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Chief Administrator of Huda &Anr. v/s Shakuntala Devi
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Chief Administrator of Huda &Anr. v/s Shakuntala Devi
Chief Administrator of Huda &Anr. v/s Shakuntala Devi

Facts of the Case

This appeal has been filed before the Honorable Supreme Court against the order passed by the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, New Delhi in relation to the order passed by the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission of Union Territory Chandigarh in a matter for payment of the compensation to the respondent.

The Responded in the above case was allotted a plot in the year 1987, such area allotted was numbered Plot No. 40 and the area measurement was 40 marlas on the exact date of 03/04/1987. This plot even though has been allotted to the respondent the physical possession of the property was not provided to the respondent, pursuing to that scenario a complaint has been filed by the Respondent with the State Consumer Dispute Redressal in the year 1997 the complaint was registered as No. 54 of 1997. The Respondent has made the submission that the respondent has paid full price of the plot she has also paid the enhancement fee charged for the same plot as per the terms and condition mentioned in the allotment letter. She averred that despite a repeated request by her the physical possession of the land was not given to her also she mentioned that it was promised to her that the work of development would be complete within the period of 2 years, but the promising has ended up in vain, and due to which the price of the material has gone up from the year 1988 to 1997, and it caused severe monetary loss or damage to the respondent to construct the building she wanted on the plot of the land.  

Issues of the case

1. Is the order passed by the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission valid?

2. Whether possession should be given to the Respondent as pleaded or was the award of INR 15 lacs valid?

Judgment

The Honorable Court hearing the matter and arguments of both the learned counsels representing the parties and after considering the facts mentioned and precedents submitted for resolving the issue and observes that the Act (The Consumer Protection Act, 1986) was introduced an enacted to resolve the grievances relating to the consumer which otherwise could’ve become the matter of concern and harassment. The act provides the court with appropriate authority, and another forum has established under the act to redress the matter in a timely manner without any litigation process which will be on the contrary interest of the consumer. No court or other forums including that of the commission has any authority to establish a uniform code of decision to be given if the facts of the cases seem similar. The compensation has to be evaluated by the commission for some offences where the compensation or the increased compensation provides fair amount resolution to the issue and therefore should reflect in reduced sentence under the head of the harassment. There should a due consideration given to certain direction already made to the accused and complied. There should a due consideration given to certain direction already made to the accused and complied. The court should consider the cost of the land and another scenario with due regards to the cost of the land, though the direction to return the possession of the land has been given but the increased in the value of such land needs to be considered to revise the value of the compensation granted.

The compensation payable to the respondent in any case of the possession of the land should not be decided uniformly without considering the fact and if such compensation is decided by the court or forum or commission would be not a valid order or will be unjust. As with due consideration to the commencing of the business, it was under suspicious that such commencement was made by the party to the proceeding with the sole intention to inflate the profit value that could’ve been impossible by the party if such person were to follow the arrangement.

Furthermore, in the matter where delivery of possession has been directed by the court or commission or forum, it has to a certain extent already provided the benefit or the profit, in the meantime where the property is yet to be delivered the price of the plot will have an increment in its value. The court agrees and acknowledges that there is harassment loss to the respondent in such delay, but such loss has to be calculated by the court after giving the due consideration to the facts and gravity of the cases. It was further stating the amount of compensation provided by the calculation was at 1,22,400/- but the state commission further calculated the amount compensation to be awarded to the respondent at 1,28,188/- inclusive of interest for delay. The fact without an iota of doubt is clear that the respondent did not construct anything till the year 2006further commenting on the situation state commonssaid that such delay was made by the respondent on purpose to take the benefit of the escalation of price and can higher amount. The state commission further calculating the compensation with due consideration to the escalation increased and calculated at 15,00,000/-.

The Honorable Court stated that after scrutinizing the facts, it becomes crystal clear such award by the State Commission has no validity and is in excess with the loss calculated. The Court believes that though there was certainly a pecuniary loss to the respondent due to increase in the price of construction but such price benefit also has been received by the respondent due to escalation of the price of land between the year 1989-2000, it is the opinion of the court that the reason/rationale provided by the state commission seems valid and the court is of the opinion that the earlier amount with interest paid is the rightful compensation and should not provide any other award as compensation to the respondent. The Supreme Court allows the appeal with no cost and sets aside the order paying the compensation to respondent.

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