SC: S.79 of RERA Act doesn’t in any way bar Consumer Commission from entertaining any complaint

The Hon’ble Supreme Court on 2nd November 2020, in the matter of M/s Imperia Structures Ltd. v. Anil Patni and Another held that Section 79 of the RERA Act does not in any way bar the Commission or Forum under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act to entertain any complaint.

Questions before the Hon’ble Supreme Court / Court’s observations:

Whether the bar specified under Section 79 of the RERA Act (Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016) would apply to proceedings initiated under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act?

Whether there is anything inconsistent in the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act?

The remedies available under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act are additional remedies over and above the other remedies including those made available under any special statutes; and that the availability of an alternate remedy is no bar in entertaining a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act. (Para 21)

Section 79 of the RERA Act does not in any way bar the Commission or Forum under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, to entertain any complaint. (Para 27)

The absence of bar under Section 79 to the initiation of proceedings before a fora which cannot be called a Civil Court and express saving under Section 88 of the RERA Act, make the position quite clear. Further, Section 18 itself specifies that the remedy under said Section is “without prejudice to any other remedy available”. Thus, the parliamentary intent is clear that a choice or discretion is given to the allottee whether he wishes to initiate appropriate proceedings under the Consumer Protection Act or file an application under the RERA Act. (Para 28)

It is true that some special authorities are created under the RERA Act for the regulation and promotion of the real estate sector and the issues concerning a registered project are specifically entrusted to functionaries under the RERA Act. But for the present purposes, we must go by the purport of Section 18 of the RERA Act. Since it gives a right “without prejudice to any other remedy available’, in effect, such other remedy is acknowledged and saved subject always to the applicability of Section 79. (Para 30)

Even for the purposes of Section 18 of the RERA Act, the period has to be reckoned in terms of the agreement and not the registration. (Para 33)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_02-Nov-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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