Law & Policy

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The Supreme Court holds that the acquisition of private land is void if the correct procedures are not followed

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India reinforces Article 300A, safeguarding the right to property. The ruling demands fair and transparent procedures in land acquisition, following the case of Birinchi Bihari Shah vs. Kolkata Municipal Corporation. The court outlines seven key procedural safeguards, including notice, hearing, reasoned decisions, and fair compensation, ensuring fairness and preventing arbitrary government actions. Justice Narasimha emphasizes that compensation alone cannot justify bypassing proper procedures. This judgment sets a precedent for future land acquisitions, promoting transparency and fairness nationwide....
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Government proposes accountability for unsolicited calls from unregistered phone numbers

The government has proposed holding certain entities accountable for contacting individuals through unregistered phone numbers. Banks, insurance companies, real estate developers, brokers and other organizations may be responsible if they call from numbers not listed with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). This represents the latest effort to address unsolicited calls, a persistent issue for over two decades despite past initiatives. While TRAI has discussed measures to combat the problem, there have been no clear rules around the sale of personal data used by banks and real estate firms for unwanted calls, often featuring pre-recorded messages....
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Bombay High Court imposes INR 5 lakh fine on developer for delaying slum rehabilitation scheme

The Bombay High Court has imposed a fine of INR 5 lakh on developer Lashkaria Housing & Infrastructure for deliberately delaying the implementation of a slum rehabilitation scheme in Jogeshwari (West) for over five to six years. The court upheld the removal of Lashkaria as the developer and directed that the fine amount be paid to Tata Memorial Hospital within eight weeks. The court took exception to the fact that the developer tried to misrepresent that it was appointed to carry out the scheme for three plots housing 432 hutments, when it was only appointed for one plot with 120 hutments, thereby wasting judicial time in ascertaining the details....
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Supreme Court to examine GST levy on transfer of development rights in joint development projects

The Supreme Court of India has admitted a petition challenging the imposition of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the transfer of development rights within joint development agreements (JDA) between real estate developers and landowners. The petition argues that development rights transferred as part of a land transaction should not be subjected to GST, as the sale of land is specifically excluded. Previously, the Telangana High Court had dismissed a similar petition. The developer has now approached the Supreme Court seeking relief and the court has sent notices to the central government seeking their response....
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IL&FS seeks MMRDA approval to sell iconic Mumbai headquarters to Brookfield

Infrastructure lender IL&FS is seeking fresh approval from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to sell its 10-storey headquarters in Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai to Brookfield Asset Management. The MMRDA had approved subletting but the National Company Law Tribunal has approved an outright sale. IL&FS argues the MMRDA approval differs from what was sought as IL&FS wanted a sale approval. Brookfield says the deal is at an advanced stage with key approvals received and a substantial amount already paid. IL&FS is selling assets to manage debt obligations following its default in September 2018 while Brookfield is seeking to expand its presence in BKC....
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Rajasthan HC leverages student study using Google Earth to monitor Aravalli Hill construction

The Jodhpur bench of the Rajasthan High Court is exploring how to use technology like Google Earth to monitor construction activities in the ecologically sensitive Aravalli Hills of Udaipur. Fascinated by a study conducted by students of Mohanlal Sukhdiya University leveraging such technology, the court has directed the state government to explain how it can be utilized to demarcate and tag the hills. It also asked the students to continue upgrading their analysis and providing inputs, while directing the Additional Advocate General to assist in outlining the government's technology usage plans for demarcation and addressing violations of hill bylaws....
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Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation mandates structural audits for buildings over 30 years old

The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has made structural audits by certified auditors mandatory for housing societies and commercial units over 30 years old before any repair work. This is as per the unified development regulations and Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act of 1966. NMMC recently identified 528 structures as unsafe after surveying the city. However, residents have raised concerns that audits will be misused to declare buildings dilapidated and will be sent for redevelopment. They argue that well-maintained buildings can last longer than 30 years. There are also allegations of nexus between officials, builders and ex-corporators wanting to profit from redevelopment. However, NMMC has clarified that the step is necessary given the history of collapse of unsafe structures....
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NCLT initiates CIRP against ATS Heights for defaulting on loan

