Pointing out that certain provisions of the draft real estate regulation rules put out by the Haryana government are not in consonance with the “letter and spirit’ of the parent Act, the Central government has said such provisions would be open to “legal challenge”.
The Haryana government on April 28 notified the Draft Haryana Real Estate Regulation and Development (RERA) Rules, 2017. In a letter to the chief minister of Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar, minister of state for housing Rao Inderjit Singh has said the changed rules would deprive home buyers of ongoing projects, the benefit of the special legislation passed by Parliament to protect consumers.
“It is a settled law that subordinate legislation such as rules, regulations, schemes etc cannot be in violation of the provisions of the principal Act and any such provision inserted in the rules would be open to legal challenge and liable to be struck down by the courts,” Singh said.
Haryana has diluted norms in its draft rules for RERA, keeping most incomplete projects out of the law’s ambit. It excludes projects which have applied for occupancy certificate or part-completion certificate, provided the same is granted by the competent authority within three months of the application. It also excludes projects which have received completion or part-completion certificate in case of plotted colony and occupancy certificate for the building blocks of integrated complexes like group housing, commercial, cyber park or cyber city.
Though, the Central government has not written such letters to other states who have diluted the norms of RERA, legal experts said that despite the subject being in the state list, it can be challenged in courts by the Centre on the grounds of not being fair and reasonable, and the state governments can similarly put up their defence stating public purpose etc.
According to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, an ongoing project is a project “for which the completion certificate has not been issued as on May 1, 2016” on the date of commencement of the act. This would ensure that many home projects which are already work-in-process come under the act.
In his letter, Rao has said the states should stay away from defining terms such as terms such as carpet area, flats, ongoing project, and disclosures to be submitted by builders, and specified penalty for offences by builders as the Centre’s Act has already defined them.
“Any further definition or reiteration of these terms by the Rules would create confusion and lead to interpretational difficulties and litigation, which may go against the basic objectives of the Act,” Rao said.
The minister has urged the state to notify the Rules soon and immediately establish Regulatory Authority and the Appellate Tribunal in order to ensure timely implementation of the Act. The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, was notified by the ministry of housing, urban development and poverty alleviation on May 1 last year.