Mumbai: Homebuyer takes MahaRERA to court over developer not registered with it
Petitioner says real estate body had refused to entertain complaint against developer not registered with it
A writ petition seeking direction to MahaRERA to take action against all unregistered construction projects (residential flats/bungalows/gated communities/villas) in Maharashtra that are still being promoted without being registered, came up for hearing before the division bench of Bombay High Court on Monday. Mohammed Zain Khan had moved a petition against developer, M/s Emnoy Properties India, who, in 2012, promoted a non-agricultural (N.A.) bungalow plots and bungalows scheme called Valvan Valley, spread over 200 acres at Lonavala.
The advertisements for the disputed plots in Lonavala
Khan had bought a N.A. plot measuring 22,000 sq feet in the said project in August 2012. However, in 2015, Khan learnt that the developer's title of land was mired in litigation and so, he asked for his money back. The developer, however, assured Khan alternative, smaller N.A. plots in another project in Lonavala called Lions Valley. But, the developer failed to keep his promise.
Khan claimed that the developer had abandoned the Valvan Valley project midway and was now jointly promoting/marketing, selling the Lions Valley project in Lonavala with another developer, Rio Luxury Homes. Also, Emnoy Properties had not registered the Lions Valley project as required under MahaRERA.
"I filed a complaint for non-registration of the projects with RERA, which they refused to entertain. Hence, by this writ petition, we are seeking direction to RERA to ensure registration of all unregistered projects and to register the Lions Valley and Valvan Valley projects, too," Khan stated.
On Monday, the matter came up for hearing before Justice S M Kemkar and Justice N W Sambre, who issued notice and directed MahaRERA and the Maharashtra government to file their replies on how action would be taken under RERA with regard to unregistered projects.
Advocate Nilesh Gala, who argued before the court, said, "The HC directed the government pleader to file its reply before the next date of hearing, which is July 11. The court also asked the advocates representing the state government and MahaRERA how they were proposing to formulate procedure and policy for unregistered projects and entertain complaints under the Act to protect the rights of allottees."
Gala added, "Under MahaRERA, a complainant has to make an online complaint, for which the project has to be registered with MahaRERA, without which no complaint is entertained. That's why my client had to move HC."
Khan claims that MahaRERA failed to act on his complaint for non-registration of projects and despite complaints no action was taken against the developer's project, which was being marketed/sold and constructed without MahaRERA registration.
Khan said it appears MahaRERA has no proper mechanism to deal with complaints of non-registration of projects by the public as the petitioner was only given an assurance by the department concerned of MahaRERA that action would be taken against the developer. MahaRERA did not clarify what action it would take.
Advocate Gala said, "My client stated that in the absence of a proper procedure being communicated to the complainants, the time period for deciding complaints of non-registered projects leads to justifiable questions being raised against MahaRERA for not discharging its functions under the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act."
Mohammed Zain Khan had bought a ½ acre plot in the Valvan Valley project in Lonavala, in August 2012, while his mother bought a ½ acre N.A. Bungalow plot at a total cost of Rs 55 lakh. The petitioner and his mother jointly paid R 12.5 lakh and received the allotment letter dated August 28, 2012. The balance payment would be made as per the work progress of the project. When Khan visited the site in August 2013, he was shocked to see no sign of any construction.
When Khan asked the developer, he requested for some time as there was a delay in obtaining the N.A. permissions from the Collector. Thereafter, following repeated requests, the developer entered into a Sale Agreement dated Feb 3, 2014. Khan claims that the developer deceitfully revised the deadline for handing over possession by two years. After persistent follow-ups, the developer told him about the Lions Valley project at Lonavala wherein they offered four N.A. plots for a total for R42.5 lakh, which Khan duly accepted. However when the developers failed to convey the smaller plots, Khan filed a consumer complaint before the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.
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