The forum will come into effect from February 1 and the hearings before the conciliation benches are expected to begin from the first week of March.
MahaRERA has officially announced the launch of its conciliation forum which will consist members of developers as well consumer associations. The forum will come into effect from February 1 and the hearings before the conciliation benches are expected to begin from the first week of March.
A dedicated website has been created and it has also been linked to the MahaRERA website. The conciliation bench is expected to arrive at the settlement within 45 days from the date of the reference to the bench.
Ten conciliation benches will be set up for Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and 5 benches for Pune region. The conciliation committee contains 23 members representing developers from Council of Real Estate Development Association of India (CREDAI), Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) and National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) and 15 members representing consumers from Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP).
To know more about this new forum and how it plans to help home buyers CNBC-TV18’s Ashwini Priolker caught up with MahaRERA secretary Vasant Prabhu.
Q) Firstly, tell us why did MahaRERA decide to start this conciliation forum?
In the act, there is a provision under Section 32(g) which provides for an Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) for disputes under RERA. Representatives of consumer forums were also approaching us to implement this provision. We then decided to start this forum in which both consumers’ and developers’ bodies have come together. Interestingly, complainant’s will have to pay only Rs. 1,000 to approach the Conciliation Forum whereas Rs 5,000 is charged while registering a complaint with MahaRERA. The conciliation benches will be located in various areas and people can make the complaints online. It will be convenient for people and help them save on time as well as money.
Q) Till now how many complaints have been registered under MahaRERA?
Under MahaRERA nearly 1,634 complaints have been registered. Forty six percent orders have been passed so far. And we have noticed that at least 30-40 percent complaints are resolved through an amicable settlement between the developers and consumers. That's why we thought that if there is a conciliatory forum it will be settled there itself. The load on MahaRERA will be reduced and we then concentrate on the critical cases. And we will be able to suitable time.
Q) I have the list of conciliators with me, and we are seeing that there are 23 representatives of builders which include MCHI, CREDAI and NAREDCO but when it comes to consumers we have only 15 representatives from Mumbai Grahak Panchayat. So why is that we have more builders and fewer people representing consumers?
First, we should understand that this forum is under a control of a core committee. Each core committee has got two members from each of these organisations. We have got 10 conciliation benches in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and 5 benches in the Pune region. We have purposely taken additional members from the developers’ associations because sometimes a said person may not be available for the hearing.
Q) What will be the composition of this bench?
It will have one representative from the consumers association and one from the promoters’ association. These two are the conciliators and they will be chairing the hearing. MahaRERA has got its monitoring committee. The monitoring committee will be overseeing it. It will decide the place of conciliation, and also quarterly evaluate the progress among other things.
Q) Also, what was the criterion used in selecting MGP over other consumer forums like Forum for People's Collective Efforts (FPCE) which was earlier known as Fight for RERA? FPCE had also written to you expressing their will to be part of the forum. There were other interested groups as well. So why only MGP?
From the very beginning, MGP has been involved with MahaRERA. It’s a very large organisation with several members. And as far as the criterion for selection is concerned, we have followed the guidelines of Arbitration and Conciliation Act which came out in 1996. But it’s important to note that we have provided all the conciliators special training in mediation procedure. Also, we are going to evaluate their performance.
Q) Lastly, just to get more clarity, is there any compulsion on buyers that now they will first have to approach conciliation forum before approaching MahaRERA?Not at all. It should be very clear that they have got full right to directly approach MahaRERA. But if they prefer they can approach conciliation forum online by paying Rs. 1,000. And if they get better results, it will be helpful to them. Otherwise, the second option is always available.