Karnataka Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Karnataka RERA) is currently in the process of drafting a proposal that would permit judicial powers to the Authority to execute its own orders, similar to what is enjoyed by the consumer forum. Once it is implemented, the authority would be able to accelerate builder-buyer disputes.

One of the key reasons for the dismal rate of recovery is that the powers to recovering dues and penalty lie with the Revenue Department. Around 300 home-buyers have complained that a combined total of Rs 118 crore is yet to be recovered from the defaulting developers. Therefore, all real estate stakeholders have been demanding a faster redressal system.

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Such an amendment to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2017,  many said, is critical for RERA as it’s unable to provide any immediate relief to the home-buyers from the defaulting builders. Over the last two years, RERA-Karnataka delivered over 1,900 judgement but most of the orders have remained on paper.

The RERA-K blames the Revenue Department for not doing its duty. “If the victim does not get the dues within 60 days of the order, we write to the Revenue department to recover it. The collection of recovery has been poor. We have, time and again, written to the deputy commissioners with the request to speed up the process”, K.S Latha Kumari, secretary of RERA-Karnataka, told BM.

We are proposing an amendment to the rules on the lines of what is done in Madhya Pradesh. The draft will soon be ready.We will soon submit it to the government for approval”, K.S Latha Kumari, added. According to her, the amendment would provide an alternative option to recover money of home-buyers from the builders.

The management is writing to the government, asking for judicial powers, by appointing a retired district judge as an executing officer. The move, the RERA believes, would legally bind the parties – both home-buyers and real-estate companies, to follow any directives from the authority.

In August last year, Madhya Pradesh became the first realty regulator in the country, to appoint a retired district judge as an executing officer. This, many say, has brought down the deliberate delays in legal proceedings and has helped many home-buyers.

MS Shankar, National Secretary of Forum for People’s Collective Efforts, hailed RERA’s plan of seeking judicial powers. “We have been demanding it for the last two years. It will only increase the compliance rate. Even if the executing officer levies one penalty, it can send a strong signal to the builder-community to stick to their promises”, he said.

He also urged the RERA-K to implement the section 66 of the act that gives powers to penalize the defaulting builders a total of 5% of the entire project cost. “There is definitely a delay from the revenue department officials. But the RERA-Karnataka can start imposing penalty on those who do not pay dues on time. It will help many home-buyers”, Shankar added.

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