Five years after it first mooted the idea of a real estate regulator, the state Cabinet on Wednesday decided to invoke a legislation to create such a quasi judicial body. The regulator will adjudicate disputes between buyers and developers. Currently, aggrieved buyers have to take their battles to consumer or civil courts, where verdicts take years.
State housing secretary Gautam Chatterjee, who ensured that the draft bill satisfied chief minister Prithviraj Chavan before it was tabled in the Cabinet on Wednesday, told HT: “The new Act will be a game-changer, especially for middle class buyers, who seek immediate redress to their disputes with developers.”
Chatterjee said the law would provide for imposing a maximum penalty Rs1 crore and even more in cases of violations by builders. He said that the bill would come up for approval in the budget session in March-April, 2012.
To balance things out, authorities have ensured that erring consumers, too, will be brought to book. Chatterjee said it was a balancing act. “Builders may take action against consumers under the Act. But then consumers can, at most, fail in making timely payments to his developer.”
The Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry demanded some changes. “We have no problems with transparency clauses, but we want the law to cover the state authorities as well,” said MCHI president Paras Gundecha.
Shreedhar Sharma, president of a housing welfare body, Revathy Foundation alleged that the government was not willing to act against errant builders.
Sunil Mantri, chairman of the Real Estate Committee of Indian Merchant Chamber, said, “It will help bring discipline to the construction industry.”