WB HIRA vs RERA: What is Applicable in West Bengal


RERA is the abbreviation in the form of Real Estate Regulatory Authority and was established to take charge of the market for real estate that is not regulated that often takes homeowners on a wild ride. Therefore, RERA was created. Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act of 2016 (RERA) was passed to the Central Government to bring in an open and transparent real estate industry. The Act is also geared towards eliminating problems that arise from discrepancies, inconsistencies, and issues within the industry, particularly for people investing in real property.

RERA laws were highly anticipated by the real estate industry and the general public, who were in the hands of real estate and construction companies. If problems occurred, ordinary people were forced to go between pillars and posts to solve their problems. Often, frustration would result in frustration over the lack of resolutions to the issues. It is interesting to note that Consumer Forums (now known as Consumer Commissions) played an essential role in bringing justice to cases where homebuyers were made to suffer the wrath of companies and builders. However, the commission was limited in its powers and jurisdiction over concerns, and there was an urgent need for a more substantial authority to govern and adjudicate real estate issues. Since the RERA Act’ ‘s enactment, traction and progress in the decision-making process for real estate disputes have increased.

Section 84 of the RERA Act 2016 permits states to set rules to regulate, supervise, and adjudicate the issues in their respective states. It also establishes a RERA court to investigate the matter. Due to this power, several states have created their own RERA rules to oversee and regulate the business in their states. For example, Delhi RERA, UP RERA, Maharashtra RERA etc.

West Bengal Housing Industry Regulatory Authority (WBHIRA)

The state of West Bengal chose not to adhere to the Central RERA Act of 2016 and came up with its law known as HIRA, according to the rules of the West Bengal Housing Industry Regulatory Act in 2017. The law was announced by the state’s official gazette on 17 October 2017 and took effect on 1 June 2018.

The purpose of WBHIRA is to control and enhance the real estate industry and make sure that plots are sold and buildings, as well as apartments, depending on the situation, or sales of real estate developments transparently and efficiently. The objective was to protect the interests of the consumers in the property industry and create the necessary mechanism to resolve dispute resolution speedily and other related issues.

By the Act, a HIRA court was also set up, and all construction companies were required to follow the proper procedure for WBHIRA-registered buildings and projects by submitting their projects to the authorities. WBHIRA was operational and functioning for a couple of months. The Central RERA Act did not promulgate it. Hence its validity was questioned by the Supreme Court.

WBHIRA Unconstitutional: Says Supreme Court

The WB HIRA was believed to be identical to its counterpart, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act of 2016 (RERA). However, states like West Bengal, while enacting WBHIRA, did not take into account The West Bengal Building (Regulation of Promotion of Construction and Transfer by Promoters) Act, 1993 (1993 Act), which was a law that controlled the relationships between promoters and buyers of fundamental properties within West Bengal before the enactment WBHIRA. This was removed through Section 86 of the WBHIRA. The vast majority of the population felt that this provision was against the intent of the RERA since it favors builders more than purchasers. Therefore, a group of homeowners’ associations known as Forum for People’s Collective Efforts launched a lawsuit in the public interest under Section 32 of the Constitution of India, 1950, seeking the declaration of WBHIRA unconstitutional.

The reverend Supreme Court by its judgment of 4 4 May 2021, declared WBHIRA in violation of the Constitution, and on that date, it was no longer functional.

West Bengal RERA Rules

WBHIRA won the fight between WB HIRA and RERA. The state of West Bengal swiftly got into action, and within a specific timeframe, on 27 July 2021, they announced the WBRERA rules, which are in line with RERA’s Central RERA Act and in conjunction with Section 84 of the RERA Act.

On 16 16 December 2022, Mr. Sandipan Mukherjee, the chairman of WBRERA, announced that WBRERA is operating and is now operational. WBRERA’s official website is now up and running. WB RERA’s official website will launch within a week, along with online registration of HIRA complaints, and cases will begin shortly under WBRERA to ease the suffering of home buyers.

In the future

What does the establishment of WBRERA and a tribunal/court in this regard mean for all of us? It is essentially that builders and agents have to be registered under the Act, and consumers or buyers can seek justice when they need it.

In the future, all projects, including their promoters, agents, and managers, must be registered with the regulatory body, i.e., WBRERA. It has the power to appoint advocates and levy penalties but no power to enforce them. Buyers can look up RERA-certified projects in West Bengal before investing in the property. This will give assurance to investors and buyers alike. If there’s a delay or a lack of service by builders, buyers can contact RERA’s RERA tribunal or the forum to seek adjudication in their favor and against the builders.

Does this mean that the option to file a claim in a consumer forum is not available anymore? The answer is no. All cases currently being fought at Consumer Forum/ Commissions will remain the same way they are handled. For the next instance, the consumer can choose to submit WBRERA complaints. WBRERA complaint in either Consumer Forum or RERA Court, depending on the decision. Cases filed in RERA court are expected to focus on a specific type of matter. Thus, the resolution may be more rapid than the Consumer Forum’s.

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