The order was passed on a complaint by Sanjay and Shailaja Gaikwad who sought not only direction to Omkar Realtors and Developers to hand over possession of the flat and to pay interest for delayed possession, but also Rs 2 crore compensation for the “mental torture and agony” caused to them.
The Gaikwads had booked a flat on the 46th floor of tower C of Omkar 1973 Worli on June 27, 2017, and were to get possession on June 30, 2019. They paid Rs 21 crore of the total consideration of Rs 24.5 crore and Rs 1.22 crore towards stamp duty and registration charges. However, Omkar failed to hand over the flat. The couple urged interest from June 30, 2019, till the actual date of possession.
Their complaint said that the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act, 1963 allows only six months of extension for reasons beyond the promoter’s control. Hence such extension, because of force majeure conditions, can be extended only up to December 31, 2019, and not beyond. Omkar “unilaterally and unlawfully” extended the timeline of completion till June 30, 2021.
Omkar replied that June 30, 2021, due date for possession was declared on the RERA website due to various factors, including pace of construction. The Gaikwads were informed that due to reasons beyond their control, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the flat would be handed over as per the revised date. Omkar said Gaikwads’ claim for compensation is premature and must be dismissed with exemplary costs. It pointed out that under Section 71 of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, compensation claim has to be dealt with by MahaRERA’s adjudicating officer.
But Gaikwad’s advocate Godfrey Pimenta referred to MahaRERA appellate tribunal’s decision in the Pankaj Agarwal case to contend that besides dealing with a complaint seeking multiple reliefs, MahaRERA has to also decide the claim for compensation.
Agreeing with Pimenta, MahaRERA member Vijay Satbir Singh, in his November 17 order, said the couple’s main prayer for interest on delayed possession falls within MahaRERA’s jurisdiction and the claim of the compensation is secondary relief to the main relief as held in Agarwal’s case. “In view of these facts…MahaRERA has jurisdiction to try and entertain this complaint on merits,” Singh concluded, and directed the matter to be listed for regular hearing.