Brief facts:- The case arises out of 15 complainants assailing a common order recorded by the Ld. Member & Adjudicating Officer, MahaRERA, which was rejected on the ground of lack of Agreement for Sale with regards to residential flats to be built by the respondent(promoter). All 15 of the allottees, based on identical Letters of Allotment, had paid 50% of the payment amount to the promoter. No work had been started in relation to the project, and as per email communications made by the promoter to some of the allottees, the promoter had no wish to continue the project. This gave rise to the controversy at hand. Issues:- The main issues within the case were:
1. Whether the lack of an Agreement for Sale was enough to fail a complaint.
2. Whether the Letters of Allotment could be treated as Agreements for Sale.
Judgment:-The Court decided that the lack of Agreement for Sale could not fail the complaints, and hence the 15 appeals of the allottees were allowed. The common order dated 29th December, 2017 was set aside. The matter was further remanded to the Ld. Adjudicating Officer, MahaRERA to be decided afresh on merits. The Respondent was ordered to pay cost of Rs. 15000/- to each of the allottee/appellant within 30 days from the date of judgment. The parties to the appeal/to the original complaint were directed to appear before the Ld. Member and Adjudicating Officer on 23rd April, 2018.
Ratio The Court held that mere lack of an Agreement for Sale will not be enough to fail the complaint. Opining on Section 15(1)(a) of RERA, the Court stated that the term “Agreement for Sale” mentioned therein could not be the subject of strict uses of terminology, on account of the phrase “or as the case may be” used within the same. This phrase itself indicates the presence of more than one alternative scenario. The present case thus serves as an appropriate example for the same. Further, Section 2(c) of RERA states that an Agreement for Sale is one between the promoter and allottee. The present Letters of Allotment stipulate a description of the property to be purchased by individual allottees, a description of the payment schedule and the total cost, the necessary requisition of permissions, obligation to complete the projects, and getting clarity to the title. Pairing the same with Section 2(d) of RERA which contemplates the definition of an allottee, the Court observed that an agreement is basically the meeting of minds, even sans the legal obligations. The Letters of Allotment are incidentally couched in such a fashion so as to incorporate all requisite terms of a valid agreement, i.e. the offer, acceptance, consideration, time schedule, clarity of title, etc.Therefore, in the present case, nothing was left to be negotiated and settled for future. Terms were agreed and Letters of Allotment were read and understood. It was a certain and a concluded bargain. Hence, the Court held that a concluded contract had come into existence. Thus, looking into Section 18(1)(a) of RERA the Court came to the conclusion that based on its discussion, the case fell into the jurisdiction of the Adjudicating Officer, MahaRERA.