New Delhi– The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that the builders only understand the colour of money or a jail term, as it imposed a fine of Rs 15 lakh on a real estate firm.

A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud told real estate firm Ireo Grace Realtech Pvt Ltd that the court had directed it to refund the money, but it filed a plea seeking modification of the order. This plea was dismissed in March and the top court had directed that the money should be paid to the home buyers within two months.

“Now, the homebuyers are before us with a contempt plea that you have not paid the money… builders only understand the colour of money or a jail term,” noted the bench, as it held the firm guilty of contempt for wilfully not complying with its order.

The lawyer representing the realty firm submitted that they have made RTGS payment of Rs 58.20 lakh on Thursday, and are ready with a demand draft of Rs 50 lakh more to be paid to the home buyers.

The top court observed that on January 5, it had affirmed the verdict of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), passed on August 28, directing refund with 9 per cent interest.

It said the firm was supposed to make the payment in March, but now, it is saying that it will do it. “You have wilfully not complied with our orders. We will not allow this to go lightly,” it noted. As the realty firm lawyer apologised for the delay, the bench replied it is not unacceptable.

The top court said it is a deliberate breach of its order and held the builder guilty of contempt.

It directed the builder to pay the entire amount to the home buyers during the business hours of the day.

The top court directed Rs 15 lakh should be deposited by the real estate firm with the National Legal Service Authority and Rs two lakh to the home buyers towards the cost of litigation.

Shaheena Chadha and others had approached the consumer forum seeking refund of the amount paid to the firm, citing delay in possession of their flats in group housing project known as “The Corridors” situated in Sector 67, Gurugram. (IANS)