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SC to hear home buyers plea against Jaiprakash Associates on July 16

Press Trust of India/New Delhi 13 Jul 18 | 08:45 PM

The Supreme Court on Friday listed for final hearing on July 16 the pleas of hassled home buyers registered with Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) saying that it would exclusively deal with their grievances and the "capability" of realty firm to refund money to them.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had earlier said that it would ask the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) at Allahabad to expeditiously decide JAL's plea on restructuring of its subsidiary firm, Jaypee Infratech Limited (JIL), if they deposit Rs 6 billion for refunding principal amount to home buyers who have opted out of housing projects.

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"Let the matter be listed on July 16 for exclusively hearing the aspect of protection of rights of home buyers and the capability of Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) to pay the money," the bench, which also comprised justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.

At the outset, senior advocate F S Nariman, appearing for the real estate firm, said that JAL was ready with a plan to deposit Rs 6 billion with the apex court registry through cheques provided the company was given some liberty to arrange funds through banks.

If JAL is not allowed to deal with its properties for arranging funds then its subsidiary firm JIL would be wound up and no purpose would be served, the senior lawyer said.

The bench, once during the hearing, asked JAL to deposit Rs 4.75 billion by August 27 with a caution that non-compliance would force it to order jailing of its directors. However, later it adjourned the hearing to July 16.

It said that Rs 7.5 billion has been deposited by JAL with the apex court's registry and Rs 6 billion more would be required for paying principal sum to the home buyers who wanted refund of their investment.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Dalmia Cement, said that the firm has been supplying cement to the real estate firm which owed money to it and its interest be safeguarded by the apex court.

Earlier, the apex court had suggested that JAL pay Rs 6 billion, instead of Rs 10 billion ordered earlier, to refund the principal amount to hassled home buyers.

Prior to this, it had directed JAL to deposit 10 billion, in addition to Rs 7.5 billion already deposited, by June 15 to provide refunds to the home buyers who had wished to opt out of its various housing schemes.

"This case (of home buyers) can be disposed of if they (JAL) deposit Rs 6 billion for refund of the principal amount. We will ask the NCLT to decide the company petition (of JAL)," the bench had said.

Lawyer Pawan Shree Agrawal, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae, had said the home buyers, registered with the portal for seeking refund, have to be paid Rs 13.79 billion and so far Rs 7.5 billion have been deposited with the apex court registry, leaving a shortfall of almost Rs 6.5 billion for refunding the principal sum to them.

Senior advocate Ajit Sinha, appearing for home buyers including one Chitra Sharma, had said the court had directed the real estate firm to deposit Rs 20 billion and only Rs 7.5 billion has been deposited and hence, it was a case of non-compliance of the order.

The home buyers had moved the apex court stating that around 32,000 people had booked flats and were now paying instalments.

The plea had also stated that hundreds of home buyers were left in the lurch after the NCLT, on August 10 last year, admitted the IDBI Bank's plea to initiate insolvency proceedings against the debt-ridden realty firm for allegedly defaulting on a Rs 5.26  billion loan.

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