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has initiated the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) against ATS Heights Private Limited, the developer of Knightsbridge luxury housing project in Noida sector 124. This comes after ATS failed to pay dues of INR 285 crore and INR 47 crore to lenders on time. ASK Trusteeship Services Private Limited, representing some ASK funds and investment managers, had filed a petition citing the default. The NCLT bench approved the petition and appointed Gaurav Katiyar as the Interim Resolution Professional (IRP) to oversee the CIRP. The NCLT in its order has made it clear that non-payment of debt when it is due and payable amounts to default as per the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)....
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Delhi HC orders NBCC to refund homebuyer over INR 76 lakh with interest for causing "extreme mental agony"

The Delhi High Court ordered NBCC to refund over INR 76 lakh plus 12% interest compensation to a homebuyer who did not receive possession of his flat even after paying the full sale price in 2017. The petitioner, a retired government employee, had purchased a flat in NBCC's 2012 Gurugram housing project but structurally defective houses were constructed, leaving him with no housing options. NBCC was criticized for refusing interest on the refund and not ensuring rehabilitation. The court said NBCC's offer to return only the principal without interest was inadequate given rapidly rising land prices in NCR....
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Maharashtra Human Rights Commission summons officials over Belapur Hill encroachment issue

The Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission has summoned senior officials from the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, City and Industrial Development Corporation, and State Chief Secretary to address concerns about rampant encroachment on protected Belapur Hill areas. Environmental activists formed a human chain to raise awareness about unchecked illegal construction that threatens the environment and increases landslide risks. Residents say the issue has been ongoing for nine years without proper action. The Commission observed that authorities pass responsibilities instead of taking action and directed the Chief Secretary to determine accountability. In response to a complaint, the Chief Minister has also ordered an investigation into an alleged land grab racket involving constructions without approvals....
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Nagpur faces fire safety risks as over 1400 high-rises lack fire-safety clearance

A recent data analysis by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation found that 1,459 out of 7,054 high-rise buildings over 15 meters in the city lacked mandatory fire safety no-objection certificates. Only 903 buildings had implemented necessary firefighting measures. The earlier Development Control and Promotion Regulations (DCPR) effective from December 2020 had raised the height limit requiring a fire NOC from 15 to 24 meters. However, recent amendments to the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act now mandate fire arrangements for all buildings above 15 meters. The Acting Chief Fire Officer has expressed concern over the safety risks and urged builders and occupants to comply with regulations by obtaining provisional clearance and installing required fire arrangements....
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NCLT approves Shree Naman Developers' acquisition of Radius Infra Holdings

The National Company Law Tribunal has approved Shree Naman Developers' resolution plan to acquire the financially distressed real estate developer Radius Infra Holdings undergoing corporate insolvency. Radius had total liabilities of INR 1,050 crore. Under the plan, Naman Developers will acquire Radius by paying INR 180 crore, settling 17% of total debt. As part of the plan, Naman will develop Radius' prime half acre land parcel in Mumbai's Andheri within 36 months. Naman Group will also infuse INR 50 crore in working capital for the project over and above the INR 180 crore acquisition amount....
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Noida Authority challenges High Court order to register flats in defaulting project

The Noida Authority has filed a review petition in the Allahabad High Court against an order directing it to register 330 flats in the Lotus 300 housing project. The earlier order came in February 2024, asking the Authority to grant occupancy certificates and complete registrations within a month. It also ordered an ED investigation against the builders for allegedly siphoning homebuyer funds. In its petition, the Authority argues it cannot register flats due to outstanding builder dues of INR 166 crore. This could set an undesirable precedent for other defaulters under the Authority. The project's developer, Hacienda Project Private Limited, is facing insolvency proceedings....
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Supreme Court orders status quo on possession of flats in Bengaluru project as developer fails to comply

