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J&K Real Estate Regulatory Authority was “headless” – No authority was functional ending 2023

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Circular No. 02 – JK (HUD) 02.02.2024 said RERA started functioning w.e.f 18-01-2024, is it so on Ground ?
Imagine miseries of buyers who might have taken possession of “FLATS” from promoters even after 2016

Daya Sagar

It was reported in 2021 that J&K had initiated the process for constituting a regular Real Estate (Regulation And Development Authority (RERA ) in terms of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016 and it was only in August 2022 that J&K Government vide S.O 357 of 01-08-2022 appointed Parimal Rai IAS ( Retd) in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 22 of Real Estate( Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 as Chairperson of Jammu & Kashmir Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) laying down that the appointment to have effect from the date he takes charge of the post in the authority. It was hoped that regular RERA would be in operation atleast in 2022 though after six years of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016. But it was not that no any further notification was issued about appointment of atleast two more members ( Section- 21 of the act) but no any information about RERA was available about RERA except that there was a blank website of J&K RERA. All efforts { including email [email protected], [email protected], Cc: [email protected] on 10-12-2022 / reminder request on 14-12-2022 to J&K Housing & Urban Development Department and the Grievances submitted on JK Grievance cell ( AwazAAwam/index.aspx) on 16-12-2022 G. No 999001268968 / on 02-01-2023 G No 999003861258 /on 27-04-2023 GN0 999001268975 ) to know about the status of J&K Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) / joining of Parimal Rai IAS ( Retd) as Chairman of RERA} had not yielded upto 24 May and in response to Grievance No 999003867993 of 30-04-2023 it was only on 25 May 2023 that the JK Grievance portal finally disclosed the present status with the reference of Housing and Urban Development Department as < ” Vide Notification No 357 dated 01.08.2022 Mr. Primal Rai, IAS (Retd) was appointed as Chairman RERA. However, because of some personal reasons the Officer submitted his resignation which was accepted by the authorities and from the date of resignation of the Chairman RERA the Authority is headless, therefore the authority is not functional as on date. As regards operationalize of the authority it is submitted that only web portal of the Authority is being handled by the J&K Housing Board and rest of the functionality of the authority is not being handled by any of the authorities/ organizations”>.
It will be very pertinent to quote here that that before 2016 the Government of India had been receiving complaints from the individual flat/apartment / plot / real estate buyers buyers that real estate transactions then were going on unequal footings more in favour of/ to the choice of developers / promoters and hence the Government aiming at creating environment for equitable and fair transactions between the seller and the buyer of properties came up with bill for installation of Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) for making real estate purchases secure through transparency and accountability in Rajya Sabha ( passed on the 10 March, 2016) and passed by Lok Sabha on the 15 March, 2016 and came in force on 1 May 2016 in the form of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, Act No : 16 of 2016 where Section-20 Sub Section-1 lays down that The appropriate Government shall, within a period of one year from the date of coming into force of this Act, by notification, establish an Authority to be known as the Real Estate Regulatory Authority to exercise powers conferred on it and to perform the functions assigned to under Act.
BUT in UT of J&K till this day there appears to be no operational RERA on ground although there is website of JKRERA with mention of the Chairman RERA Satish Chandra IAS ( Retd) appointed in 2024 ( new SO 13 of 8 -01 – 2024 ) but no mention of other members , no postal address and no email ID .
No operational information could be found on the website like the Registered Agent’s List , Registered Advocates List, Projects Registered, Projects Cause List etc.
Only information that could be found there on 11-04-2024 was THE REAL ESTATE (REGULATION AND DEVELOPMENT) ACT, 2016, Act No : 16 of 2016 , S.O 235 of 23 July 2020 Jammu and Kashmir Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Rule, 2020 , S.O 357 of 01-08-2022 appointment of Sh. Parimal Rai IAS ( Retd) as Chairman w.e.f the date he takes over, Notification No 637 of 28-12-2023 of Government of UT of J&K ( issued by J&K Housing and Urban development Department ) designating Special Tribunal J&K as Appellate Authority till regular Appellate Authority is constituent under Section- 43 of the Act of 2016, SO 13 of 8 -01 – 2024 appointment of Satish Chnadra as CM RERA wef the date he assumes the charge of the post of Authority, Circular No. 02 – JK (HUD) of 2024 dated 02.02.2024 informing all HODs of Housing and Urban Devt Department to that RERA is operational we.f 18 Jan 2024 with Sh. Satish Chandra as Chairman. And all the ongoing / new projects should be registered with RERA as per the requirements of the Act.
Since no e mail address was available on the website through Feedback link request was sent for providing the information regarding the addresses of RERA offices/ Chairman & Members on 11 April 2024 as also e mail request was made to Commissioner Secretary Housing & Urban Devt Department ( [email protected],[email protected] ) on 11 April 2024 for advice regarding the particulars on priority . Immediate response was received on 11 April from Principal Secretary H&UDD as and accordingly request was sent to Chairperson RERA [email protected] on 11 April itself but no response has been received on feed back as well as e mail till 13-04-2024 late evening about RERA postal address, RERA members , registered projects and like .
Question is in case RERA had started functioning w.e.f 18-01-2024 ( Circular No. 02 – JK (HUD) of 2024 dated 02.02.2024 informing all HODs of Housing and Urban Devt Department to that RERA is operational w.e.f 18 Jan 2024 with Satish Chandra as Chairman. And all the ongoing / new projects should be registered with RERA as per the requirements of the Act ) then why there is no response from the RERA and no data on RERA website ?
Such ‘quality’ response from ‘designated channels’ well reflects how dependable is the so much talked about e- governance. Looking at importance of role of RERA where no any time being authority or Ex-Officio body can even attend to the day to day requirements of real estate promoters and real estate beneficiaries what to talk of handling disputes/ social issues and legal issues
One can well Imagine , by just having even a casual look at some elements/sections of RER&D Act 2016, to what undue and large socio-economic damages / stresses the buyers of apartments / flats from some of the real estate promotors in J&K would have been put during last 7 years , particularly like Section -11 Functions and duties of promoter like SUB SECTION -11.3 ( The promoter, at the time of the booking and issue of allotment letter shall be responsible to make available to the allottee, the following information, namely:- (a) sanctioned plans, layout plans, along with specifications, approved by the competent authority, by display at the site or such other place as may be specified by the regulations made by the Authority;(b) the stage wise time schedule of completion of the project, including the provisions for civic infrastructure like water, sanitation and electricity ) &Sub Section- 11.4 { obligations of the promoter / seller towards the buyer/ buyers of apartments; Section 14,(b) promoters be responsible to obtain the completion certificate or the occupancy certificate, or both, as applicable, from the relevant competent authority , Section- 14.3 :- (“In case any structural defect or any other defect in workmanship, quality or provision of services or any other obligations of the promoter as per the agreement for sale relating to such development is brought to the notice of the promoter within a period of five years by the allottee from the date of handing over possession, it shall be the duty of the promoter to rectify such defects without further charge, within thirty days, and in the event of promoter’s failure to rectify such defects within such time, the aggrieved allottees shall be entitled to receive appropriate compensation in the manner as provided under this Act) and the like Grievances have been there of the buyers not being attended by some promoters for manufacturing defects which under Act is mandatory / obligation on the part of promoter upto 5 years from the date the promoter / seller handover the flat to a buyer after obtaining completion / inspection certificates from the designated authorities.
(The writer is Sr Journalist, social activist and analyst J&K affairs)

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