The Centre for Research and Studies in Land, Mining and Real Estate Laws, WBNUJS organized a 4-Day Special Lecture Series on The Legal Regime Governing Real Estate Laws in India held from 13th to 16th November, 2022, under the aegis of Dr. M.P. Chengappa (Ass. Prof. Law, WBNUJS). The inaugural session was chaperoned by Patron in Chief Hon’ble Prof. (Dr.) Nirmal Kanti Chakrabarti (Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, WBNUJS). The Chief Guest and the Guest of Honour for the series were Shri Gautam Chatterjee, IAS (Former Chairperson, Maharashtra RERA) and Dr. Ashok R. Patil (Professor of Law, NLSIU, Chair of Consumer Law and Practice, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Government of India) respectively.
The succeeding lectures on the first day included the likes of Adv. Shirish V. Deshpande (Chairman, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat), Adv. Pooja Joshi (Practitioner, National & State, Consumer Disputes Commission), Adv. Akshat Bajpai (Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court). The lecture on the second day was delivered by Mr. Ajar Rab (Partner, Rab & Rab Associates). Ms. Poornima Singh (Advocate, Supreme Court of India), Ms. Mahamaya Chatterjee (Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court), Mr. Piyush Mishra (Partner at L&L Partners), graced us with their presence for delivering the lectures on the third day.
The last day was scheduled for a panel discussion by noted practitioners including Mr. Prajata Kishore Chakrabutty (Senior Associate, Fox & Mandal), Adv. Jasleen Kaur (Lawyer, Smriti Legal LLP), Mr. Adeeb Naqvi (Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court), Ms. Sanskriti Agarwal (Judicial Law Clerk, Supreme Court), under the moderation of Mr. Abhiroop Mukherjee (Senior Assistant General Counsel at ITC Limited). The valedictory session was addressed by noted Real Estate developer Shri Ashok Saraf, Executive Committee Member, CREDAI Bengal and Chairman, Sugam Group.
The topics of discussion in the lectures were RERA and the Future ahead, RERA and Consumer Rights, Conciliation and Mediation in Real Estate Disputes, Legal Roadblocks while implementing RERA, Supreme Court Decisions concerning Real Estate Laws, The interplay of IBC and RERA, and the Intersection of ADR and Real Estate Laws. The sessions saw widespread participation and active engagement stirring pertinent conversations around the legislation.
A brief summary of the discussions that followed is as below:
- Mr. Gautam Chatterjee
Sir presented a ppt on the topic ‘The way forward in RERA’. He dealt with issues focusing on conciliation in real estate disputes. He discussed the 3 T’s, i.e. Transparency, Trust and Timely Project Completion, that is ushering in the era of the real estate sector. Sir provided the students with the statistics regarding the disposal rate in MahaRERA. He explained the reason for the successful implementation of RERA in Maharashtra and what other states could do better.
- Mr. Ashok Patil
Sir dealt with the intersection of the Consumer Protection Act and RERA. He discussed several provisions of the Consumer Protection act concerning real estate disputes. He explained who is a consumer under the Act and whether homebuyers will fall under that definition. The options the homebuyers have in case of a dispute with the promoter. He explained the points a consumer would need to consider before initiating a proceeding under RERA or consumer Protection Act.
- Adv. Shirish Deshpande
Sir discussed with the audience about why the need for moving away from the traditional judicial systems was felt. He explained that long delays in civil courts, frequent adjournments, and exorbitant costs etc. are a few reasons resulting in the popularity of mediation, conciliation and other alternate dispute resolution platforms. The students were made aware about how other States have so much to learn from MahaRERA, which is the first RERA to adopt conciliation. Awareness was also created about the difference between mediation and conciliation. Such differentiation helped in understanding the importance of conciliation which provides the opportunity of coming up with creative and out of the box solutions.
- Adv. Pooja Joshi
The discussion started with the understanding of conciliation. Following which ma’am also discussed in length the intricacies of the co-conciliation model under MahaRERA. Post which, we delved into a discussion of the common goals of co-conciliation, which included providing an extra set of eyes and ears to help resolve the dispute, and dividing issues and parties according to expertise, suitability and compatibility while coordinating tasks, among others. Ma’am aided in making the students understand how co-conciliation works, and what are the benefits and considerations of co-conciliation. In all the discussion was very fruitful in creating awareness about the concept and practicalities of the co-conciliation model.