The Supreme Court is hearing a case regarding delayed possession of flats in Mantri Serenity, a project in Bengaluru by Mantri Castles Private Ltd. While the developer claims to have offered possession, Moneycontrol found that several flats still lacked occupancy certificates (OC). On April 30th, the Court took up the issue based on submissions from homebuyers' counsel representing 48 buyers who booked flats between 2013-2016 for INR 75-95 lakh but did not receive possession as promised between 2015-2019. While the interim order in November directed the developer to hand over possession, the developer did so without necessary OC. The Court's latest status quo order prevents further unilateral actions until the developer demonstrates fulfillment of all legal requirements to offer rightful possession to the homebuyers....
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RBI updates operational risk management guidance note for financial sector, extends it to HFCs

The Reserve Bank of India recently updated its guidance note on operational risk management and extended its scope to include NBFCs like housing finance companies. Earlier, operational risks mainly arose from increasing IT dependence. However, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of managing risks from third party reliance as financial institutions increasingly adopt virtual working models. The new note aims to promote better risk management practices among regulated entities and enhance their operational resilience given complex interconnections. It explicates the three lines of defence model and has separate principles for risk mapping, incident management, ICT risks, lessons learned, etc....
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Legal victory for housing societies as Bombay HC sets precedent on deemed conveyance

The Bombay High Court recently ruled that if a flat purchase agreement requires the promoter to transfer land rights to a housing society, the competent authority must grant a certificate of deemed conveyance as per Section 4 and 11(3) of the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act, 1963. The court heard petitions from the New Manoday Cooperative Housing Society challenging orders rejecting deemed conveyance and attempting deregistration of the housing society due to title disputes. The High Court stated the Authority lacked jurisdiction to consider title issues and must only review developer agreements. It also directed the Authority to issue deemed conveyance....
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Delhi High Court Ruling: Acquittal in scheduled offence bars PMLA property attachment

The Delhi High Court recently dismissed an appeal filed by the Enforcement Directorate against a trial court's decision to discharge accused persons of PMLA charges after they were acquitted of scheduled offences under the Indian Penal Code. The High Court noted that as per previous Supreme Court orders, the scheduled offence and proceeds generated from it form the very basis for a money laundering charge. If a person is acquitted of the scheduled offence, the foundation of the offence is removed and the money laundering charge cannot survive. Consequently, attached properties cannot legally be treated as proceeds of crime....
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West Bengal State Consumer Commission rules in favour of buyers, asks developer to execute conveyance deed

Two flat buyers, Sodipto Chatterjee and Tarun Kumar Ray Chaudhury, had purchased flats in 2012-2014 from developer Tirupati Construction Company, which had an agreement with landowner Ekkori Das to develop the land. However, disputes later arose between Das and the developer, cancelling their agreement. As a result, conveyance deeds were not executed for the flats. The flat buyers filed a complaint with the West Bengal State Consumer Commission seeking execution of deeds. The Commission directed the landowner and developer to do so, relying on a previous ruling that flat buyers should not suffer due to third-party disputes....
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LIT ordered to pay INR 1 lakh for delaying flat possession for 14 years

The Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) was ordered by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to pay INR 1 lakh in compensation to a complainant for failing to provide possession of a flat for 14 years. Despite multiple attempts by the complainant to acquire possession and reschedule installment payments, the LIT did not respond, leading to the complainant seeking legal intervention for possession, rescheduled payments, and compensation. This case underscores the importance of timely delivery and communication in real estate transactions to prevent consumer grievances and legal disputes....
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KRERA orders developer to return plot to initial buyer after eight-year delay

