The Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission recently ordered Royal Developers to pay Rs 1.1 cr compensation to a Navi Mumbai-based housing society for hardships caused to 35 flat owners since 2011 in the absence of an occupation certificate.
The complainant, Airoli-based Galaxy Heights Cooperative Housing Society Ltd, told the commission that the builder had handed over the flats but failed to form the society, obtain an occupation certificate and execute the conveyance deed in its favour. The flat owners were forced to pay electrical charges at commercial rates and shell out extra for water connection.
No individual electric meters were issued in the names of individual flat owners; they were therefore required to pay higher power charges as the connection was taken by the builder for commercial purpose. The housing society submitted the complaint to the commission in 2013.
Taking cognizance of the documentary evidence provided by the society, the commission said it was a clear case of deficiency in service on part of the company and its partners. The builder had failed to comply with statutory obligations of procuring the occupancy certificate, executing the conveyance deed and contractual obligations such as obtaining electric meters for flat purchasers, regular water connection, power backup and generator for the two lifts.
The commission directed the construction company and the developers to execute the conveyance deed in favour of the society and obtain the occupation certificate, both within two months. Included in the total compensation is Rs 17.5 lakh paid by the flat purchasers to the developer towards society formation, around Rs 8 lakh towards expenses incurred for paying private water tanker services, around Rs 5 lakh towards property tax and commercial water connection charges, Rs 2.8 lakh towards electricity charges paid at commercial rates, Rs 6.3 lakh collected by the developers for one-year maintenance, which was unutilized, and Rs 10 lakh for power backup of lifts.
The total amount under these heads will also carry 12% interest from 2013. Further, the commission ordered that each of the 35 members be paid Rs 1 lakh as compensation for financial loss, inconvenience and mental agony suffered. The commission also directed the developer to put in place an operational fire-fighting system.