Flat buyer can claim refund if he doesn’t get possession in time

Subsequently, a Letter of Intent (LoI) was issued on May 22, 2012, promising possession within 36 months. Sharma paid Rs 58,65,000 more as demanded.

The Authority failed to deliver possession within the promised period. So Sharma sent a letter on July 1, 2016 seeking a refund of the entire amount paid by him, but his request was ignored.

Instead, a letter backdated June 30, 2016, was sent on July 4, 2016, offering possession of the apartment, but Sharma did not take possession. After a few months, the Authority sent a letter agreeing to refund the money without interest, subject to a deduction of

10% of the total price paid.

Sharma then filed a complaint before the Punjab State Commission, which was contested by the Authority.

The Commission overruled the objection raised by the Authority that the dispute should be referred to arbitration or a civil court, and held the consumer fora were competent to adjudicate the dispute. It concluded a consumer who is not given possession in time has a right to seek a refund. Accordingly, it directed the Authority to refund the entire amount along with 8% compound interest. In addition, Rs 50,000 was awarded as compensation and Rs 21,000 as litigation costs.

The Authority appealed against this order. The National Commission scrutinized the postal receipts and the envelopes and found the letter sent by the Authority had been despatched on July 4, 2016, but had been backdated to June 30, 2016, to make it appear it was sent a day prior to Sharma’s letter dated July 1, 2016.

Accordingly, by its order of January 2, 2019, delivered by the bench of Justice R K Agrawal and Justice M Shreesha, the National Commission dismissed the Authority’s appeal.

Conclusion: A flat purchaser can seek a refund along with interest and compensation if possession is delayed. Such a demand could be made at any time prior to the issuance of letter offering possession.

(The author is a consumer activist and has won the Govt.of India’s National Youth Award for Consumer Protection. His email is jehangir.gai.columnist@outlook.in )

Jehangir B Gai

ePaper, The Times of India, Bombay, Monday, January 07, 2019, Page 4:

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Can a Bank be held deficient in services if its ATM does not dispense Cash for the reason “Cash not available”?

A consumer Court in Raipur has recently imposed a penalty of Rs.2500/- on SBI for exactly the same reason overruling 🎯the arguments of SBI that
1) the complainant was not its customer and
2) failure of internet connectivity is not within its ambit, rather it is upon the internet service provider against whom, any complaint if any, should lie.

The Forum countered SBI by saying that when Banks are charging for usage of ATMs for a whole year in advance and a client is Free to use any ATM he automatically becomes a customer.

The second point was countered with the reasoning that when the ATM itself was showing “No Cash Available” on 3 different dates and times how it can be a case of internet failure? Moreover, when customers are penalised for no balance or less than minimum balance in their accounts, how can a Bank get away with no cash in the ATM?

It being the first such judgement for ATM failure, it is expected to generate a lot of interest in the matter.

The incident happened in May 2017, complaint filed in June 2017 and the verdict was passed recently.
It’s a reminder to our banker friends here to be more careful in loading Cash in ATMs especially before consecutive holidays to escape such penalty as well as customer dissatisfaction.
As received.

Courtesy N Sankarapandian Natarajan in SBI Pensioners group💐🙏

Doctor Fails AIIMS Entrance, Sues Coaching Centre, Gets Rs 32K: What Students Need to Know!

In what could be possibly construed as a warning to such institutes, a medical coaching centre was sued by a former student who claimed that it did not prep him well enough to crack the entrance test for AIIMS.

Various coaching centres continue to mushroom in different parts of the country. While many provide their students with exposure to good material and teaching staff, several others make lofty claims but fail to deliver.

In what could be possibly construed as a warning to such institutes, a medical coaching centre was sued by a former student who claimed that it did not prep him well enough to crack the entrance test for AIIMS.

In 2014, R Sankara Rao completed his Bachelor’s in Medicine and enrolled for medical coaching at the Bhatia Medical Institute in Chikkadpally, Hyderabad.
Photo Source

Before joining the course, Sankara was given an entire list of topics that would be covered. Additionally, he had enrolled at the centre on the assurance that renowned pathologist Dr Devesh Mishra would conduct classes.

However, for the entire duration that Sankara was at the centre, Dr Mishra never conducted any class. Furthermore, he alleged that the institute didn’t cover all the topics that were mentioned in the syllabus.

