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In a significant legal development, a recent judgment pronounced by Justice Sandeep V. Marne on February 26, 2024, has upheld the rights of homebuyers in a real estate dispute involving Wadhwa Group Housing Private Ltd. and Mr. Vijay Choksi, concerning the “The Nest” project in Mumbai.

The case revolved around Mr. Choksi’s demand for a refund of the amount paid for a 3BHK flat in “The Nest” due to alleged violations of the Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act (MOFA) and the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA). The Maharashtra Real Estate Appellate Tribunal had previously ordered both the developer and respondent to refund the entire amount with interest, a decision challenged by Wadhwa Group Housing Private Ltd. in the appeal.

The primary issue at hand was whether a developer, who hadn’t received any consideration from the allottee, could be held liable for refunding the amount under Section 18 of RERA. Additionally, the appeal questioned the necessity of a remand order due to the Appellate Tribunal’s non-decision on the developer’s liability for the refund.

Justice Marne’s judgment dismissed the Second Appeal filed by Wadhwa Group Housing Private Ltd., thereby upholding the Tribunal’s directive for both parties to refund the entire amount paid by Mr. Choksi with interest. The interest rate was set at the State Bank of India’s Highest Marginal Cost of Lending rate plus 2%, calculated from the dates of payments till the date of actual realization. Furthermore, Mr. Choksi was awarded costs amounting to Rs. 20,000.

This ruling signifies a significant victory for homebuyers and reinforces the importance of protecting their rights in real estate transactions. It sets a precedent for developers to adhere to the provisions of RERA and ensures accountability in the industry.

The judgment’s rejection of the stay of execution proceedings request further underscores the court’s commitment to ensuring timely justice for aggrieved parties.

In conclusion, the verdict serves as a beacon of hope for homebuyers seeking redressal in disputes with developers, emphasizing the judiciary’s role in upholding fairness and transparency in real estate dealings.

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