Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Middle class home buyers can now move SC against builders at a low cost

The Supreme Court has brought down the cost of litigation significantly through its new middle income group scheme

NEW DELHI: Making it easier for home buyers in the middle and lower income group to file cases against real estate developers, the Supreme Court has brought down the cost of litigation significantly through its new scheme.

The middle income group scheme would apply to all the people with gross income up to Rs 60,000 per month or Rs 7.5 lakh per annum.

Home buyers will just have to pay Rs 500 to the Supreme Court Middle Income Group Legal Aid Society as service charges. Another Rs 750 also needs to be deposited with the society at the stage of admission of case under the contingent fund created to meet the miscellaneous expenditure.

This scheme will being down the fee cost for home buyers by almost 75-80%, according to Vaibhav Gaggar, Partner, Gaggar & Partners. He has represented many home buyers against builders in the Supreme Court. 

"The scheme should go a long way in giving the middle and lower income group flat owners a real shot at taking their fight to a logical end," said Gaggar.

Most consumer cases in today's time relates to real estate. However, home buyers very often run out of steam by the time they reach the Supreme Court stage as normally the fees can be quite frightening for the litigants.

SC is reaching out to the citizens and the new scheme will benefit a larger strata of society, according to Shoeb Alam, advocate on record, Supreme Court.

"This will also go a long way in shunning the perception that the access to justice delivery system more often than not can be afforded by the rich," he said.

Cases can only be filed through advocates on record. The applicant will also have to suggest the names of three lawyers from the panel for his case, however, the final right to assign rests with the society.

In case the advocate finds the case not fit for an appeal to the Supreme Court, the entire amount after deduction Rs 750 towards minimum service charges of the committee will be refunded to the applicant by way of cheque.

If the advocate is found negligent in the conduct of the case, he will be required to return the brief together with the fee which he may have received from the applicant under the scheme.

The society will not be responsible for the negligent conduct of the case but the entire responsibility will be that of the advocate vis-a-vis the client.

The name of the advocate will, however, be struck off from the panel prepared under the scheme.