In the present matter, the Complainant booked a Residential floor in the Project ‘Omaxe Cassia’ of the Developers. The Allotment letter (26.07.2012) provided that the floor would be delivered within 24 months from the date on which Agreement will come into effect but not later than 30 months (25.01.2015). The Complainant paid about Rs.51 lacs of the total amount of Rs. 56 Lacs. Developers through various emails sought the extension of the period for delivery but failed to transfer the possession of the Floor within the stipulated time.
The Complainant filed the Complaint in State Commission, U.T. Chandigarh holding the Developers responsible for Unfair Trade practises and deficiency in services. The Complainant claimed possession of floor along with interest, compensation and cost of litigation.
The Developers challenged the complaint on the following grounds:
- The matter was to be referred for Arbitration as per the Agreement.
- The suit cannot be filed in the State Commission of Chandigarh as payments were made in New Delhi.
- The State Commission did not have the Monetary Jurisdiction to deal with the case.
- The Complainant being an NRI has bought the property for commercial purposes.
- Time is not the essence in the case of sale of immovable property.
The Commission directed the Developers to complete the construction of the project and handover the possession along with fine or interest @12% p.a. and compensation for mental agony and harassment (as the Complainant invested huge amount of money with the hope to get a roof over his head but could not because of the Developer’s failure), and also Rs. 50,000 as the Cost of litigation.
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There’s no dearth of things that the individual uses to fortify his identity, status, and sense of pride in society-and sometimes, in his own eyes too. Property is undoubtedly amongst one of the major aspects that lend to this identity – more so for NRIs for whom this is a vital connection to their homeland, their roots. Naturally, then, any action that threatens his security is an issue of concern.
While the much talked about ‘Benami Property‘ might not always be applicable in the case of NRIs, there could be four other major situations in the case of an NRI being the holder of the property. The first two are fairly easy to understand. These would involve situations where either he is the owner/resident, of the property or, he has rented out what he owns. Tenant occupancy is fairly well looked after under the Indian Constitution, and so long as one has proper contractual agreements with the tenant, one stays secure.
It is the other two situations which become matters of grave concern if due caution is not used. These are in the context of Illegal Occupation Property. First, the property could be trespassed upon by some people in force. However, it is a rare chance that the trespassers would be having actual papers regarding the property. The greater threat comes in two processes involved – one, there is a tenant who refuses to leave the property or house and has the benefit of improper documentation or none at all from the owner’s side.
Two, when an appointed caretaker seeks to illegally occupy the specific property. NRIs face this dilemma often after they’ve appointed some trusted’ individual to monitor their land as they can’t be there all the time to look after their property. If they have entered into a Leave or License’ agreement with the caretaker, there would always be hope since the owner would have the right to ask the caretaker to step down as and when he deems fit.
But as it happens in most cases, in situations where the caretaker is appointed on sheer trust without any agreement, the proprietor stands to be in a vulnerable situation. India is a land where culturally and temperamentally actual possession is provided more weight than anything else it matters who is invariably occupying a piece of property. Hence the illegal occupant is in a spot where he can be considered a threat to the proprietor.
Illegal occupation of property is among the list of biggest threats for NRIs and will continue to loom large unless genuine effort is put on increasing awareness of the precautions required. In the case of any dispute about illegal occupancy, there are various remedies available under Civil Rights-however prevention does assist.