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Govt to mediate between realtors, buyers to settle real estate disputes

Apr 18, 2023 12:29 AM IST

State commissions have jurisdiction to deal with complaints when the value of the goods or services is worth between ₹50 lakh and ₹2 crore.

Booked an apartment but have yet to move in because of a long delay in completion of the project? For the first time, the Union consumer affairs ministry will mediate and settle such disputes under the ambit of India’s flagship consumer rights law.

India passed an updated law, the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which provides for a three-tier quasi-judicial mechanism to redress consumer disputes -- district, state commissions and national commissions. (HT)

The ministry will hold a stakeholder conference in Mumbai on Tuesday comprising buyers, realtors and stakeholders from consumer courts to redress grievances in the real estate sector, which accounts for 10% of all registered consumer disputes, an official said.

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“Despite tribunals such as Real Estate Regulatory Authority and National Company Law Tribunal to deal with the cases pertaining to housing sector, the pendency of cases is rising in various consumer commissions,” said Rohit Kumar Singh, secretary, consumer affairs. “That’s why the government will hold a direct roundtable.”

India passed an updated law, the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which provides for a three-tier quasi-judicial mechanism to redress consumer disputes -- district, state commissions and national commissions. State commissions have jurisdiction to deal with complaints when the value of the goods or services is worth between 50 lakh and 2 crore.

Since inception, 230,517 cases have been filed by consumers in various commissions and 176,895 cases have been disposed of, while 53,622 disputes are being heard, official data show.

The conference will discuss policy interventions needed to reduce litigation in the housing sector. Cases filed in the consumer commissions will be analysed. Key reasons that result in consumer dispute cases will be identified and presented for deliberations, Singh said.

The consumer protection law stipulates that every complaint shall be disposed of as “expeditiously as possible” and “endeavour shall be made to decide the complaint within a period of 3 months from the date of receipt of notice by opposite party where the complaint does not require analysis or testing of commodities and within 5 months if it requires analysis or testing of commodities”.

Participants of the meeting, led by the consumer affairs secretary, include members of the National Consumer Commission, presidents of state commissions of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh and Gujarat, president of the RERA Appellate Tribunal Maharashtra, and RERA chairmen from Delhi and Maharashtra, among others, such as builders. RERA is short for Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016.

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