New Delhi, May 30: The negligence of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) that cost an applicant an opportunity to own a flat of his own has invited a penalty of Rs.2 lakh from the top consumer court.
The National Consumer Disputes Redessal Commission pulled up the house building agency for failure to send a demand letter to Vas Dev, a government employee living in west Delhi's East Punjabi Bagh, thus, denying him an opportunity to deposit money for upgrading his flat from the middle income group (MIG) to the self financing scheme (SFS).
The delay and the subsequent confusion ended in Vas Dev losing out on the opportunity to get his dream home.
"It is apparent that the DDA had been both negligent and tardy in dealing with this case on a number of occasions, including in not sending the important letter dated March 6, 1990 demanding Rs.11,326 from Vas Dev for conversion from MIG to SFS to his actual address," commission President Ashok Bhan and Member Vineeta Rai said in a recent order.
The commission also slammed the DDA for misplacing the applicant's file and subsequently giving him very little time to consider the option for applying under a new SFS housing scheme.
Rejecting the DDA's appeal against the State Consumer Commission's judgment in favour of Vas Dev, the national commission said: "The state commission after considering all these facts had rightly arrived at the finding that the DDA was responsible for making Vas Dev wait for several years...since no flat was now available...there was need to adequately compensate him."
"We agree with the finding of the state commission, including the compensation of Rs.2 lakh awarded to Vas Dev which is reasonable and justified," Bhan said.
The DDA came under the national commission's fire for sending a letter to Vas Dev with an incomplete address.
"In the letter from the DDA dated March 6, 1990, wherein the demand for Rs.11,326 had been raised, the address is blatantly incomplete. It is addressed to 'Vas Dev, Poorvi Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi-110026'. Punjabi Bagh is a huge colony and in the absence of writing the house number, namely, '43, Madan Park', it was virtually impossible for the letter to have reached Vas Dev," the apex consumer commission said.
The DDA in its defence claimed the letter should be deemed to have been served since it was not returned, but the national commission dismissed the plea.
The complainant said he applied for a flat in 1979 and since he was transferred to Suva, Fiji, for three years on an Indian government assignment, he informed the DDA about this in a letter dated Dec 21, 1983 and also furnished the fresh address with the request that further correspondence be made at that address.
Vas Dev said he was advised by a telegram, which he received July 3, 1995, that he could apply under a new 8th SFS, the last date being the next day i.e. July 4, 1995 when the scheme closed.
The national commission found the DDA guilty of deficiency in service and said: "The fact remains that the complainant who was abroad was not only made to wait for 10 long years from 1979-89 after his request for conversion of MIG to SFS category was acceded to but at the same time the DDA was guilty of not informing the complainant as to the difference of amount which he was to make as the alleged telegram never reached the complainant."
The DDA, which has till June 6 to pay Rs.2 lakh to Vas Dev, may exercise its option of challenging the national commission's decision in the Supreme Court.