The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed realty firm Supertech Ltd to deposit Rs 50 million more within four weeks to refund to the home-buyers who have taken loan from banks and opted out of its building project in Noida area of Uttar Pradesh.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of lawyer Gaurav Agrawal, who is assisting it as an amicus curiae, that the money to the tune of Rs 104 million, which was lying with the apex court registry, should be utilised to pay back the home buyers in its Emerald Towers project comprising two 40-storey residential buildings.
"It is submitted by Gaurav Agrawal, amicus curiae, that the amount lying in deposit may be released in favour of the home-buyers subject to the undertaking by them that they will pay to the bank and get the original documents released, so that the same can be given back to the appellant-developer.
"In view of the aforesaid, it is directed that the home-buyers shall file affidavits before the Registry of this court to the effect that they shall pay the amount to the concerned bank(s) from which they have availed loan and submit the documents with Agrawal, who in turn, shall give them back to ...the appellant-developer," the bench said.
The bench considered the submission of Shoeb Alam, one of the counsel for the hassled customers, that the refund be termed as compensation, otherwise the recipients would be levied income tax on the refund. The court accepted the plea.
"The home-buyers who are agreeable to the said amount may indicate to Gaurav Agrawal, so that the amount can be disbursed and the controversy can be put to rest. Needless to say, the amount that shall be disbursed, shall be treated as compensation," the bench said.
The court considered the amicus' statement that the real estate firm be asked to deposit Rs 50 millon more with the registry so that he can proceed with "the calculation and apprise the developer with regard to the further differential sum required to be deposited as per the present status report."
"Accordingly, it is directed that the appellant developer shall deposit a sum of Rs 50 million by June 20 before the Registry of this court," it said and fixed the plea for further hearing in second week of July.
It was submitted by the company that its plea against the High Court order be heard in order to put at rest the dispute over whether the towers were legal or should be razed.
Some home-buyers have got refund of their principal amount from the apex court registry, Agrawal had said, adding that some others have got refund of the principal amount "minus the Return on Investment (ROI) from the registry".
The court had said the home-buyers, who are taking the benefit of refund with interest, "shall return the title-deeds and documents to the petitioner developer, including the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the bank, if any" in the presence of the amicus curiae.
The bench is hearing pleas against the Allahabad High Court's April 11, 2014 verdict ordering demolition of the two 40-storey residential twin towers--Apex and Ceyane--in Noida and directing Supertech to refund money to home-buyers with 14 per cent interest in three months. The towers have 857 apartments, of which about 600 flats have already been sold.