H. P. Housing Board Vs.
Varinder Kumar Garg & Anr  Insc 445 (11 August 2004)
S. N. Variava & Arijit
Pasayat S. N. Variava, J.
These Appeals are directed against the Order of the National Consumer
Disputes Redressal Commission dated 21st April, 2003.
Briefly stated the facts are as follows:
1st Respondent was allotted a house viz. MIG-II/97 at Raddi on 8th October, 1992 for a consideration of Rs.1,75,866/-. The full amount was paid. On
taking possession of the house, he noticed that there were major defects in the
construction of the building and material of poor quality had been used. He
pointed out the defects, short comings and construction flaws to the Appellants
in various letters. His efforts to get the defects rectified and/or removed met
with no success. He therefore filed a complaint before the District Consumer
Disputes Redressal Forum, Shimla.
It must be mentioned that pursuant to the complaint of the 1st Respondent
the Appellants had appointed an Architect to visit the place and file a report.
The Architect had found that the slab in the drawing room had lifted 6 cms from
the centre towards the outer wall.
The Architect had also found that the slab in the bedroom had lifted by
4.5 cms towards the outer window wall. The Architect had also found that
very poor quality concrete had been used and that the mix could be taken out of
the floor with bare fingers. In spite of such glaring defects having been found
they had not been rectified by the Appellants.
The District Forum called for the Departmental files and, on scrutiny of the
files, found the above mentioned report of the Architect. The District Forum,
on the basis of the material before it, directed payment of damages of
Rs.50,000/-. It also directed the Appellants to pay costs of Rs.1,000/- and
further directed an enquiry to fasten liability on the Officers or Officials
who, at the relevant time, were in-charge of construction and who had passed
such defective construction.
On the above mentioned facts, the Order of the District Forum was absolutely
just and correct. One would have expected that a public body like the
Appellants would have now held an enquiry and fastened the blame on the
person/s responsible; and taken action against those persons. Instead the
Appellants files an Appeal before the State Commission. They also take no
action against the Officers concerned.
The State Commission takes note of the fact that no action had been taken
against the concerned Officers in spite of the specific directions to take
action. The State Commission notices that in the condition in which it is the
flat is inhabitable. It therefore directs refund of the amount of Rs.1,75,866/-
along with interest at 18% from the date of the filing of the complaint. The
State Forum enhances the compensation to Rs.60,000/- instead of Rs.50,000/- and
increases the costs to Rs.5,000/-.
As against this Order, the Appellants go in Revision to the National Forum.
The National Forum sets aside the Order awarding the compensation of
Rs.60,000/- and maintains the directions to refund the amount with interest at
the rate of 18% per annum. The National Forum holds that the interest will be
payable from the date of respective deposit of the amount.
We have heard the parties. In our view, the conduct of the Appellants is
shocking. They first sell a defective flat and even when the defects are
pointed out to them and confirmed by their Architect they take no action to
rectify and/or removed the defects. We have set out the defects above. It is
clear that the defects are of serious nature. The slabs of the drawing room and
bedroom have lifted. There is a strong possibility that they may collapse at
any moment. The flat is inhabitable unless major repairs are carried out to the
Before us there is a dispute as to whether or not the 1st Respondent is
still in possession of the flat. According to the Appellants, the 1st
Respondent is in possession. However, 1st Respondent claims that he is not in
possession of the flat. We do no wish to enter into this controversy. In our view,
the conduct of the Appellants is such that they deserve no sympathy. Being a
public body performing a public service, they cannot act in such a blatantly
callous and corrupt manner. They have sold a flat which had major defects and
was of a poor quality construction. Such a construction could not have been
passed by the concerned Officers unless they were in collusion with the
contractor/builder. One would have expected that action had been taken not just
against the contractor/builder but also the Officers who so colluded. In spite
of clear direction from the District Forum no action has been taken against
these Officers. On the contrary we are told that they have been exonerated. One
fails to understand on what basis they could have been exonerated.
On these gross facts we give to the 1st Respondent an option. If he desires
to keep the flat he will be entitled to do so and will then also be entitled to
have compensation of Rs.60,000/- which he can use for getting the flat
repaired. If the 1st Respondent desires to keep the flat he must intimate the
Appellants in writing within one month from today. Within two weeks of the
receipt of the letter/intimation from the 1st Respondent, the Appellants shall
handover the possession of the flat, if it is with them, and also pay the sum
If the 1st Respondent finds that the flat is inhabitable he can inform the
Appellants in writing that he does not desire to have the flat. In that case
the Appellants shall refund the sum of Rs.1,75,866/- along with interest at the
rate of 18% per annum from the date when the amounts were deposited with the
Appellants. Such refund to be made within two weeks of receipt of intimation
from the 1st Respondent. We clarify that, in this case, we are maintaining
grant of interest at 18% per annum on an ad-hoc basis and that it includes
compensation for mental agony and harassment.
In either case, the Appellants shall pay to the 1st Respondent costs of
litigation fixed at Rs.5,000/-.
We clarify that this Order shall not be taken as a precedent in any other
matter as the order is being passed taking into account special features of the
case. The Forum/Commission will follow the principles laid down by this Court
in the case of Ghaziabad Development Authority vs. Balbir Singh reported in
(2004) 5 SCC 65 in future cases.
The Appeals stand disposed of in the above terms.