An interesting question has come up before the Delhi High Court as to “Whether National Consumer Redressal Forum Commission (NCDRC) or any other consumer dispute redressal forum has jurisdiction to deal with matters falling under RERA.”

RERA COMPLAINTS TO HIGH COURT

                                    RERA COMPLAINTS TO HIGH COURT

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) which fully came into force on 1st May 2017 was enacted with an object to establish the Real Estate Regulatory Authority for regulation and promotion of the real estate sector, to protect the interest of consumers and to provide for an adjudicating mechanism for speedy dispute redressal mechanism.

Section 71 and Section 79 of the Act has come up before the court for interpretation after two builders– Today Homes And Infrastructure Ltd and  Ramprastha Promoters And Developers Pvt. Ltd moved to the High Court challenging the orders of National Consumer Redressal Commission (NCDRC) wherein, the case was decided in favor of the homebuyers. The Petitioners have pleaded that since in both the cases the complaint has been filed against the builders in NCRDC after the act came into force, the commission has no jurisdiction to entertain the matter and sole jurisdiction lies with RERA.

Section 71 of the Act lays down that any person whose complaint is in respect of matter covered under RERA is pending before the Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum or Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission or National Consumer Redressal Commission (NCDRC), he may with the permission from such forum or commission, withdraw the complaint pending before it and file an application before the adjudicating authority while Section 79  bars the jurisdiction of any civil court to entertain suit or proceeding in respect of matter which the authority or adjudicating officer or Appellate Tribunal is empowered under the act to determine.

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna has admitted the matter and notices has been issued to the respondents. Meanwhile, High Court has also ordered stay of the proceedings before NCDRC until the final decision of the case.

Comparative analysis of RERA and NCDRC:

PARTICULARS

NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTE REDRESSAL COMMISSION

THE REAL ESTATE (REGULATION AND DEVELOPMENT) ACT, 2016

JURISDICTION 

Complaint valued more than 1 crore. However, the Supreme Court in a landmark ruling has held that buyers can jointly file a case and their cumulative claim will determine the pecuniary jurisdiction of NCDRC.

A home buyer can file a complaint with the Authority of the state where the property is situated.

APPLICABILITY

Any matter of consumer interest

Only to real estate projects

SCOPE

Limited (deals with aspect relating to defects in goods or deficiency in services)

Broad (covers all aspects of real estate)

COGNIZANCE

Only on the complaint of the consumer

On complaint by the aggrieved party + can also take action suo motu

APPEAL 

To the Supreme Court of India

Appellate Authority

        High Court

     Supreme Court

PROJECTS

A complaint in NCDRC can be filed for any projects either ongoing or delivered

A complaint can be filed only if  the project is incomplete or ongoing

WHO CAN COMPLAIN

By any person falling under the definition of Consumer under the act.

Real Estate Agents, Promoters and Allottee or Group of Allottee.

OTHER LEGAL REMEDY DURING PENDENCY

No bar in approaching other appropriate authority

A declaration under FORM ‘CRA’ has to be made undertaking that home-buyer has not made any complaints in any other court on the same matter.

PRECEDENCE

Has been in force for over 33 years.

Most of the provisions are well settled.

No precedence as none of the cases has reached the Supreme Court.

Every state has its own interpretation. 

PUNISHMENT

Can only levy fine.

 Cannot pass imprisonment.

Can also award imprisonment to the defaulting promoter in addition to or in lieu of fine.

TIME FOR DISPOSAL

180 days from date of receipt of notice by the opposite party.

60 days from date of receipt of the application.

 RERA has an upper hand over NCDRC for the following reasons:

  1. Dedicated courts having special expertise in the field
  2. Speedy disposal of cases ( within 60 days time period)
  3. Ease of filing cases
  4. Provision of imprisonment in case if the promoter does not comply with the directions issued by the court
  5. Reduces burden on consumer courts

My View-

I’ve been practicing in RERA Punjab, RERA Panchkula and the Appellate Tribunals. The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 is a first of its kind legislation in the field of Real Estate. The need for regulations and uniform guidelines was being felt by the industry for a long time. I strongly hold the view that in today’s time where the real estate business is experiencing a tremendous growth, RERA is a welcoming step to boost the real estate business and at the same time, to safeguard the consumers from unscrupulous builders by keeping a check on them.

For more information on the subject, you may dial 99888-17966.

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