The Centre clarified in the Bombay High Court that homebuyers who had previously filed cases in the consumer forum against builders for the delay in possession can also approach the Real Estate Regulatory Authority. The Centre added they will be entitled to interest and compensation as determined by the adjudicating officer as mentioned in the Act. “The government counsel said these homebuyers are also liable for compensation as per the RERA rules, They are not out of the ambit of RERA but a part of it… The Union of India had a very reasonable stand,” Abhay Upadhyay, national convenor of Fight For RERA and president of Forum for People’s Collective Efforts, said.
The delay in possession has been the biggest concern for the homebuyers. For many, across locations and with most of the builders, the delay has extended to almost six years or more now, with no possession in sight. In a case of default, both buyer and the builder have to charge the same rate of interest. So, if the buyer defaults in making payments on time to the builder or if the builder defaults in giving possession within the agreed period, the rate of interest payable for both will be the same, according to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act.
The Union government’s arguments were made before a bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Rajesh Ketkar, who have been conducting daily hearings on a bunch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity and implementation of some provisions of RERA. The petitions have been filed by several real estate developers and some individual plot owners and cooperative societies. The petitioners have questioned, among other things, the provisions that mandate that all ongoing projects be registered with the authority set up under the new Act and provide stringent penal action to ensure that the projects are completed within a fixed time.
In September, after several petitions challenging RERA were filed in the high courts across the country, the Supreme Court stayed the proceedings in other courts and suggested that the Bombay High Court hear its RERA cases first. Wednesday, the Union of India had informed the Bombay High Court that the RERA is a beneficial legislation and has been brought to balance the interest of all stakeholders. Appearing for the Union, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the court that RERA was passed unanimously by the Parliament after due deliberations.