant had disputed receiving of any notice.
9. The NCDRC by the impugned order held that the appellant
was a consumer as the amendment in the 1986 Act has been
brought in 2003 whereby a person who obtains goods for resale
or   for   any   commercial   purpose   was   not   to   be   treated   as   a
consumer   within   the   meaning   of   the   definition   of   consumer
provided under Section 2(1)(d)(i) of the 1986 Act. Further, the
NCDRC also found fault on the part of both the parties. The
appellant not approaching the Commission with clean hands,
with much delay and further the respondent conducting himself
in a high handed and arbitrary manner. It accordingly disposed
of   the   complaint   by   directing   the   respondents   to   refund   the
amount along with interest @ 9% w.e.f. 17.01.1995 till the date of
refund/compliance.
10. After hearing learned counsel for the parties and perusing
the material on record, we enquired from the respondents, as to
whether, the amount as awarded by the NCDRC in the impugned
order dated 16.03.2015 has been paid to the appellant or not. We
were   informed   that   amount   has   not   been   paid   so   far.   No
pg. 5
justification has come forward as to why the awarded amount
was not tendered to the appellant. The appellant has pressed for
the   entire   complaint   being   allowed   as   per   the   relief   claimed
therein. On the other hand, the respondent has sought to justify
the   order   of   NCDRC.   However,   there   is   no   appeal   by   the
respondent.   The   appellant   has   also   pressed   vehemently   that
respondent should be called upon to produce the sale deeds of
the two flats in question, transferred in favour of the third parties
and that the said amount ought to be paid to the appellant along
with other claims, the respondent has unjustly enriched itself by
the aforesaid conduct. On the other hand, this request has been
resisted by the respondents.
11. Having considered the submissions of the learned counsel
for the parties, we are in agreement with the findings recorded by
the NCDRC regarding the conduct of both the parties, however,
we feel that in the fitness of things and in the interest of both the
parties considering the nature of agreement made and also their
conduct that the order of the NCDRC requires to be modified. The
rate of interest awarded is only 9%. Once, we find that under the
agreement, in the event of default, the appellant's liability to pay
pg. 6
interest on the defaulted amount could go up to 18%, it would be
just and proper in the facts of the present case that 18% interest
be awarded on the refund amount.
12. We   accordingly   partly   allow   this   appeal   and   in   partial
modification of the impugned order of the NCDRC, we direct that
respondent will refund the amount of Rs.4,95,000/­(four lakhs
and ninety­five thousand) being the total sale consideration to
the   appellant   along   with   interest   @   18%   per   annum   w.e.f.
17.01.1995 till the date, it is paid. The said amount be paid at
the earliest and in any case within a period of four weeks from
today.
13. There shall be no order as to costs.
14. Pending application(s) if any, is/are disposed of.
…..……..........................J.
[ANIRUDDHA BOSE]
………….........................J.
[VIKRAM NATH]
NEW DELHI
OCTOBER  11, 2022. 
pg. 7

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