Consumer Complaints Alleging Deficiency In Service Related To Transfer Of Title Of Immovable Property Not Maintainable: Supreme Court

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Consumer Complaints Alleging Deficiency In Service Related To Transfer Of Title Of Immovable Property Not Maintainable

Case: Estate Officer vs. Charanjit Kaur

Coram: Justices Hemant Gupta and AS Bopanna

Case No: CA 4964 OF 2021

Court Observation: “In terms of Section 14(e) of the Consumer Act, the District Forum can inter-alia direct removal of deficiency in the services. The deficiency in service however does not include the transfer of title in favor of the allottee who was earlier granted leasehold rights. As noted above, the appellant is not providing any services within the meaning of Section 2(o) of the Consumer Act. The expression ‘service’ includes housing construction and not allotment of a site or a plot”

Since the respondents are already in possession of the sites as lessees on 99 years basis, it cannot be said that the appellant was deficient in providing any service, which even if used in a liberal sense would not include the transfer of title in an immovable property. Thus, the consumer fora under the Act would not have jurisdiction to entertain the consumer complaints on the ground of deficiency in service related to transfer of title of the immovable property.

The difficulty in the Administration is that the senior officers in the Chandigarh Administration are on deputation from the States of either Punjab or Haryana. The officers revert to their parent cadre after completion of the deputation period of approximately three years. However, the officials continue to work at the Estate Office. Though the Administration has done commendable work to maintain the character of Chandigarh as City Beautiful, the Estate Office has underbelly, that is, the action of the officials cannot be said to be bona fide, as is apparent in the present case. It is a typical case of ‘you show me face, I will show the Rule’. On the other hand, the officers are unable to take decisions which are citizen friendly. Even no attempt is made to remove the bottlenecks in the working of the Estate Office.” The residents of Chandigarh are widely harassed while seeking no-objection certificate for sale of leasehold property as the procedure for grant of no-objection certificate and of deposit of unearned increase is interpreted in different manners by the different officials, which the officers of the Administration has failed to control. Another area of concern is the unreasonable procedure adopted by the Administration for affecting mutation after the demise of the leaseholder or the allottee and of completing other formalities at the offices of the appellant. The difficult and near impossible procedure leads to arbitrary and discriminatory action by the officials of the Estate Office. Therefore, we direct Administration to constitute a Committee which may include a Member of Parliament; an architect; an advocate, who is or has represented Chandigarh Administration before the High Court; two representatives of the Municipal Corporation being representatives of the citizens of Chandigarh, apart from such officers which the Administration may think fit, so as to review and streamline the processes of sanction of mutation, grant of occupancy certificate, no-objection certificate and other citizen-centric requirements including calculation of unearned profit under the 1973 Rules or under 2007 Rules.

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Consumer Complaints, Service, Immovable Property