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Monday, March 19, 2012

CHB told to pay interest: UT Consumer Court

Chandigarh, March 19
The UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation for causing mental agony and harassment to a local resident who had applied for a house under a scheme, but was refunded the amount after a long delay.
The complainant had moved the consumer forum, claiming interest on the amount of Rs 1.22 lakh. She was unsuccessful in the draw of lots.
The complainant, 54-year-old Chandan Lata, a Sector-23 resident, stated in the complaint that she had applied for a house under the self-financing housing scheme, 2008, for employees of the Chandigarh Administration for allotment of dwelling units.
She had paid Rs 1.22 lakh as earnest money in March, 2008. In August, 2011, she had received a letter and a cheque for Rs 1.22 lakh as refund as she was unsuccessful in the draw of lots.
It was alleged that the CHB had utilised the amount of Rs 1.22 lakh for three years and she lost the interest on the amount. She had then moved the forum, seeking interest.
In its reply, the CHB, through its chairman, stated that the complainant had given an undertaking not to claim any interest on the amount and had signed a declaration in this regard.
It was also replied that due to the pendency of litigation in the high court pertaining to the scheme under question, the draw of lots could not be held till November 4, 2010. It was stated that this had led to the delay in refund. The CHB refuted all allegations.
Passing the order, forum president PD Goel and members Rajinder Singh and Madanjit Kaur stated that it could be legitimately concluded that the CHB was under a legal obligation to refund the amount of Rs 1.22 lakh to the complainant without interest on or before December, 2010, when the draw of lots was held.
It further said the CHB refunded the amount in August, 2011, after delay and so, was liable to pay interest and compensation.
“The CHB is directed to pay interest on the amount of Rs 1.22 lakh at the savings bank rate from December 4, 2010, till payment. It id also directed to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation for mental agony and harassment, besides Rs 5,000 as costs of litigation,” read the order.

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