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The Delhi High Court today issued notice in a plea seeking a declaration that the jurisdiction of the consumer fora under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 to adjudicate complaints pertaining to immovable property would cease to exist after the enactment of Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016 (RERA).
Notice was issued to the Central Government by a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar in a petition preferred by Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India.
The petition filed through advocates Kanika Agnihotri and Vaibhav Agnihotri has asserted that the statute which presently commands the fields of ‘immovable property’ in India is the Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016.
It is stated that the exercise of jurisdiction by the Consumer fora obviates the legislative intent of Section 71 of RERA.
RERA being ‘lexspecialis’ must result in the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 yielding its jurisdiction to the special statute, the petitioner contends.
“..the exercise of jurisdiction by the Ld. Consumer Commissions/Forums, upon immovable property is in the teeth of the settled principle ‘generalia specialibus non derogant’., it is pleaded.
It is further added that presently there is no dispute, etymologically, with regard to the lack of jurisdiction of the consumer fora to deal with matters pertaining to immovable property.
Any ambiguity, if at all there was one, was with regard to the option of a consumer to approach the consumer fora for adjudication of the dispute. That has been rendered perfunctory with the coming into force of the RERA on May 1, 2017, it is clarified.
The petitioner also informs the Court that the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has passed an order declaring that the machinery under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is not ousted from the operation of the RERA. However, the said order has been stayed by a Single Judge Bench of the Delhi High Court, it is added.
The petition has also sought an order to restrain the Consumer Fora from entertaining consumer complaints pertaining to immovable properties after May 1, 2017.
The petitioner was represented by Advocates Kanika Agnihotri, Vaibhav Agnihotri and Preet Singh Oberoi.
The matter would be heard next on October 9.