A city-based cooperative housing society will now have to pay interest of about Rs. 11 lakh to a couple for failing to allot them a site six years after collecting separate advance payments from both and utilising the sum even though only one of them was eligible for allotment as per the housing society’s bye-law.

The Bangalore Urban District (Principal) Consumer Forum has directed Sri Lakshmi Co-operative Housing Society to refund Rs. 10.5 lakh collected from the complainant, 63-year-old R.S. Subramanyam, with 18 per cent interest per annum with effect from August 29, 2007. The interest amount comes to around Rs. 11.34 lakh.

Mr. Subramanyam and his wife, Uma (60), had become members of the society in 2007 by paying Rs. 2,000 towards the society’s share, and on August 29, 2007 both of them paid Rs. 10.5 lakh each to the society for availing two sites measuring 60 ft by 40 ft. The society had promised to register their sites within a year but failed to fulfil the promise, forcing the couple to approach the consumer forum.

In its objection to the couple’s complaint, the society claimed it had apprised the members during the general body meeting about the difficulties faced in the formation of the layout near the Big Banyan Tree on the outskirts of the city, but the complainants did not attend the meeting. Besides, the society claimed that as per its bye-law, only one member from a family is entitled for allotment of site.

However, the complainants alleged that nothing moved despite meeting office-bearers of the society personally and reminding them through letters. Before the forum, the society had offered to register one site.

A bench of the forum, comprising its president B.S. Reddy, members M. Yashodhamma and A. Muniyappa, found that the conduct of the society amounts to deficiency of service.

The society, being fully aware of the restriction in its bye-law, had not only collected money from the couple but had also utilised the amount. Hence, the forum said the society had to pay the penal interest rate apart from refunding Rs. 10.5 lakh.

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