Thane: Consumer forum orders Ganraj Group, society to pay Rs 20 lakh to flat buyer

MUMBAI: Reprimanding a Thane-based housing society for being "hand in glove" with a builder in "mentally harassing" a flat owner to extract excess money, the state consumer commissioner has ordered it, its office bearers and the builder to pay Rs 5.5 lakh as compensation to the family. The builder will also have to pay the family Rs 14.4 lakh as compensation for delay in handing over their flat.

The flat's owner, Kishor Narkhede, had alleged that the society refused to give him a share certificate, demanded excessive money and prevented the family from peacefully using their flat and parking lot. He said the society filed false criminal complaints against him and his family.

Penalising the society's chairman, secretary, ex-secretary, treasurer, and some members, the commission said, "A society once formed, cannot be justified to act unlawfully in connivance with the builder and other members to pick and choose a flat purchaser to collectively harass him to knock out ransom or subjecting him to illegal demands and frivolous, false and vexatious prosecution."

In a complaint submitted online last year, Narkhade told the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission that he bought the 865-sqft flat in Ganraj Heights from Ganraj Group for Rs 36 lakh in 2011. He received possession only in 2018.

In its order, the commission directed the society to induct the owner as a member and not interfere in the family's possession of the flat and parking space. "Ganraj Height CHS shall issue share certificate of the society in favour of the complainants without demanding any illegal payments. Demand of payment, if any, shall be made in writing and payment, when made, shall be acknowledged by a valid receipt in writing," the commission said.

Narkhade told the commission that in a bid to grab the parking lot he had already paid for, the housing society in connivance with the builder and members named in the complaint had begun passing resolutions against him in his absence. Stating that the housing society should conduct its affairs and financial aspects transparently, the commission said, "Each flat purchaser shall be informed in writing to participate in meetings to pass valid and legal resolutions to maintain the building in a habitable condition. The society can never be permitted to act in collusion with any ill-motivated selfish flat purchaser or builder intending to grab property so as to continuously harass the complainants, mentally or physically."

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