HomePress ReleaseFinancial Express: Homebuyers’ body raises concerns over Bengal Act

Financial Express: Homebuyers’ body raises concerns over Bengal Act

The Forum for People’s Collective Efforts has voiced concerns that allowing the West Bengal’s Housing and Industrial Regulation Act, 2017 (HIRA) could lead to the Centre’s Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act becoming redundant

The Forum for People’s Collective Efforts (FPCE), a pan-India homebuyer’s body, has voiced concerns that allowing the West Bengal’s Housing and Industrial Regulation Act, 2017 (HIRA) could lead to the Centre’s Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act becoming redundant. “How can a state not implement a law (RERA) passed by Parliament. This can also lead to other states following West Bengal, and in due course making the RERA redundant,” Abhay Upadhyay, president of the FPCE, told reporters. In June, the Bengal government had notified its own regulation, Housing & Industrial Regulation Act (HIRA), and notified rules thereunder.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has sought the law ministry’s view on whether two separate Acts on regulation of the real estate sector — one enacted by the Centre and the other by West Bengal — can coexist. Both the RERA and the HIRA differ on the definition of the force majeure clause and garage space. Under the RERA, the force majeure clause can be invoked only in case of war, drought, floods, earthquake, fire or any other natural calamity affecting regular development of real estate projects. However, according to HIRA, over and above the conditions listed under the RERA, the force majeure clause can be declared for any other circumstance prescribed.

While the RERA requires a roof and walls on three sides, HIRA has altogether removed the clause and defined garage as any parking space sanctioned by the government authority. The homebuyers’ body has urged the Prime Minister, President, vice-president, and Lok Sabha Speaker to intervene and not allow West Bengal bypass the RERA through its separate legislation. The FPCE has urged President not to give assent to the West Bengal’s Act. “In September 2015, we initiated a movement, Fight for RERA, for passage of the Act by Parliament. Now, we are fighting to save the RERA from being made redundant. We hope the central government and law makers would understand the seriousness of the issue and take necessary steps to save RERA,” Upadhyay said.

The FPCE has suggested repealing the HIRA and implementing the central RERA in the state. Representatives of the homebuyers’ body have also met Congress president Rahul Gandhi and requested him to take the matter up with the Trinamool Congress leadership. Homebuyers have been raising concerns over dilution of the Act and are of the view that states need to follow the RERA in letter and spirit.

The RERA was fully notified in 2017 and states were given powers to notify their respective rules and appoint regulatory authorities. Of the 29 states (the Act is not applicable for J&K) where the Act is to be enforced, 10 have appointed a permanent regulator while 17 have interim authorities. As many as 21 states have established online portal. State RERA rules, wherever implemented, are not very clear about registration of ongoing projects launched before all sections of the the RERA became law on May 1, 2017.