Urban Development Authority Vs. Darsh Kumar & Ors  Insc 411 (28 July 2004)
N. Variava & Arijit Pasayat.
CIVIL APPEAL NOs.,5822/02, 5821/02, 5825/02, 5873/02, 7563/02 and 1835/03) S.
N. VARIAVA, J.
this Court a large number of Appeals have been filed by the Haryana Urban
Development Authority and/or the Ghaziabad Development Authority challenging
Orders of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, granting to
Complainants, interest at the rate of 18% per annum irrespective of the fact of
each case. This Court has, in the case of Ghaziabad Development Authority vs. Balbir
Singh reported in (2004) 5 SCC 65, deprecated this practice.
Court has held that interest at the rate of 18% cannot be granted in all cases
irrespective of the facts of the case. This Court has held that the Consumer
Forums could grant damages/compensation for mental agony/harassment where it
finds misfeasance in public office.
Court has held that such compensation is a recompense for the loss or injury
and it necessarily has to be based on a finding of loss or injury and must
co-relate with the amount of loss or injury. This Court has held that the Forum
or the Commission thus had to determine that there was deficiency in service
and/or misfeasance in public office and that it has resulted in loss or injury.
This Court has also laid down certain other guidelines which the Forum or the
Commission has to follow in future cases.
Court is now taking up the cases before it for disposal as per principles set
out in earlier judgment. On taking the cases we find that the copies of the
Claim/Petitions made by the Respondent/Complainant and the evidence, if any,
led before the District Forum are not placed in the paper book. This Court has
before it the Order of the District Forum. The facts are thus taken from that
these cases the Respondents were allotted plots long back.
Respondents paid all dues. They were not offered possession due to some reason
or other. In some cases, the Complainants were then offered alternate plots,
but a much higher price was claimed. The concerned Respondent was not willing
to pay the higher price and asked for allotment of an alternate plot either in
the original Sector or any other Sector but at the original price. This was not
complied with thus the Respondents filed complaints.
these facts, the District Forum directed that where the Appellants are not in a
position to give possession of the plot allotted they must give an alternate
plot at the original price. We are in full agreement with this view and hold
that wherever a body, like the Appellants, is not in a position to deliver
possession of the allotted plot, they must offer an alternate plot immediately
at the same price.
alternate plot must be in the same Sector or near thereto.
District Forum has directed delivery of possession, in some cases, of an
alternate plot, and awarded interest on the compensation amount at the rates of
15% or 18% p.a. from the date of deposit till date possession is given. We are
told that possession has been given in some cases as late as in 2002.
State Forum confirmed the Award in the Appeal filed by the Appellants. The
Appellants filed a Revision before the National Commission. The National Commission
has increased the rate of interest to 18% p.a.
reasons set out in the Judgment in the case Ghaziabad Development Authority vs.
Balbir Singh (supra), the order of the National Commission cannot be sustained.
As stated above, the relevant papers regarding the claim made, the affidavits
filed, the evidence submitted before the District Forum are not produced before
this Court. In this case, the District Forum has ensured that the possession is
given at the old rate. Where possession is given at old rate the party has got
benefit of escalation in price of land, thus there cannot and should not also
be award of interest on the money.
considering the fact that the allotment was far back and possession given very
late, compensation towards mental agony/harassment should have been awarded.
Compensation would also be awarded for escalation in costs of construction. In
future compensation must be given under these heads.
this case, considering the very long period during which no possession was given,
on an ad hoc basis, we direct that for mental agony/harassment and for increase
in costs of construction, compensation at the rate of 12% from the date of
deposit till date of possession be awarded.
informed that in spite of there being no stay, to payment of interest beyond
12% and in spite of clarification given by this Court's order (reported in
(2004) 5 SCC 65), the amounts have still not been paid. We feel that for the
lapse Appellants must pay interest at the rate of 15% from 17th March, 2004 till payment. Appellants shall also
pay costs fixed at Rs.500/- in each case to the Legal Aid Society of the
Supreme Court. The Appellants must recover the amount paid towards costs
personally from the officer/s, who were responsible for not paying even after
clarification by this Court.
clarify that this Order shall not be taken as a precedent in any other matter
as the order has been passed taking special features of the case into account.
The Forum/Commission will follow the principles laid down by this Court in the
case of Ghaziabad Development Authority vs. Balbir Singh (supra) in future
Appeals are disposed off in above terms. There will be no order as to costs.