Warning state governments against attempts to dilute the Central real estate legislation, Union housing minister Venkaiah Naidu has said that “any compromise with the Act will have serious implications.”
The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), 2016 came into force in May last year and since October, states began the process of issuing their version of the rules under the central Act. Naidu called for an urgent meeting of housing secretaries/ chief secretaries of all states and Union territories in New Delhi on Tuesday so as to address the issue of safeguarding the legislation. Terming the reported watering down of the legislation by states as anti-people, Naidu added that such state governments owe “an explanation to the people”.
“There are media reports that some states have diluted certain provisions of the Act in the Rules notified by them. Today, I want to make it clear that any compromise with the spirit of the Act will have serious implications including public outcry. Whoever does so will have to face the public outcry,” Naidu told the state government officials.
Recently, The Indian Express had reported how several states, including BJP ruled ones, had tweaked their version of rules issued under RERA in favour of real estate developers. These include states such as Gujarat which excluded all ongoing projects from the regulatory rules, and Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra whose rules contravene the basic spirit of promoting transparency in real estate transactions between builders and buyers. Similar violations have also been made by Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Delhi, where urban development comes under the NDA government at the Centre.
RERA mandates that all builders have to register their projects with a state-level Housing Regulatory Authority. Builders have to provide full public disclosure on the regulator’s website with any fraudulent practice resulting in revocation of the project’s registration and a jail term of up to three years.
Following a review of the status of implementation, Union housing ministry officials said that so far Madhya Pradesh and Kerala have appointed a housing regulatory authority as mandated under the law. Others such as Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi have appointed an interim Regulatory Authority. “All states have to notify their final rules and appoint the authority by April end as per the Act.
Following reports on the state level dilutions to the legislation, we have asked states to rectify it and send us their action taken report in another month,” said an official.
Pointing out that people have lot of hope and expectation from this Act, Naidu told the state-level senior bureaucrats, “RERA is one of the most consumer friendly laws passed by Parliament and states have no power to dilute its provisions. This law, which was widely welcomed and appreciated, benefits both the buyers and sellers if implemented in the true spirit of the Act.”