The Karnataka Real Estate Regulatory Authority (KRERA) has ordered a developer to return a plot to the initial homebuyer, reversing its earlier sale to a second buyer after an eight-year delay in delivering the property. The case is regarding a plotted development by Vega Spaces called Bella Palms in Belgaum. The homebuyer had invested INR 16 lakh in 2014 but the sale deed was not signed despite him paying INR 9 lakh by 2017. After submitting a revised plan, the developer cancelled the previous allotment and sold all the plots to a third party. However, KRERA ruled in favour of the initial homebuyer, citing the contractual agreement and substantial initial payment received by the developer....
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Gurugram Home Developers Association demands lifting of ban on fourth floor construction

The Gurugram Home Developers Association has strongly opposed the Haryana government's February 2023 ban on constructing a fourth floor plus stilt on residential plots. They have demanded the moratorium be lifted as developers have suffered significant losses. In October 2023, the association had suggested reinstating zoning plans requiring adequate open space. The association highlighted how housing supply and many property owners and contractors now face issues as they had taken loans or invested to construct the fourth floor before the restriction was announced....
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Calcutta HC says no building registrations without approved plans

The Calcutta High Court, led by Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, issued a crucial directive prohibiting the registration of buildings without approved plans. This decision was prompted by the collapse of an under-construction building in the Garden Reach locality, revealing its lack of a sanctioned plan. The court emphasised the necessity of adhering to sanctioned building plans to ensure structural integrity and safety. This ruling signifies a significant step towards regulating construction practices and preventing future mishaps in the region....
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UP RERA imposes penalty on homebuyer for misusing legal process

In a first of its kind, the Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority (UP RERA) imposed a penalty on a homebuyer for repeatedly filing complaints about the same issue, despite having received relief. The homebuyer had filed four petitions regarding compensation for delay in registration of his unit in a Noida project, even after receiving possession and over INR 2.68 lakh as interest from the promoter. Seeing this as a misuse of the legal process, the UP RERA chairman imposed a INR 5,000 fine. This landmark action by UP RERA sends a clear message that while it is committed to protecting home buyers' interests, repeated frivolous complaints on issues already addressed will not be tolerated....
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Bombay High Court grants interim stay in GTB Nagar redevelopment case

The Bombay High Court has issued a temporary injunction against the Maharashtra government's decision to redevelop 25 housing societies in the Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar (GTB Nagar) refugee colony, known as the Punjabi colony, in Sion. This injunction follows a challenge filed by developer Lakhani Housing Corporation, who had secured redevelopment agreements with some of these societies. The court's decision comes amidst concerns over jurisdictional authority and the legality of the government's redevelopment plan. Lakhani Housing Corporation argued that the decision infringed on their contractual rights and voided existing agreements. The court has temporarily halted the redevelopment plan and scheduled a further hearing for May 8 to examine the matter in detail. As the legal process unfolds, ensuring the residents' access to safe and dignified housing remains a paramount concern....
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Maharashtra's state housing federation pushes for reduced premium on land conversion

The State Housing Federation (SHF) has urged the Maharashtra government to slash the premium for converting government land to freehold from 10% to 5% of ready reckoner rates. This move was advocated before Lok Sabha polls and will benefit 5,000 housing societies, notably in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, and Thane. SHF Chairman Suhas Patwardhan highlights the burden on old societies due to high rates. However, a government official suggests no imminent decision amidst ongoing elections. High premiums hinder urgent redevelopment, as emphasized by Ramesh Prabhu of the Maharashtra Society Welfare Association. Pending applications for conversion await finalized ready reckoner rates....
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Trustee of charitable trust arrested for INR 21 crore fraud in redevelopment project

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the city police has arrested Nasli alias Bunny Batliwala (49), a trustee of the HIMS Botawala Charitable Trust, for allegedly conspiring to defraud a developer of INR 21 crore in a property redevelopment scheme. Javed Hussain, the complainant and owner of Reliable Investment and Developers, had entered an agreement with the trust to jointly redevelop a property. However, the trust allegedly sold the property to another party without his consent. The arrest sheds light on the alleged fraud by the trustees, potentially undermining public trust in charitable organizations. The police aim to uncover the full extent of the conspiracy and ensure justice for the complaining developer....
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Noida Authority reclaims 18 acres of land valued at INR 308 crore from land mafias in the region

