Five months after Maharashtra became the country’s first state to have in place a law to enforce a regulatory mechanism for the housing sector, the state government has finally set the ball rolling to appoint a Housing Appellate Tribunal. The state housing department has written to the Bombay High Court asking it to suggest names of retired judges to head the appellate body. The tribunal serves as the second level of grievance redressal for home-buyers who are dissatisfied by the ruling of the Housing Regulatory Authority. The chairperson of the appellate tribunal as well as two members are to be appointed by the state government for a three-year-term in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court.
However, the government is yet to initiate any steps for appointing members of the regulatory authority itself. The regulatory authority, as per law, will consists of a chairperson who is a retired IAS officials of the rank of a principal secretary and two or more members with expertise in the field of urban development, housing and public administration among others. “The decision to appoint the regulatory body will have to be taken by the chief secretary. As for now, we are awaiting the high court’s recommendations for the tribunal,” said a senior state government official.
Unlike the state act which entrusts the government with the task of appointing the regulatory authority, the central Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013, which was introduced in the parliament last year, provides greater autonomy for the authority by making it mandatory for the appointments to be caried out on the recommendations of an independent selection committee.
The Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Development) Act 2012 was passed by both houses of the state legislature in July 2012 and received presidential assent in February this year.