Even unregistered projects under Punjab RERA ambit, says appellate tribunal

: In a major relief to consumers, the Punjab Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) Appellate Tribunal has directed RERA in the state to entertain complaints against unregistered real estate projects.

In a ruling passed on May 10, the tribunal set aside the orders passed by the RERA Punjab that complaint by an aggrieved allottee of an unregistered project would not be maintainable.

The Appellate Tribunal held that the, “authority was wrong in saying that no complaint would be maintainable, simply on the ground of the project being unregistered.”

“It has been further held that simply because a project has not been registered, can never form an acceptable reason to deprive an allottee of his statutory right to file a complaint. The Tribunal has given a finding that the RERA Authority was wrong in declining interference in the complaints that too without applying its mind to the facts of each case, through the generalised circular debarring complaints,” it said.

The ruling comes on a plea filed by an NRI couple, Sapandeep Singh Bakshi and Amandeep Bakshi, from the UK, Aman Sethi of Sector 81, Mohali and Rakesh Kumari of Kharar, challenging a circular issued by Punjab RERA stating that allottees cannot claim relief of funds, interest, and possession in case of unregistered projects.

On December 6, 2021, Punjab RERA had issued a circular to not to entertain any complaint u/s 31 of RERA, filed against unregistered project.

In the past six months, Punjab RERA has dismissed several complaints of allottees on the ground that the same was filed against the unregistered project, and as such it has no jurisdiction to entertain the said complaints. The complaints were filed against the builders as they failed to complete the project on time.

The Appellate Tribunal also held that the RERA Punjab wrongly interpreted the judgment passed by the Supreme Court on unregistered projects.

Following the judgment of the Appellate Tribunal, now the allottees can file a complaint against the ongoing unregistered projects, in which the completion certificate has not been issued, before the commencement of RERA.

Harish Gupta, president of Builders Association, Zirakpur, said it is a landmark judgment as buyers will not suffer due to non-registration of projects. But, it should be applied before the implementation of RERA in 2017, he said.

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