‘Uniform BBA was the need of the hour to protect homebuyers’
“This has to be achieved in this country as it raises an important aspect of consumer protection. If there is no uniformity enacted by states, the builders will insert ‘contracting out’ clauses detrimental to consumers,” the court said.
The Supreme Court on Monday said that having a uniform Builder Buyer Agreement was the need of the hour to protect homebuyers from real estate developers.
A bench of Justices Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna while issuing notice on a set of four petitions seeking a Model Builder Buyer Agreement (BBA) and an Agent Buyer Agreement (ABA) to be framed by Centre under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) 2016 said, “This has to be achieved in this country as it raises an important aspect of consumer protection. If there is no uniformity enacted by states, the builders will insert ‘contracting out’ clauses detrimental to consumers.”
The Court posted the matter after four weeks seeking responses from Centre, governments of all states and union territories and Law Commission of India. The lead petition was filed as public interest litigation (PIL) by lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay while the remaining three petitions were filed by individual home buyers challenging the inaction by the respective builders in completion of several amenities promised by them in the brochure provided while booking the flats.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh appearing for PIL petitioner said, “Having come out with a law under RERA to rein in builders, the Centre should also lay down guidelines without leaving it to states to frame rules on builder-buyer agreements.” Till date, the petition said, not a single state has framed the model builder-buyer or agent-buyer agreement.
Senior advocate Menaka Guruswamy appearing in another petition filed by homebuyers of a Karnataka residential project said, “RERA envisages a role for the Centre in the implantation of the Act and rule-making power.”
“Homebuyers should not be left at the mercy of the builders and to this extent we support the PIL for framing a uniform Model agreement between builder-buyer and agent-buyer,” Guruswamy said. She further pointed out that due to arbitrary clauses in the agreement, the police do not register complaints against builders who keep issuing revised delivery schedules to complete the flats, the petitioners submitted.