Non-resident Indians can also purchase house in India

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): “It cannot be made a ‘rule of thumb’ that every NRI cannot own a property in India. NRIs do come to India, every now and then. Most of the NRIs have to return to their native land. Each NRI wants a house in India.  He is an independent person and can purchase any house in India, in his own name,” observed NCDRC while directing Supertech Ltd to pay around Rs 64 lakh to two NRIs for denying possession of a flat in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh. Earlier, the complainants had booked a flat in seven Star luxurious flat/ apartment in Czar Suites, measuring 2490 sq.ft super area with Supertech Ltd. in 2008. The said apartment was to have 4-BHK with servant quarter and modern facilities. The complainants made payment of Rs.63,99,727/-, i.e., about 86.66%  of  the agreed value of  the flat, by September, 2008, within four months of the allotment letter. The installment, due in September, 2009, was to be paid only when the flat appeared to be almost ready and it was apparent that its possession would be handed over in December, 2009. As no construction commenced for the flat till March 2011, complainants approached NCDRC for refund and damages. In its defence, Supertech Ltd. claimed that the flat which was booked in the name of an NRI, was not for residing purpose but solely to earn profit and the complainants could not claim themselves to be a “consumer”. Supertech Ltd. also contended that an alternative flat was offered to the complainants by the Builder but they rejected it. While rejecting both the submissions of the Builder, NCDRC observed that every non-resident Indian, who returns to the country “every now and then”, can purchase a house in India, hence is a consumer. The Commission further noted that any other flat cannot be imposed upon the consumers and they have got their free will to accept or reject the other flats offered by the Builder. While deciding in favour of the Complainants, NCDRC directed Supertech Ltd. to return the amount of Rs.63,99,727/-, to the Complainants along with interest @ 18% p.a., from the date of its deposit(s), till its recovery. [Reshma Bhagat v. Supertech Ltd.,2016 SCC OnLine NCDRC 68, decided on January 4, 2016]

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