Home Buyers Can Approach Consumer Forum and RERA Simultaneously

Recently, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana has held that the homebuyer has a right to pursue remedies under the Consumer Protection Act and the RERA Act simultaneously. 

The Order was pronounced by a Division Bench comprising Hon’ble Justice Dr S Muralidhar and Hon’ble Justice Avneesh Jhangna.

What was Challenged before the Punjab and Haryana High Court?

Several petitions were placed before the bench for adjudication. The petitions challenged the condition of pre-deposit under the RERA and Act and also the role of the Adjudicating Officer.

The Petitions challenged the vires of proviso to Section 43(5) of the Act

What was Argued?

It was argued before the Court that a person could only approach one authority to get relief.

Meaning. a case can be filed either as per provisions of RERA Act or as per the Consumer Protection Act.

Punjab and Haryana High Court Disagreed?

However, the Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana Court disagreed with this line of argument. 

It opined that Section 71(1) of CPA is an enabling provision which enables a person who has a complaint pending before Consumer Court to withdraw the complaint and file it before the Adjudicating Officer of the RERA court. 

Punjab and Haryana High Court held that If the relief home buyer is seeking in the complaint before the consumer fora is in addition to seeking compensation or interest in the form of compensation, for instance refund of the amount and interest thereon, then he will have to take a conscious decision on restricting his relief before the AO to one of compensation or interest by way of compensation. For the remaining reliefs, he will have to go before the Authority.  

It was observed that this Section should be read along with Section 88 of the RERA Act. It states that the provisions of the RERA Act are in addition to already existing remedies and not in derogation of other laws.

The Court further observed that it was not compulsory for a person who has filed a complaint before the Consumer Forum to get his complaint transferred to the RERA Court. Based on the strength of Section 88, he can pursue the case before both the Courts.

Hon’ble High Court clarified one issue that if the complaint is withdrawn from the Consumer Forum and is pursued only before the RERA Court. Then the relief that can be granted will only be Interest or compensation.

Case Details:-

Title: Experion Developers, Pvt. Ltd Versus State of Haryana and others 

Case No.: CWP No. 38144 of 2018 and others

Date of Order: 16.10.2020

Coram: Hon’ble Justice S Muralidhar and Hon’ble Justice Avneesh Jhingan

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