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Lt. Col. (Dr.) Riptinder Singh Vs. the Director, Housing and Urban Development and Another - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtUnion Territory Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission UT Chandigarh
Decided On
Case NumberComplaint Case No. 71 of 1998
Judge
AppellantLt. Col. (Dr.) Riptinder Singh
RespondentThe Director, Housing and Urban Development and Another
Excerpt:
consumer protection act, 1986 - section 2(1)(c) - cases referred: 1. 1991 (1) ilr 240. (referred) [para 6] 2. 118 (1998-1) plr. (referred) [para 13] comparative citations: 2000 (2) clt 107, 2000 (2) cpc 180, 2000 (2) cpj 443.....you are being given/allotted plot no. 72, sector 70, s.a.s. nagar. the terms and conditions of the allotment letter already issued vide letter no. a-2(701/70) 5743 dated 19.3.1987 and no. 8431 dated 15.10.1991 will be the same. 3. the case regarding prices of the plots is pending in the supreme court and the decision of the supreme court whatsoever may by, applicable on you. sd/- estate officer, endst. no. a-7 (p. no. 701, sector 70) 93 dated : a copy is forwarded to the additional housing commissioner, punjab housing and urban development board, chandigarh for information please. sd/- estate officer” the complainant was posted on active field service in jammu and kashmir in operational area till 1993 and thereafter in military hospital at jam nagar during the period 1993 to 1997.....
Judgment:

Dr. P.K. Vasudeva, Member:

1. The complainant Lt. Col. (Dr.) Riptinder Singh applied for the registration of the allotment of one Kanal residential plot (500 sq. yds.) in Defence Colony at SAS Nagar on 24.10.1975 by submitting a demand draft of Rs. 2,000/- as earnest money to respondent No. 1 The Director, Housing and Urban Development, Punjab. After a long wait the complainant, a serving officer requested the Punjab Government in the year 1985 for early allotment of the plot out of the Government discretionary quota, which was accepted in 1987. Consequently on 19.3.1987 the complainant was informed by the Estate Officer, Urban Estate, Chandigarh-respondent No. 2 that plot No. 701 in Sector 70 measuring 400 sq. yds. has been allotted to him at the total price of Rs. 93,000/- vide their letter Annexure C/1 No. A-2(701-Sec.70)87/5743 dated 19.3.1987. Later on plot No. 168 was substituted in place on earlier i.e. Plot No. 701, Sector 70, Mohali.

2. The complainant deposited Rs. 23,250/- as 25% of the total cost of the plot in question immediately after the allotment of said plot and also deposited the sum of Rs. 49,525/- and Rs. 19,000/- on 29.7.1987 and 22.7.1988 respectively. The entire price of Rs. 93,000/- of the said plot was thus deposited.

3. The respondents could not deliver the possession of the plot till 21.10.1994 as plots were not developed as per the letter Annexure C/2 dated 20.6.1988 issued by respondent No. 2, Estate Officer, Urban Estate, Mohali. The complainant was again informed by the respondents that Rs. 7,260.55p. was outstanding against him vide their letter dated 15.7.1991, which according to the complainant was never due because the total price of the plot had already been paid as explained above.

4. Later on the complainant was served with an allegedly illegal notice dated 15.10.1991 to deposit Rs. 2,19,000/- as enhanced price of the plot in question vide their letter Annexure C/3 No. A-2(plot No. 701, Sector-70) 91/8437 within 30 days as per details mentioned in it. The complainant was aggrieved from the enhanced price of the plot hence the present complaint has been preferred.

5. On 1.6.1992 the then Commission directed the parties to maintain status quo till further orders. Subsequently on 2.9.1992 as an interim relief of the stay while adjourning the case as ‘adjourned sine die was passed. The order of the then State Commission dated 2.9.1992 is reproduced as under :

“The learned Counsel for the complainant states that as stated in the reply of the respondents, a similar matter is pending for disposal in the Honble High Court. He prays that this complainant may be adjourned sine die to await the decision of that case. It is ordered accordingly.

Meanwhile stay to continue.

Sd/-

President and Members”

Thereafter the then Commission suo motu issued notices to the parties to appear on 17.1.1995 vide order dated 2.1.1995 to know the fate of the matter pending in the High Court in CWP No. 13283 of 1991. On receipt of the said notice, the complainant appeared through Counsel on 17.1.1995 and the said complaint was disposed of as withdrawn because of two reasons—first the complainant got the physical possession of the plot in question on 21.10.1994 and second, he also received letter dated 30.4.1993 Annexure C/8 and its English version is reproduced as under :

“Punjab Housing and Urban Development Board S.A.S. Nagar

From

The Estate Officer,

Urban Estate,

SCO No. 48, Phase-2,

S.A.S. Nagar.

To

Maj. Riptinder Singh s/o S. Inder Singh,

House No. 1093, Sector 8C,

Chandigarh.

