The failure of a central government housing agency to give timely possession of flats to applicants is going to cost it dear. The district consumer forum in Punjab's Mohali town has ordered that 16 complainants be paid compensation of RS 2.25 lakh each along with litigation costs.
The forum's order against the Central Government Employee Welfare Housing Organization (CGEWHO) came after 16 applicants, all of them central government officers and employees, complained that effective possession of the Kendriya Vihar flats in Mohali was delayed by the organization.
Counsel for the complainants Pankaj Chandgothia contended that the CGEWHO floated a scheme for allotment of residential flats in December 2006. The allotment letter was issued in May 2007, and the project was to be completed within 30 months.
Though the deadline ended in November, 2009, the flats have still not been completed.
Chandgothia contended that since possession had not been given, the demand of final instalment from the complainants is illegal. He accused the CGEWHO of compounding their deficiency in service by enhancing the tentative price of the flats time and again.
The CGEWHO lawyer contended that the allottees had agreed to file the litigation at Delhi only and that the CGEWHO was a no profit, no loss organisation against which the consumer court could not pass any adverse order.
Forum president Madhu P. Singh observed that since all activities regarding the flats took place in Mohali, the forum had jurisdiction over the matter. The forum further held that "a no profit no loss body is not exempted from the purview of Consumer Protection Act".
It held the organisation guilty of deficiency in service saying that the project is still not complete. It also ordered the organization to pay Rs.22,000 as litigation costs to each complainant.