Amrapali case: SC judgement brings relief for embattled homebuyers
By Amiya Kumar Kushwaha
New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) In a landmark judgement in the Amrapali Group case, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted huge relief to 42,000 beleaguered homebuyers, who are waiting for possession of their flats, as it ruled to complete the pending projects in a time-bound manner.
The order by a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U.U. Lalit was not limited to only Amrapali Group's homebuyers but they specifically mentioned that projects of other real estate companies should also be completed in a time-bound manner and the homebuyers shall not be made to run from pillar to post, which ends up in harassment of people who have invested their hard-earned money.
The court directed the state-run National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited(NBCC) to complete all the pending projects and hand over the possession to the homebuyers and not to recover additional amount from the homebuyers while completing the projects.
Following this direction, the Noida and Greater Noida authorities will not be able to sell the flats of the homebuyers to recover dues and instead "dues shall have to be recovered from the sale of other properties of Amrapali's officials which have been attached," observed the court.
The court directed the homebuyers to deposit the outstanding amount under the agreement entered with the promoters within three months in the escrow account opened in UCO Bank in the branch of the apex court.
"The amount deposited by them shall be invested in the fixed deposit to be disbursed under the order of this court on phase-wise completion of the projects/work by the NBCC," said the court.
The court also restrained the banks and government authorities from taking punitive action in connection with recovering "non-payment of dues of the Noida, Greater Noida authorities and the banks cannot come in the way of occupation of flats by homebuyers," observed the court saying that the money of homebuyers has already been diverted to other sources, domestically and abroad, due to the inaction of officials.
"They cannot sell the buildings or demolish them nor can enforce the charge against homebuyers/leased land/projects in the facts of the case. Similarly, the banks cannot recover money from projects as it has not been invested in projects," the court said.
"Homebuyers' money has been diverted fraudulently, thus, fraud cannot be perpetuated against them by selling the flats and depriving them of hard-earned money and savings of entire life."
In its ruling, the court further added: "They cannot be cheated once over again by sale of the projects raised by their funds. The Noida and Greater Noida authorities have to issue the completion/part-completion certificate, as the case may be, to execute tripartite agreement and registered deeds in favour of the buyers on part-completion or completion of the buildings, as the case may be or where the inhabitants are residing, within a period of one month."
The court came down heavily on the fraud played upon the buyers and said that it was done in active connivance with the officials of the Noida and Greater Noida authorities and the banks.
The court also noted that the money of the homebuyers has been diverted by the company's officials by creating dummy companies, bogus bills, selling flats at undervalued price and excessive brokerage payment.
(Amiya Kumar Kushwaha can be reached at email@example.com)