SC orders refund of Rs2 cr to 39 Unitech home buyers

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed that Rs2 crore deposited by real estate firm Unitech Resorts Ltd be distributed among 39 home buyers.

The home buyers had sought refund of their amount for delay in handing over the possession of flats in the Unitech's Vista housing project in Gurgaon.

A Supreme Court bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi said the flat buyers can withdraw the money from the apex court registry on pro-rata basis.

The court said it would take a decision on the rate of interest and compensation to be paid to the investors at a later stage.

''The appellant has deposited Rs2 crore which shall be distributed among 39 respondents on pro-rata basis. As far as interest and compensation is concerned, the matter to be taken up on 4 February,'' the bench said.

The bench noted that Rs16.55 crore was deposited by the 39 home buyers who had booked flats in Unitech Vista project in Sector 70, Gurgaon and are now before the court. It also said that the company had earlier deposited Rs15 crore with the apex court registry in compliance with an order.

The Supreme Court had on 17 August 2016 directed the embattled real estate firm to deposit Rs15 crore principal amount by September-end to pay back investors and home buyers who were not given possession of the flats on time. The investors had told the court that they had paid money to the firm on time and the company was scheduled to hand over the possession of flats in 2012 but had not done till date.

Over two dozen home buyers of Unitech's housing projects in Noida and Gurgaon had approached the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) after the builder had failed to give them possession of the flats as the per schedule.

The consumer forum had asked Unitech to refund the money to the home buyers with interest.

The apex court had earlier asked the company to deposit an interim penalty of Rs5 crore with the court registry after the firm challenged the order of the consumer forum which had asked the developer to pay Rs5 crore penalty to three buyers of its Burgundy project. The court had said the penalty deposited with the court will be awarded to the buyers or returned to Unitech, depending on the outcome of the case.