Pune: Consumer Forum directs builder to pay Rs 9.6 lakh compensation

After a battle of 10 long years, the Pune District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum recently directed Raviraj Vastushilp Developers and its partners to correct remaining defects in their construction at a Wanowrie residential building and pay Rs 9.60 lakh towards repairs, damages and compensation to the residents. The residents had got some of the faults repaired.

Consumer Forum
Not time-barred: The opponent’s lawyer claimed the matter is time-barred. To this the forum said as per section 7 of the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act, the builder promoter is under obligation to provide the services of repairs as regards structural defects in the construction for the period of three years... the last Apartment Deed was executed on  December 31, 2001. This complaint was filed in the month of August 2004 i.e. well within limitation. Pic/Thinkstock

Around 35 residents of Abhinandan Apartments A, and their society president Dilip Chiplunkar and secretary Raghuraman had moved their plaint in August 2004 against Raviraj Vastushilp Developers and its partners Ravindra Sakala and Satish Raka, under relevant sections of deficiency in service described under The Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

As per the plaint, after taking possession in 2001, the complainants observed that, the municipal water connection provided by the opponent (Raviraj Vastushilp Developers and its partners) was not sufficient. So the complainants applied to the Pune Municipal Corporation for additional water connections.

The plaint also says it was further observed that there were various construction defects in the building such as leakage of drains and toilet water on lower floors and parking areas, seepage of rainwater through window frames and walls. The complainant had informed this to the opponent.

The toilets of 35 flats required repairs and the estimate of each was Rs 35,000. Four terraces had leakages and each required Rs 50,000 for repairs. The complainants also said that the opponents demanded Rs 77,755 for maintenance and formation of society, advocate fees, MSEB deposit etc. They have also collected Rs 5,000 from each apartment owner for various papers of the flats. Complainants had to pay Rs 7,500 for lift repairs also. Opponents failed to carry out repairs which amounts to deficiency in service.

Well in limit
The opponent’s lawyer denied the contents of the complaint and claimed the matter is time barred. He argued, “Time barred, as the Deed of Declaration and Apartment Deed is executed. Hence, there is no relation between the complainants and service provider.”

The forum observed, “The main contention of the complainant is that, there are several defects in the construction particularly as regards the leakage from toilet and terrace. It is also contended by the complainants the opponents have illegally taken an excess amount for formation of apartment, MSEB deposit, advocate fees etc. The complainants have produced the report of architect Sachin Sutar. It reveals that majority of the toilets have leakage problems, there was seepage from the above toilet floor in a wall to an MSEB electric panel. This leakage led to the furniture and electrical fittings in some flats being damaged.”

The forum added, “The opponents have raised objection as regards the affidavit of the architect as the report was prepared in the year 2004 and the affidavit is sworn in the year 2013...It is the case of opponents that, as the scheme was handed over to the society office bearers of the Apartment, the opponents are not under obligation to provide any facility to the Apartments.

But as per section 7 of the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act, the builder promoter is under obligation to provide the services of repairs as regards structural defects in the construction for the period of three years. As per the pleadings of Opponents, the last Apartment Deed was executed on December 31, 2001. This complaint is filed in the month of August 2004 i.e. well within limitation.”

Builder should pay

The forum has directed the opponent that the society is entitled to a lump sum amount of Rs 7 lakh for the repairs of the toilets in the Apartments. Complainants are also to be paid R1 lakh for carrying out repairs of the nine terraces of the Apartments. As regards the other defects and delay in carrying out the repairs, the complainant society is entitled for compensation of Rs 1 lakh. The society is entitled to receive compensation on grounds of mental and physical sufferings to the tune of Rs 50,000.

Did you know?
Consumer Redressal Forum is a branch of Rights Based Approach Society (Regd.) (RBA) dealing with all consumer related grievances and their redressal through all mediums including consumer courts and mediation.

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