The Delhi High Court in one of its critical judgments has held that the homebuyers can approach both the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) and RERA to file a case against the defaulting builder companies as they have “concurrent” jurisdiction (authority to adjudge).
The Court has stated that even after the enactment of the Real Estate (Development and Regulation) Act, 2016, the homebuyers can start proceedings under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 against the builder companies. The Delhi HC has given this judgment while dismissing a batch of petitions filed by 62 builders and developers across the National Capital Region seeking withdrawal of cases pending before Consumer Courts against them once the homebuyers have moved to RERA.
The real estate firms argued that the homebuyers could only seek relief either under RERA or the Consumer Protection Act since RERA itself gives an option to the homebuyers to withdraw pending proceedings under the Consumer Protection Act and the same is required to be followed by the allottees after RERA came into force.
However, the contentions made by the builders were rejected by the HC stating that the remedies provided under the Consumer Protection Act and RERA are concurrent and the authority of Consumer forums to adjudge builder cases was not ousted by RERA. In this regard, the HC also referred to a Supreme Court judgment reiterating that parallel cases can be filed against the builder under RERA and NCDRC for the benefit of the homebuyers, hence there is no scope for any confusion.
In reply to this, the builders stated that the judgment of the SC is not binding on them as litigation before SC was in question of options available to the homebuyers under RERA when a builder company became insolvent under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. However, the HC responded stating that the issues under the Consumer Protection Act proceedings were also brought to the Supreme Court’s attention.