Supreme Court Of India

H.U.D.A. V. Sita Ram

Civil Appeal No. 2380 Of 2003. 10-08-2004

JUDGMENT

S.N. Variava, J.

1. Before 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. This 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. This 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.

2. This 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 Order.

3. In this case the Respondent was allotted a plot bearing No. R-53, Sector M.T. Ratia, District Hisar vide letter no. 4775 dated 21st March, 1982. The Respondent paid all dues but was not offered possession.

4. On these facts, the District Forum directed payment of interest @ 15% on deposited amount after the expiry of two years from the date of deposit. It further held that the amount of penalty charged, if any, would be adjusted in the remaining installments.

5. The State Forum found no case for interference and dismissed the Appeal. The Respondent did not go in Revision before the National Commission. The Appellants went in Revision before the National Commission. The National Commission has increased the rate of interest to 18% p.a.

6. For 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 and is hereby set aside. 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 allotment was made in 1982 and the possession offered and taken in 2003. Interest amount has also been paid. On these facts, we maintain the order of the District Forum.

7. However, a complaint is made that the Appellants are not executing the sale deed and are not giving permission to construct. We, therefore, direct the Appellants to execute the sale deed and to give permission to construct without claiming any amounts whatsoever, except registration charges, from the Respondent. The same is to be done within one month from today.

8. We clarify that this Order shall not be taken as a precedent in any other matter as the order is being passed taking into account special features of the case. 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 cases.

9. The Appeal is disposed of accordingly. There will be no order as to costs.

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