The Real Estate Law has now come into force. Under the provisions of the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016, real estate developers will now have to divulge every small detail of their projects. Any repeat offence could cost developers dear, including a jail term of up to three years and fine or both.
Undoubtedly, it’s a delightful scenario for buyers. But, any right can’t be seen in isolation. A right is always accompanied by a duty. So, to make the law more holistic and transparent in its approach, there is one more dimension to it — a home buyer, too, can be jailed, up to one year, if he fails to obey the orders of regulatory authorities or appellate tribunal.
Although buyers have panned the provision, saying that the law which has been framed to address the woes of homebuyers can’t have the provisions to bite them, lawmakers say any rule can’t be made lopsided.
But there are many homebuyers who rule that that the provision to put homebuyers behind bars would be misused by all-powerful developers’ lobby to further harass buyers.
“This provision would turn out to be a deterrent for buyers who would think twice before moving the regulatory authority,” said Mukesh Shah, a homebuyer in Noida’s Sector 178.
However, experts point out that such a provision may not be invoked against buyers in most of the cases because largely home buyers would be the aggrieved parties who would be moving court for resolution of grievances against developers. The only case where a developer may move against a home buyer is non-payment of dues. “If someone is a genuine buyer, such an issue would never crop up,” said a real estate expert.
“Any payment default or bounced cheque etc by the buyer would be covered by the relevant provisions of existing laws. But the new Act achieves a balancing act between the rights of both transacting parties,” says lawyer Neha Mishra, currently Head of the Department at REVA University, Bengaluru.
While the law is largely consumer-friendly, the penalty provision would give an equal footing to both parties, bringing greater accountability into the sector. “Honest buyers, of course, have nothing to fear. The law will give them an additional recourse against errant developers who could get around the existing laws. It is to plug the exploitation of current loopholes by the developers that the law has been framed,” adds Mishra.