When a flat cost exceeds Rs 1 crore its buyer will now have to file a consumer dispute directly in front of the national commission in Delhi, not before state commission in the city. The Maharastra state consumer dispute redressal commission recently stated that price of a flat will decide which commission has jurisdiction to hear disputes filed under Consumer Protection Act (1986). The market for affordable housing in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) which gained fame mostly in Kandivali, Kurla and Parel could fall under this jurisdiction if the pricing conflict comes flooding through the streets of Mumbai. This means that the upcoming residential projects in Kolkata will also suffer the same as long as it does the inevitable and raises the flat value and claim conflict. This judicial review will help the home buyers while driving them straight to the capital city of India.

The consumer cases which are governed by the law have split up jurisdiction based on economic value of the compensation being asserted. Up to Rs 20 lakh can be heard by District Fora, Rs 20 lakh to Rs 1 crore by state commissions and further than that by the national commission based in Delhi.

When a flat-buyer advanced with the state commission for refund of a previous booking amount of  Rs 45 lakh, it stated that to decide if it had jurisdiction to hear the acquiescent, it would "have to consider the whole consideration (price) of the flat along with compensation claimed". Whereas that flat was booked for more than Rs 2 crore, "the consumer complaint is beyond pecuniary jurisdiction of this commission," said D R Shirasao, presiding judicial member of the state commission in a mid-April order. "As total consideration of the flat is over Rs 1 crore, only the national commission has jurisdiction to entertain the consumer's complaint," said the order.

Complainants R K Ramani and Jayanthi Ramani from Mumbai had sought "condonation of delay" in filing their complaint against Godrej Landmark Redevelopers Pvt Ltd. Such appeals have to be made when the complaint is filed after the legally predetermined cut-off of two years.

"...when the complaint is not within pecuniary jurisdiction of this commission, it is not desirable for the commission to decide the delay condonation application along with complaint," said the order, directing him to file his complaint "in front of the appropriate commission". It would be the national commission, said advocate Manish Gala, who supported the builder.

Jehangir Gai, a consumer activist and 'authorised representative' of the consumer before the commission, said he would confront the order. "We will go before Supreme Court. The national commission is only in Delhi and the distance would make seeking justice in consumer matters for such consumers a costly affair," Gai said.

With many flats in the city exceeding the cost of Rs 1 crore, for delays in delivery or any other conflict, for which consumers, who may not go to the real estate regulatory authority, now it is mandatory to go to the national commission in Delhi. Even if the flat's price is less than Rs 1 crore, but together with compensation being claimed, the amount exceeds Rs 1 crore, they have to take their conflict to Delhi, said Gai, adding that "it would cause more distress, frustration and hardship" to many consumers.

The consumers who will be purchasing real estate properties need to be more aware than ever, buyers concentrating in the new launches project in Kolkata will have to drive down to Delhi for filing a conflict if the amount is more than Rs. 1 crore it definitely will cause distress among the consumers while this jurisdiction might be looking at changes in the future. This change not only strikes common people while as affects the busy consumers.

By LNN (Liyaans News Network)