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The Delhi High Court has held that remedies available to homebuyers under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (CPA) and the Real Estate (Development and Regulation) Act, 2016 (RERA) are concurrent.
The order was passed by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Prateek Jalan in a batch of petitions moved by several real estate companies (petitioners) against an order passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. The Commission had held that the jurisdiction of the forums/commissions constituted under the CPA is not ousted by RERA.
The decision follows the Supreme Court’s judgment in the case of Pioneer Urban Land and Infrastructure Ltd. & Anr. vs. Union of India & Ors. The Supreme Court had held that remedies given to allottees of flats/apartments are concurrent and such allottees are in a position to avail remedies under the CPA and the RERA, in addition to triggering the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
The petitioners argued that the issue involved in Pioneer was only with respect to the relationship between the remedies provided under IBC and RERA, and the question of the inter-relationship between RERA and CPA was neither raised nor argued.
It was thus argued that any observations regarding the remedies under RERA and CPA being concurrent must be considered as obiter dicta.
The Court rejected the contentions put forth by the petitioners and observed that although the litigation before the Supreme Court principally raised the question of remedies under IBC and RERA, the issues arising out of CPA proceedings were brought to the attention of the Court as well.
“While examining the operation of remedies under RERA and IBC, the Supreme Court has drawn on Section 71(1) as another illustration that the remedies under RERA were not intended to be exclusive, but to run parallel with other remedies. The use of Section 71(1) as an example of a parallel remedy, in this context, does not lead to the conclusion that the Court intended to reach a conclusion only with regard to pending CPA complaints, and not ones instituted in the future. If anything, paragraph 29 of the judgment demonstrates that the Court was very much alive to the effect of RERA provisions on proceedings under CPA.”
It further noted that the relevant finding of the Supreme Court with respect to the concurrent nature of remedies under RERA and CPA was included in a paragraph headed “Conclusion”. It was not possible to find whether any of those conclusions were obiter dicta or made as passing observations which were not intended to be followed, the High Court held.
It thus concluded,
“I am of the view that the judgment in Pioneer (supra) constitutes the law declared by the Supreme Court under Article 141 of the Constitution, even in respect of the question raised in these petitions. Following the said judgment, therefore, it is held that the remedies available to the respondents herein under CPA and RERA are concurrent, and there is no ground for interference with the view taken by the National Commission in these matters.”
The petitions were thus dismissed and the interim orders of stay on NCRDC proceedings were vacated.