CHENNAI: In a rare instance of a consumer forum sentencing a service provider, the district consumer disputes redressal forum, North Chennai, has ordered three months imprisonment for a city-based realtor.
According to A Sridar of East Mada Street at Vilivakkam, he had purchased a flat from RNR Builders of the same area. The builder, however, did not provide car parking space and water facility. After Sridar moved the forum claiming compensation for negligence and deficiency in services along with directions to the builder to provide the facilities, the forum, in its order on March 12, 2003, directed the builder to pay a compensation of 78,700 and provide both facilities.
As the forum’s direction went unheeded, Sridar filed an execution petition the same year. The petition, however, remained pending for 13 years. Meanwhile, the builder paid 75,000 to Sridar in several instalments. But the car parking facility was not provided. The forum, on October 17, 2016, issued show cause notice to the building company’s proprietor, K N Loganathan, asking him why he should not be prosecuted under Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, for non-compliance of its order.
According to Section 27 of the CPA, “if a person against whom a complaint is made fails to comply with any order made by the district forum… the person/trader shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one month but which may extend to three years…”
After the notice, Loganathan said there was no provision in the construction agreement clause to provide for the facility of parking space. The proprietor also said he was merely a power of attorney holder for the construction company, and the person who gave him the power of attorney had died without any legal heirs. He could, however, provide the balance amount of 4,700 to Sridar.
The forum’s bench said Loganathan did not take any step to cancel the power of attorney. He also filed an appeal against the forum’s verdict of 2003 in the state commission, which was dismissed.
As Sridhar’s non-compliance of the forum’s order “for the past 12 years was highly deplorable, he was liable to be severely punished under Section 27 of the CPA,” said a bench sentencing him to three months imprisonment.
Repeated attempts to contact the realtor failed as the correct number was not listed in the telephone directory, nor was he a member of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) or Builders Association of India (BAI).
Source : http://realty.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/regulatory/consumer-forum-sentences-chennai-builder-to-jail/55106882