Failure to hand over possession is considered an ongoing offense unless delivery is declined: Delhi State Commission dismisses complaint against Ansal Township, citing expiration of the limitation period.

The Delhi State Commission, chaired by Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal and Mr. J.P. Agrawal (member), rejected a complaint against Ansal Township, citing it as time-barred under Section 24A of the Consumer Protection Act. The commission also affirmed that the failure to deliver possession constitutes a continuing issue, allowing complaints until possession is refused.

Overview of the Case

The complainant initially booked an apartment in Ansal Township’s ‘Megapolis’ project by paying Rs. 5,10,000 towards the plot. Subsequently, when she requested an address update, she discovered that her plot had been canceled due to non-payment. Despite her attempts to resolve the matter with the builder, which included sending legal notices seeking a refund with interest, no resolution was achieved. Consequently, the complainant filed a complaint before the State Commission, seeking an order for the builder to reimburse Rs. 5,10,000 along with 18% annual interest. Additionally, she requested compensation of Rs. 2,00,000 for damages and litigation expenses totaling Rs. 50,000.

Builder’s Arguments

The builder contested the case, raising objections regarding its validity. It argued that the complaint should be dismissed due to the statute of limitations, as the booking was canceled on specific dates due to non-payment, and the complaint was filed more than four years after the cancellation. Additionally, the builder pointed to an arbitration clause in the allotment letter, challenging the jurisdiction of the commission. The builder further contended that despite numerous reminders for payment, the complainant did not fulfill the payment obligations as per the terms of allotment. Moreover, the builder claimed that the complainant’s updated address had been properly recorded, and all communications regarding payment reminders were sent to this updated address. Therefore, the builder requested the dismissal of the complaint on these grounds.

Findings of the State Commission

The State Commission assessed whether the complaint fell within the limitation period as defined by the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The builder argued that the complaint, filed more than four years after the cancellation of the plot booking, was time-barred under Section 24A of the Act. Referring to the precedent set in Mehnga Singh Khera vs. Unitech Ltd., the commission observed that the failure to deliver possession constitutes a continuous grievance, permitting complaints until possession is formally refused. Consequently, upon determining that the builder had indeed refused possession, the commission concluded that the complaint could not proceed due to limitation. Hence, the commission dismissed the complaint on grounds of being time-barred under Section 24A.

Case Caption: Ms. Sumita Saxena vs. M/S Ansal HI- Tech Township Ltd.

Case Number: C.C. No. 1431/2018

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