Ranjini Ghosh & Sayan Ghosh, Symbiosis Law School, Noida
Supreme Court of India 2019 OnLine SC 901 (Decided on July 23, 2019)
This judgement passed by the Supreme Court of India is indicative of the shift in the real estate industry following the introduction of RERA (The Real Estate [Regulation and Development] Act, 2016) which has resulted in the rights of the homeowners being safeguarded against the malice of builders and realtors.
The facts revealed that not a single construction or developmental project undertaken by Amrapali Group of Companies (hereinafter referred to as “the builders”) was completed during the period of 2010-2014, leaving approximately 42,000 flats incomplete ,until the agitated home-buyers filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India, in 20191. The court took cognizance of the issues, under Article 32, attracting copious amounts of intervention petitions.
Additionally, the builders had defaulted in lease rent payments to NOIDA and Greater NOIDA development authorities (hereinafter referred to as “local authorities”) amounting to Rs.3000 crore and both these intervening parties asserted to have a better claim to compensation as opposed to the home-buyers.2
Accordingly, The Court ordered forensic audit was conducted which revealed that no accounts were maintained since, 2015;sale proceeds from homeowners and banks were diverted to the Directors of the firm through various shell companies3. Furthermore, gross negligence was committed on the part of the local authorities and financial institutions in keeping proper vigil.4