Mumbai: In what can be seen as a major setback to developers, the Amicus Curiae (friend of court) assisting the Bombay High Court, on Monday highlighted the plus points of the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA). He said that RERA, which is already late by nearly three decades, in no manner infringes upon the rights of promoters.
A division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Rajesh Ketkar heard the arguments of senior counsel Darius Khambata, who was appointed as an Amicus in petitions challenging the validity of RERA.
The former Advocate General of Maharashtra – Khambata pointed various highlights of the Act, which has been criticised by developers across the nation. He said, “The Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act (MOFA) did not address the issue of exact completion of a project. The issues faced by flat purchasers like delayed possession, no clarity on project completion, which resulted in them filing litigations – all this burdened the courts.”
“On the other hand, RERA addresses this issue. This law is already late by nearly three decades but what matters is finally there is some regulation. This is a law for the welfare of these flat purchasers,” Khambata said. Khambata, the former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) of India, argued that RERA in no manner interferes with contractual terms between the promoters of a project and flat purchasers. He claimed that RERA does not infringe upon the rights of developers/promoters to conduct their business.
The Amicus said that RERA is only concerned with completion of the project and nothing else. “There are chances of a rift between the promoter and flat purchaser due to some reason. There can also be a situation wherein the date of completion as declared by the promoter, has expired. Or even registration of the project has been revoked, still, there is no prohibition on the promoter in completing construction in any case.”
“In fact, the RERA Authority will only ensure that in any case the construction is completed. If the promoter leaves the work in the middle, then the authority will have to take steps to complete the project by appointing contractors or workmen, just like the promoter,” Khambata added.
The Amicus submitted that RERA has no ‘retrospective’ effect and is only applicable on new projects and ongoing projects. “Whatever has happened in a given project before RERA will not be considered by the authority. It would only look into the matter after it is registered,” Khambata argued.