In an indication of just how frustrated and helpless homebuyers feel against the powerful builder lobby, response is still pouring in about this paper's front-page report on how one buyer put a builder in jail.
The Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission struck a landmark blow against errant builders, sentencing a developer to six years in jail for failing to comply with its order to register the sale and hand over possession of two flats to a retired railway stationmaster who had paid for them in 2010.
It is common to see builders holding buyers to ransom, driving them to despair and sometimes to extreme steps, such as suicide. After failing to complete projects on time, or hand over homes despite being paid, builders are rarely - if ever - held accountable for their actions.
In Mumbai, where space is at an absolute premium and a home of one's own is the ultimate dream of so many, it is painful beyond words when citizens pool their life's savings into a house, only to learn that it will not be their for years, or that they have become victims of a cheat.
The news about this builder being caught by the long arm of the law will surely bring some cheer to the common man.
The layperson simply does not have the avenue, time or money to pursue errant builders. Most pertinently, they are hugely pessimistic about their chance of success. This judgment gives heart to the layperson. It is one small step forward to a more equitable solution to the buyer-builder relationship. Let us strive for complete equality, so that the builder cannot get away scot-free, if he reneges on promises, and disappear with the money. The glee and triumph of homebuyers is indicative that the time has come to put the fear of the law into the builder. More power to the buyer, finally.
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