Consumer Forum directs HUDCO to pay compensation

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A Correspondent
JORHAT, June 19: The District Consumer Forum, Jorhat delivered the judgment in CPA case no. 1/16, directing Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited to refund excess interest of Rs 35,700 to pay compensation of Rs 20,000 for mental harassment and Rs 10,000 for litigation cost to complainant Kanakeswar Das, informed District Consumer Forum sources on Tuesday.

In 2004, there was a HUDCO house building loan advertisement at the rate of 8.25 per cent fixed interest per annum for government employees working in Assam. Responding to this advertisement, complainant Kanakeswar Das of Jorhat made an application for loan and HUDCO NIWAS sanctioned a loan of Rs 1,30,000 at the rate of 8.25 fixed rate of interest payable in equal monthly instalment of Rs 1595 within 10 years. To avail the loan, the complainant deposited original land documents and 120 post-dated cheque of Rs 1595 for timely collection of EMI from his loan account. During the tenure of loan agreement when the complainant insisted to furnish EMI statement of loan account, HUDCO refused and simply furnished outstanding loan amount. The dispute arose when HUDCO informed the complainant that with effect from 2009, the rate of interest was raised by the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited from 8.25 per cent to 13.75 per cent for the second five-year term relying on a provision in loan agreement to the effect that in case of unforeseen anomalies in the money market, HUDCO might raise the rate of interest on the loan already granted.

During trail it was found that HUDCO did not inform the complainant about anomalies in the money market necessitating revision of rate of interest. As per provision of Indian Contract Act, in case of contingent agreement the parties to the contract cannot enforce implementation of the clause of the agreement unless and until that event happens in future. It was also found that HUDCO in order to impose penalty interest on the loan amount, deliberately omitted to encash the post-dated cheque from the loan account of the complainant, thereby adopting unfair trade practice to deceive the loanee. In other words, HUDCO in order to lure prospective home buyers laid the trap of fixed rate of interest 8.25 per cent per annum which was in fact 11per cent interest per annum for a period of 10 years, thereby cheating government employees throughout the country, ostensibly replying on a future event which had never happened, informed sources from the forum.