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NCDRC asks Orris Infrastructure to comply with refund order issued in Aster Court Premier case

If the amount of around Rs 46 crore along with the interest is not refunded to homebuyers by the company, then the promoters should be made personally liable under Sections 25 and 27 pertaining to criminal liability.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) on August 29 asked Orris Infrastructure to comply with the refund order issued by it in September 2020, directing the company to refund an amount of around Rs 46 crore to the homebuyers within three months, failing which the promoters of the company will be made personally liable.

The case relates to the non-completion of Orris Aster Court Premier housing project located in Sector 85, Gurgaon, Haryana within the stipulated period.

Aditya Parolia, partner, PSP Legal, said that the consumer court on August 29 said that if the amount of around Rs 46 crore along with the interest is not refunded to homebuyers by the company, then the promoters should be made personally liable under Sections 25 and 27 pertaining to criminal liability.

Parolia, who represented the homebuyers in the matter, told Moneycontrol that “this is perhaps the first time that the corporate veil has been lifted and the liability from the body corporate has been shifted to the personal directors who evade liability in the garb of corporate ways.”

“For the reasons stated hereinabove and respectfully following the principles laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in above quoted Judgments, the Execution Applications stand disposed off with a direction to the Opposite Parties/Judgment Debtors to comply with the Order/Decree dated 28.09.2020 passed in the CC No. 2088/2016 and refund the entire principal amount deposited by the respective Complainants/Decree Holders alongwith compensation as awarded by this Commission vide Order dated 28.09.2020 within three months from today failing which proceedings under Section 25 & 27 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, will be initiated against them,” the order issued on August 29 stated.

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Section 27 in the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 lays down that “where a trader or a person against whom a complaint is made 2[or the complainant] fails or omits to comply with any order made by the District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, such trader or person 96 [or complainant] shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one month but which may extend to three years, or with fine which shall not be less than two thousands rupees but which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both”.

The consumer complaint had been filed under Section 12(1)(c) read with Section 21 (a) (i) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 by 57 persons against Orris Infrastructure for not delivering their apartments in the project Orris Aster Court Premier in 2016.

Homebuyers had alleged that on account of the possession of the apartments not being handed over to them within the committed period, they were “suffering extreme kind of mental distress, pain and agony. The harassment is two-fold as on one hand, they are paying huge interest on the money paid to the developer while on the other hand, they are incurring huge cost/rent/loss of rent due to non-availability of the said residential apartments.” They had also alleged deficiency in service and Unfair Trade Practice on the part of the developer.

NCDRC had, in an order issued on September 28, 2020, asked Orris Infrastructure to "refund the entire principal amount received from the Complainants along with compensation in the form of simple interest at 8 percent per annum".

In its order dated September 2020, a copy of which is with Moneycontrol, the consumer court had directed the builder to refund the entire principal amount received from the “Complainants alongwith compensation in the form of simple interest @ 8% p.a instead of @12% p.a. due to unavoidable and unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the Opposite Party on account of pandemic Covid -19 situation, from the respective dates of deposit till the actual date of payment together with costs of Rs.25,000/- to each of the Complainants. The aforesaid directions shall be complied with within a period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of order failing which the amount shall carry interest @ 10% p.a. for the same period.”

The story will be updated once the legal representative of Orris Infrastructure responds to queries sent by MC.
Vandana Ramnani
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