By I C Naik
In a path breaking judgment of the consumer court a builder was asked to shell out Rs 10 lakh to a cooperative housing society in Borivali- a den of Gujarati traders in Mumbai.
In a land mark judgment the Mumbai sub-Urban District Consumer Court reportedly passed an order in a consumer dispute raised by Mhatre Cooperative Housing Society directing the builder to shell out ` 10,00,000 for various deficient services including failure to convey the titles of the property of the housing society as required under Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act.
Crux of the matter is that the Forum held that until the property was fully handed over de-facto and de-jure to the owner housing society the builder is not absolved from the liability of the property towards BMC by way of property tax and water charges.
The Forum held the builder guilty of providing deficient service such as failure to secure occupancy certificate, failure to set up a cooperative housing society of the flat buyers and ordered the builder to pay to Mhatre housing society a sum of ` 10,00,000 against the payments it made to BMC as taxes and other deficiency in providing services.
Will this wake up hundreds of housing societies still struggling to get property conveyed to them to become liable to pay the taxes to BMC. This is an issue unexplored by housing societies as the builder lobby enjoying the support of the administration did not gather courage to take the bull by horn.
Such exceptional cases may change the scenario hopefully going forward. The Housing Regulator could also help the meek housing societies to raise their head it is hoped.