Bombay HC holds Darshan Developers guilty of contempt, stays sentence, ET RealEstate
In the case of flats booked almost 20 years ago, the builder had nine years ago undertaken, in consent terms filed before the HC, to deliver possession, within nine months, of two flats to a buyer couple who had petitioned the court.
The HC noted that mere punishment is not enough and contempt must be purged. Justice Manish Pitale also directed the builder to pay the buyer, Achyut Godbole, 73, an IIT Bombay alumnus, software company honcho and author of books in Marathi, Rs 4 crore within six weeks to purge the contempt.
The builder’s lawyer pleaded for a stay to enable an appeal. The HC stayed only the sentencing order by six weeks, not the purging.
In 2004, Godbole, author of over 50 books with his wife, booked two flats in a project in Vile Parle (East). The construction stands ready till the fifth floor, he said. The snag was height permissions and a nod from the civil aviation ministry, as the builder contended.
In March 2019, the HC noted that occupancy certificate was admittedly held up only for want of property card. In 2014, Godbole petitioned HC with a plea to appoint an arbitrator.
The builder undertook in October 2014 to hand over delivery in nine months. But with no possession given even in December 2017, the buyer filed a contempt petition over non-compliance by the builder.
After indulging the builder’s plea for more time, but then noting his “blatant contumacious conduct,” Justice Pitale held him guilty for flouting repeatedly and with impunity the undertakings.