The Supreme Court on Monday refused to transfer the petitions challenging the validity of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) to it, but asked the Bombay High Court to expeditiously decide on the issue pending before it. It also asked the other high courts to await the decision of the Bombay HC before deciding on similar petitions filed by builders and others.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra did not agree to the Centre’s plea to transfer all the 21 petitions pending in different high courts to it or to one of the high courts to avoid multiplicity of judgments. “We feel it would be appropriate to direct the Bombay High Court to take up the matter along with other connected matters pending there… Let a considered decision on this plea be taken as expeditiously as possible,” the bench said.
Attorney General K K Venugopal informed the court that many petitions have been filed in the high courts of Bombay, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh challenging the provisions of RERA and it would be appropriate if all the petitions were decided either by the SC or one of the high courts.
The RERA came into effect on May 1, a year after it was passed by both Houses of Parliament. As per the Act, developers, projects and the agents had to mandatorily register their projects with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority till July 31. Any unregistered project would be deemed to be unauthorised by the regulator.
Various pleas were filed by many including builders and promoters of real estate firms challenging the validity of certain “arbitrary and draconian” provisions of the new law, which, they said, would apply retrospectively to older projects already under construction.
Under RERA, each state and Union Territory will have its own Regulatory Authority (RA) which will frame regulations and rules as per the Act. RERA covers both new project launches and the ongoing projects which have not been completed or the occupation certificate not received. The Act makes it obligatory on part of the builders not to book, sell or offer for sale, or invite persons to purchase any plot, apartment or building in any real estate project without registering the project with the authority.