NOIDA: Shashi Gopal booked an apartment at Palace Heights, a housing society project in Noida Extension’s Sector 1, nearly a decade back.

In 2018, he moved the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) seeking refund on the ground that the developer has not been able to deliver the project even after seven years. Though NCDRC admitted his case in 2018, nothing substantial has moved in the case to date.

“While we were supposed to get our flats by 2015, it’s 2021 and we are stuck. Though the case was tabled for hearing in NCDRC in October 2019, nothing has moved over the past one year. Our hopes for a refund have also been dashed,” Gopal told TOI.

Gopal is not the only one. Over 500 buyers from 10 housing societies in Noida and Greater Noida who have applied for refund against their delayed property with NCDRC have not had their cases listed for hearing in over one year. Advocates representing these buyers at NCDRC claim things have slowed down because of the pandemic and the virtual hearings are “too slow” to accommodate pending cases.

As of March 31, 2021, 21,443 were pending with NCDRC, as per the commission’s portal.

Randheer Kumar Sinha, the lawyer representing Palace Heights buyers at NCDRC, said, “I have clients from 10 projects in Noida and Greater Noida who have moved NCDRC and have not had their cases listed in over a year. Besides the pandemic slowing down the matter, the commision also has a shortage of staff that has led to these delays.”

“All these cases are filed under the old Consumer Act which permitted applications of claim value of up to Rs 1 crore. The new act that has come into force in 2020 permits only cases worth Rs 10 crore to be admitted to NCDRC,” he added.

Lawyer Mihir Kumar, who represents homebuyers at NCDRC, Allahabad high court and the Supreme Court, told TOI, “Many buyers have moved NCDRC with the hope of a refund. But with the legal proceedings delayed, they are stuck and also failing to make an exit from their investments. We hope the court soon picks these cases on priority.”

“The buyers will now move the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT),” said Abhishek Kumar, president of Noida Extension Flat Owners Welfare Association (Nefowa).

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