Sanjay Jangid, 36, an Air Force officer currently deployed in Hyderabad, Telangana, heaved a sigh of relief when the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Rera) of Rajasthan ruled in his favour in a case against a developer based in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan. He had filed the case in August 2017, and after four hearings, Rera passed the order in July 2018 in Jangid’s favour. Almost a year later, Jangid is still awaiting the execution of the order and a refund of 20 lakh that he had paid to the developer.

Jangid approached Rera when he lost all hopes of getting either the two-bedroom house he had booked or a refund from the developer. He booked the apartment in June 2013, which was to be delivered in 2016, but even now, only about 30% of the work has been completed. “The developer threatened me and many other buyers who approached it for refund. They told us to do whatever we can, and that is when I decided to approach Rera," said Jangid.

Several homebuyers stuck in dud projects pinned their hopes on Rera when it was announced in 2016. However, three years later, while it is still to be implemented properly in most states, it has failed to satisfy in others. In states where Rera is up and running and solving cases, most of its orders are still to be executed. Jangid’s is one such case. Mint got in touch with several such homebuyers who expressed their anguish with Rera on several issues, including non-execution of orders.

According to a report in The Times of India last month, Maharashtra Rera has issued 176 recovery warrant orders against developers across the state in two years since its inception but only one, in Pune, has been executed yet.

Out of the 6,920 complaints filed against registered developers so far, Maharashtra Rera has passed 4,582 orders, according to its website. Similarly, according to information shared by Uttar Pradesh Rera, out of the 12,500 cases filed, it has disposed of about 5,700 so far. They didn’t have information about the number of orders executed so far. Mint sent emails to Rera of different states, including Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka, about the number of orders that have been executed, but didn’t get any response till the time of going to print.

Like Jangid, Atul Gupta, 43, an IT professional from Gurugram, Haryana, has also been waiting for the execution of a favourable Rera order for almost a year. Gupta approached UP Rera in March 2018; he got a favourable order on 28 June 2018 after three hearings. Gupta invested about 8 lakh in a hostel project in Greater Noida in August 2014. It was an assured return project, where the developer promised to give 12% assured returns on the invested amount till possession. The developer paid the assured returns for the first 20 months or so but stopped thereafter. Moreover, the construction of the project didn’t even take off. After running around for more than a year without making any headway, Gupta filed a complaint with Rera, which asked the developer to deposit an amount of 7,84,032 with 18% interest from the date of deposit till the amount is paid to Gupta.

According to Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 1961, once an order is passed by Rera, it needs to be executed within a fixed timeline. There are also provisions for monetary penalties and even imprisonment of developers if they fail to honour the order. Here is what the Act says and what the complainant can do in case of non-execution of a Rera order.

What you should do

The Act was enacted on 1 May 2016, and all states were mandated to formulate and notify rules for the functioning of the regulator in their respective jurisdictions. While most of the states have framed their rules, a few are still left to formulate rules. However, in the states where rules have been famed, “it provides that orders passed by Rera or its Real Estate Appellate Tribunal (REAT) should be enforced by the adjudicating officer", said Ashish Jain, partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, a law firm.

The rules further provide that “the responsibility to execute the orders vests with the person who issued them. They shall be enforced in the same manner as if it were a decree or order issued by a civil court," said V. Lakshmikumaran, managing partner, Lakshmikumaran and Sridharan Attorneys, a law firm.

Further, “the state rules generally provide for 45-90 days for compliance by promoters of orders passed by Rera. In case of failure by the promoter in complying with the order, an aggrieved home buyer can approach Rera under Section 63 of the Act, which provides for penalty in case of failure to comply with the orders or directions of Rera," said Jain.

However, many like Jangid and Gupta are still waiting for the execution of the order passed by authority and even made several requests to the authority for execution of order, but to no avail. “What is the use of such an institution which the government has established if nobody is honouring their decisions," said Gupta.

When Mint approached Bhanu Pratap Singh, member, UP Rera to seek clarification on non-execution of the order passed by UP Rera, he said, “We have established a separate department to take on the cases related to non-execution of orders. In case a developer does not honour the Rera order, we forward the case to the concerned district magistrate to recover the dues. The district magistrate recovers the money as arrears of land revenue. Money so recovered is deposited in Rera account and from there it is transferred to the beneficiaries of the Rera order."

Further, Singh accepted that many orders passed by UP Rera before September 2018 are yet to be executed. In September, 2018, the UP Rera started operating in Greater Noida with a bench of the authority in the city to cater to cases. “We are working on all the complaints related to non-execution of orders as and when they are coming to us. As far as the orders passed since January 2019 are concerned, most of them have been executed. The process of execution is now getting streamlined," said Singh.

Several calls and emails on the contact details provided on Rajasthan Rera’s website went unanswered.

It’s been more than three years since Rera Act was enacted, but lack of proper implementation is hampering its spirit. For now, getting the orders executed seems to be another battle homebuyers are facing.