SC orders Unitech to disburse Rs15 crore to investors in failed housing project

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered realty major Unitech to disburse the Rs15-crore deposited with the court`s registar to the investors on a pro-rata basis as the builder has failed to complete the projects on time.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar directed Unitech Residential Resorts to refund the money to allottees who had booked flats in the Gurgaon project as many as seven years ago but have not got possession till date.

The apex court directed refund of money to 39 investors as buyers refused to rely on the assurance of possession by 2017. The court also directed Unitech to deposit an additional Rs2 crore with the registrar in the next four weeks.

The court also made it clear that its order was applicable to only 39 buyers and it would not entertain applications from other investors after the company contended that there were 1,200 buyers and all would rush to SC to get back their money.

The bench said it would quantify interest and compensation to be paid in the second week of January.

The bench refused to grant more time to the builder after the flat buyers "unequivocally and categorically" turned down the company's proposal. Advocates Brajesh Kumar and Pawanshree Agrawal, appearing for flat buyers, told the bench that buyers had lost faith in the company and the new proposal seemed to be a ploy to delay proceedings.

"The company by delaying or procrastinating the completion of the flats cannot base its stand on excuses or any subterfuge to advance the stand that constructions take time. The submission in a way rests upon the metaphor that 'Rome was not built in a day' but serves no purpose. It is 'flat' or 'money'.And nothing else. They collectively make a demand for refund of money because they have fought the litigation with ceaseless vigour and enormous hope," it said.

The bench warned real estate companies against reneging on their promise of delivering flats in time and instead making investors run from pillar to post to get back their hard-earned money .

The Supreme Court also asked investors to deposit their relevant documents to obtain their deposits.

The next hearing on the matter is scheduled to take place in the second week of January.

The top court also told the Unitech developers to live up to the terms of its contract in the vistas project in Gurgaon.

Last week, the Supreme Court also directed Parsvnath Developers to deposit Rs12 crore with the court`s registry in four weeks in a case related to delay in possession of flats in the Parsvnath Exotica project in Ghaziabad.

Earlier, the court had pulled up Unitech and asked it to deposit Rs5 crore by 5 August 2016, for delaying the completion of a high-end residential project Burgundy that the real estate firm had launched on the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, and had warned that it would be liable for contempt of court if it violated the settlement terms.