Fine of Rs 5 lakh imposed upon Jalandhar Improvement Trust for continuous filing of meritless appeals

National Consumer Disputes Redressal
Commission (NCDRC): NCDRC has imposed a fine of Rs five lakh upon Jalandhar Improvement Trust, for abusing
the process of law and filing meritless appeals before various consumer foras in
order to cover up its own fault and negligence. “No leniency should be shown to
litigants who in order to cover up their own fault and negligence, goes on filing
meritless complaints/ appeals in different foras. Equity demands that such
unscrupulous litigants whose only aim and object is to deprive the other party
of the fruits of the decree must be dealt with heavy hands,” NCDRC observed. Earlier, in the year 2011, Jalandhar Improvement Trust framed a ‘Development
Scheme’ for allotment of residential plots in Surya Enclave Extension at
Jalandhar and after taking substantial amount of money from the respondents,
the appellants issued allotment letters to them, allotting specific plots.
However, appellants failed to handover possession of the plots to the respondents
for more than 3 years. The legal defence of Trust was that acquisition of
land for the aforesaid scheme was challenged by various land owners by way of
various writ petitions before the Punjab and Haryana High Court and there was a
stay, hence, appellants were not in a position to handover the possession of
the plots. When the respondents approached Punjab State Consumer Commission, it
directed Jalandhar Improvement Trust to
refund Rs.28,22,950/-along with
interest at the rate of 9% per annum from the date of filing of the
complaint till the date of payment and to pay Rs.2,00,000/- as
compensation along with  Rs.5,000/- as litigation costs. After
perusal of documents, NCDRC also observed that. “It was well within the
knowledge of the Appellant-Trust, that there was an impediment in allotment of
the plots in question. In spite thereof, Appellant-Trust had gone ahead and
allotted plots in question to the respondents, which it could not have done so.
In this manner, appellants have played fraud with the general public
and thus collected huge amount of money.” While referring to various
judgments of Supreme Court, NCDRC held strict stand towards frivolous and uncalled for litigations and
noted that if any litigant approaches the court of equity with unclean
hands, suppress the material facts, make false averments in the complaint/ appeal
and tries to mislead and hoodwink the judicial Forums then his complaint/
appeal should be thrown away at the threshold. NCDRC
also held that the said act of Jalandhar
Improvement Trust is a “deceptive practice” which falls within the
meaning of “unfair trade practice” as defined under the Consumer Protection
Act, 1986. “Such type of unscrupulous act on the part of builders should be
dealt with a heavy hand, who after grabbing the money from the purchasers,
enjoy and utilize their money but do not hand over the plot, on one pretext or
the other,” Commission added. NCDRC further directed the appellants to pay a
sum of Rs 2.5 lakh out of Rs 5 lakh to the respondents and deposit the rest Rs
2.5 lakh in the Commission’s Consumer Legal Aid account. [Jalandhar Improvement Trust v. Munish Dev Sharma,  decided on 01.07.2015]
Source: Legal news India