The Noida Authority finally claims it has put in place a mechanism to implement the UP Apartment Act 2010 in Noida and Greater Noida. This move seems to have resulted from a spate of complaints by various resident welfare associations (RWAs) against builders’ willfulness and recent court orders, especially the one related to the Supertech Emerald Court case in which the Supreme Court had enquired about public policies governing any change in open green areas in declared residential schemes.
The recent announcement by Authority officials that they had, after a board meeting, decided to implement the Act with effect from June 2, 2014, raises some questions. The state legislature passed the Act four years ago in March 2010, so will violations (as per the Act) before June 2, 2014, not attract a penalty? Why did the Authority take four years to implement an act which was notified in the state in 2010? Is the Authority trying to protect its officials in several cases of building violations pending before the court? As of now there has been no official release of the resolutions of the board meeting on the Authority’s website.
What has added to the confusion is the reported statement of Noida Authority’s CEO, who at a press conference said, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway areas are governed by the UP Industrial Act, 1976. Therefore, the Apartment Act was not put into effect by the three authorities. Only after examining both, has the Apartment Act been implemented. It took time to examine them.”
Homebuyers and legal experts have slammed the statement, calling it a “plainly wrong interpretation of the 2010 Act.” The legislators have envisaged that the statute shall uniformly apply to all buildings having more than three apartments, whether already constructed or under construction in the whole of Uttar Pradesh without any exception.
Manish Gupta, office bearer of the Grand Omaxe Resident Welfare Association says, “I find this declaration by the Noida Authority that they are now going to implement the UP Apartment Act 2010 very misleading. Their argument is that the Authority was formed under the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Area Development Authority Act (UPIADAA) 1976 and hence the UP Apartment Act 2010 doesn’t apply to them, but the UP Apartment Act 2010, Chapter 1, Section 3 (r) very clearly defines authorities on which the Act is applicable. It covers Industrial Development Authorities (IDA) constituted under UPIADAA 1976 as well. So, in my opinion, IDAs constituted under UPIADAA 1976 had to adhere to UP Apartment Act 2010 all along, and the current statement by Noida and Greater Noida Authority is misleading.”
According to legal experts, the Authority was under pressure to do damage-control exercise after the Allahabad High Court judgment in the Supertech Emerald Court case, ordering that guilty officials of the Noida Authority be prosecuted. The recent announcement was meant to cover up the involvement of its officials in illegal regulatory approvals between March 2010 (when the act was implemented in UP) and June 2, 2014.
“This is nothing but an untenable attempt to save its own officers and the promoters who have violated the various provisions of the UP Apartment Act 2010 with impunity since 2010. The attempt is to press a reset button (implement the 2010 Act by covering up the past) after officials and promoters panicked following the spate of writs against authorities for violation of the 2010 Act,” says SK Pal, a Supreme Court lawyer.
Surprisingly, in several court cases, the Noida Authority has submitted that the Apartment Act is in operation from March 2010 in the city.
“Just because Noida adopted UP Apartment Act 2010 in 2014 does not mean that the Act will not apply for the period between 2010 and June 1, 2014. In other words, any buyer who bought a flat during this period can invoke Act 2010 for legal recourse. This announcement by the Noida Authority is misleading and once again supportive of builders as it presents a scenario in which all violations from 2010 to 2014 are out of the purview of Act 2010,” says Prakash PVS, the main petitioner in the Omaxe Grandwoods case in the Allahabad High Court. Prakash, in 2011, had for the first time raised the issue of grant of additional FAR to Omaxe by the Noida Authority in violation of UP Apartment Act 2010.
“In fact, the Authority accepted the interim order passed by the Hon’ble Court, restraining the builder from constructing villas as per the amended plan because the respondents failed to show that written permissions were obtained from the allottees of Grandwoods before approving the alteration of the declared plan as required under section 4 (4) of the UP Apartment 2010 Act,” says Pal.