Bihar State Housing Board Vs. Arun Dakshy  Insc 433 (23 August 2005)
Pasayat & H.K. Sema H.K.Sema, J
appeal preferred by the Bihar State Housing Board is directed against the
judgment and order dated 5.10.2001 passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal
Commission (hereinafter the Commission) passed in Revision Petition No.2099 of
1999 affirming the orders passed by the State Consumer Dispute Redressal
Commission and District Consumer Forum awarding interest @ 18%.
receipt of the notice, none entered appearance on behalf of the sole
stated the facts are as follows:- On 27.7.1989, the respondent deposited an
amount of Rs.15,000/- for allotment of MIG House in Barari Housing Colony in Bhagalpur,
Bihar, under the Bihar State Housing Board (Management and Disposal of Housing
Estate) Regulation 1983 (hereinafter the Regulation).
the Regulation, the allotment of plots/house/flat is to be made by draw of
lottery. The respondent was unsuccessful in the draw of lottery and so he could
not be allotted a house under the MIG category. On 28.7.1993, the respondent
issued legal notice to the appellant for refund of an amount of Rs.15,000/-.
The aforesaid notice was replied by a letter dated 6.10.1993 by the appellant,
directing the respondent to submit original pay-in-slip for the purpose of
refund. On 15.11.1994, the respondent submitted the original pay-in-slip.
Thereafter, the appellant refunded Rs.15,000/- to the respondent vide cheque
No.223231 dated 6.12.1995. On 26.3.1996, the respondent filed a complaint
before the District Forum. The District Forum passed an Award directing the
appellant to pay Rs.15,000/- with 18% interest. The appellant was also directed
to pay Rs.5,000/- as compensation. Being aggrieved, the appellant filed an
appeal before the State Consumer Commission, which was rejected, being barred
was issued limited to the question of rate of interest.
this stage, it may be noted that the contention of the appellant, before the
Commissions was that as per Regulation 45 of the Regulation, simple interest @
5% will be payable on an amount of earnest money. It would appear from the
impugned order of the National Commission dated 5th October, 2001, the same contention was also raised before the Commission
without any result. It was also brought to the notice of the Commission that in
an identical case in Civil Appeal Nos.1566-67 of 1997 arising out of S.L.P ( C
) Nos.26021-22 of 1995 titled Bihar State 17.2.1997, this Court held that the
respondents are entitled to interest @ 5% under Regulation 45 of the Regulation
instead of awarded interest @ 11%.
Court further pointed out that when the Regulation fixed the rate of interest,
the Commission could not give a direction to pay the interest contrary to the
interest regulated by the statute.
noticed that in the impugned order while affirming the Award of interest @ 18%
awarded by the District Forum and the State Consumer Commission, the National
Commission referred to the interest awarded @ 18% by the Commission in the case
of HUDA vs. Darsh Kumar. Awarding of interest @ 18% by the National Commission
in Darsh Kumar (supra) was considered by this Court in the case of where this
Court deprecated the Award of 18% interest at a flat rate after threadbare
discussion. It was held in paragraph 10 of the judgment as under:- "As has
been set out hereinabove, the National Forum has been awarding interest at a
flat rate of 18% per annum irrespective of the facts of each case. This, in our
view, is unsustainable. Award of compensation must be under different separate
heads and must vary from case to case depending on the facts of each
case." Learned counsel for the appellant contended and in our opinion
rightly, that the Commission should not have travelled beyond the interest
regulated by the statutory regulation, which fixed at 5% and awarding 18%
interest dehors the Regulation 45 of the said Regulation. In the instant case,
in the Regulation itself namely Regulation 45 provides that the simple interest
@ 5% will be payable on the money so deposited. The Regulation being
self-contained and the interest payable under the Regulation being regulated by
the statute under Regulation 45 of the Bihar State Housing Board Regulation,
the Commission should not have travelled beyond the pale of statutory
Regulation, apart from awarding interest @18% at the flat rate being deprecated
by this Court in Balbir Singh (supra).
the reasons aforestated, the impugned orders are not sustainable in law and
they are being quashed and set-aside. The respondent is entitled to interest @
5% as envisaged under the Regulation 45. The Award of compensation of Rs.5000/-
is also set-aside. The appeal is allowed. No costs.