The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)-Delhi has issued notice to Delhi-NCR-based developer Ajnara India Ltd in a case filed by over 100 homebuyers for delay in handing over possession of its residential project Ajnara Ambrosia located in Noida, Sector 118.
Moneycontrol has a copy of the order.
The NCLT New Delhi bench, in an order dated April 5, has issued notice upon the builder “by all modes including the e-mail of the respondent as well as through the process of the Bench. The Affidavit of the Service is to be filed within a week from April 5. The Respondent is directed to file the reply within two weeks from the date of the receipt of the Notice and rejoinder, if any, within a week from the date of the receipt of the reply.”
The matter has been listed for April 26, 2021.
The buyers have been represented by their counsel, advocate Asmita Chaudhary of Centrik Legalistic LLP.
Buyer Manish Kumar Gupta, who has filed the case, along with 100 more buyers, told Moneycontrol that “The project was formally launched in 2014. As per the Builder-Buyer Agreement, the flat should have been delivered by 2017. But the project has still not been handed over to us,” he said.
Gupta has paid 90% of the total cost of the flat.
There are around 10 towers and about 1,500 flats in the project, Gupta said.
“During COVID-19, when every buyer is facing financial issues, paying both rent and EMI is a challenge. There was no option for us but to move to NCLT. We only want that our flats be completed and possession given to us soon. We have waited far too long,” he said.
The towers are ready, only external plaster and interior work is left, he claimed.
There was no response from Ajnara India Ltd.
In January 2021, the Supreme Court had upheld the Constitutional validity of the amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, which, among others, mandated that to trigger an insolvency proceeding against a defaulting builder in respect of a real estate project, the application must be filed by a minimum of 100 allottees or 10 percent of the allottees, whichever was lesser.
Previously, even a single aggrieved homebuyer could initiate insolvency proceedings based on the amended provisions of the IBC. Consequently, this amendment is seen as radically reducing the number of cases being filed under the Section 7 against real estate companies.
In 2020, while announcing relief packages for COVID-19 pandemic, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, had also announced that the threshold for defaulting companies under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) has been raised to Rs 1 crore from Rs 1 lakh earlier.
Earlier, creditors had the right to file a case under IBC if a company defaulted on payment of Rs 1 lakh or above, now this limit has been raised to Rs 1 crore. Therefore, under section 7 of IBC, a financial creditor shall file the insolvency application if the creditor is a financial creditor and the default is more than Rs 1 crore. Homebuyers are deemed as financial creditors. As per the amendment, the amount raised by the builder from the homebuyer has been treated as the financial debt.
Homebuyers are eligible to file an insolvency application under Section 7 of IBC if the builder fails to deliver the possession of the unit/flat/property within the time frame stipulated in the builder buyer agreement or fails to refund the amount paid by the homebuyer at the time of booking of the said property.
Developers had been demanding an increase in the minimum number of people required to take a company to NCLT to two-thirds of the total homebuyers in a project. They had also been demanding that RERA be made the sole authority to address the grievances of homebuyers.