Just a few days back there was this ruling by the honorable Supreme Court upholding our ‘right to privacy’ in the context of the use of Aadhar card by the government for some purposes. And I am wondering what is the hierarchy of our rights! What is that reasonably logical order in which we can put our various rights? I feel the fundamental rights could safely be derived from the fundamental needs that should be met to ensure human existence. Those would be ‘food, clothes and shelter’ – ‘roti, kapda aur makaan’ a slogan rampantly used by our politicians too, when they solicit our votes. So my right to the ‘security’ and ‘privacy’ of my home should rank much higher than the need to my privacy from the prying eye of government into my social, commercial or financial activities. I am not questioning the importance of ‘right to privacy’ at all. No way. I am all for it. If we agree on this basic premise of ‘hierarchy of needs’ then why are so many legal hurdles there between me and my house that I paid for, in full, through crossed cheques/ bank transfers? Why are the JP home buyers being made to go through fire hoops to get their right to their home? Why are we even part of this circus at all?
We, and many like us, paid the full amount upfront, for a promised flat, by April 2012 itself. This means the builder not only got the full cost of everything he was going to spend to develop the entire project, but also booked his profit. It wasn’t even deferred profit, mind you, it was upfront. Money earns money. In businesses money doesn’t lie idle even for a day. It earns on a daily basis. The builder has already earned money with our money right from the day we paid up in full. He didn’t share that profit with us!! Whew! But we are generous enough to let him have it. Most other buyers had also payed to the extent of between 60-80% of the total cost around the same time. Where was the risk here? Are we in Vegas?!! No. We didn’t play roulette or black jack. We just bought homes. If buying a home does carry such big a risk, like it does when you buy shares, mutual funds or other similar products, why weren’t we so advised by the builder?
Our money was given for the specific purpose of building our homes and if it was used for some other purpose by the company without our knowledge, much less consent, it’s tantamount to ‘breach of trust’. Why should we be made to lose our homes for the builder’s misadventure? Also, we could look into the bank debts of the company. Was the amount loaned in one go to the company or in tranches? What were the liabilities between 2011 and 2014 which is when most completion and delivery was promised, at least for our project I know. If the company’s debts/liabilities weren’t too bad then, it establishes it had no intention to finish and deliver. It’s a fraud. This company doesn’t look like an honest debtor at all. Insolvency can’t be abused to cover fraud.
Now time to consider the ‘what if’. What if, we do go with the resolution plan and later IRP also comes to the conclusion, which it most likely will, that there aren’t enough resources with the company to build the projects to the promised standards, with delay fees and dues factored in, what do we do then? Is there a reset button we can press to get back to the factory settings and start all over again, where we can look into the accounts of JIL/JAL to find the money? Or we just let the home buyers’ dues wash down the bankruptcy drain while the bank and the company remain unaffected. Because once this insolvency ship sails, this one huge possibility of resolution i.e. looking into their wrong doings and recovering money from them, will be closed. All those possibilities have to be explored and analyzed now, before it goes into insolvency.
Oh, please, don’t even dare suggest that homes can be built but no money for delay fees! That’s not acceptable to us at all. We can’t afford to be that generous. We are mostly salaried people with very finite limited resources. Most of us in the services do not even have too many working years left, or are retired already. We’ve invested 15-20years worth of savings in this home. How do we replenish our retirement corpus? We won’t get 10 additional years to serve to recoup the loss. It just erases that many productive years from our lives. We have incurred the loss on our investment in terms of the possible capital gains from the promised date of delivery onwards as also the rental return from it since. It’s a lot of money for us. We won’t get to earn it back even if worked all 365 days 24 X 7 for the rest of our working years. We are in no position to absorb the loss. The bigger question – Why should we? Shouldn’t my ‘right to my home and my money” supersede all other laws?
PS – Circus Circus is the largest hotel in Las Vegas, the city for gamblers. It’s almost like a city within a hotel pretty much like wish town is a city within a city.