Saturday, October 1, 2022

Supreme Court adjourns plea for implementation of uniform builder-buyer agreement

The Bench said, this is a concurrent list matter and we are not sure whether the Union can legislate over it. However we will see it.

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The Supreme Court on Monday has adjourned the hearing for a week in a plea seeking directions to the Centre to implement a uniform builder-buyer agreement in order to ensure fairness and transparency, and protect the rights and interests of the buyers, in spirit of the RERA Act and Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. 

A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, and Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian observed that Every state govt has provided rules and model agreements between the buyer and builder.

Senior Advocate Maneka Guruswamy appearing for one of the petitioners from the state of Karnataka submitted that Different states have disparate buyer builder agreements. We cannot proceed against holding companies, she said. 

The Bench said, this is a concurrent list matter and we are not sure whether the Union can legislate over it. However we will see it.

The Court has Adjourned matter by a week.

The plea, was filed on December 3 last year aims at reduction in cheating, fraud and forgery, control in deliberate delays, restrain on builders from dishonestly misappropriating buyers’ money and indulging into arbitrary unfair restrictive trade practices.

The plea has been filed by Jim Thomson and 58 other flat owners of GR Queens Pride seeking following directions to builders and landowners :

Restrain from selling any flat or any part of property until project is fully completed, approved & compensation is provided and handover of the project with all facilities and amenities, promised in the brochure without imposing extra cost.

Obtain commencement certificate, operational certificate & other statutory certificates from State authorities, required for the high-rise project. 

Change or repair sub-standard electrical panels, electrical wiring, lifts, STP, plumbing work, drainage system, basement parking area, drainage, fire setup, stairways, waterproofing, rainwater recharge wells, crack filling, patching, painting.

Compensate with interest for selling illegally constructed units by concealing truth, deliberate delays in completing the project and for putting resident’s lives in danger and causing mental agony.

Refund of the additional money with interest, charged unlawfully as late payment, penalty, interest etc.

Refund the expenses incurred by the petitioners for legal and other statutory matters and transfer electricity meters in the name of respective flat owner and common area meter in the name of owner’s welfare association.

The petitioners came to know that the amenities guaranteed by the promoter and landowner in the brochure and advertisements are totally different from the approval taken from the authorities. While the amenities claimed in the brochure are not sanctioned by the Bhruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the facilities like play area, sewage treatment plant, transformer, basketball court, badminton court etc are not even as per the approved plan too.

The plea has been filed as a result of the petitioners being aggrieved by numerous instances of unfair restrictive and fraudulent trade practices, adopted by the promoter-landowner in collusion with state authorities, by carrying out the registration without valid documents, passing their liability on buyers and committing corporate fraud, criminal breach of trust & criminal conspiracy for wrongful gain. The Petitioners are also aggrieved by the State authorities, particularly BBMPs who failed to inspect the project regularly and impose fine on builder for illegal construction, and instead of preventing illegal construction, allowed registration of Sale Deed without valid documents (Completion Certificate, Operational Certificate, NOC from Fire Dept, etc)

The petitioners, who are buyers of flats at the project named GR Queens Pride, have through years tried contacting the builder to get information about development, construction, completion of statutory approvals amenities but the builder consistently adopted an attitude of stonewalling rightful demands and did not hand over the statutory certificates. 

According to the petitioners, the Builder’ acts amount to criminal conspiracy for wrongful gain, fraud, cheating, criminal breach of trust, dishonestly inducing delivery of property, dishonest misappropriation of property. As the petitioners are currently living amidst health hazards, in a life-threatening situation and in continuous fear of eviction/demolition, it has caused physical mental financial injury to petitioners but also brazenly offended their right to life, liberty, livelihood and shelter, along with their right to dignity, guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21.

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh appeared for petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay, Senior Advocate Anupam Lal Das appeared for Tarun Gera, Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy appeared for Jim Thomson and Senior Advocate Arijit Prasad appeared for Nagarjuna Reddy. —

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