NATIONAL CONSUMER FORUM’S DECISION AGAINST BANGALORE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
Sri Gopal Babu was very happy when he received an allotment of site letter from the Bangalore Development Authority. Earlier, he had applied for an allotment of site on six occasions, under State Government Employee quota as well as general public category. However, his happiness was not lasted long, as the BDA sent a cancellation letter without assigning any reason. His visits to BDA Office many a number of time did not yield any fruitful results and he could not know the exact reasons for cancellation of such allotment of site.
Aggrieved by the action of the BDA in cancellation of site allotted to him earlier, Sri Gopal Babu approached District Consumer Forum which passed orders in favour of Sri Gopal Babu, Further, the District Consumer Forum held that sum of total of all attempts made under all and every category under BDA (allotment of sites) rules 1984 should be treated as attempt for arriving at allotting the residential sites. Against the said orders of District Consumer Forum, the BDA filed an appeal before the State Consumer Redressal Commission, where also the decision went in favour of the Consumer Sri Gopal Babu. The BDA while impugning the said decision of the State Consumer Redressal Commission, filed an appeal before the National Consumer Commission, New Delhi.
As regards the case, the allotment of residential sites is guided by four parameters prescribed in BDA (allotment of sites) Rules 1984, such as:
(i) Marital status of the applicant;
(ii) Income of the applicant,
(iii) Number of Attempts made; and
(iv) Whether any land of the applicant is acquired by the BDA.
While the contention of the BDA is that the number of attempts in each category should be the criteria for allotment of sites, both the District Consumer Forum as well as State Consumer Redressal Commission have held that all attempts, irrespective of the category shall form the basis for allotment.
While so, the National Consumer Commission was to decide whether the total number of attempts in all categories (OR) attempts under each category separately, should form the basis for allotment.
Relying on the Judgement rendered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in case of Lucknow Development Authority Vs MK Guptha, before National Consumer Commission, it was held that “more liberal interpretation of rules need to be given by statutory authorities, while dealing with common man.”
Upholding the decision of the Lower Forums, the National Consumer Commission held that “a plain reading of the BDA rules makes it clear that at best it is silent on the point that number of attempts to be read in each category separately or altogether.” So, when the Law is silent on a point, the benefit will naturally go in favour of the Consumer/Complainant. Further, the National Consumer Commission also held that “cancellation of allotment without assigning any sufficient ground is certainly a deficiency.”
Accordingly, the common man – Sri Gopal Babu’s efforts in fighting against the mighty BDA for a rightful cause ended in meeting the ends of Justice and equity; and it was an eye-opener to the BDA authorities not to act at their whims and fancies.
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