Memo No. A-7 (P. No. 701), Sector 70) 93/2982 dated : 30.4.1993.

Subject : Plot No. 701 Phase/Sector 70, S.A.S. Nagar — regarding change.

——

Reference this office reminder No. A-2(701/70)87/57 dated 19.3.1987 and subsequent letter No. 8449 dated 15.10.1991, on the subject noted above.

2. In view of replanning of Sector 70, in place of Plot No. 701, Sector 70, you are being given/allotted Plot No. 72, Sector 70, S.A.S. Nagar. The terms and conditions of the allotment letter already issued vide letter No. A-2(701/70) 5743 dated 19.3.1987 and No. 8431 dated 15.10.1991 will be the same.

3. The case regarding prices of the plots is pending in the Supreme Court and the decision of the Supreme Court whatsoever may by, applicable on you.

Sd/-

Estate Officer,

Endst. No. A-7 (P. No. 701, Sector 70) 93 Dated :

A copy is forwarded to the Additional Housing Commissioner, Punjab Housing and Urban Development Board, Chandigarh for information please.

Sd/-

Estate Officer”

The complainant was posted on active field service in Jammu and Kashmir in operational Area till 1993 and thereafter in Military Hospital at Jam Nagar during the period 1993 to 1997 hence he started the construction only in March 1998 when he was posted in Western Command, Chandimandir. He applied for the sewerage connection in the month of September, 1998 after completion of construction. The respondents again demanded Rs. 7,260.55p which was allegedly outstanding in their record as interest though he had already paid the entire amount, failing which the sewerage connection would not have been given to him. The complainant was left at the mercy of the respondents because he had no other alternative but to get the sewerage connection so he per force deposited the sum of Rs. 7,260.55p, and the sewerage connection was given to him on 21.10.1998 provisionally (temporary).

6. The complainant brought out that a similar matter was already taken into consideration by the Honble High Court in C.W.P. No. 13283 of 1991 titled as D.S. Longia etc. v. The State of Punjab etc., and the same was decided on 28th September, 1992 and respondents aggrieved from the said order filed S.L.P. No. 21857 of 1993 in the Supreme Court of India which was also dismissed as withdrawn on 2.2.1994, copy of both the orders are Annexures C/11 and C/12 respectively. On behalf of the complainant it has been averred that the respondents had no right to recover any of enhanced amount as per notice dated 15.10.1991 because orders were also admittedly applicable to the complainant as per condition No. 3 of Annexure C-8. Moreover, the respondents have also issued no due certificate to his neighbourer Mr. D.S. Longia and others of the same Sector 70 of Mohali whereas the complainant wrote a number of letters to treat his case similar to that of his neighbour Sh. D.S. Longia but no suitable relief had been given to him.

7. The complainant has requested the following reliefs and refund of money, which has been erroneously charged by the respondents;

“Rs. 7,260/- and the amount of Extension fee vide Annexure C/14 i.e. Rs. 40,326/- and also for the deficiency of services and delayed delivery of possession and mental agony, complainant is entitled for the compensation of Rs. 5 lacs on account of damages, in all respondents are liable to pay Rs. 5,47,568/.”

8. In reply to the complaint the respondents have not controverted the fact that the complainant had paid Rs. 93,000/- which the respondents alleged was tentative price. This has also not been controverted that possession of the plot was given to the complainant in the year 1988. This has also been confirmed that the site of plot was changed from 701 of Sector 70 to Plot No. 72 and finally complainant was allotted plot No. 168 of Sector 70, Mohali and possession was hande dover on 21.10.1994. It has been brought out by the respondent that the complainant did not start construction on either of the plots allotted to him within specified period of 3 years. The respondent has averred that the complainant had not deposited the entire price of the plot in question and in fact a sum of Rs. 7,260.55p. was outstanding and the complainant was required to pay the entire total price of the plot within 60 days of issuance of the allotment letter or deposit 25% within 30 days and deposit balance 75% with interest @ 7% p.a. in four instalments. The complainant paid Rs. 23,250/-, Rs. 49,525/- and Rs. 19,000/- on various dates respectively and as such a balance of Rs. 7,260.55p. was outstanding against him which was communicated to him on 22.5.1988 and again he was reminded vide letter No. 8438 dated 15.10.1991. The respondent has averred that actual price of the plot was fixed by the Punjab Govt. and difference between the provisional price fixed and the actual price fixed was demanded from the complainant as per terms and conditions of the allotment letter. The respondent has averred that the complainant cannot take benefit of C.W.P. No. 13283 of 1991 and S.L.P. No. 21857 of 1993 because this petition was filed by persons other than the complainant and the complainant was not party either in the writ petition or in the Special Leave Petition which was preferred before the Honble Supreme Court of India as such benefit of the judgment referred to above is not applicable to the complainant. It has also been averred by the learned Counsel for the respondent that since a Civil Writ Petition No. 7401 of 1996 titled as Dr. Amar Singh v. State of Punjab and Ors., was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the allotment of plots under the ‘Discretionary Quota made by the State of Punjab and its various Improvement Trusts, the question of allotment of plots under the ‘Discretionary Quota was taken up on 25.5.1996 in Civil Writ Petition No. 7401 of 1996 as Public Interest Litigation for the whole of State of Punjab regarding the allotment of commercial and residential plots under the ‘Discretionary Quota. The name of complainant and D.S. Longia has also figured at S. Nos. 50 and 73 respectively (Annexure R-1) in that Civil Writ Petition, therefore, this Commission has no jurisdiction.

