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Home buyers disappointed as Haryana Rera slugs along

After over a year of the Rera Act being enacted in Haryana, the authority is yet to get functional.

punjab Updated: Jan 29, 2018 16:24 IST
Munieshwer A Sagar
(Representative Image)

Haryana is lagging behind other states when it comes to implementing the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016. The Act came into force on May 1, 2016, with 59 of 92 sections notified. The remaining provisions came into force on May 1, 2017.

The Haryana real estate regulatory authority (H-Rera) is still to become fully operational and its website is yet to take off.

In neighbouring Punjab, however, the state authority and its website are operational. It registers projects, hears complaints and delivers judgments on complaints. In Maharashtra, the Rera website has become a trendsetter with information available on registered projects.

Under Section of 20 of the Act, the state government should have set up the Real Estate Regulatory Authority within a year from the date of notification. The Act provides that until the establishment of a regulatory authority, the state government has to designate any authority or officer, preferably the secretary of the department dealing with housing, as the regulator.

MAKESHIFT MODE

The Haryana government constituted an interim Haryana Rera last year. The interim authority was receiving complaints and registering projects. It even initiated action against defaulter builders and initiated proceedings on complaints.

Under the Rera Act, the state government is empowered to constitute more than one authority if it deems fit. The state government formed two such authorities – one for Gurugram and another for the rest of Haryana. A chairman for each of the two authorities was appointed. Thereafter, the progress of state authorities has been slow. Both of these are yet to become fully operational.

Abhay Upadhaya, the national convener of the Fight for Rera, an association of home buyers, said, “We understand it is a new Act and its implementation requires infrastructure. But the Act was enacted in May 2016 and became fully operational last year. The state government had more than a year to constitute a fully operational authority, but that hasn’t happened. The authorities are in a makeshift mode. The existing laws couldn’t deliver justice to the home buyer so Rera was enacted. But if the authorities don’t function properly, then how will the home buyer get justice? This will empower defaulting builders.”

WEBSITE AWAITED

Like the state authority, another cornerstone of the Rera Act is the Rera website, to be operated by the state Rera, to bring transparency and accountability in the real estate sector.

Under Section 34 of the Rera Act, the state authority has to publish and maintain a website of records, for public viewing, of all real estate projects for which registration has been given, with such details as may be prescribed, including information provided in the application for which registration has been granted. The Act stipulates that the state authority maintain a database on its website and enter names and photos of promoters as defaulters, including project details, registration for which has been revoked or has been penalised. The database should have names and photos of real estate agents who have applied and are registered under the Act with details such as whose registration has been rejected or revoked.

Atul Sharma, executive member, Unitech Vistas resident welfare association, Gurugram, said, “Without the Rera website, the impact of the Act nearly halves. The authorities are not active. They should have ensured the website becomes operational. Home buyers cannot access information regarding projects and builders.”

CONFUSION RULES

With two real estate authorities and an interim authority, buyers say there is confusion on jurisdiction that can be inconvenient and expensive for home buyers filing a complaint.

Himanshu Raj, a Chandigarh-based advocate and author of book ‘Rera: Boon or Bane’, says: “The law is for the people’s betterment. The state government must realise that jurisdiction of a complaint cannot be ousted primarily on the basis of project location. The government can’t burden the public to travel from length and breadth of the state.”

Home buyers say there is lack of adequate response to their complaints. Though the complaints are being accepted, they are not being processed. “The interim authority should process the complaints. When the judicial part of the authority becomes operational, they can send notices. Till then, exercising its administrative powers, the authority should seek comments of builders against whom complaints are being submitted,” said Raj.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Rajan Gupta, H-Rera (Panchkula) chairman, said, “Without the full bench, the authority cannot become fully functional.” On the delay in making the website, he said, “The website is under construction.” On jurisdictional issues, Gupta insisted on the location of the project as the determinant.

Haryana appoints Rera members

After a delay of nearly two months, the Haryana government has finally appointed members of the two Rera authorities in the state.

Anil Kumar Panwar, a retired district and sessions judge and Dilbagh Singh Sihag, currently working as the executive director, interim H-Rera, have been appointed as the members of H-Rera (Panchkula).

The state government has appointed Samir Kumar, retired officer from Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Subhash Chander Kush as members of the H-Rera (Gurugram).

The appointments will take effect from the dates they will assume the charge of the posts. The tenure of the office members of H-Rera is five years or till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

Rajan Gupta and KK Khandelwal were appointed as Rera chairpersons in November last year.