New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court is likely to hear on Thursday a plea in public interest by a group of flat owners/buyers in housing projects of Jaypee Infratech seeking that initiation of proceedings against the group under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code would not come in the way of exercising their rights under the Consumer Protection Act.
The bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice D.Y.Chandrachud agreed to hear the matter on Thursday as senior counsel Ajit Sinha, appearing for the petitioners who are unsecured creditors, told the bench that Thursday is the last day for filling the form for making any claim against Jaypee Infratech including by the unsecured creditors.
Ashwarya Sinha who is advocate for the petitioners, later said that they have sought the stay of the order of the National Company Law Tribunal’s Allahabad bench as it blocks the right of the flat owners/buyers, who are unsecured creditors, under Section 2(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 as consumers to approach the consumer forums.
Section 2(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 defines consumer as some one who “buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised ….” It also includes any person who “hires or avails of any services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promiised….”,
Ashwarya Sinha said that there were about 32,000 flat owner/buyersA spread over 27 projects of the Jaypee Infratech whose right to approach the consumer court are affected by the NCLT’s August 9 order.
Sinha said that they have also sought the appointment of an independent auditor to conduct a forensic audit of Jaypee Infratech Ltd and Jaiprakash Associates.
The petitioner have urged the top court to pass order that “Section 14 of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 shall not curtail the legal statutory and vested rights of the flat owners/buyers as consumers defined under Section 2(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986”.
Alternately they have sought directions to Central government to declare and notify the petitioner flat owners/buyers as secured creditor in accordance with power provided under Section 36 (4)(a) (v) of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
Ashwarya Sinha said that if petitioner flat buyers/owners are not declared secured creditors then they may not get anything or a paltry amount for their investments.
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