A tooth­less reg­u­la­tor for the sec­tor?

Home­buy­ers blame the politi­cian­builder nexus for de­lay in and di­lu­tion of the real es­tate reg­u­la­tion bill

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Jee­van Prakash Sharma

Wh e n t h e m at - ter of the real es­tate reg­u­la­tion bill came up for hear­ing be­fore the Supreme Court on De­cem­ber 12, 2014, the pe­ti­tioner, NGO Sarankshak was quite hope­ful that the new gov­ern­ment would take a sub­stan­tive stand be­fore the court and come up with a time frame for the en­act­ment of a strong real es­tate reg­u­la­tory au­thor­ity. How­ever, the sub­mis­sion by the ad­di­tional solic­i­tor gen­eral, that the gov­ern­ment was work­ing on the bill and that it would be pre­sented be­fore the Cab­i­net for cer­tain amend­ments, was dis­ap­point­ing for not only the pe­ti­tioner but mil­lions of home­buy­ers who had been short­changed by builders.

“I thought the change of guard at the Cen­tre and the well-pub­li­cised po­lit­i­cal slo­gan of ‘Ac­che din’ (bet­ter days) would re­flect in their state­ment in the court and the present gov­ern­ment would not only get a time­frame in place to en­act the real es­tate reg­u­la­tion bill but also pledge to bring a strong real es­tate reg­u­la­tor to look into the in­ter­ests of home­buy­ers and do jus­tice to them. The pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment, too, kept mak­ing sim­i­lar state­ments at each hear­ing,” says Anil Karn­wal, an ad­vo­cate who rep­re­sents the pe­ti­tioner.

The case was filed in 2007 when the NGO San­grak­shak drew t he at­ten­tion of t he Supreme Court to how realty projects were be­ing launched with­out proper sanc­tions from the de­vel­op­ment au­thor­i­ties.

The re­port of di­lu­tion of the pro­vi­sions of the reg­u­la­tory bill has strength­ened fears that the gov­ern­ment is likely to fur­ther de­lay the fi­nal draft and may make it a tooth­less body which ends up serv­ing the in­ter­ests of just the de­vel­op­ers.

“It’s a bill to pro­tect the in­ter­est of the home­buy­ers and what’s sur­pris­ing is that the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment didn’t meet the rep­re­sen­ta­tives and fed­er­a­tion of apart­ment own­ers to get their views. I and two other core com­mit­tee mem­bers of Fed­er­a­tion of Apart­ment Own­ers of Gur­gaon had met the sec­re­tary, ur­ban de­vel­op­ment, and ap­prised them of our sug­ges­tions. Be­sides us, the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment didn’t con­sult any home­buy­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tions,” says Lt Gen SK Bahri (PVSM), chair­man of the Fed­er­a­tion of Apart­ment Own­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Gur­gaon.

S ay s R av i n d r a Ku m a r Gupta, mem­ber, Core Coun­cil, Fed­er­a­tion of Apar t ment Own­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Gur­gaon, “The builder lobby is push­ing the gov­ern­ment to de­fer the bill as long as it can on sev­eral pre­texts. It goes from one com­mit­tee to another only to get milder and milder. What’s the point of mak­ing a tooth­less reg­u­la­tor? Su­per area fraud – De­vel­op­ers over­charge home­buy­ers in the name of su­per area Han­dover of main­te­nance – De­vel­op­ers don’t hand over common ar­eas and fa­cil­i­ties to home­buy­ers De­lay in de­liv­ery – De­vel­op­ers do not de­liver projects on time and some­time even refuse to pay the penalty for de­lay Builders of­ten change lay­out plans with­out home­buy­ers’ per­mis­sion and in vi­o­la­tion of the apart­ment acts Real­tors have al­ready made a strong rec­om­men­da­tion for ex­clud­ing the pro­vi­sions of pros­e­cu­tion and jail for de­fault­ing builders. Un­for­tu­nately, the gov­ern­ment, which is wor­ried about po­lit­i­cal fund­ing in­stead of the home­buy­ers’ cause, is do­ing what the de­vel­op­ers want. .”

Ac­cord­ing to Alok Kumar, p r e s i d e n t , Fe d e r at i o n o f Apart­ment Own­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Ghazi­abad, “We have writ­ten to the min­istry of ur­ban de­vel­op­ment sev­eral times to give our sug­ges­tions on real es­tate reg­u­la­tion but we have never been con­sulted on this is­sue. The gov­ern­ment should have iden­ti­fied all the home­buy­ers’ groups and heard their rep­re­sen­ta­tion. The bill is for home­buy­ers, not for builders. It’s ridicu­lous that gov­ern­ment is work­ing on a bill to give jus­tice to home­buy­ers but it’s tak­ing in­puts from builders.”

THINKSTOCK

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