India may soon have a law which will ensure that a home buyers religion, sexual orientation or dietary preferences do not become a hindrance in purchase of a new apartment or flat.
According to a report published in Indian Express, in a pathbreaking move by the government, Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) will soon include a clause to check alleged discrimination by some builders in the sale of apartments/flats. The report said Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MHUPA) may notify the rules by October 31.
This specific clause will stop builders from practicing any kind of bias while selling apartments/flats based on a buyer’s religion, marital status or dietary preferences.
This would be the first time that India will come up with a strict anti-discriminatory provision in its housing sector.
Developed countries such as the US and most members of European Union already have similar safeguards in their housing sector.
Meanwhile, according to the proposed legislation in India under the RERA, builders flouting tribunal’s orders may face imprisonment of up to three years and/or fine. The affected people can first approach the state-level tribunal, followed by the appellate tribunal.
The RERA was made into law earlier this year and its implementation is underway. Though the news will bring in cheers for only homebuyers as it only covers transactions between builders and home-buyers and not between landlords and tenants, the protection against discrimination would not extend to those looking to rent homes. Officials would consider separate clause to cover those renting homes.
Recently, social media was abuzz with the claims of a Muslim army officer’s wife that she was unable to rent out a home in national capital Delhi because of her religious identity.
Popular Bollywood actor Emraan Hashmi in 2009 reportedly accused a housing society in Mumbai of “religious discrimination”. He had said that the society denied him No Objection Certificate (NOC) to purchase a flat in the building because he is a Muslim.