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Refund money to 39 Ggn flat buyers, SC tells Unitech; owners say ‘patience on burial pyre’

Though the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked realty giant Unitech to refund Rs 17 crore to 39 home-buyers of its Vistas project in Gurgaon for delay in delivery of flats, the buyers said only a half of their concern has been addressed. 

With their patience on “burial pyre” home-buyers who suffered due to inordinate delay in getting their flats from reality firm Unitech Ltd, narrated their ordeal and anguish before the Supreme Court. 

“We are being forced to run from pillar to post. I am on verge of losing my job due to this litigation. I am standing before the court even on Karwa Chauth,” said one of the home-buyers making an emotive appeal for refund to a Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra.

Another home-buyer in an emotive submission said he had paid the company full amount for his flat which was to be given in 2012 but has to stay in rented accommodation with the family just to have a roof over their heads. 

The buyers, keeping in view of spiraling rise in property rate in the Millennium City, have sought compensation as per the current property rate so that they can book similar property. The buyers, reacting over the court’s order, said that they are satisfied up to an extent that the court has come down heavily on the realtor directing refund of the money with immediate effect but the order is not going to help them in the same spirit. 

“The buyers, about seven years back, had invested their hard-earned money according to market price but now the rates have increased manifold and hence, we need compensation as per today’s price. The builder, after declaring defaulter, charged 18 per cent interest from buyers and hence it should refund money keeping in mind the same rate,” said Sunil Bhardwaj, a buyer-cum-office bearer of Vistas Residence Association which has taken the matter to the Apex Court.  

“We need refund with interest and compensation and not the house. We can buy the house from elsewhere once we get the money back. We no more trust the builder. Our dreams are shattered and have no hope of a flat from the developer,” said a lady home buyer.

The Bench, which also comprised Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, listened to flat buyers present in the court room. “The respondents (home buyers), 39 in number, submit in unequivocal and categorical terms that their patience is on the burial pyre and they cannot wait any longer believing in the concept of optimism and expectation, for the appellant Unitech Residential Resorts Ltd has not built the flats as assured, and in fact, compelled them to land up in such a financial crisis that they had never conceived of,” the court said.

The Apex Court, which directed the Supreme Court registry to disburse the Rs 15 crore amount deposited by the company as principal amount to the home buyers on pro rata basis, pacified them and said the aspect of interest and compensation will be decided at later stage of hearing of the matter. “The voice of anguish is echoed in the court room as they say their dreams have been shattered and they have been constrained to pave the path of impecuniosity,” the Bench said.

The court also took on record a chart of flat buyers at Gurgaon project, interested in seeking refund of money with interest.

It appointed advocate Pawanshree Agrawal as amicus curiae to identify the flat buyers in an appropriate manner before the Supreme Court registry to ensure that they get the money. It is yet to take a call on the interest component. 
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