whether the buyer was entitled to seek a refund or was estopped from doing so, having claimed compensation as the primary relief in the consumer complaint.= In terms of the agreement, the date for handing over possession was 31 December 2008, with a grace period of six months. Even in 2011, when the buyer filed a consumer complaint, he was ready and willing to accept possession. It would be manifestly unreasonable to construe the contract between the parties as requiring the buyer to wait indefinitely for possession. By 2016, nearly seven years had elapsed from the date of the agreement. Even according to the developer, the completion certificate was received on 29 March 2016. This was nearly seven years after the extended date for the handing over of possession prescribed by the agreement. A buyer can be expected to wait for possession for a reasonable period. A period of seven years is beyond what is reasonable. Hence, it would have been manifestly unfair to non-suit the buyer merely on the basis of the first prayer in the reliefs sought before the SCDRC. There was in any event a prayer for refund. In the circumstances, we are of the view that the orders passed by the SCDRC and by the NCDRC for refund of moneys were justified. Having regard to all the facts and circumstances of the case, we modify the order of the NCDRC by directing that the appellant shall pay interest at the rate of 9% per annum to the respondent instead and in place of 12% as directed by the NCDRC. Save and except for the above modification, we affirm the directions of the NCDRC.

1
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3182 OF 2019
(@SLP(C) No(s). 1795 OF 2017)
KOLKATA WEST INTERNATIONAL CITY PVT LTD Appellant(s)
VERSUS
DEVASIS RUDRA Respondent(s)
JUDGMENT
Dr. Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud, J.
Leave granted.
This appeal arises from the judgment dated 21 November
2016 of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission1.
A Buyer’s Agreement dated 2 July 2007 was entered into
between the appellant and the respondent.
The respondent paid an amount of Rs 39,29,280 in 2006 in
terms of a letter of allotment dated 20 September 2006. The
agreement between the parties envisaged that the appellant
would hand over possession of a Row House to the respondent by
31 December 2008 with a grace period of a further six months
ending on 30 June 2009.
The respondent filed a consumer complaint before the West
Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission2 in 2011
1 “NCDRC”
2 “SCDRC”
2
praying for possession of the Row House and in the alternative
for the refund of the amount paid to the developer together
with interest at 12% per annum. Compensation of Rs 20 lakhs was
also claimed.
The SCDRC allowed the complaint by directing the
appellant to refund the moneys paid by the respondent together
with interest at 12% per annum and compensation of Rs 5 lakhs.
The NCDRC has modified this order by reducing the compensation
from Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 2 lakhs.
Mr. Ravinder Narain, learned counsel appearing on behalf
of the appellant submits that the primary relief which was
sought in the consumer complaint was for delivery of
possession. According to the appellant, the completion
certificate was received on 29 March 2016, which was intimated
to the respondent on 11 April 2016. Moreover, before the
SCDRC, in its written submissions, the appellant had offered
possession of the Row House to the respondent. It has also
been stated that in a complaint which was filed by an
association representing the allottees of 161 Row houses, a
settlement was arrived on 11 September 2018 before the NCDRC
specifying the date on which possession would be handed
over together with interest at 6% per annum instead of 4% as
mentioned in the Buyers’ Agreement. It was urged that the
developer having made a substantial investment in terms of the
agreement, a direction for refund is not warranted. It has
also been urged that the SCDRC in the course of its decision
erroneously observed that the developer was unable to fulfill
3
its obligation to complete the construction within the agreed
period and it was not certain when the Row house would be
handed over. It was urged that this observation by the SCDRC is
contrary to the record since before it, a specific offer of
possession was made.
It has been urged on behalf of the respondent by
Mr. Supriya Bose, learned senior counsel that a consumer
complaint was filed in the year 2011. At that stage, the
appellant was bonafide ready and willing to accept possession.
However, nearly seven years have elapsed after the extended
date for the delivery of possession which expired on 30 June

  1. In spite of this, no offer of possession was
    forthcoming. Learned senior counsel submitted that the letter
    dated 22 March 2016 of the developer was conditional and
    despite the subsequent letter dated 11 April 2016, no formal
    offer of possession was ever made by the appellant. Moreover,
    it was urged that the interest awarded by the NCDRC at the rate
    of 12% is just having regard to the economic loss and hardship
    suffered by the respondent.
    While considering the rival submissions, we must at the
    outset advert to the following clause which was contained in
    the Buyer’s Agreement:
    “Unless prevented by circumstances beyond the
    control of the company and subject to Force Majeure, KWIC shall ensure to complete the said
    unit in all respect within 31st December 2008 only
    for the Cluster D. Further there will be a grace
    period of 6 months (up to 30th June, 2009) from
    the date of completion. In case the possession
    is not transferred after expiry of the said grace
    period, KWIC will be liable to pay prevailing
    4
    saving Bank interest of the State Bank of India
    for each month of delay on the money given by the
    allottee as compensation but no compensation will
    be paid on account of force majeure reasons.”
