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Homebuyers Are Not Allowed To Reap Benefits Of Their Own Delay In Taking Possession- Supreme Court

If we look back to observe the consumer cases filed, we will notice that top courts are delivering various judgements in favour of homebuyers which are strengthening the position of the homebuyers against the builders. However, in one of the cases, where it was filed for delayed possession, the Supreme Court said that homebuyer ought not to be allowed to reap the benefits of her own delay in taking possession.

While upholding compensation to a home buyer, a bench comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Indu Malhotra reduced the time period for computation of the amount, noting the delay on the part of the buyer in taking possession.

In the instant case of M/s. Supertech Ltd. v. Rajni Goyal, possession of the flat was to be handed over in October 2013 as per the Allotment Letter. The letter allowed extension upto a maximum period of six months due to unforeseen circumstances.Builder was not able to hand over possession of the flat in October 2013 and issued a Pre­-Possession Letter in 2015 to Ms. Goyal for payment of the balance cost of the flat and other charges. However, she failed to pay the charges. Later Ms. Goyal filed a Consumer Complaint against the Builder on the ground that on the date of issuance of the Pre-­Possession Letter, Builder had not obtained the Occupancy Certificate. The National Commission held that since there was a delay in handing over possession of the flat to the Ms. Goyal, the Builder was liable to pay interest to her by way of compensation. Aggrieved by the order, the Builder filed a Review Petition before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court noted that Agreement provided for delivery of possession by 2013, but the delay occurred because of various legal impediments. It was also accepted by Ms. Goyal that the Full Occupancy Certificate was obtained by the builder in April 2016. The Supreme Court said that the period of interest should close on April 2016 when the Full Occupancy Certificate was obtained and said that Ms. Goyal could not have had any further grievance after that. It, therefore, directed the period of compensation to be computed from May, 2014 to April, 2016, despite the fact that she approached the Commission in March, 2017. The Supreme Court disposed off the appeal by saying that homebuyer ought not to be allowed to reap the benefits of her own delay in taking possession.

Written by: Ankur Saha
Head- Legal
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