Court ruled that a 999-year lease agreement amounted to a perpetual lease, and was in reality an agreement of sale.
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday dismissed appeals by Lavasa Corporationchallenging the orders of the Maharashtra Real Estate Appellate Tribunal, which had ruled that long lease agreements with three home buyers fall within the purview of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), and can be adjudicated by real estate regulator MahaRERA.
Dismissing the appeals filed by Lavasa Corporation against orders given in the cases of home buyers Jitendra Tulsiani, Manju Joshi and Girish Panjwani, who had bought flats in Lavasa township, Justice Dr Shalini Phansalkar Joshi ruled that the agreement for a 999-year lease amounted to a perpetual lease, and though the agreement signed said it was an agreement of lease, it was in reality an agreement of sale.
The court held that the very object of the RERA is to protect consumers who have invested their hard-earned money in purchasing apartments, and “mere nomenclature of the document as ‘agreement of lease’ will not in any way take away the rights given to them by the statute.”
The court ruled that the three home buyers had paid more than 80 per cent of the apartment cost, along with stamp duty and registration charges, and hence were now entitled to get the benefits which are given under RERA to such allottees.
“Once it is accepted that the Act was legislated to bring some discipline, professionalism, transparency and standardisation in all the projects of the real estate sector, then excluding from its scope the ‘agreements’ like the ones executed in the present case is as good as frustrating the very object of the said Act,” the court observed.