New Delhi: DLF Home Developers has been asked by a district consumer forum here to pay Rs 10 lakh to one of its allottees for refusing to refund the booking amount for a flat in a project which did not have legal sanction for execution.
The forum also restrained DLF from "launching or advertising" any project without putting up on its website or in its advertisement information about the legal sanction and approvals etc. for the project and the details of authorities from whom buyers can verify the same.
The New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum also slammed the real-estate developer, saying it "forced litigation" on its allottee, Gurgaon resident Arpan Jain, by "retaining his money illegally."
The forum said unless DLF is "deprived of its gains made on the basis of unfair trade practices and its greed is checked effectively, it would continue undeterred".
"We, holding opposite party guilty of committing gross illegality and unfair trade practices and rendering deficient services, determine damages for harassment and litigation at Rs five lakh to be paid to the complainant (Jain).
The bench presided by C K Chaturvedi also directed DLF "to return the deposit of Rs five lakh with interest of 18 per cent from the date of seeking refund."
The forum's directions came on Jain's complaint in which he had alleged that DLF had refused to refund the booking amount of Rs five lakh he had paid for a flat in its project "Express Greens" at Manesar in Haryana.
Jain had said he had paid the amount on August 27, 2008 and was intimated on September 2, 2008 that a flat had been provisionally allotted, which was subject to the execution of an apartment buyer agreement which was never executed.
DLF without waiting for approvals or addressing the genuine concerns and apprehensions of consumers and without entering into a formal agreement started demanding additional instalments, Jain had alleged, adding that as result he had
given a notice of termination of his booking and sought refund of his money on April 6, 2009.
The DLF, however, on May 15, 2009, sent a letter informing of cancellation of booking and forfeiture of Rs five lakh he had deposited by describing it as an earnest money even though no agreement existed as approvals were still wanting, Jain had said.
In its reply to the complaint, DLF had contended that the booking amount was forfeited as it was "earnest money" under the terms of agreement.
The forum, however, rejected the contention saying it is "relying on various clauses of its standard agreement forgetting that there existed no agreement till then".