MahaRERA 3-member quorum disagrees over interpretation

Mumbai: New real estate projects are registered under the Maharashtra Real Estate and Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) Act under section 3(2).

The section is defined as “where the area of land proposed to be developed does not exceed 500 square metres or the number of apartments proposed to be developed does not exceed eight, inclusive of all phases, the project is not required to be registered.”

Based on this, a Pune based aggrieved builder challenged the impugned order dated December 10, 2018 against him. While in the recent hearing held by the three-member quorum, Indira Jain, chairperson, SS Sandhu (member adjucation) and Sumant Kolhe (a member of judicial), passed the order by 2:1 majority, giving a relief to the aggrieved builder and quashing the previous order.

Interestingly, the three-member quorum of MahaRERA cited disagreement on the interpretation of real estate projects registration act. The case relates to ‘Utkarsh Apartment’ in Sadashiv Peth, Pune, whose builder allegedly did not register the project with MahaRERA.

The complainants approached the authority and contended that both the conditions mentioned in the clause (a) of Sec 3(2) of the RERA Act are required to be jointly complied with to qualify for exemption from registration.

They also emphasised since there are more than eight flats in the project, it is required to be registered under Sec 3 of the RERA Act 2016 and deserves no exemption.

On the contrary, the builder contended the area of his project is less than 500 sqmtrs. Therefore, it does not require registration. Also, he argued when one ingredient or condition of the said act is satisfied, the project does not require registration.

The aggrieved builder advocate told the court in the RERA act provision the two conditions prescribed in the clause (a) for exempting exemption to the projects from registration are mutually exclusive due to the word “or” used therein.

Therefore, they are to be read and considered alternatively and not conjunctively as is done by the authority while passing the impugned order. He pointed out satisfaction of either of the conditions is only necessary for such exemption from registration.

After hearing the two parties, the MahaRERA quorum passed the order based on 2:1 majority. Jain and Sandhu agreed with the interpretation filed by the builder citing once the project meets one of the conditions that precedes or succeeds theword “or” in the said clause, their project is not registrable.

Further, quashing the previous disputed order directing registration of the project and paying penalties.

On the contrary, Sumant Kolhe made the observations that both the conditions — area of the plot and number of flats for getting exemption from the project — must be satisfied at once for obtaining the exemption from the registration.

Kolhe said to fulfil the dream of buyers to get their home, the clause of exception ie Section 3(2) (a) must be interpreted and meaning of the said clause must be gathered in such a manner the objects of RERA Act should not be defeated and intention of legislature in bringing the maximum number of projects in real estate sector under registration with the RERA Authority should not be ignored.

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