If your developer sells you flats with lesser carpet area than promised in the sale agreement, he can be imprisoned for up to one year, if the stringent rules proposed by the legal metrology organisation (LMO) are approved by the government.
However, the fate of the citizen-friendly proposal now hangs in balance, as the state government has abruptly transferred Sanjay Pandey, head of LMO, who had taken the initiative to draft the law.
HT was the first to report the sudden transfer and promotion of Pandey last week.
According to the landmark rules proposed by the LMO, authorities will be empowered to measure the carpet area and prosecute errant developers, under section 30 of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009.
This can attract a penalty of Rs 10, 000 for the first offence and imprisonment up to one year for the second offence.
Receiving lesser carpet area then promised in the sale agreement is a common problem faced by the home buyers in the city. Worse, cheated homebuyers have no redressal mechanism.
At present, complainants have to get their flats measured from private architects and then move the consumer court, a longwinded and lengthy process.
For the past three months, a technical team appointed by Pandey was working on framing the new rules, which can go a long way to empower homebuyers.
“Presently, there is no redressal mechanism for the buyer if he finds he has been given as smaller flat. These rules can help buyers file complaints with competent authorities. Developers, too, will fear the likely action,” said Rajiv Mishra, principal of Sir JJ College of Architecture, one of the experts who framed the rules.
The three-member technical committee includes architect Anand Palaye, chairman Indian Institute of Architects, Ashita Sheth, professor. Veer Jeejamata Technical Institute (VJTI), Matunga. In the past three months, the LMO has received more than 15 complaints about builders handing out smaller flats, especially in redevelopment projects.
“If introduced, the rules will be of huge help to home buyers, who are often fleeced. Besides, the same developer can be booked for multiple complaints, since one building has many flats,” said Varsha Raut, member of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.
While Pandey refused to comment, another senior official from the LMO confirmed that the rules are awaiting the government’s approval.