Amrapali home buyers hope for you as SC acts tough with builder

New Delhi, Feb 22: The Supreme Court today told the embattled Amrapali Group that it shared the concerns of home buyers and the real estate firm should consider their "plight" and abide by the proposal to complete the housing projects and hand them possession in accordance with the time frame.

A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy permitted the group to "immediately start" the work as proposed by the firm in the residential towers of its Leisure Park housing project in Greater Noida West in Uttar Pradesh and said the group should be "true" to the assurances given in the court as well as to the home buyers.

The top court asked the builder to furnish an undertaking by March 7 regarding the proposals given by it to the court.

"The concern of home buyers is also shared by the court at this stage. There is evident financial crunch. 13 developers are willing to help you. To this extent, we are okay. Look at the plight of the home buyers. They are waiting for 8-9 years. They have invested their money. They are waiting. Whatever proposal you are bringing, they (home buyers) must be satisfied," the bench told senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who was representing Amrapali.

At the outset, Kumar gave details of the ongoing housing projects, stages of work and the likely time to complete construction. He referred to the works related to 19 towers of Leisure Park project while giving information like number of floors, saleable area, proposed likely time to complete the finishing work, balance amount payable by the home buyers and expenditure to be incurred by the group.

The bench noted that as per details given by the group, the likely time to complete the work and deliver possession of flats ranged from three to 15 months.

The group told the court that Rs 87.28 crore would be required to complete the finishing works in these towers.

On being asked by the court about the guarantee that the arrangements as proposed would be implemented, Kumar said 12 developers, in addition to Galaxy Group, were willing to collaborate for the purpose and assurance by these builders were testified by their individual letters which were annexed in the record.

The counsel representing the home buyers expressed some reservations on the arrangements proposed by the group and said these 13 builders should be asked to give undertakings in this regard.

When Kumar said that "adequate undertaking" would be given by Amrapali Group and its promoters, the bench permitted the group to immediately start the works in the residential towers as it has proposed.

"On the basis of arrangements as proposed and in order to examine the bonafide of the proposal and progress of works that would be made, list this matter after a month," the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on March 27.

The bench asked the group to give an undertaking by March 7 and said that issues with regard to other unfinished projects of the group would be taken up for consideration on March 15.

During the hearing, Kumar gave details of the towers in Leisure Park project and said Tower One having 90 units was of a total value of Rs 20.30 crore, out of which the group has received Rs 17.67 crore and Rs 2.63 crore remained as balance.

He said that Rs 4.93 crore was required for the remaining construction work and the group would try to complete the work and hand over possession of flats to the buyers as soon as possible and there were total of 1,665 flats there.

When the bench asked how would the group generate Rs 4.93 crore, Kumar said other builders were willing to associate with them for this purpose including finance.

During the hearing, the bench observed, "there is apparent and visible financial crunch. The question is how will you generate the amount?".

"This Rs 4.93 crore figure should not escalate. We must be sure, if we accept your proposal, that the work will be done within the time given by you," it said and raised queries regarding source of fund and timely execution of work by third parties.

Kumar said the builders have shown willingness to associate with the group and once the towers are completed, the firm would get the money which would be used to complete other towers.

When the home buyers said the flats which would be handed over to them as per the proposal should be "habitable", the bench said, "we will ensure it".

The home buyers also raised the issue of Amrapali Silicon city project but the bench said it would deal with it later. The Group said in Silicon city project, there were total of 3,335 flats and works would be completed there.

The bench also told the home buyers that the court would enforce the undertaking which would be furnished by the group.

The company, which is facing insolvency proceedings initiated by the creditor bank for not repaying the loan, had earlier told the top court in an affidavit that it was not in a position to complete the projects and hand over possession of flats to over 42,000 home-buyers in a time-bound manner. It had said the properties were needed to be developed with the help of co-developers.