- Adv. Akshat Bajpai
There are way too many avenues for the allotees and homebuyers, RERA, Consumer forums, arbitration and conciliation forums, it’s very difficult to process civil remedies. Enforcement mechanism is very important in any kind of disputes. Understanding the ground realities also becomes import. When a builder’s business is already falling, so many people would start filing cases before RERA, and things start getting stuck in the legal nitty-gritty. In smaller problems mediation and conciliation would serve good, however, for big projects where huge amounts of money is at stake, economics is such that it will have ripple effect. The RERA can within the mechanism of conciliation introduce a provision where the moment it is seen that a project is going downhill, the authorities can sit with the bank, buyers and the builders, to detect any major wrongdoing and accordingly take the steps to prevent the project from being completely stopped. Additionally, sir emphasised on the interrelation between the RERA and the IBC.
- Mr. Ajar Rab
The session dealt with the intersection of ADR and Real Estate Law. Ajar Sir gave practical insight into the functioning of arbitration in RERA disputes. He looked at the arbitrability of disputes between builders and home buyers. The process is a step in the right direction because it at least makes the homebuyers aware of the duties of the promoters. Sir posed some striking questions for the students to ponder at the end of the session.
- Ms. Poornima Singh
Poornima ma’am began addressing the students by addressing the builder-buyer agreement and the nitty-gritties involved in the execution of the same. She thereafter explained the procedure from the initiation of the agreement to the possession of the apartment to the consumer. Ma’am then discussed the following questions – whether the concept of services defined under the CCA, be also covered by the BBA? If yes then whether the services could be turned as deficiency in services when physical possession is not given? Ma’am then touched upon the important cases of Pioneer urban land and infra limited v. Govindan Raghawan, Experion Developers v. Sushma Ashok and Ashwini Upadhyay v. Union of India highlighting the various issues that were discussed by the court.
- Ms. Mahamaya Chatterjee
Ma’am touched upon judgements of the SC that had flavors of human welfare and deterrents for public and private persons in India. She then touched upon the case of Bikram Chatterjee v. Union of India. The brief facts of the case were explained by ma’am and then the issues that the court delved upon were underscored. Thereafter, the SCs ruling on the case was highlighted. The lecture then proceeded into the present status and it was mentioned that nothing much has changed from the homebuyer’s perspective, and on the contrary there has been an inefficient implementation of this order resulting in further complications of the issues.
- Mr. Piyush Mishra
Joined by his colleague Ms. Shivani Sinha. Gave a presentation on the interplay between RERA and IBC. Explained the architecture of the IBC discussing concepts like Reorganization, Financial and Operational creditors. Analysed several case laws like pioneer urban and clarified the judiciary’s stance of various aspects such as the status of Homebuyers as financial creditors. Further elaborated on the status of homebuyers under IBC and judgments passed to protect homebuyers and their rights during builder bankruptcy proceedings. Also discussed the precedence and harmonious interpretation in application of RERA vs. the IBC.
- Ms. Jasleen Kaur
Provided insights on the Dispute resolution process of the RERA legislation in contrast with pre-RERA matters. She discussed the kind of cases she has been dealing with in her practice which consisted of assessing compensation and relief measures for the homebuyers.
- Mr. Adeeb Naqvi
Discussed various sections under RERA pertaining to monetary penalties and compensation.
Talked about an apartment owner’s position vis a vis promoters. He elaborated on roles and responsibilities of promoters and how RWAs should function.
- Mr. Prajata Chakrabutty
Discussed the judgment relating to HERA and situation in West Bengal with respect to RERA legislation and rules. Elaborated on other legislations pertaining to real estate in West Bengal including the West Bengal apartment ownership act.
- Adv. Sanskriti Aggarwal
Provided perspective of RERA dealings and matters from the Apex Court’s lens and specific sections of the legislation that are pertinent in any conflicts that arise. Discussed matters causing delay in in RERA projects and handover and related judgments.
- Mr. Ashok Saraf
Talked about issues under RERA from builders’ perspective. Provided suggestion on how implementation of RERA can improve and stressed on the importance of Conciliation and Mediation for efficient dispute resolution, and digitization of land records and judgments for quick due diligence process. Further discussed the roles and responsibilities of developers with respect to ethics, conduct and timely honouring of commitments.