AWHO liable for deficiencies in service under Consumer Protection Act: District consumer commission : The Tribune India

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AWHO liable for deficiencies in service under Consumer Protection Act: District consumer commission

The ruling came as the commission directed AWHO to pay Rs 1 lakh compensation for mental agony and harassment to Col Balwinder Singh Gill, who had filed a complaint alleging delayed possession of a resident unit in Mohali

AWHO liable for deficiencies in service under Consumer Protection Act: District consumer commission

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Mohali, The commission also ordered 9 per cent per annum interest on the amount deposited by Col Gill from the intended date of possession in April 2014 to December 2018, when the possession was actually delivered to the complainant.



Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, May 24

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Mohali, has clarified that the Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO), despite being registered as a ‘no profit no loss’ society, is still liable for deficiencies in service under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

The ruling came as the commission directed AWHO to pay Rs 1 lakh compensation for mental agony and harassment to Col Balwinder Singh Gill, who had filed a complaint alleging delayed possession of a resident unit in Mohali.

The commission also ordered 9 per cent per annum interest on the amount deposited by Col Gill from the intended date of possession in April 2014 to December 2018, when the possession was actually delivered to the complainant. Additionally, Rs 20,000 were ordered to be paid as litigation expenses to the complainant

After hearing advocate Sushane Puri for the complainant and the rival contentions, the commission — comprising president SK Aggarwal and member Paramjeet Kaur — observed it would at the onset like to deal with the plea of the opposite party (OP) that AWHO, a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, was being run on ‘no profit no loss basis’. As such, the complainant was not its consumer.

The commission observed the complainant, being army personnel, applied with the OPs for allotment of residential unit in Sector 114, Mohali, and was issued a booking letter. It was the OPs’ plea that AWHO society developed its group housing projects with the help of contributions made by the allottees as well as loan from the financial institutions.

“As per the settled principle of law, the dispute between the complainant and the OPs is not a pure dispute between the members of the society regarding its governance. In fact, this dispute is with regard to providing the unit and its development by the OPs. AWHO has also promised for providing basic amenities and development at the site, in question, and as such, the same certainly amounts to rendering of ‘service’ as defined in the Act. There is element of ‘deficiency in service’ as well as ‘unfair trade practice’ due to the non-performance of the contract, whereby facilities were to be provided to the complainant by way of flat,” the commission observed.

It added delay in completing the project has been duly admitted by OPs in the reply. They admitted the project’s development was affected due to building material shortage following “ban imposed on mining”. But the shortage of building material could not be said to be an unforeseen ground. Prior and sufficient arrangements of building material could have been made for constructing such like projects, the commission added.

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