The Karnataka Real Estate Regulatory Authority (KRERA) is yet to respond to a notice sent by the Karnataka Sakala Mission after homebuyers asked for the regulator to be brought under its purview for delaying case decisions.
“In the document (attached), they (homebuyers) requested to include services of RERA under Sakala. Bringing the letter to your observation, request to submit the proposal in an attached letter in Kannada and English with details,” the Sakala Mission said in a notice to KRERA in April 2022, which Moneycontrol has reviewed.
“If we receive the submission within one month of our notice, we can issue further orders. But initially, the proposal has to come from the respective department,” a senior official at the Sakala department said.
The Karnataka Sakala Services Act was passed in 2011 to ensure timely delivery of government services to citizens by departments including urban development authorities and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Officials at the Karnataka Sakala department confirmed the developments and said KRERA’s submission is awaited.
KRERA chairman HC Kishore Chandra could not be reached for comment on the matter. A list of questions has been sent to the department. Moneycontrol will update this story after receiving a response.
Homebuyers said the inclusion of KRERA under the Sakala department will improve timelines for getting certified copies of KRERA orders, recovering money from promoters, and filing further complaints in the appellate tribunal.
“Many of our complaints are still at the KRERA. There are no services available to homebuyers in a timely manner in the KRERA/housing department. Previously, we had submitted our complaints/memorandum to the housing department, chief minister's office, prime minister's office and central housing department,” the homebuyers wrote in the letter to Sakala asking for the inclusion of KRERA and the housing department under the Sakala Act.
According to Dhananjaya Padmanabhachar, director of the Karnataka Home Buyers Forum, introducing KRERA under the Sakala Mission will help homebuyers to get services of KRERA in a timely manner without waiting for long.
“We have already started seeing the Sakala Mission making enough impact in terms of monitoring government orders in other sectors. And it can reduce a significant time taken by KRERA to pass its orders once the department is registered under the Sakala Mission,” Padmanabhachar said.
In the last week of December, of 19 orders passed by KRERA, at least eight had taken more than five months to be delivered. Among them, two complaints were withdrawn or disposed of after the parties did not show up for the hearings. Nine orders took one to three years.
Vijay Sahoo, a homebuyer of Nikoo Homes, filed a KRERA case for incomplete amenities in March 2021. “We had our first hearing in October 2021. However, after that, nothing much has happened,” Sahoo said.
He said that every quarter, after multiple follow-ups, KRERA recommends that the Lok Adalat resolve the case.
“We had agreed to that in the first quarter of 2022. However, it got delayed. On December 29, we received another proposal for Lok Adalat in February 2023. However, we will reject it this time,” he said.
One homebuyer who did not want to be identified said the order in his case was passed on November 19, 2022. “However, till now we have not received a copy of the order,” the homebuyer said.
Right to Information activist and Bangalore City Flat Owners’ Welfare Association president Anil Kalgi said most of the KRERA staff are hired contractually and less than three members hold a permanent position.
“Other than being severely understaffed, most staff at KRERA are not competent to handle the cases,” Kalgi said.
In July 2022, KRERA had asked the state government to provide more staffers and fill vacancies for faster workflow. Additionally, Kalgi said, after the Supreme Court order in January 2022 that clarified the jurisdiction of the adjudicating officer, KRERA seemed to have been overburdened due to several cases that required re-adjudication.
Ameya Usgoankar, a homebuyer, said a tactic used by advocates representing builders is to come for alternate hearings. Such adjournments delay the case for at least one month, he said.
Usgoankar and Kalgi said KRERA hearings typically involve several discussions and technicalities, pushing cases for a longer time.
“At KRERA hearings we do not require certified copies – for example, certified copies of occupation certificates – to proceed with a case. KRERA should consider asking key questions regarding the matter at hand rather than going into further details,” Usgoankar added.