Housing ministry seeks law ministry’s view on real estate Acts of Centre, Bengal

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New Delhi | Published: July 19, 2018 4:58:56 AM

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has sought the view of the law ministry on whether two separate Acts for regulating the real estate sector – one enacted by the Centre and the other by West Bengal – can coexist, housing and urban affairs secretary Durga Shankar Mishra has said.

In June, the West Bengal government notified the Housing & Industrial Regulation Act (HIRA) and notified rules thereunder. (Representational image: Reuters)

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has sought the view of the law ministry on whether two separate Acts for regulating the real estate sector – one enacted by the Centre and the other by West Bengal – can coexist, housing and urban affairs secretary Durga Shankar Mishra has said.

In June, the West Bengal government notified the Housing & Industrial Regulation Act (HIRA) and notified rules thereunder.

“We have asked them why they have announced their own Act and why is real estate under industry category… they said the rules are same. But, we told them even if the rules are same, why should there be different rules,” Mishra said.

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) was fully notified in 2017 and states were given powers to notify their respective rules and appoint regulatory authorities. While this is applicable across the country, except in J&K, the West Bengal government is the only one that has come out with its separate legislation, HIRA.

The RERA and Bengal’s HIRA differ on the definition of the force majeure clause and garage. Under the RERA, the force majeure clause can be invoked only in case of war, drought, floods, earthquake, fire or any other natural calamity affecting regular development of real estate projects. However, as per HIRA, over and above the conditions listed under the RERA, the force majeure clause can be declared for any other circumstance prescribed.

While the RERA requires a roof and walls on three sides, HIRA has removed the clause altogether and defined garage as any parking space sanctioned by the government authority.

Of the 29 states (the Act is not applicable in J&K) where RERA is to be enforced, 10 have appointed a permanent regulator and 17 states have interim authorities. “While West Bengal has notified its own rules, Kerala has said they are in the process and will announce soon,” Mishra said. States such as Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Telangana and UP have said they will have permanent authority in place by August 15, he said, adding that 21 states have established online portals.

Talking about total registrations, Mishra said nearly 30,000 real estate projects have been registered across the country while around 22,568 real estate agents are registered under RERA. Talking about many states diluting the Act, the secretary said he has written to the states to rectify it. Uttar Pradesh had said it would do it soon while Chhattisgarh has already rectified some rules.

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