Mumbai: In a major relief to home buyers across the country, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday upheld the constitutional validity of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) Act. The court’s orders have come as a setback to the developer community, since the RERA is tasked with the business of regulating the incomplete projects.
This ruling is likely to impact the real estate industry across India, especially in view of the directions of the Supreme Court to all other High Courts. The Apex Court had earlier this year asked the High Courts not to proceed with the litigations under RERA until the Bombay HC decides the matter.
Accordingly, a special bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Rajesh Ketkar was constituted to hear and decide a batch of petitions filed by developers, home buyers and other stakeholders.
In their 330-page judgement, the judges have said, “We have harmoniously considered interpretational aspects of some of the provisions with a balanced approach, so as to advance the object and purpose of RERA. The constitutional challenge to the provisions was based on academic interpretation of law. The practical implementation of these provisions will have to be seen and observed as and when cases would be dealt with by the Authorities, Tribunals and the High Courts.”
“We are conscious of the fact that actual implementation of RERA needs to be closely monitored in years to come. RERA is not a law relating to only regulatory control over the promoter but its object is to develop the real estate sector, particularly,
the incomplete projects across the country. The problems are enormous and it is time to take a step forward to fulfil the dream of the Father of the Nation – Mahatma Gandhi — to wipe every tear from every eye,” Justice Patil said.
The RERA Act aims at protecting the interest of consumers in the real estate sector by establishing an adjudicating mechanism for speedy redressal of disputes.
Challenging the constitutional validity of several provisions of the Act, the developers had made an attempt to pin holes in the RERA Act. The main challenges were to the provisions which mandate registration of projects with the RERA authority, which compels developers to spell out the exact time span within which they would hand over the possession to flat purchasers. The provisions which empowered the RERA authority to impose fines and imprison offenders were also under challenge.
The judges heard the petitions for nearly two weeks since they were asked by the Apex Court to decide the matter as expeditiously as possible. The judges, before deciding the matter, heard submissions advanced by the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh, Advocate General (AG) Ashutosh Kumbhkoni and also the amicus curiae – senior advocate Darius Khambata.