Builders are legally bound to obtain a completion certificate (Occupation Certificate): Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the builder of a housing complex remains legally bound to get a completion certificate (CC) for the structure even if the beleaguered EMI-paying buyers take possession of their houses before issuance of such mandatorily required certificate. 

The relief for 36 flat buyers in a Kolkata housing complex, litigating since 2006 against RNR Enterprise builder, came from a bench of Justices S R Bhat and Dipankar Datta, who criticized the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) for saying that the flat buyers should get CC for the structure as they took possession prior to the authorities issuing the certificate.

The SC said, “True it is, the appellants (flat buyers) ought not to have taken possession without the completion certificate. However, that was not a valid ground not to direct the respondents (builder) to apply for and obtain the completion certificate as required by law. ”

Under the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Act, it is the obligation of the builder to apply for the completion certificate. “It is no part of the flat owner’s duty to apply for a completion certificate,” it said. The housing complex is on Kailash Ghosh Road.

The flat owners had also complained that the builder promised many amenities but failed to provide these, including a playground, community hall, and a lake on adjacent land, which never came into existence. The builder had said that as the flat buyers had taken possession of their properties on an ‘as is where is’ basis, they are not entitled to any of the amenities.

The SC said the flat owners, by registering their properties, have not forfeited any right over the promised amenities which were not provided by the builder. “It was the duty of the NCDRC to set things right,” it said.

“We are constrained to observe that the respondents (builder) have been let off by the NCDRC in a manner contrary to law. This is an appropriate case where the complaint of the appellants (flat owners) ought to be remitted to the NCDRC for taking a relook into the complaint in accordance with the law. It is ordered accordingly,” the apex court bench directed the commission.

However, it also faulted the flat owners for taking possession even before the builder could get the competition certificate for the housing complex. “Undoubtedly, they have also been on the wrong side of law by taking possession of their respective flats without the completion certificate, whatever might be the compulsion,” the SC said and declined to direct NCDRC to decide on the compensation component on account of deficiency of amenities.

Posted in Public Interest by
Adv. Sulaiman Bhimani Legal Consultant
Expert in RERA & Consumer Matters,
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