Bengal’s real estate law will set wrong precedent of deviation from RERA

New Delhi: Implementation of the West Bengal Housing and Industry Regulation Act (WBHIRA) would open a pandora’s box and other states would follow suit to make their own real estate related laws, thus diluting the impact of the central law, according to the Forum for People’s Collective Efforts.

The West Bengal assembly had passed its version of The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, (RERA) known as the West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act (WBHIRA), on August 16, 2017. The Act was notified on June 1 this year. But all other states had accepted the Central law –Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA).

Member of the Central Advisory Committee of RERA, Abhay Upadhyay, who is also a part of the forum, said members from different parts of the country were in the capital to apprise the political class of the negative fallout from the West Bengal law.

“We also went to the Prime Minister’s Office… and have given a letter explaining how it is setting a dangeraous trend and that the committee that was constituted under the Central Advisory Council must be notified. It was also suggested that the committee must go and visit West Bengal (to prevent the law from taking effect),” Upadhyay told the media.

The forum — a body of home buyers — has also written to President Ram Nath Kovind urging him to deny his assent to the law. Among others, the members also met the Congress party President, Rahul Gandhi.

On July 12, the forum had issued a statement related to a tweet from the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry which stated that the matter of having Central & State acts on same subject was under examination and that a sub-committee under these circumstances would not serve any purpose.

The state Act, the forum said, would dilute the law in favour of developers.

One of the clauses being diluted was on “force majeure”, or unforeseen circumstances, that could help developers avoid fulfilling their obligations. The words ‘or any other circumstances as may be prescribed’ was added to the normal exceptions of war, flood, drought, fire, cyclone, earthquake or other natural calamity.

Upadhyay said that even if there had been no dilutions and deviations, the consumer forum would have protested against any law other than RERA — which was a “very well-prepared set of rules”.