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The Supreme Court today directed the Bombay High Court to expeditiously decide the pleas challenging the validity of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) which are pending there. The apex court asked the other high courts where pleas have been filed by builders and others challenging the provisions of RERA, to await the decision of the Bombay High Court before deciding the matters. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra passed the order while hearing a plea filed by the Centre seeking transfer of various RERA-related pleas pending in different high courts to either the apex court or one of the high courts. "We feel it would be appropriate to direct the Bombay High Court to take up the matter along with other connected matters pending there... Let a considered decision on this plea be taken as expeditiously as possible," the bench also comprising Justice M M Shantanagoudar said. Attorney General K K Venugopal told the court that many petitions have been filed in the high courts of Bombay, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh challenging the provisions of RERA and it would be appropriate if all these matters are decided either by the apex court or one of the high courts. The government had earlier mentioned the matter before a bench headed by the Chief Justice and said that 21 petitions challenging the validity of the real estate law were pending before the high courts across the country. To avoid multiplicity of litigation on the issue, all these matters pending in the high courts including those of Bombay and Karnataka, should be transferred here, the Centre had earlier said. The RERA came into effect on May 1, a year after it was passed by both Houses of Parliament.
The validity of this Act has been challenged in various high courts by several petitioners, including the builders and promoters of real estate firms. Recently, the Bombay High Court had asked the Centre and the state to file their responses on the petitions challenging various provisions of the Act. As per the Act, developers, projects and agents had till July 31 to mandatorily register their projects with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority. Any unregistered project would be deemed to be unauthorised by the regulator. Under RERA, each state and union territory will have its own Regulatory Authority (RA) which will frame regulations and rules as per the Act. RERA covers both new project launches and the on-going projects which have not been completed or the occupation certificate not received. It makes it obligatory on the part of the builders not to book, sell or offer for sale, or invite persons to purchase any plot, apartment or building in any real estate project without registering the project with the authority.