Experts say MahaRERA must hear grievances of those who purchase property in such projects
The stated purpose of RERA is to regulate the real estate sector. Representation pic
If projects, residential or industrial, are registered with MahaRERA, the authority needs to adjudicate grievances of consumers who have bought a flat or unit in them, which unfortunately is not happening today. Taking cognizance of the mid-day article ‘Do Industrial estates, units come under the ambit of RERA? (October 28), the Bar Association of MahaRERA has stated that if projects are registered under MahaRERA, the tribunal needs to adjudicate the grievances of industrial unit buyers and protect their rights as consumers—as it does for flat buyers—else, the very purpose of industrial projects getting registered under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) is meaningless for consumers but may benefit developers, and moreover, setting up industries and creating job opportunities—which is the need of the hour—will get hampered in the long run as businessmen may be reluctant to buy such industrial units.
The Bar Association of MahaRERA has sought clarity from both the Central and state government on the subject, as RERA is a Central act but the rules are framed by states. Advocate Anil D’Souza, hon secretary, Bar Association of MahaRERA, said, “The Central government has enacted this welfare legislation for the benefit of all stakeholders, the seller (builder) and buyer (allottee) alike. And it’s now up to the government, to once again step in and give additional clarity and a clear-cut definition to the inclusion of ‘industrial units’ per se in all laws pertaining to the buying and selling of industrial units.”
“When the bill and subsequently the Act was introduced in 2016, the purpose was ‘purely’ to ‘regulate the real estate sector’, to ensure that the sale of plots, apartments or buildings takes place in a controlled, legitimate, structured environment and to protect the interests of the consumer as well as the developers. They were never in exclusion from any ‘type’ of plot, apartment or building. A dwelling unit or flat or apartment could also mean office, showroom, shop, godown, premises, a separate and self-contained part of any immovable property or property for commercial purposes,” said D’Souza.
He continued, “When a project is allowed to register itself under RERA, the developer then legitimately markets, promotes and advertises the plot, apartment or building. The project registration number is clearly visible in all such promotional material as well as the MahaRERA portal”. D’Souza added, “The promoter derives multiple benefits under the RERA. Promoters of such projects also have to give possession and completion dates to the RERA authority, besides complying with all other rules and regulations. And, thus a buyer views and comprehends such promotional material, reads the information on the RERA website, and in other public domains; and then takes an informed decision, based on these collective spheres, primarily owing to the registration under RERA.”
“So, naturally if there are deviations and discrepancies in terms of the possession dates, structural defects of an upcoming industrial project registered under RERA, the respective Institution should have full wherewithal to adjudicate on issues related to such projects registered under itself. The benefits of registration are for the seller and buyer. Banks and financial institutions, which have a strong and robust regulator in terms of the RBI, do not differentiate or discriminate, on a macro scale, while releasing loans to purchasers but rather do thorough due diligence into the financial aspects of every file in front of them,” said D’Souza. “It is therefore imperative that the government make a clear-cut breakthrough in terms of giving more lucidity and simplicity to the term ‘industrial unit’. And deliberate and allows the inclusion via legislation, where protection of the consumer is paramount,” D’Souza concluded.
Advocate Godfrey Pimenta of Watchdog Foundation said, “The old golden rule is respecting the wisdom of the legislature that they are aware of the law and would never have intended for invalid legislation. This also keeps courts within their track and checks individual zeal of going wayward. Yet in spite of this, if the impugned legislation cannot be saved, the courts shall not hesitate to strike it down. Similarly, for upholding any provision, if it could be saved by reading it down, it should be done, unless plain words are so clear to be in defiance of the Constitution.” These interpretations spring out because of concern of the courts to salvage legislation to achieve its objective and not to let it fall merely because of a possible ingenious interpretation.”