Centre sought details of only ‘Agreement for Sale’ under RERA from states

NEW DELHI: Barely four days after Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri asked his ministry officials to place the details of RERA Rules and “agreement for sale” notified by states before the Supreme Court highlighting the dilutions, the status report on the compliance of the SC direction submitted by the ministry shows it had sought details of only “agreement for sale”, commonly known as “builder-buyer agreement” from states.

The court had sought the details of both the “builder-buyer” agreements and the rules framed by the states under the real estate law, RERA. What’s more glaring is that even on March 12, barely hours after Puri’s direction, his ministry had sent a reminder to the states seeking response. But even in that mail the ministry sought details of only the “agreement to sale” framed by states and to submit a comparison of their rules with the one notified by the Centre. So, the states that gave details confined themselves to only “agreement for sale” rules and did not give details of their own RERA Rules.

The SC bench comprising of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant passed an order on Monday, which said that additional solicitor general, Aishwarya Bhati and amicus curiae Devashish Bharuka “have assured the Court that the information shall be duly processed and a concise report indicating whether the state rules comply with the substratum of the rules which have been framed by the Union government under the RERA shall be submitted.” The case has been posted for hearing in July.

While chairing a meeting of the central advisory council (CAC) under RERA, Puri had said that there would be “no dilution” of the central law. He had told his ministry officials that they should place the facts squarely before the SC and “those who have diluted the law will have to justify themselves as to why they have done it”.

Interestingly, in a letter addressed to the states on March 2, the ministry had asked them to provide “latest copy of agreement to sale” notified by states and “a comparison sheet between agreement to sale rules notified by states and rules framed by the ministry for UTs without legislature”.

States have diluted the RERA rules to keep unfinished projects out of the ambit of the law when it was notified. This is despite the fact that several court orders have made it clear that all unfinished or “ongoing” projects had to fall under RERA regulations.

On February 14, the top court had directed the Centre to examine whether the rules framed by various states under RERA are in conformity and subserve the interest of home-buyers. The SC on Monday reiterated the need to submit details of both agreement to sale and RERA Rules framed by states.

Welcoming the SC order, CAC member Abhay Upadhyay said, “The Supreme Court has clarified that both general rules and agreement for sales rules under RERA will be reviewed and the Centre will place the details before the court. This will send a strong message not only to builders that they cannot get away by influencing states to dilute rules in their favor but also to all states and authorities that they need to be on the right side of the law.”

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