Sankara mentioned the above incidents in his petition to the District Consumer Forum. Additionally, he added that due to the centre’s negligent behaviour not only was he unable to clear the AIIMS entrance examination but also wasted his time and money. The coaching fees that Sankara had paid was approximately Rs 45,000.

The coaching center on their part refuted all the allegations and also said that more topics were covered than mentioned to Sankara.
Delhi- govt-scheme-coaching
Representational Image only.

On November 15, 2018, the District Consumer Forum ruled in favour of Sankara and held the institute responsible for keeping Rao ‘disgruntled and dissatisfied,’ and ordered it to return the fees of the student along with a compensation of Rs 32,000.

The order by the consumer forum read, “The opposite parties are only coaching institutes, and when they promise a certain standard, it should be observed carefully. That the complainant should obtain a seat in AIIMS is certainly not their responsibility, but the path towards the flat goal should not be hindered by not delivering.”

In 2013, Abhivyakti Verma, a student who was preparing for her HSC exams, took on the Oxford Tutors Academy, an Andheri-based tutoring centre, for failing to provide promised services. The consumer court ruled in her favour, and the centre was slapped with a fine of Rs 3.64 lakh.

If you are enrolled in a coaching center and feel that the center is not fulfilling its promises, do consider taking legal action against them.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

https://www.thebetterindia.com/166440/medical-entrance-exam-aiims-compensation-news-india/

How Government Agencies Harass Consumers through Endless Litigation

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It is not for nothing that Indian courts are clogged and government is the biggest litigant. What is worse, the actions of government agencies in shirking responsibility for deficient service actually ends up harassing the people, tantamount to using public money with no accountability.
Whenever a complaint is filed against a government department, the standard ploy to evade accountability is to claim that the complainant is not a ‘consumer’ within the definition of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (COPRA). If nothing else, it ensures a delay in legal proceedings while the court first decides this issue.
Until recently, every one of us had to engage with the post-office for multiple reasons. In the initial years after COPRA came into force, any complaint against the postal authorities used to be brushed aside on the claim that post-office was doing duty as a part of the government and no action can be taken against the government.
Over the years, it has been settled that when a government agency is not performing a sovereign duty, but providing services of commercial nature, it cannot hide behind the cloak of sovereignty and shirk its responsibility towards its consumers.
Let’s look at some examples of how government agencies harass consumers by dodging responsibility and delaying grievance resolution.
Late Rama Chandra Jain had purchased 692 Indira Vikas Patras (IVP) in the name of his sons, daughters, etc, from the head post-office at Bolangir (Odisha). He lost all the 692 IVPs and reported it to the local police station on 25 June 2001. This, in turn, was intimated to superintendent of post-office, Bolangir, requesting it to stay payment of the maturity value of the lost IVPs until the claim was properly verified.
The deceased Mr Jain had also purchased 88 IVPs in favour of his son, the complainant in this case. On maturity of these 88 IVPs, the complainant raised a demand of Rs8,80,000 towards maturity value. The claim was rejected by the post-office citing some rules.
A complaint was filed in the district forum which ruled in favour of the son, on the basis of a precedent in the case of Ram Nath Mathuria vs Union of India in RP No. 1725/2001 decided by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in March 2002.
In that case, it had been held that “in the absence of any other claim on the basis of the original IVPs, maturity value should be released in favour of the claimants after taking an indemnity bond to secure interest of the department.”
Accordingly, the district forum directed the post-office to release payment of the maturity value of 88 IVPs amounting to Rs880,000 to the complainant on his furnishing an indemnity bond within 35 days of the order. For any delay in payment, a penalty of Rs20 per day would be imposed until realisation.
The post-office filed an appeal before the state commission; this was dismissed on 30 December 2016 because representatives of the post-office failed to turn up for hearings before the commission. Shockingly, the post-office then filed a writ petition before the Odisha High Court in 2017 against the order of the state commission. As was to be expected, the Court dismissed the writ petition as withdrawn, since it was misconceived. That didn’t end the matter. The post-office again filed a miscellaneous case before the state commission which, too, was dismissed on 13 April 2018.
Once again, notwithstanding the pain inflicted on the complainant, the post-office had the temerity to file a revision petition in NCDRC against the state commission’s order.
The counsel for the post-office contended that complainant was not a consumer and, hence, no deficiency in service had been committed by the post-office. As such, the complaint was not maintainable.
But, remember, the district forum had already given a detailed order covering this issue and had even referred to an NCDRC order of 2002 on the subject.
NCDRC noted that there was no other claimant for the said amount; but the post-office could verify and take due precautions like indemnity bond, etc, for securing its interests and directed it to pay at least the maturity value to the complainant, after having failed in the several rounds of litigation.
In 2002, NCDRC had elaborately discussed a similar matter and directed the postal department to release the money, as sufficient time had elapsed since the date of maturity. Therefore, NCDRC concluded that it was clear that there was no error in the order passed by the district forum.
The sad part is that a hapless consumer, who was a customer of the post-office, was dragged through various rounds of litigation by an obdurate government agency for no fault of his (Superintendent of Post Office, Bolongir vs Jambu Kumar Jain, Rourkela—NCDRC order dated 11/09/2018).
Another case involves the regional provident fund commissioner’s office, Haryana (RPFC) and a provident fund (PF) subscriber. The subscriber filed a complaint against the RPFC on the ground that his pension had been wrongly fixed as Rs551 per month instead of Rs835 per month as per the Employees Pension Scheme, 1995. The complainant claimed that he was a member of Employees Provident Fund Scheme, 1995, for more than 35 years; therefore, he was entitled to the maximum benefit under the Scheme.  After hearing both parties, the district forum, on 25 August 2003, observed that the minimum monthly pension will be Rs 335 plus Rs500 adding up to Rs835 and not Rs551.
The order also directed the RPFC to re-examine the complainant’s case on the basis of a notification by the labour ministry on 16 November 1995. The RPFC was ordered to comply with the consumer forum’s order within 30 days. When the RPFC failed to comply with the order, the district forum issued bailable warrants of Rs5,000 with one surety for the like amount on 1 May 2006. RPFC filed a revision petition before the state commission against both orders; but it was also dismissed.
RPFC then filed a revision petition before NCDRC which heard counsel for RPFC including a request to condone a 246-day delay in filing the petition. Although NCDRC condoned the delay through its order of December 2008, it imposed a cost of Rs10,000 on RPFC.
NCDRC noted that the primary issue involved was to re-fix the complainant’s pension as per directions of the district forum. However, it noted that application for condonation of delay made two things very clear. One, that the department had agreed to abide by the order of the state commission and fix the pension as per the order of the district forum. Secondly, that the revision petition was based on the notification dated 15.6.2007 which was perhaps not available before the district forum or the state commission. Since the notification was a new ground that had been taken up by RPFC in the revision petition, it could not be considered at that stage. Finding no merit in the revision petition, NCDRC dismissed it.
Once again, it is the hapless consumer who was made to run from one forum to another due to the dilatory tactics adopted by a government department with public money.
While we correctly raise a hue and cry for poor service rendered by private companies, the fact is that government departments, often, fail the consumer even more because of the ineptitude, lack of accountability and high-handedness of government babus.

