With the Bombay High Court upholding the constitutional validity of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) and stating that “ongoing projects” too would come under its ambit, the issue has been settled once and for all, minister of housing and urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday. State governments will now have no scope to loosen the regulation by either keeping ongoing projects out of RERA or defining them in their own convenient ways, he added. Speaking at the Express Group’s Idea Exchange programme, Puri said that though the central legislation always included ongoing projects under the ambit of RERA, some state governments did deviate from it, which would not be possible now. However, he clarified that even before the court’s order came, he was in touch with various state governments on the issue and had written them letters to include ongoing projects within RERA. “They (states which have diluted the law) will have to comply. I have already taken it up with them,” he said.
Puri also said that builders also need to be given a chance, which is why the court has said that in cases where delays occur in delivering flats due to exceptional and compelling circumstances (to be decided on a case-to-case basis), penal action should not be taken. Puri said that Rera is broadly moving on the right path and that’s why the builders had approached the high court. However, he accepted that there are teething problems which would get sorted out. “Its been only six months since the law came into effect,” he said. “You will get to clean up the real estate sector. Is it (Rera) biting on the ground? Is it having any effect? My answer is absolutely, unambiguously yes, because if it weren’t then those guys (builders) wouldn’t have run to challenge it in the court… There are teething problems but I expect that a major push will come through affordable housing in all these projects and the clean-up will involve a lot of these guys. Some of them will go to jail. I have absolutely no doubt about that,” Puri said.
Uttar Pradesh and Haryana had kept ongoing projects outside the purview of Rera. For instance, in Haryana only fresh projects were to be covered under Rera and all projects under construction or which had applied for construction were kept out. In Uttar Pradesh, ongoing projects that had applied for completion certificates were kept out along with the ones that have been granted part-completion certificates.