i had purchased a plot from builder in the name of my mother in 2011 which was got registered in 2013. Later on i came to know through RTI(in 2016) from State Urban Development Authority that the builder had charged me extra amount for Sewarage Treatement Plant and Electrical Sub-stations.
Armed with this information i filed a case in Local Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum for refund of the extra amount.
Now the builder is taking the following pleas before the consumer forum
1. Per harpal arya vs haryana housing board decided by NCDRC that i had ceased to be a consumer and as such my petition was not maintainable in Consumer Forum.
2. That the petition is time barred as it was filed after a duration of 3 year from the execution of sale deed.
It is pertinent to mention that the builder is still charging me annually under different heads for maintenance of the area.
Request your guidance if i have a case here and remedies available to me. Any case laws would be greatly appreciated.
This is what was observed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in the case of Harpal Arya v. Housing Board Haryana, decided on January 4, 2016:
“Thus, from the aforesaid documents, it is manifestly clear that petitioner had executed the Hire Purchase Tenancy Agreement with the respondent and in pursuance thereof, he had also taken possession of house on 27.10.2004. Further, as per possession certificate it is clear, that petitioner had taken the possession, without any pre conditions. Now after getting the possession, it does not lie in the mouth of petitioner to state, that house is not in a habitable condition. Once petitioner, had taken the possession with open eyes and without any pre-conditions, he cease to be a consumer. The consumer complaint was filed on 25.05.2005, that is, after about seven months of taking over the possession of the house. Therefore, on the face of it petitioner was not a ‘Consumer’ at the time of filing of the complaint, since there was no privity of contract between the parties. Therefore, complaint is liable to be dismissed on this ground alone.”
Without seeing your detailed documents, it is not possible to give an opinion on the facts of your case, as to whether your case is covered within the above judgment, the relevant extract of which is reproduced above for your benefit. You may consult some lawyer on this issue by showing him your detailed documents.
On the second issue of your complaint being time-barred, let me point out that as per Section 24-A of the Consumer Protection Act the limitation period is 2 years from the date on which the cause of action has arisen. However, the consumer forum has the power to condone the delay in appropriate cases if sufficient cause is shown for the delay.
In your case, from the facts stated by you, the cause of action appears to have arisen when the extra payment was charged or was made. This appears to be sometime between 2011 to 2013 (as mentioned by you). Since your consumer complaint appears to be about charging extra money for Sewerage Treatment Plant and Electrical Sub-stations, the cause of action will be on the date when it was charged or paid. You appear to have filed the consumer complaint in 2016 or thereafter after getting RTI reply. Therefore, it appears to be beyond the limitation period of 2 years. But, you can file an application for condonation of delay, justifying the delay.
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