The National Consumer Rights Day observed on 24th December every year is an annual occasion for celebration and solidarity within the national consumer movement and is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers. The Consumer Protection Act provides for effective safeguards to consumers against various types of exploitations and unfair dealings, relying mainly on compensatory rather than a disciplinary or preventive approach.
24th December was the day the Consumer Protection Act was passed by both Houses of Parliament got the President’s assent in 1986. And for the first time, Indian consumers had a law that not only encapsulated their rights as consumers but also gave them an exclusive dispute redressal system.
Consumer Protection Act and Real Estate
The country is waiting for the real estate regulator in the form of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, which seems to have gone in cold storage after an ineffective winter session of Parliament. Consumer Forums are the only effective way to safeguard the interest of real estate consumers and compensate them.
Limitations of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 and Introduction of Consumer Protection Bill 2015
Before we jump the gun on the ineffectiveness of the current law, we need to understand that when Consumer Protection Act was enacted in 1986, the Act was not meant for businesses like Real Estate. Nobody could have imagined the kind of nuisance the real estate industry would be in years to come. We must appreciate the fact the Hon’ble Commission is trying to break the stigma and evolve with time.
A new Consumer Protection Bill 2015 that seeks to replace a 29-year-old law and proposes to set up a regulatory authority which will have powers to initiate the class action suit against defaulting companies, including real estate industry. This bill brings in many more amendments which are useful for the real estate buyers as well. It’s currently stuck in the Parliament Logjam. We shall cover the importance of the bill separately.
2015, A year like never before for real estate consumers
We have seen many encouraging judgments from Hon’ble National Consumer Forum in the Year 2015. The Forum seems to be taking cognizance of the fact that the developer lobby in India is exploiting the homebuyers every day. Although the Commission is bound to work under the purview of the Act 1986, Hon’ble Judges of the Commission are taking stricter measures to curb the wrongdoings of the Developers.
Cases related to real estate are being taken up proactively and the developers are also being discouraged for adopting delay tactics. The Commission has largely been able to set aside the monstrous term called “Force Majeure”.
Here are some of the good judgments of 2015 that restored faith of the homebuyers in the Consumer Forums
Most of the good judgments from NCDRC are documented here, below are some of the hand picked ones for our readers:
- National Consumer Forum awards 12% delay compensation (Subjudice in the Supreme Court)
- National Consumer Forum orders refund at 18% for long delays (Confirmed by the Supreme Court)
- Maintainability of complaints by Home Buyers Associations – landmark judgement by NCDRC (Confirmed by the Supreme Court)
- Delay Compensation should be 12%, says more judges of NCDRC
- Scrapped project or delay in project Clearances, pay penalty at 18% – NCDRC (Confirmed by the Supreme Court)
- Pay delay penalty till actual possession – No more “Offer of Possession”
With the right Spirit, let us appreciate the good work done by the Hon’ble Consumer Forums and celebrate 24th December as “National Consumer Rights Day”.
May God bless homebuyers.