The Centre defended the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act or RERA at the Bombay High Court on Wednesday. The Centre told the court that the Act was a reformative, well thought-out and a beneficial piece of legislation.
The Centre said this while the court was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity and the implementation of some provisions of the RERA. The petitions were filed by several real estate developers, some individual plot owners and cooperative societies.
Appearing for the Union government, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the high court that RERA was passed unanimously by Parliament after due deliberations.
He said the corresponding bill was notified well in time, objections from stakeholders and the public were invited, and the bill was passed. He added that the Act was notified only after Parliament agreed that it was necessary to protect the interest of flat buyers.
“The developers can’t say that they were taken in by surprise. All legal provisions were followed before notifying the Act. Besides, it was brought into force only to regulate the real estate sector and to protect the interest of the common public, the home buyers,” Singh said.
“Until now, the developers rampantly flouted norms, took money from flat buyers and diverted the same to some other projects. They routinely defaulted on project deadlines and the flat buyers had nothing to turn to when left in the lurch….The Act is a beneficial legislation and has been brought in to balance the interest of all the stakeholders” he added.
The Union government’s arguments were made before a bench of Justices Naresh Patil and Rajesh Ketkar, who have been conducting daily hearings on the matter.
The petitioners have questioned, among other things, the provisions that mandate that all ongoing projects to be registered with the authority set up under the new Act, and provide stringent penal action to ensure that projects are completed within fixed time.
In September, after several petitions challenging the RERA were filed in the high courts across the country, the Supreme Court stayed the proceedings in other courts and suggested that the Bombay High Court hear its RERA cases first.
(With inputs from PTI)