Status as on: 25/03/21
Maharashtra was the first state to establish a conciliation committee to resolve disputes amicably under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016.
The success rate in the Mumbai area was 71 percent, while it was as high as 85 percent in Pune, according to data compiled by Mumbai-based consumer group Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP).
There are currently 26 conciliation benches operating under RERA, which assist in preventing disputes from reaching RERA courts. It is completely voluntary, and the conciliation process can only begin when both the complainant and the builder agree to it. These conciliation benches first opened their doors in 2018, and activists said this alternative dispute resolution system has done a fantastic job on its third anniversary on Wednesday.
“On the first day of the first sitting, Mumbai conciliation benches settled six of the 16 disputes referred to them, and Pune conciliation benches settled two of the six disputes,” MGP chairman Shirish Deshpande said.
“Despite the fact that the pandemic prevented physical hearings by conciliation benches, they quickly moved to online conciliation to provide relief to aggrieved home buyers,” said Ajoy Mehta, Chairman of MahaRERA.
Each bench has one MGP conciliator and one builder’s association conciliator, such as Naredco or Credai-MCHI.
MGP conciliator recounted the case of a complainant who paid Rs. 4.5 crore for a flat.
“By December 2017, the promoter had promised to hand over possession. The developer denied the consumer’s request to visit the site to see how the project was progressing. The customer discovered that his tower’s construction had not yet begun. Finally, he requested a refund, which the builder flatly refused,” said MGP conciliator.
The consumer filed a case before the RERA. Sensing a chance to resolve the dispute, the case was referred for conciliation.
“We have a virtual conciliation, during which the consumer requested for a refund. He informed us that he was diagnosed with a grave health condition, with a low survival rate; hence, it would have been difficult for him to make any further payments towards the flat. He wanted a refund which he could utilise towards his medical expenses. The promoter flatly refused to give any refund. On the contrary, he demanded some amount from the consumer towards damages,” said MGP conciliator.
“Taking into account both parties’ body language and attitude. It was a real challenge for us to reach an amicable solution to the case. We were taken aback by the developer’s attitude. It was a tricky and difficult situation because both parties were experiencing serious financial difficulties. However, because of the consumer’s medical condition, we both personally asked that the developer consider the case on humanitarian grounds. We might be able to reach an agreement with them in the end,” she added.
To cover the payment already advanced to him, the developer eventually offered three smaller flats instead of the larger one that the customer had reserved. The customer voluntarily accepted the offer.
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