Home­buy­ers will be ‘ex­ploited’

Ex­perts and RWA rep­re­sen­ta­tives say de­vel­op­ers likely to mis­in­ter­pret SC judg­ment

HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Jee­van Prakash Sharma

Le­gal ex­perts and RWA rep­re­sen­ta­tives have dif­fer­ing opin­ions on the Supreme Court’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the rel­e­vant pro­vi­sions on com­mon ar­eas and fa­cil­i­ties in both the Haryana De­vel­op­ment and Reg­u­la­tion of Ur­ban Ar­eas Act, 1975, and the Haryana Apart­ment Own­er­ship Act, 1983.

While some ex­perts are of the view that the apex court has struck a bal­ance be­tween the rights of the RWAs and de­vel­op­ers, oth­ers ar­gue that the judg­ment will be used by the real es­tate de­vel­oper to ex­ploit vul­ner­a­ble home­buy­ers.

Gur­gaon res­i­dents have been hav­ing prob­lems. An­jali Jain, the a res­i­dent of a group hous­ing project, says, “There is a school in my com­plex which the de­vel­oper sold to an ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion years ago. The monthly fee is R25,000, an amount that just 2% of the res­i­dents can af­ford. While our chil­dren go to other schools far away, stu­dents from far flung ar­eas who can af­ford to pay the fees come here.”

The com­plaint of an­other res­i­dent is that the “Supreme Court hasn’t given a def­i­ni­tion of what the com­mu­nity and com­mer­cial fa­cil­i­ties will in­clude. Now the de­vel­oper can take stake claim to our parks ar­gu­ing that it is a com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity. This could hap­pen even to the tem­ples and sim­i­lar com­mu­nity ser­vices.”

And what hap­pens if, as per the judg­ment, the de­vel­oper gets to con­trol the con­ve­nience shops in a res­i­den­tial com­plex? “Our ex­pe­ri­ence shows that lots of such shops have been closed and turned into other prof­itable ven­tures such as prop­erty deal­er­ships, beauty par­lours, fast food eat­ing joints etc. The res­i­dents have to go out of their so­ci­eties and travel to dis­tant places to buy things of ba­sic need,” says Ashish Kaul, an apart­ment owner in Gur­gaon.

Res­i­dents of The World Spa, a group hous­ing project in Gur­gaon’s Sec­tor 39 & 40, have rea­sons to worry. A few years ago hun­dreds of res­i­dents fought against the de­vel­oper for rights to the com­mu­nity club. “Now af­ter the judg­ment the de­vel­oper can take back the club and lease it out to any­body or run it on his own to make money. What if he charges an ex­or­bi­tant amount both for mem­ber­ship and monthly us­age? We will suf­fer, out­siders will en­joy the ben­e­fit and the de­vel­oper will make money,” com­plains a res­i­dent.

High­light­ing a f ew g rey ar­eas in the real es­tate reg­u­la­tion acts of Haryana, San­tosh Paul, a Supreme Court lawyer who ap­peared for the res­i­dents of Sil­ver Oaks, says, “The gov­ern­ment of Haryana needs to amend laws along the lines of the Ma­ha­rash­tra Own­er­ship Flats Act (MOFA), which gives own­er­ship rights over ev­ery­thing that ex­ists in the com­plex to flat own­ers. There is no am­bi­gu­ity in the MOFA while real es­tate de­vel­op­ment acts in Haryana are full of grey ar­eas.”

Mukul Ro­hatgi, se­nior ad­vo­cate who ap­peared for DLF in the case, con­tra­dicts Paul, say­ing, “Ev­ery state has made real es­tate laws ac­cord­ing to its own hous­ing re­quire­ments. So is the case with the state of Haryana. I don’t see any is­sue with the real es­tate de­vel­op­ment acts.”

Ro­hatgi adds, “If the res­i­dents feel ag­grieved be­cause of a nurs­ery school leased out to ex­pen­sive ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, they can com­plain to the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment. If the con­ve­nient shop­ping cen­ters are not used for the pur­pose for which they are con­structed, the res­i­dents can com­plain to the com­pe­tent au­thor­ity. How­ever, these vi­o­la­tions don’t mean that the rights of col­o­niz­ers will be cur­tailed. De­vel­op­ers don’t charge money from flat buy­ers to con­struct com­mu­nity and com­mer­cial fa­cil­i­ties. I think the judg­ment is a bal­anc­ing act be­tween the rights of the flat buy­ers and builders.”

Kaul, in red­ponse, says, “If we have go to the court for ev­ery­thing, then we will spend the rest of our lives fight­ing in court.”


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