No relief for flat buyers from HCUpdated: Jun 26, 2020, 19:19 IST
The Bombay high court has directed the flat buyer who filed public interest litigation challenging the six-month extension given by the MahaRERA authority to projects that were to be completed by March 15 to approach the MahaRERA appellate authority and declined to quash the circular. The court upheld the contention of the state that as an alternate remedy was available to the petitioner, there was no need for the court to exercise its powers.
A division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice M S Karnik while hearing the PIL filed by Sagar Nikam, a flat buyer was informed that the April 2 and May 18 circulars by the MahaRERA authority was detrimental to the interests of thousands of flat buyers. Advocate Nilesh Gala for Nikam said that circulars favoured developers who had failed to hand over possession of flats by March 15. He added that the three-month extension given in each circular would deny flat buyers their right to their homes by six months and hence the circulars should be set aside,
However, advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni who was assisted by additional government pleader Jyoti Chavan informed the court that Nikam’s grievance of not getting possession of the flat within the stipulated time was personal and hence could not be dealt with in a PIL. Kumbhakoni further submitted that as per section 44 of the RERA Act the flat buyer had the option of approaching the appellate authority and hence Nikam could get his grievance addressed before the said authority. In light of these submissions, Kumbhakoni submitted that the PIL should be dismissed.
Gala, however, opposed the contention and said that the PIL had challenged the circular because it not only affected him but also thousands of flat buyers. He submitted that the circular exempted developers and promoters from not only handing over possession of flats for six months but also denied compensation to the flat buyers in that period. He added that the appellate authority could not impugn the circulars as it was beyond its jurisdiction.
After hearing the arguments the bench upheld the state’s submissions and granted liberty to the petitioner to approach the appellate authority and dismissed the petition.