August 5, 2021

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Homebuyers body FPCE approaches Housing Ministry for RERA implementation in West Bengal

Homebuyers body the Forum for People’s Collective Efforts (FPCE) has approached the central government with its demand to ensure implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016, in the state of West Bengal after the Supreme Court held the state’s own West Bengal Industry Regulation Act (WBHIRA), 2017 unconstitutional.

In its letter to the ministry of housing & urban affairs (MoHUA), FPCE highlighted that even after two months of the court’s judgement, the state government is yet to implement RERA that is causing hardship to homebuyers.

In May, the apex court had ruled that West Bengal’s separate real estate regulation is repugnant to the central government’s Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016 and is unconstitutional.

“Consequently, it was imperative upon the state of West Bengal to take immediate necessary steps to implement the decision of the Supreme Court and constitute the regulatory authority, appellate tribunal and adjudicating officer, and also to make subordinate rules and host a platform for detailed project and agent information under the Act, in letter and spirit as envisaged under RERA,” FPCE said in its letter to Durga Shanker Mishra, secretary, MoHUA, on Monday.

The FPCE had earlier raised concerns that allowing state-level legislation would make the central act RERA redundant. The ministry, through its affidavit in the Supreme Court, had also supported FPCE’s plea to repeal the WBHIRA.

The homebuyers’ body has also highlighted that the official WBHIRA website has put up a notice on May 4 announcing that the online hearings scheduled to be held on May 6, 7 and subsequent dates are adjourned, until further order.

“Such indefinite adjournment is causing immense hardship to home buyers as justice is being delayed and those considering filing fresh cases have nowhere to go. This limbo has created a vacuum of any kind of grievance redressal mechanism for homebuyers in West Bengal,” said Abhay Upadhyay, president, FPCE.

Upadhyay is also a member of the union government’s own central advisory council on RERA.

In a bid to avoid confusion, in its ruling delivered in May, the apex court had also clarified that those projects, which have been registered under WBHIRA so far, will remain valid.

“In order to avoid uncertainty and disruption in respect of actions taken in the past, recourse to the jurisdiction of this court under Article 142 is necessary. Hence, in exercise of the jurisdiction under Article 142, we direct that the striking down of WBHIRA will not affect the registrations, sanctions and permissions previously granted under the legislation prior to the date of this judgment,” the court had said in its judgment on May 4.

West Bengal’s separate state housing legislation had received the Governor’s assent in October 2017, but the central government’s RERA regulation had received the President’s consent in March 2016.

The central government’s RERA was fully notified and implemented across the country — except in Jammu & Kashmir — on May 1, 2017. The homebuyers’ body had earlier raised concerns that allowing state-level legislation would lead to RERA becoming redundant. Now, even Jammu & Kashmir is implementing the RERA.

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