The more you try to understand, the deeper it gets.
For the benefit of those who would like to have a preliminary information. There are various sections under which one can file their complaint in NCDRC.
12 (1) A – Direct complaint at NCDRC
12 (1) B – Through society (Since the value of the complaint has to be greater than Rs. 1 Cr)
12 (1) C – class action suit – one person can file and result applicable to all
12 (1) D – Government files a case
Out of these, generally there is a tiff between flat owners as to whether 12 (1) B is better than 12 (1) C.
Let us look at it one by one :
If a complaint is against a builder under Section 12 (1) (c), i.e by an unregistered group of persons, it can be filed only on behalf of or for the benefit of all buyers who have the same interest and grievance against the builder. It cannot be filed seeking relief for the benefit of only some of the buyers.
Read more at The Logical Buyer’s blog: NCDRC’s full bench judgement on Section 12 (1) (c) of the Consumer Protection Act.
The Challenges with the 12 (1) c are inherent in the process associated with it :
1. Since it is for the benefit of all – it is very difficult to form a group. So even if a person does not join the group / doesn’t pay – he will get the benefit of the case filed.
2. The interpretation of this case is that people having same interest will get benefitted. This is not very clear whether same interest or similar interest is same thing. This can be challenged in Supreme Court and our case can be hung again. This is ambiguous and clarity is not there.
3. The process is that you have to get permission of NCDRC to file case – MANDATORY STEP
4. Then a public notice is to be sent to everyone – so that they are aware and accept the case being filed – this takes a huge amount of time – This is a Mandatory Step.
5. There is no clarity as to how much needs to be waited after the notice. What if I challenge in the court that the case is not applicable to me. Only after this the process will start.
6. This procedure is much slower as compared to 12 (1) B.
That is why :
The Best way is to go through 12 (1) B because of the inherent problems of the 12 1 c.
CLEARLY – Even if I do not become the part of the case and do not pay the lawyers fees in case of 12 1 c – I will still get the benefit of the filed case.
And the process is very slow, ambiguous and can be challenged because of ambiguity.
It would thus be wise to explore 12 1 b option – which is much safer. This is the one which is being taken up by many lawyers in JP, Lotus Panache, Amarapali, Supertech etc cases.
While we were forming our group, someone suggested, that there are decided cases where 12(1) c has benefited people but it has always been challenged by builder because they wouldn’t want to settle with many people. They also have the option of settling with that person and the entire 12(1)C suit then weakens up. This looks like a practical difficulty in getting implementation done.
So in short it’s safe to file case as a society, where no one person can influence the case in an adverse direction.
Also, Filing a Criminal Case has many aspects. When we file an FIR / EOW case, the officials will do their study and build a case and arrest the builders / parties implicated. Now when this happens, the opposite party get troubled definitely. But the main point – We want our Flats – for which we have been fighting the case is –
EARLY POSSESSION & COMPENSATION FOR DELAY
This does not happen in criminal case. In Other cases of Amrapali, Supertech etc., the relief that the buyers have found is through the 12 1 b. They have got reasonable compensation and possession orders.
For detailed clarification, request you to please consult with your lawyer. We can only share the experience of what we have faced. Richie – 98604.65660.