CHENNAI : Nearly 13 years after he paid 95,040 to a registered society to purchase a plot of land, which was never delivered, a Chennai resident is set to get the money back. The district consumer disputes redressal forum, Chennai South, has directed the society, which scrapped the project but refused to return the money, to refund the amount with case costs.
T Yoganandam of Adambakkam said the Central Government Staff Housing Welfare Society in T Nagar issued advertisements saying they would develop residential plots on 1,000 grounds of land. He approached the society and enrolled himself as a member. In November 1998 and December 2001, he paid a total of 95,040 for purchasing two grounds, said Yoganandam.
Despite receiving the entire payment, the developed plots were not delivered. In May, 2005, the society said the plots would be delivered after obtaining approval from the Directorate of Town and Country Planning (DTCP). In June 2006, however, the society intimated Yoganandam that it was "not in a position to finalize the scheme and the project had been dropped." He then sent several reminders to the society to refund the amount. His legal notice to the society was returned with the endorsement, "intimation delivered." He then moved the consumer forum.
In its counter, the society said it was a "non-profit organization providing shelter to mankind", and hence could not be considered as a service provider. It said it had entered into a contract with one Nagalakshmi for developing the plots and as she refused to cooperate, the DTCP approval could not be obtained. According to the terms of the contract, the actual allotment would occur only after DTCP approval. After the society failed to execute the scheme, it assured Yoganandam that new plots would be provided to him in a fresh scheme, it said. "Without waiting for such arrangement, he had filed the case." As the scheme could not be finalized because of "reasons and circumstances beyond the society's control," it could not be held responsible, said the society.
The bench of president D Krishnaraja and member K Amala said the society proposed to allot the plots to the members after 'developing' the land. And hence "there was a relationship of consumer and service providers between parties," it said. "The society was liable for deficiency in service by not executing the scheme," the bench said and directed it to refund 95,040 along with 12% interest from the date of submitting the entire amount