[ecis2016.org] In an order that could bring relief to home buyers of Supertech’s residential tower projects – Apex and Ceyane – in Noida, the SC has directed the developer to refund the money to its buyers, irrespective of the company’s financial status
The Supreme Court, on September 6, 2016, gave a stern message to Supertech, asking it to return money to investors and saying it was not concerned whether the real estate major ‘sinks or dies’, in a direction which may soothe hassled home buyers waiting endlessly for their dream homes.
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“Either you (Supertech) sink or die, we are not concerned. You will have to pay back the money to home buyers. We are least bothered about your financial status,” a bench of justices Dipak Misra and Adarsh Kumar Goel said, when it was pointed out that some builders have said they had no funds to pay back the home buyers.
The apex court directed Supertech to pay 10% per month, of the invested amount from January 5, 2015, to 17 home buyers within four weeks. It said the real estate firm has to clear the arrears to the home buyers in four weeks, which can be adjusted and asked Supertech to furnish a chart of payments made to 17 of them, on the next date of hearing.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for Supertech, said the apex court ‘cannot act like a banker’ and has to follow principle of equality. “Not all home buyers are against us and some of them have even supported the firm and filed an appeal against the High Court’s order,” he said, adding that “There is a difference between Unitech’s case and us. They did not have a building while we have a building and the funds invested with us, have been used for construction of structure.”
He said a total of 628 people had approached the company, of whom 274 have sought alternate arrangements, 74 asked for re-investment and 108 have sought refund. To this, the bench asked why Supertech was not giving back the money to all the investors. Dhawan replies that there was a court order, saying only those who have applied on time will get the money back and it was paying back the money to them.
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Counsels for the home buyers refuted Supertech’s claim and said they were not getting the money on time. The apex court also asked the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) to submit its report by October 25, 2016, after inspecting Supertech’s Emerald Towers, to ascertain whether the two 40-storey buildings were built in a green area, in violation of the sanctioned plan.
Prior orders in the case
On July 27, the court had asked the NBCC to visit the site of the twin towers and submit a report on alleged violations. It had observed that the home buyers should not be made to suffer, on account of ongoing litigation and their money should be refunded, if they want it.
Earlier, it had directed the company to deposit Rs five crore in its registry, as part of the refund to home buyers of the project, in which the Allahabad High Court had ordered the demolition of the twin towers. On February 16, 2015, the apex court directed Supertech to refund money to the flat owners, saying, “Developers can’t take investors for a ride.”
The Allahabad High Court had, on April 11, 2014, ordered the demolition of the two 40-storey residential twin towers – Apex and Ceyane – in Noida, and directed Supertech to refund the money to home buyers, with 14% interest in three months. The two towers have 857 apartments, of which about 600 flats have already been sold.
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