Appeal No. 205 of 2010
Facts Of The Case
There was an ad published by the petitioner (Delhi Development Authority/DDA) under the Expandable Housing Scheme in 1996. The respondent (DC Sharma) paid a sum of Rs. 15,000 according to the terms and conditions of the scheme as published by the petitioner. The respondent was allotted a flat in Narela, Delhi, and was communicated through a letter. All the details of the flat regarding the amount was mentioned in the letter. Again, the respondent submitted another Rs. 15,000 as the confirmation money to the petitioner. The respondent informed the petitioner via a letter saying he has changed his residential address and all official communication must be done via the new mentioned address. He also added that the respondent is a government servant, and to secure a loan from his department he needs the official mortgage permission. Later on, even after visiting the office of the petitioner, no communication was made to the respondent. The respondent filed an RTI to seek information regarding the same. After this preliminary inquiry, the respondent received a letter from the petitioner saying that the flat was allotted to someone else over time. The respondent aggrieved by the letter filed a consumer complaint under the District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, New Delhi.
- Whether the act was done by DDA, a statutory authority was against public interest or not?
- Whether the respondent deserves hefty compensation from the petitioner for harassing him for more than 18 years or not?
The Hon’ble court held the petitioner is liable for unfair trade practices and causing impalpable harassment of the respondent and imposed punitive damage amounting to Rs. 5,00,000/- on the petitioner and other amounts. The court considered that the petitioner’s claim is baseless and is trying to distract the court from the misdemeanor of the authorities. It is a way of covering up the negligence of public officials tormenting the respondent for over ten years. The act commissioned by DDA was against the public at large and hence the damages incurred should be taken from the pockets of dishonest officials who are taking advantage of this “meritless litigation”. The appeals of DDA were dismissed and the impugned order of state commission was upheld.
This case embarks upon the importance of Section 21 of the Right to Information Act. The Hon’ble court saw through the delinquencies of the statutory department and provided relief to the aggrieved party. The public officials are supposed to help the aggrieved party and not take advantage of them by performing negligent acts at cost of the general public.