Allahabad High Court: The Division Bench of Pankaj Naqvi and Piyush Agrawal, JJ., issued a general mandamus to Competent Authorities under U.P. Apartment Act, 2010 and U.P. Industrial Area Development Act, 1976 or any other cognate enactment to decide the grievances of home buyers within 3 months from the date the grievance is brought to their knowledge.
State of U.P. taking cognizance of the rise in population and demand for space especially for residential purposes enacted U.P. Apartment (Promotion of Construction Ownership and Maintenance) Act, 2010.
It has been stated that the object of the Act is to give primacy to the interest of the owners of the apartments and protection of their rights against arbitrary and profit-oriented actions of the promoters/builders in which a role of an arbiter has been assigned to the competent authority in the Development Authority as held in Designarch Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. vs. Vice Chairman, Ghaziabad Development Authority, 2013 (9) ADJ 594.
Genesis of the instant petition
Bench has taken judicial notice that a large number of cases have been coming before the Court on behalf of the home-buyers who after having spent their hard-earned life savings, buy an apartment, only to face hostile and arbitrary actions from the promoters/builders/Development Authorities and instead of resolving such disputes, they become mute spectators.
Irregularities highlighted by Home-Buyers
Petitioner by the instant petition has highlighted several irregularities in violation of their agreements on the part of the respondent 3 being the developer co-promoter of the residential project “Shipra Shritsti” which despite several representations to respondent 2 have gone unattended.
High Court deemed it appropriate to issue a general mandamus to the competent authorities to dispose of the grievance of home-buyers within a stipulated period so as to obviate an individual home-buyer or a registered association, as the case may be, from approaching this Court time and again.
Further, the Court added that the benefit of this order shall also be extended to the competent authority envisaged under the U.P. Industrial Area Development Act, 1976 and other cognate enactments.
Court issues directions
Following were the directions issued by the High Court in light of the above discussion:
(i) A general mandamus is issued to the Competent Authorities under U.P. Apartment Act, 2010 & U.P. Industrial Area Development Act, 1976 or any other cognate enactment to decide the grievance of the home- buyers or their associations, positively within 3 months from the date the grievance is brought to their knowledge, by reasoned and speaking order under intimation to the aggrieved persons.
(ii) The Competent Authority shall ensure that before any decision is taken, a right of audience is given to the parties concerned.
(iii) The Competent Authority shall ensure that an officer not below the rank of a Gazetted Officer shall periodically visit the apartment/building at least once in 6 months at a prior notice to the registered association which shall be obliged to circulate it amongst its member so as to give them an opportunity to ventilate their grievance if any. Any reported violation shall be immediately brought to the notice of the Authority concerned which shall immediately take remedial steps.
(iv) Any inaction on the part of Competent Authority shall be construed as a serious dereliction of duty, warranting interference from the State Government.
[Shipra Sristhi Apartment v. State of U.P., 2021 SCC OnLine All 43, decided on 05-01-2021]
Advocate for the Parties:
Counsel for Petitioner: Abhinav Gaur, Anoop Trivedi (Senior Adv.), Vibhu Rai
Counsel for Respondent: C.S.C., Ravi Prakash Pandey, Rohan Gupta, Tarun Agrawal