Consumer Forum directs Admin to Convert Sector 33 house from leasehold to freehold
The procedure to buying a home may take some time, maybe months and in some cases, even years. An agreement may be in effect on a certain time, and new rules may come into effect stating new procedures and protocols to be followed by their respective departments. The departments may change their staff which can do their duties differently since the new rules warrant those responsibilities. What happens when a homeowner does not fall under those guidelines?
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The Legal Issue:
Consumer can go about his day and transact however he may feel comfortable. He may not be aware of the rules and laws being passed, and at what time they start to take effect, but lawyers are paid to stay informed. The Chandigarh Residential Leasehold to Freehold 1996 made rules to help consumers the best way they can, to be safeguarded. Harvinder Singh and his brothers were not to placed under those guidelines but were.
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News Article Facts:
Harvinder Singh’s father won an auction of a home in Sector 33 Chandigarh, some fees were due to transfer the deed to their possession. On April 16, 1993, the lease was executed between Avtar Singh (the father) and the Finance Secretary and the estate officer of Chandigarh. The 1996 Rule came into effect and required the complainants to follow the steps for conversion of the plot. After making all the necessary payments, additional conversion fees raised questions by the complainants. Their application for conversion from leasehold to freehold would be considered only after all the fees are paid. On June 18, 2013, the finance department halted the matter since they were revising their conversion rates. A Deficiency of Service complaint was filed in the Consumer forum, the admin contended that the complainants did not apply jointly and demand drafts were returned.
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Legal Stand Point:
The Consumer Forum ruled that the previous conversion rates before 1996 were applicable. The administration retracted the application for conversion prospectively and not retrospectively, the retraction was done in 2013, if the retraction were to be before 1996; the complainants were liable to all the revised fees.
The complainants could have just paid the additional revised fees the Chandigarh administration was asking for, but then many other people would have been subjected to this abuse of official power. The administration learned a valuable lesson; not to do whatever they feel, but to read all their duties listed responsibly and comply. The New 1996 rules must have stated that the new revised conversion rates would not apply retrospectively, and if they would have been acquired; it would have been illegal.
The complainants were wise to advise a lawyer to review the matter and take action, some people would have just let the admin get away with theft, and liable to much worse punishments.
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