Death by Mosquito Bite is Accidental Death

“Death of Policyholder due to Malaria after Mosquito Bite is an accidental death and hence Insurance Company is liable to pay the sum assured.”

In an interesting Case of National Insurance Co. Ltd. V/s Mosumi Bhattacharjee, (R.P. No.1270/2016), a question came before the National Commission to decide whether death of a Policy holder due to Malaria after a mosquito bite can be termed as accidental Death ?

Facts in short.
1. Late Mr. Debashish Bhatacharjee, the husband of the Complainant took the home loan from Bank of Baroda and along with it, he also availed facility of Term insurance like policy by name “Bank of Baroda Loan Suraksha Vima”, issued by the National Insurance Co. Incase of an accidental death, the policy amount was to be paid to the claimants

2. During the subsistence of the Policy, the Policy holder died due to Malaria and hence his legal heirs (LRs) applied to the Insurance Company fir getting the sum assured.

3. But the Insurance Company turned down the claim on the ground that Malaria itself is a disease and not an accident. Hence the LRs filed the complaint before the District consumer forum, which was allowed in their favour. Hence the Insurance Company filed the appeal in state commission, which was also rejected and hence the matter came to national Commission.

Held :
1. The National Commission upheld both the judgments of lower foras and observed that the Policy does not define the Term “Accident”. It relied upon the definition of Accident given in oxford dictionary, wherein it is defined as “An Accident is something that happens unexpectedly and not planned in advance and causes injury”.
2. Thus no one can predict about the mosquito bite and it can happen anywhere and anytime, like an accident. It relied upon the earlier judgment of Matbarsingh V/s Oriental Insurance Co.) wherein it has been held that Snake-bite, dog-bite, frost-bite are also accidents. It rejected the argument of the National Insurance company that Malaria itself is a disease and not an accident.