    It is the above clause which is pressed in aid by the
    developer. Under the aforesaid clause, any delay beyond 30
    June 2009 would result in the developer being required to pay
    interest at the prevailing savings bank interest of the State
    Bank of India. Interestingly, where the buyer is in default,
    the agreement stipulates that interest at the rate of 18 per
    cent from the date of default until the date of payment would
    be charged for a period of two months, failing which the
    allotment would be cancelled by deducting 5% of the entire
    value of the property. The agreement was evidently one sided.
    For a default on the part of the buyer, interest at the rate of
    18% was liable to be charged. However, a default on the part
    of the developer in handing over possession would make him
    liable to pay interest only at the savings bank rate prescribed
    by the SBI. There is merit in the submission which has been
    urged by the buyer that the agreement was one sided. The clause
    which has been extracted in the earlier part of this order will
    not preclude the right and remedy available to the buyer to
    claim reasonable interest or, as the case may be,
    compensation.
    The essential aspect of the case which is required to be
    analysed is whether the buyer was entitled to seek a refund or
    was estopped from doing so, having claimed compensation as the
    primary relief in the consumer complaint. The Buyer’s
    5
    Agreement is dated 2 July 2007. In terms of the agreement, the
    date for handing over possession was 31 December 2008, with a
    grace period of six months. Even in 2011, when the buyer filed
    a consumer complaint, he was ready and willing to accept
    possession. It would be manifestly unreasonable to construe
    the contract between the parties as requiring the buyer to wait
    indefinitely for possession. By 2016, nearly seven years had
    elapsed from the date of the agreement. Even according to the
    developer, the completion certificate was received on 29 March
  2. This was nearly seven years after the extended date for
    the handing over of possession prescribed by the agreement. A
    buyer can be expected to wait for possession for a reasonable
    period. A period of seven years is beyond what is reasonable.
    Hence, it would have been manifestly unfair to non-suit the
    buyer merely on the basis of the first prayer in the reliefs
    sought before the SCDRC. There was in any event a prayer for
    refund.
    In the circumstances, we are of the view that the orders
    passed by the SCDRC and by the NCDRC for refund of moneys were
    justified.
    Having regard to all the facts and circumstances of the
    case, we modify the order of the NCDRC by directing that the
    appellant shall pay interest at the rate of 9% per annum to the
    respondent instead and in place of 12% as directed by the
    NCDRC. Save and except for the above modification, we affirm
    the directions of the NCDRC.
    6
    The amount outstanding in terms of the directions of
    this Court shall be released out of the moneys which have been
    deposited by the appellant. The balance, if any, that remains
    shall be refunded to the appellant.
    The appeal is, accordingly, disposed of. There shall be no
    order as to costs.
    Pending application(s), if any, shall stand disposed of.
    ………………………..J.
    (DR. DHANANJAYA Y. CHANDRACHUD)
    ………………………..J.
    (HEMANT GUPTA)
    NEW DELHI
    MARCH 25, 2019
    7
    ITEM NO.39 COURT NO.8 SECTION XVII
    S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A
    RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
    Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s). 1795/2017
    (Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 21-11-2016
    in FA No. 958/2016 passed by the National Consumers Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi)
    KOLKATA WEST INTERNATIONAL CITY PVT LTD Petitioner(s)
    VERSUS
    DEVASIS RUDRA Respondent(s)
    Date : 25-03-2019 This petition was called on for hearing today.
    CORAM :
    HON’BLE DR. JUSTICE D.Y. CHANDRACHUD
    HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE HEMANT GUPTA
    For Petitioner(s)
    Mr. Ravinder Narain, Adv.
    Mr. Siddharth Banthia, Adv.
    Mr. Rajat Gava, Adv.
    Mr. Rajan Narain, AOR
    For Respondent(s)
    Mr. Supriya Bose, Sr. Adv.
    Mr. Debajyoti Deb, Adv.
    Mr. Subhasish Bhowmick, AOR
    Ms. Goldy Goyel, Adv.
    UPON hearing the counsel the Court made the following
    O R D E R
    Leave granted.
    The appeal is disposed of in terms of the signed order.
    Pending application(s), if any, shall stand disposed of.
    (MANISH SETHI) (SAROJ KUMARI GAUR)
    COURT MASTER (SH) BRANCH OFFICER
    (Signed reportable judgment is placed on the file)