Jayashree Yengal, Member:
1. Feeling aggrieved by the impugned order dated 30/4/2008, passed by the District Consumer Forum, Buldana dismissing the Consumer Complaint bearing No.227/07 as barred by limitation, the original complainants have filed this appeal.
Appellant No.1 Vishnu Shetye, appellant No.2 Ghanashyam Choudhary, appellant No.3, Kailash Choudhary and appellant No.4 Brijmohan Choudhary to be referred as Complainant Nos.1,2,3 and 4 respectively and respondent Aadarsh Housing Cooperative Society Ltd. Chikhali to be referred as Opposite Party (for short OP) for the sake of brevity.
2. The complainants filed a consumer complaint U/s 12 of the Consumer Protection Act against the Opposite Party seeking allotment of plots in the layout of the Opposite Party or in the alternative, claiming compensation of 3 lacs each towards the cost of plots.
3. The Opposite Party resisted the complaint by filing its written version and denied all the adverse allegations of the complainants. The OP. specifically submitted its preliminary objection to the complaint that the complaint is barred by limitation as the allotment of plots sought from the OP society was done in 1970, 1971 and 1979. Therefore, issuance of notice would not extend the cause of action. The consumer complaint seeking allotment of plots is filed only on 17/8/2007. Therefore, the complaint deserves to be dismissed on this count only. The OP further submitted that the complainants failed to deposit the cost of the plots. The OP submitted that the society purchased agricultural land admeasuring 6 acres and 20 bighas on 12/3/1966. The said land was converted for its non agricultural use i.e. for residential purpose by order dated 27/7/1968 and the layout plan was also approved. The members of the O.P.society were required to credit cost of plot and development charges for allotment of the said plots. In pursuance to this requirement, some members purchased the plots by crediting the necessary amount in the society. There were 37 members who had got plots allotted in their favour from 1970 to 1971. The complainants were not willing to get the plots allotted in their favour and, therefore, they did not pay the cost towards the plots as per the procedure, and, therefore, the said plots were not allotted to the complainants. The OP also submitted that in the year 1991, the society decided to sell the remaining plots by open auction and the notice to that effect was also issued to the complainants. But the complainants failed to participate in the auction although complainant No.2 Ghanshyam Choudhari was present at the time of auction. Since the society did not get reasonable value at the auction, the society, subsequently cancelled the said auction. Had the complainants been aggrieved by the action of the society, they could have challenged the same in the year 1991 itself. This also further supports the contention of the OP that the complainants were not willing and interested to purchase the plots and get them allotted in their favour. It is only after a lapse of about 28 years that the cost of land is appreciated at Chikhali and the complainants want to take undue advantage of the same. and, therefore, they have filed consumer complaint, which deserves to be dismissed being devoid of any merits.
4. The Forum, after hearing both the sides and perusing the record, dismissed the complaint being barred by limitation. The Forum has also considered the documents filed on record which clearly reflect that the plots were allotted by the society to its 37 members in the year 1970-71 and in the year 1991, by issuing notice to the complainants in respect of auction, the complainants were given an opportunity to participate in the auction to purchase the said plots. The complainants have not brought any evidence on record to show that proper opportunity was not provided to them to purchase the disputed plots. Holding accordingly, the Forum dismissed the complaint as aforesaid.
5. Feeling aggrieved by the impugned order, the original complainants have preferred this appeal seeking setting aside of the impugned order and remand of the Consumer complaint to be decided afresh.
6. We heard counsels for both the parties and perused the written notes of arguments, copy of the complaint, written version and the documents filed on record by both the parties.
7. The Forum while dismissing the complaint being time barred, has recorded its finding to the effect that the complainants have sought for criminal action against the OP society for the irregularities committed in the allotment of the plots alleging Unfair Trade Practice. The Forum has restrained itself from passing any order of that nature by observing that the complainants being the members of the society have redressal available before the Cooperative Court. The record reflects that it is not disputed that the land was purchased by the Society in the year 1966 and allotmentsof plots to 37 members were made in the year 1970-71. The appellants/complainants have not brought any evidence on record to show that they had ever sought for allotment of plots. Therefore, the Forum has rightly dismissed the complaint as time barred as the cause of action to file the complaint would be deemed to have accrued in the year 1971 and the complaint is filed in the year 2007. Thus, as complaint is not filed within two years from the year 1971, it is barred by limitation. For the foregoing reasons, we find no glaring irregularity, illegality or infirmity in the impugned order and the appeal deserves to be dismissed being devoid of any merits.
8. We record our observation that although the Forum has dismissed the complaint as time barred, it can not be said that the Consumer Complaint is decided on preliminary issue only. The Forum has rightly considered the merits of the complaint also in detail and recorded its findings accordingly. In the result, we pass the following order.
i. Appeal is dismissed.
ii. No orders as to costs.
iii. Copies of the order be supplied to both the parties free of costs.