Development authorities, instead of resolving such disputes with the promoters and builders, became mute spectators
The Allahabad High Court has expressed concern that a large number of home buyers in Uttar Pradesh have in the recent past faced “hostile and arbitrary actions” from promoters and builders, while the development authorities, instead of resolving such disputes, became mute spectators. The court made the observation while issuing a general mandamus direction to competent authorities in the State under the U.P. Apartment Act, 2010 and U.P. Industrial Area Development Act, 1976 or any other cognate enactment to decide the grievance of the home buyers or their associations, within three months from the date the grievance is brought to their knowledge.
A Division Bench of Justices Pankaj Naqvi and Piyush Agarwal was hearing a writ petition filed by a registered association of home buyers, which was aggrieved by several irregularities in violation of their agreements on the part of a developer-co-promoter of a residential project ‘Shipra Shristi’, owned and floated by M/s Shipra Estate Limited and Jay Krishan Estates Developers Private Limited.
“We take judicial notice that of late large number of cases are coming to this Court on behalf of home-buyers who after having spent their hard-earned life savings, buy an apartment, only to face hostile and arbitrary actions from the promoters/builders/Development Authorities and instead of resolving such disputes, they become mute spectators,” the court noted in a recent order.
The counsel for the State and the concerned development authority submitted that the petition should be disposed of with the direction to the Competent Authority under the U.P. Apartment (Promotion of Construction, Ownership and Maintenance) Act, 2010 to take a decision on the grievance of the petitioner, after hearing the parties concerned.
The court, however, said that there was an “element of huge public interest” involved in respect of “each and every home buyer” whose legitimate grievance is to be addressed within the parameters of agreement and law.
The object of the U.P. Apartment (Promotion of Construction, Ownership and Maintenance) Act, 2010 was to give primacy to the interests of the owners of apartments and protection of their rights against arbitrary and profit-oriented actions of the promoters and builders in which a role of an arbiter has been assigned to the competent authority in the Development Authority, the court stressed.
While issuing a general mandamus, the court also directed that the Competent Authority shall ensure that before any decision is taken, a right of audience is given to the parties concerned. The Competent Authority shall ensure that an officer not below the rank of a Gazetted Officer shall periodically visit the apartment or building at least once in six months at a prior notice to the registered association, which shall be obliged to circulate it amongst its members so as to give them an opportunity to ventilate their grievances, if any.
Any reported violation shall be immediately brought to the notice of the Authority concerned which shall immediately take remedial steps, the court stated. Any inaction on the part of the Competent Authority shall be construed as serious dereliction of duty, warranting interference from the State government, the court added.
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