The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) was passed by Parliament in March 2016, and came into effect from May 1, 2016. Last month it completed six years.
In these years, it is clear that the legal framework aimed at empowering India’s homebuyers has been further fortified through various decisions of the Supreme Court and other judicial forums. The fact that the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary realised that homebuyers were being cheated by many builders who took away their life’s savings is RERA’s biggest success.
Though the first couple of years were spent getting the implementation architecture in place, including early successes in project and agent registrations, recently the regulatory authorities and the appellate tribunals have begun asserting their power. This is another success of RERA, and a pointer of things to come in the interest of homebuyers.
The apex court, while deciding the case of Newtech Promoters and Developers Pvt. Ltd. vs State of UP & Others, held that the regulatory authority has the power to order refund, interest and penalty, and that the adjudicating officer has the power to award compensation. It also said that the regulatory authority can delegate its powers to a single member to hear complaints; or the pre-condition of deposit under proviso to Section 43(5) for entertaining appeals, are in sync with the Constitution of India. Thus, in one stroke, it empowered millions of homebuyers.