A society namely Adarsh Colony Co-operative House Building Society, Ludhiana purchased 39 acres of land which came to be acquired by the petitioner Improvement Trust, Ludhiana. Later on, the said land was exempted vide notification dated 09.02.1997. Though, the society was required to allot plots to its members, that having been not done, a writ petition was filed before Punjab & Haryana High Court, whereupon the society allotted 280 plots of various sizes to several persons including complainant. The allotment to the complainant took place on 09.05.1993. Vide resolution no. 359 dated 17.11.1994, the petitioner Improvement Trust decided Non-Construction Fees (NCF) from the allottees but the Government of Punjab, vide its letter dated 22.04.1999, directed all the Improvement Trusts, including the petitioner not to charge the said fee in respect of the plots which had remained under stay or were subject matter of the litigation. After getting the building plan sanctioned on 16.10.1997, the complainant raised construction but till the year 2001, there was no development in the area. However, the sale deed in favour of the complainant was not executed and he was asked to submit completion certificate alongwith Non Construction Fee amounting to Rs. 1,39,100/-, enhancement amounting to Rs. 17,080/- and development charges amounting to Rs. 52,800/-. Despite protest from the complainant, the demand was not withdrawn, as a result of which the complainant made the aforesaid payment, whereupon the sale deed in his favour was executed on 29.05.2007. Being aggrieved from the amount recovered from him, the complainant approached the District Forum, seeking refund of Rs. 1,39,100/- which it had collected towards NCF, Rs. 2,300/- which it had collected as non-construction charges, Rs. 52,800/- collected as development charges and Rs. 17,080/- collected as enhancement of amount.
(2) The complaint was resisted by the petitioner Trust primarily on the ground that the complainant having herself deposited the said amount was not entitled to refund the said amount. The petitioner also denied that development works such as water supply etc. were not provided by it till the year 2001.
(3) The District Forum, vide its order dated 03.02.2009 directed the petitioner to refund the Non Construction Fee of Rs. 1,39,200/- and Rs. 2,300/- and development charges amounting to Rs. 52,800/-. The refund of management charges however was declined. The petitioner was also directed to pay interest at the rate of 9% per annum from the date of deposit till the date of payment.
(4) Being aggrieved from the order passed by the District Forum, the petitioner approached the State Commission by way of an appeal. Vide impugned order dated 16.09.2003, the State Commission dismissed the appeal filed by the petitioner, which has led to the filing of the present revision petition.
(5) The learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the complainant having deposited the amount in question without any protest and demur is not entitled to seek refund of the said amount at a later date. We, however find that the case of the complainant has been that the demand of Non Construction charges etc. was resisted by her several times, but since, the petitioner Trust refused to execute the sale deed in her favour unless the said amount was paid, she had no option but to make the payment under protest. The plea taken by the complainant in this regard has been accepted not only by the District Forum, but also by the State Commission. The scope of interference in a revision petition being extremely limited i.e. to examine whether the order impugned before us is without jurisdiction or otherwise illegal in any manner or not, we find no justification for interference with the concurrent finding of fact returned by the District Forum and the State Commission in this regard and consequently held that the said amount was paid by the complainant under protest, she having been left with no option, in view of the stand taken by the petitioner Trust which insisted upon the payment of the aforesaid amount before sale deed in favour of the complaint was executed.
(6) Coming to the merits of the demand, it has been accepted by the District Forum as well as the State Commission that the services in the area were not complete till the year 2001, whereas the plans were got sanctioned by the complainant on 16.06.1997 and thereafter, the construction was raised. In para 31 of the complaint, it was specifically alleged that the complainant constructed the building on the plot in the year 1997 after getting the building plan approved. There is no material before us which would show that the construction of the building was not completed in the year 1997. The order of the District Forum does not indicate that any document was placed by the petitioner before the said forum to show that the complainant had not constructed the house on the plot allotted to him by the society in the year 1997. Even if we presume that the construction was not competed in the year 1997, the same could have been completed at any time upto 2 years after the services were provided by the petitioner Trust. As per the finding of the District Forum and the State Commission the services were provided by the petitioner only in the year 2001. No material was placed by the petitioner before the District Forum to show that the construction was not completed, even within two years from the date on which the complete services were provided by it in the locality where the plot was allotted to the complainant. If the construction had been completed within two years of providing of the services, there would be no justification for charging any Non Construction Fee from the complainant. The District Forum and the State Commission having accepted the plea taken by the complainant as regards the year in which the construction was completed by her, we would not be justified in going into the said question of fact, while exercising our revisional jurisdiction. Therefore, no justification for any interference with the view taken by the State Commission and the District Forum in this regard is shown.
(7) As regards the development charges, admittedly the said development charges were payable by the society and not by individual members. The petitioner was not justified in recovering the said charges from the complainant, who had no option to pay the charges as she wanted a sale deed in her favour and the petitioner Trust was not ready to execute the same without payment of development charges etc. Therefore, recovery of development charges from the complainant was also wholly unjustified.
(8) For the reasons referred hereinabove, we find no ground to interfere with the views taken by the State Commission and the District Forum and the revision petition is dismissed.
V. K. JAIN J.PRESIDING MEMBER
DR. B.C. GUPTA MEMBER
NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION NEW DELHI
REVISION PETITION NO. 1759 OF 2014
(From the order dated 17.02.2014 in Appeal No. FA-83/11 of Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission)
WITH I.A. 2458/2014 (STAY)
1. Northern Railway Through its General Manager, Baroda House, New Delhi.
2. The CCM (Refund), Head Quarter Office, 2nd Floor, Station Building, New Delhi.
3. The CCM, Refund/Station Manager, Nizamuddin Railway Station, Delhi.