The Bombay High Court, earlier this week, ordered the Maharashtra government to have a sympathetic approach towards the sufferings of the real estate sector.
The HC bench of Justices Amjad Sayed and Shivkumar Dige was hearing a petition filed by the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI), Maharashtra. The apex body of real estate developers comprises 1,400 members from across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and is recognised by the Union Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs.
The petition filed through senior counsel Viraj Tulzapurkar claimed that after the implementation of the Development Plan (DP) 2034 in May 2018, there was a substantial increase in the development premiums, charges, fees, permissions in respect of the real estate development projects. This, the petition claimed, had an adverse impact on the health of the real estate sector in Mumbai and it came at a time when the sector was already suffering from multiple shocks.
The plea further pointed out that the association had made a representation to the state to take steps to provide relief by reducing the various premiums, charges and fees levied. They relied upon the reports of the BMC chief and also of the chief of MHADA to buttress their case. The state, accordingly, in August 2019 directed immediate and substantial reduction in the various premiums and charges.
Tulzapurkar pointed out that the association couldn't avail this benefit for the period from September 2019 to November 2019 (during the state elections: three months) and the Covid-19 pandemic from March 2020 to October 2020 (first wave: eight months) and from April 2021 to July 2021 (second wave: four months), aggregating to about 15 months.
The senior counsel further pointed out that the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, cast an obligation on the state to take adequate measures.
Having heard the contentions, the bench said, “We find substance in the submissions of the association that its members could not effectively avail of the benefit of the August 2019 order, on account of which the state itself has taken cognisance of the impact of the elections, the first and also the second wave of the pandemic and consequent lockdown.”
The bench said, “In our view, it would only be in the fitness of things that the state considers the fresh representation of the association made in July 2021. It shall be decided by the state after hearing the association expeditiously and preferably within four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.”