The Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in Karnataka may soon have the judicial powers, similar to what is enjoyed by the consumer forum. Taking a leaf out of its counterparts in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka’s realty regulator is working on a draft proposal that aims to give more power to execute its own orders.
Such an amendment to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2017, many said, is critical for RERA as it’s unable to provide any immediate relief to the home-buyers from the defaulting builders. Over the last two years, RERA-K delivered over 1,900 judgements but most of the orders have remained on paper.
One of the key reasons for the dismal rate of recovery is because the powers to recovering dues and the penalty lies with the Revenue Department. It’s learnt that nearly 300 home-buyers have approached the RERA, complaining that they have not received any interest, penalty and compensation — totalling Rs 118 crore — from the defaulting buyers.
The RERA-K blames the revenue department for not doing its duty. “If the victim does not get the dues within 60 days of the order, we write to the Revenue department to recover it. The collection of recovery has been poor. We have, time and again, written to the deputy commissioners with the request to speed up the process,” K.S Latha Kumari, secretary of RERA-K told BM.
We are proposing an amendment to the rules on the lines of what is done in Madhya Pradesh. The draft will soon be ready–K.S Latha Kumari, secretary of RERA-K
As the present set-up is making RERA teethless, the management is writing to the government, asking for judicial powers by appointing a retired district judge as an executing officer. The move, the RERA believes, will be legally binding on parties — both home-buyers and real-estate companies — to follow any directives from the authority.
“We are proposing an amendment to the rules on the lines of what is done in Madhya Pradesh. The draft is getting ready. We will soon submit it to the government for approval,” Latha Kumari said. She said the amendment will provide an alternate option to recover money of home-buyers from the builders.
In August last year, Madhya Pradesh became the first realty regulator in the country to appoint a retired district judge as an executing officer. This, many say, has brought down the deliberate delays in legal proceedings and has helped many home-buyers.
MS Shankar, national secretary of Forum for People’s Collective Efforts, hailed RERA’s plan of seeking judicial powers. “We have been demanding it for the last two years. It will only increase the compliance rate. Even if the executing officer levies one penalty, it can send a strong signal to the builder-community to stick to their promises,” he said.
He also urged the RERA-K to implement the section 66 of the act that gives powers to penalise the defaulting builders a total of 5% on the entire project cost. “There is definitely a delay from the revenue department officials. But the RERA-K can start imposing penalty on those who do not pay dues on time. It will help many home-buyers,” Shankar said.