Noida Authority's extensive crackdown targeted land mafias across various sectors and villages, particularly along the Noida Expressway, where encroachments on government land were rampant. Notorious for attempting to swindle unsuspecting buyers, these mafias had encroached upon areas like Sorkha Zahidabad, Salarpur, Asadullapur, Mohiyapur, Sadarpur, Mamura, Garhi Samastipur, Gulawali, and Salarpur Khadar. The authority's anti-encroachment drive aimed to reclaim control over these illegally occupied lands, freeing up approximately 18 acres valued at INR 308 crore.Encroachments were notably cleared from Sorkha Zahidabad and Salarpur, with a combined value exceeding INR 195 crore....
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Homebuyers in Noida and Greater Noida launch "No Registry, No Vote" campaign ahead of Lok Sabha elections

Homebuyers and residents in Noida and Greater Noida West are launching a "No Registry, No Vote" campaign ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections to protest pending registries. Frustrated by years of unfulfilled promises, they refuse to cast votes or choose NOTA until their demands are met. With over 1.15 lakh stalled flats awaiting resolution, residents demand expedited action from authorities. Despite government directives, the situation remains unresolved, leaving buyers in limbo. The campaign serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of addressing systemic issues impacting citizens' lives, urging politicians to heed their voices and take meaningful action....
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Punjab and Haryana High Court upholds parent's right to seek eviction of son from property

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that paying maintenance to elderly parents does not prevent them from seeking eviction of their children from occupied property. In a case filed by 90-year-old Gurdev Kaur, the court ordered her son, a government employee, to vacate her house. Despite paying maintenance, he refused to relinquish possession. The court emphasized that accepting maintenance does not prevent eviction. The ruling underscores the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act's aim to protect elderly rights. It prevents the misuse of maintenance payments and ensures vulnerable senior citizens' welfare, setting a precedent for similar cases....
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Committee formed to resolve debris dumping issue in Aarey Colony

After months of bureaucratic back-and-forth between the BMC and Aarey Milk Colony over clearing debris dumped along Mithi River's banks in Aarey, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has intervened. The NGT has ordered for the formation of a committee, led by Maharashtra's chief secretary, to determine responsibility, relocation of debris, and funding. With BMC, MPCB, Aarey Milk Colony, and environmental experts onboard, the committee has a month to devise an action plan as monsoon approaches. The directive stems from Vanashakti's petition, highlighting environmental hazards. Urgent action is imperative before monsoon exacerbates the damage, underscoring the committee's crucial role in prioritizing ecological preservation....
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ITAT provides relief to DLF Urban in land valuation dispute

The Delhi bench of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) rejected an additional INR 328 crore tax demand against DLF Urban Pvt Ltd. DLF Urban had acquired land development rights from its parent company. The transaction was valued at INR 925 crore by real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. However, the tax authorities felt the valuation was too high compared to the circle rates and imposed the additional tax. The ITAT overruled this and accepted Cushman & Wakefield's independent market valuation as a fair assessment of the transaction between related parties....
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MahaRERA orders L&T Realty to refund deposit to NRI homebuyer

MahaRERA has directed L&T Realty to refund the deposit amount paid by an NRI homebuyer from Abu Dhabi. The buyer had booked a flat in L&T's Emerald Isle - T10 project located at Kurla in Mumbai by paying INR 25 lakhs as 10.5% of the total cost of INR 2.29 crore. However, the transaction could not be completed after the bank subvention scheme was discontinued, leaving the buyer unable to pay further amounts. L&T cancelled the booking and offered to refund INR 17 lakhs after deducting over INR 8 lakhs. But MahaRERA ruled that L&T can only deduct 2% of the flats value from the deposit amount, maintaining consistency with its earlier order involving Godrej Properties....
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