Refund Rs 16.5 crore to 39 buyers: SC to Unitech


NEW DELHI: A day after the Supreme Court directed Parsvnath Developers+ to refund money to 70 flat buyers for failing to hand over possession of flats on time, another real estate giant, Unitech, had to face the ire of the apex court which asked the realtor to return Rs 16.55 crore to 39 flat allottees in its Vista project.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar directed Unitech Residential Resorts to refund the money to allottees who had booked flats in the Gurgaon project as many as seven years ago but have not got possession till date.

The bench told the company, which has already deposited Rs 15 crore in the Supreme Court registry , to pay Rs 2 crore in a month and said the amount would be disbursed by the court to aggrieved buyers.

The court also said it would quantify interest and compensation to be paid in the second week of January . The court clarified that its order was applicable to only 39 buyers and it would not entertain applications from other investors after the company contended that there were 1,200 buyers and all would rush to SC to get back their money .

Senior advocate A M Singh vi, appearing for the company , assured the court that construction was going on and flats would be handed over to the buyers from April next year. He pleaded with SC to grant six months’ time to the firm to complete the project.

The bench, however, refused to grant more time after the buyers “unequivocally and categorically” turned down the company’s proposal. Advocates Brajesh Kumar and Pawanshree Agrawal, appearing for flat buyers, told the bench that buyers had lost faith in the company and the new proposal seemed to be a ploy to delay proceedings.

“The company by delaying or procrastinating the completion of the flats cannot base its stand on excuses or any subterfuge to advance the stand that constructions take time. The submission in a way rests upon the metaphor that `Rome was not built in a day’ but serves no purpose. It is `flat’ or `money’.And nothing else. They collectively make a demand for refund of money because they have fought the litigation with ceaseless vigour and enormous hope,” it said.

The bench warned real estate companies not to play with people’s dreams of owning a house by reneging on their promise of delivering flats in time and instead making them run from pillar to post to get back their hard-earned money .

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“It needs no special emphasis to state that the property developer has to respect the contractual commitment. It has to live up to the terms of the contract and gain trust so that the people who dream of houses can repose faith in him. Not for nothing, it has been said, the foundation of any economy is faith and if faith is lost, everything is lost,” the bench said.

The SC, which has recently come to the rescue of other flat buyers, granted a patient hearing and allowed some of those affected by the Vista project to vent their agony against the company . “The voice of anguish is echoed in the court room as they say their dreams have been shattered and they have been constrained to pave the path of impecuniosity ,” the bench noted.