9. A reference was also made to C.W.P. Devinder Singh Cheema v. State of Punjab, reported in 1999 (1) ILR 240, where D.S. Longiss case has also been referred to. In the present case, the physical possession of the plot was handed over to the complainant in 1988 and of the alternative plot in 1994. Now in 1998 this complaint has been initiated regarding delay in handing over physical possession of an alternative plot that is why he could not start construction of the plot within 3 years of the allotment.

10. An important part of the statement of Sh. G.S. Ghuman, Estate Officer, PUDA is reproduced as under:

“The contents of Annexure C-8 dated 30.4.1993 are correct. However, subsequently we did not abide by this commitment. The reason, I may add is that the benefit of the judgment of the Supreme Court was to be given only to those persons who actually went to the Supreme Court. This was the view of the Finance and Accounts Committee of PUDA. It is true that there has been discrimination against the complainant but it was on account of the decision of the Finance and Accounts Committee. The SLP which was pending in the Supreme Court in the case of D.S. Longia was withdrawn on account of a decision at a high level and it was not my decision. I may add that I was not even posted in those days in the department. It is correct that in 1992 this complaint was pending sine die (Annexure C-20) waiting for decision in D.S. Longias case as per statement of the lawyer who appeared for our department on that date. The allotment to Mr. Longia and the present complainant was made in March, 1987 and notice for enhancement of price to both were also issued simultaneously and the demand was also made at the same rate. I am not aware that the High Court quashed the notice of enhancement. I only know that our department did go to the Supreme Court. The price fixed for allotment of the plots by the Punjab Govt. was tentative and not by PUDA because it was not in existence at that time.

I do not know whether any expenses were incurred during the aforesaid period of 6 years for development of the plot by PUDA or by the State Govt. I was not in this department in those days and I am unable to tell the details of the prices.”

11. On behalf of the respondent an attempt has been made to challenge this complaint on the plea that the earlier complaint was withdrawn on 17.1.1995. The dispute did arise again when received a demand of Rs. 7,260.55p. and this demand gave a cause of action to the complainant.

12. After hearing the learned Counsel for both the parties and examining the affidavit and the evidence adduced in the case, we find that allotment letter dated 19.3.1987 shows that the sum of Rs. 93,000/- was the price of the plot. The relevant Clause (3) is reproduced as under :

“Total price of the plot (normal plus preferential) Rs. 93,000/-.”

The letter Annexure C/8 also says that “price of the plots is pending in the Supreme Court and the decision of the Supreme Court whatsoever may be, applicable on you”. This letter was directly written by the Estate Officer, to the complainant.

13. On behalf of the complainant our attention has also been drawn to Haryana Urban Development Authority and Ors. v. Ranjan Dhamina, 118 (1998-1) PLR. The Punjab Law Reporter, where the Supreme Court held that where there was no such material to show that there had been any further work of development on the land in question, enhancing the price of the land will not be applicable to the plaintiffs plot in whose case the final letter of allotment has been issued on 24.11.1989. In the case now in hand during cross-examination of Sh. G.S. Ghuman, Estate Officer, PUDA it has been stated that there was no enhancement of compensation ordered in land acquisition proceedings. Thus the price of the adjoining plot bearing No. 168 could not be more than that of 169 in the same Sector at Mohali. The complainant is entitled to the relief of equivalent price in the same week in March, 1987 in the same Sector at Mohali as a consumer.

14. So far as case of Mr. Devinder Singh Cheema brought out by the respondent is concerned it does not cover the present dispute as it pertained to the plot transferred to the second party by the allottee. Therefore, this case is distinguishable.

15. In conclusion, it is held that price payable by the complainant allottee of plot No. 168 will be similar as paid by D.S. Longia allottee of adjoining plot No. 169 since they are allottees of same week in March, 1987. As regards the aspect of allotment since it is stated to be from discretionary quota and the complainant and D.S. Longia both are also impleaded in the same writ petition pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the complainant shall be bound by the decision of the High Court. Besides this, the temporary sewerage connection given to the complainant-consumer is to be regularised at par with the adjoining occupants of plots Nos. 167 and 169. The complainant is also entitled to costs Rs. 5,000/-.


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