A punitive fine of Rs 1 lakh has been slapped on Ansal Properties and Infrastructure Ltd by the apex consumer commission for not providing a flat to one of its customers despite receiving money for it and prolonging the litigation by filing "frivolous" appeals.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) imposed the fine on the realty major while dismissing its appeal, against the orders of district and Haryana state consumer fora, as a "gross abuse of the process of law".
The district and state consumer fora had directed the Ansals to provide a flat to the complainant, Delhi resident Nidhi Jain.
"Petitioner/builder in the present case 'wants to have the cake and eat it too' as admittedly it has already received a sum of Rs 5,31,500 towards cost of the flat. Thus, it is enjoying the huge amount deposited by respondent (complainant) without any hindrance, while respondent having paid a substantial amount of consideration is still without a roof.
"In our opinion, the present petition is nothing but a gross abuse of the process of law and the revision petition is totally meritless and frivolous, which is required to be dismissed with punitive costs of Rs 1,00,000," a bench headed by Justice V B Gupta said.
The bench also pulled up Ansals for its "unscrupulous act", saying such builders should be dealt with "heavy hands" for taking the customers' money but not handing over the flats on one pretext or the other.
"No leniency should be shown to such type of litigants who in order to cover up their own fault and negligence, go on filing meritless petitions in different foras," it said.
Ansals in their appeal had contended the district forum and state consumer commission's orders are patently wrong as its project never took off due to lack of approval from the state government and thus it could not hand over the flat.
The NCDRC, however, rejected the contention saying the brochure of Ansals' housing project, the Europa Residency at Kundli in Sonepat district of Haryana, claims to have received the state government's approval.