A) I feel this is an important judgment. Few days back, at least a person in every family was suffering from Dengue / chikungunya and Malaria. Few patients were succumbed to death due to such diseases.This judgment may be helpful to such families. Obviously terms of Policy, if any, will play an important role.
B) This decision also underlines the importance of having Term Insurance like policies. Consult an expert in this field.

 

https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/590a32924a932663936ff762

Airline can’t leave behind flyers with boarding passes

Kalpana and Swadesh Debbarma and their two minor children were booked on an Indigo Airlines flight from Kolkata to Agartala. They were issued boarding passes, but the flight took off without them.

They approached the airline with a written complaint, but it was not accepted, and the staff even allegedly forcibly took away their boarding passes. Their pleas to put them on some other flight are said to have gone unheeded. The family was compelled to book a hotel room and also spend on food till they could arrange money to buy fresh tickets. After two days, they finally travelled back to Agartala.

Due to this, the couple, both of whom are engineers with the Tripura government, could not attend office for two days, resulting in loss of salary.

The family approached the District Forum. The airlines contested the case, contending the family did not reach the boarding gate 25 minutes prior to flight departure so it was considered as ‘Gate No Show’ and the boarding passes were cancelled in accordance with the conditions of carriage. The airline stated that it had offered to accommodate the family on the next flight subject to availability of seats and payment of reaccommodation fees, but its offer was turned down. It denied liability to refund the fare.

The Forum allowed the complaint. Both sides appealed. The one filed by the airline was dismissed while Debbarma’s appeal was allowed by the Tripura State Commission. It ordered the airlines to refund ticket charges of Rs.16,432, reimburse Rs10,000 for hotel accommodation, and also awarded Rs10,000 toward compensation and Rs5,000 toward costs.

Indigo then filed a revision. The National Commission questioned the airlines if there was any evidence to show the boarding passes were cancelled as the family could not be located despite several announcements. The airline was unable to produce any proof. The Commission observed that once a passenger checks in, movement is restricted to a very limited area, so it is beyond comprehension why a passenger would not report at the gate despite announcements. The Commission further questioned why the airline, which takes a passenger’s contact details, had not attempted to telephonically contact the family. The airlines had no explanation to offer.

The Commission deprecated the attitude of the airline in snatching away the boarding passes and indicted it for failing to reduce the inconvenience to the family with two minor children. It also castigated the airline for filing a revision even though a meagre amount of Rs20,000 had been awarded as compensation.

Accordingly, by its order of September 12, 2018 delivered by the bench of justice RK Agrawal and M Shreesha, the National Commission dismissed Indigo’s revision.

Impact: If a person who has been issued a boarding pass does not report at the boarding gate, the airline has a duty to telephonically contact such a passenger instead of leaving him behind.

 

Jehangir Gai – Times of India 170918

(The author is a consumer activist and has won the Govt. of India’s National Youth Award for Consumer Protection. His email is jehangir.gai.columnist@outlook.in)

If ill-treated, elderly parents can take back property gifted to son: Bombay HC

Elderly parents, if ill treated, can take back property gifted to their son, says the Bombay High Court. Upholding an order passed by the Maintenance Tribunal, the Bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Anuja Prabhudesai said under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, the gift deed can be cancelled.

According to a report from the Economic Times the Act, passed in 2007, has provisions that protect parents and elderly persons who have signed away their property or assets to a person so that they would be taken care of, but are then left destitute.
Quoting the Bench, the report says, “The gift deed was made at the request of the son and his wife. It is implied that the elderly father and his second wife would be looked after by them after transfer of 50% share in the flat. Obviously, the son and his wife though ready and willing to look after the father were unwilling to do so in respect of the second wife. In the above circumstances, we do not find any error in the order (cancelling the gift deed), therefore, we are not inclined to entertain this petition.”
Sharing details of the case, the report says, the senior citizen, after death of his wife, wanted to remarry. At that time, his son and daughter-in-law requested him to transfer 50% share in his flat at Andheri, which he did in May 2014. However, after the marriage, the son and daughter-in-law started insulting second wife of the senior citizen, and both were forced to leave their Andheri flat. The father then filed application in the Maintenance Tribunal, which ruled in his favour. However, the son challenged this order in the High Court.